Out of the woods

Out of the woods

I loved the woods. Until I met them.

It was Autumn and I drove my truck over a dirt path that cut through the woods, along with my Golden Retriever, Kaiser. He drooled next to me as usual while my truck’s speakers blasted old classic-rock songs. We followed the dirt path for several hours until we reached our destination, right before the Colorado sun began to set. I turned the engine off and Kaiser woke up and gazed out the window excitedly.

I set camp not too far from the truck in a nice spot surrounded by wild-looking pine trees. As I put up the tent, Kaiser bounced around the area, sniffing the broken branches and dry pine cones that decorated the ground. The familiar joy-filled bubble swelled inside me as I watched my buddy explore. It felt good to be back.

Just as the sky blended with pinks and blues and purples, my fire began to crackle and sent the smell of rich smoke to my nostrils. It was a quiet part of the woods: No birds, no wind, no insects. Just the sounds of burning wood and Kaiser’s panting. Since it was already late, hunting would have to wait until the next day. I sat beside the fire, grabbed my rifle, took it apart, and began to clean it so it wouldn’t fail me the next day when I stumbled upon an elk, hopefully a large buck.

My rifle was halfway finished when I heard a noise coming from the trees. It was dark now, so I couldn’t see a thing. Kaiser began to bark. Goose bumps rippled my skin. The noise reached my ears again and I knew they were footsteps. Someone — or something — was crunching over dry pine cones. I couldn’t move a muscle. My rifle lay in pieces in front of me, so using it was not an option. Kaiser stopped barking, I realized, and he looked straight into the trees, still and quiet.

Then he bolted into the darkness. I wanted to call him back but I didn’t want to attract whatever was out there. When Kaiser disappeared into the trees, I unfroze myself and sprang to my feet. I rushed through the darkness towards my truck. Under the seat was a wooden box that contained a small, silver revolver and a long military knife. I took both and rushed back towards camp.

Through trees and darkness I jogged, thinking why Kasier had run off like that without my call. When the glow of the camp fire was visible through the trees, I slowed my pace and came to a complete halt. My insides lurched horribly.

Around my fire stood five people. Only that these weren’t normal people. They wore silver suits pressed tightly against their bodies, and they had massive backpacks strapped behind them. And their faces — even from several yards away I could make out pale, grey, expressionless faces. Eyes dark and entranced as they stared into the fire. They didn’t speak. They didn’t move. They were like statues standing around the orange flames.

I was about to flank through the darkness around camp to go find Kaiser, when a sixth grey person emerged from the trees. This one looked female. Her hair was short like the others’, but I could see a feminine touch to her face and body. She was dragging something limp across the ground. My heart stopped when I saw it was Kaiser.

Horrified, I watched as the grey female pulled something small from within her backpack and stabbed my dog’s chest. She pulled out his heart with ease. The other greys didn’t watch her work; they simply stared at the dancing flames. They kept their silence and stood as still as the trees around us.

The female raised Kaiser’s heart over her head and my muscles tensed when she spoke in a guttural language I didn’t recognize. The rest of the greys chanted along, and the female dropped the dog’s heart into the fire.

I must’ve done a noise of some sort, I don’t know, but all six greys suddenly turned their heads towards me. My throat clogged as I felt the power coming from their dark-eyed, expressionless gazes. They didn’t move. They didn’t speak. I turned and ran.

The greys didn’t chase me. Or maybe they did, but didn’t find me. I managed to reach my truck and I didn’t relax my foot from the gas pedal until I was off the dirt path and on the highway. I felt sick. I was driving home without Kaiser, my buddy of six years. As I drove under the starry sky I swore that I would never go hunting again. Those grey people, they changed me. They injected a fear inside me that I had never felt before. A fear that weakened my bones and emptied my mind. I don’t know who those greys were, or where they came from, but I know that I might never find out. But I’m glad that I lived to tell the tell, even though nobody believes me. I’m glad I had the chance to see Kaiser’s fate so I wouldn’t have to go back looking for him, thinking he was still alive.

I’m just glad that I managed to get out of the woods.

There’s a new song out there by Taylor Swift called “Out of the woods”. The short piece of fiction you just read was inspired by that title. The song has been all over the internet, popping out, here and there, and the story just landed in my mind after the words “Out of the woods” had etched themselves into it.

Anyways, I hoped you liked it. I really love the outdoors and anything about aliens, so writing this short story was fun. Thanks for reading and I’ll appreciate it if you shared it with the world. Have a good one. (:

-Ralph Serr


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