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Don’t Look, Don’t Listen

Don't look don't listen

Estimated reading time — 6 minutes

While others can find forests unsettling in the dark, I’ve always found that there is something uniquely tranquil about walking through a forest at night. There would be no one but me and the sound of the wind through the trees, the rustling of small animals through the leaf litter and the sound of the forest floor crunching beneath my boots. I had decided to take a walk through the woods of my hometown, I always did this when life got too much and today I needed to clear my head.

“Ahh, peace and quiet.” I said to myself as I began the hour or so walk I had taken countless times before. The walk ended at a beautiful lake that I used to play around in when I was a child. That’s where I had to be, where I needed to be. The lake always had a way of making me feel great nostalgia for a past life I wished I could back to, a life I would never forget.

The moonlight lit most of my trail and for a while I had no need for my torch. The forest made its familiar sounds. What I wasn’t expecting was a low grumble of thunder in the distance.
“Oh no, please don’t rain.”
I wasn’t dressed properly for a storm but nothing was going to stop me from my destination. I continued. I knew the woods like the back of my hand, every tree, every rock, was like a navigation tool for me. The lake wasn’t far, maybe half an hour or so away and that’s when I heard something that caught me off guard. A laugh. I’m sure it was. It was faint and clearly off in the distance. It was a woman’s laugh, not a maniacal laugh but a playful giggle. This was enough to make me feel somewhat uneasy, however I told myself that it must have just been a sound of the forest or some sort of animal and I continued on.


I made it to the lake and found a place to sit. The moonlight bounced of the water, illumining the whole lake. I grabbed a stick and moved it through the lake, listening to the sound of the water gently ripple. I sat there for long time and had completely forgotten about the giggle I heard earlier. I didn’t want to leave but the hour was growing late and I thought it was about time I get back, so I stood myself up and then…..

I gasped! Across the lake there was a woman. She caught me by surprise. Why was she out here this late? I noticed that, strangely, she was naked. She wasn’t horrifying but beautiful, however, It was a cold night, so my immediate thought was that she was in danger.
“Hello! Are you alright?!”
She didn’t respond. Just stood there looking at me…and smiling. There was a low rumble of thunder again and the approaching clouds started to cover the moon. I couldn’t see her anymore. All I heard was a quiet giggle echo across the lake. All the hairs on the back of my neck stood up. I didn’t know why. I wanted to go around the lake and try to help her but something was telling me that I needed to leave…now.

I turned around and started to go back the way I came. But every step I took I heard the unmistakeable sound of footsteps behind me. I felt eyes on me like daggers on the back of my head. I didn’t turn around, I was scared. Was it her? What did she want? I didn’t turn around, I carried on walking …until I heard a whisper from behind me.
“Turn around.”
I jumped out of my skin and quickly turned around to find her behind me, standing with her arms straight down by her side, like a soldier standing to attention. I turned on my torch and pointed it at her. There was something not right. Her teeth were black and her eyes…they had no iris just two white eyes with a pair of tiny pupils. Her grin stretched across her face and as she smiled and black liquid seeped from the corner of her mouth.
“Don’t forget!” She said, followed by yet another playful giggle.

With this she slinked back slowly into the forest and disappeared behind a tree. I didn’t follow. I turned around and walked as quickly as I could. I knew that if I ran I would lose my way and it was beginning to rain. It was so dark now that all I could see was what my torch was illuminating.


I finally came to a clearing where the path diverged into two. I recognised the tree that stood between the two paths, I had seen it countless times before.
“No…what…I…was it….is it left or right? Shit!” How could I not remember! I’ve walked this trail a hundred times, it was like muscle memory to me.
“Okay think…think! Its left. It’s gotta be left”
I walked quickly down the trail to the left and almost as soon as I did I heard that fucking laughter again but this time it was loud and hysterical. I shone my torch through the trees. The laughter sounded like it was coming from all around me until it stopped abruptly. I turned my attention back to the path… and there she stood.

She wasn’t smiling anymore, just staring at me. Her appearance seemed to have changed once again. Her arms had become unnaturally long almost touching the floor and her skin was deathly pale and grey. She took one step forward towards me and I took one step back.
She whispered “Don’t forget.”
The smile reappeared on her face and the black liquid poured out of her mouth again, this time like a river of blood flowing down her neck and chest. I was frozen in fear, watching her as she bent down on to all fours and crept slowly around me disappearing once again. It took me a while to snap back into reality. I scanned the forest in front of me. I couldn’t remember anything. The path ahead, the trees, everything looked alien to me. All I could do was follow the path ahead of me and hope to God that it leads me out of the woods.


The forest was quiet now, the rain had stopped, no wind, no rustling of leaf litter, no crickets, no birds…nothing. I tried to remember how long I had been on this path but I seemingly had no memory of anything besides the woman. I didn’t even remember how I got to the forest or why. I stopped in the middle of the path, desperately looking around for anything that would jog my memory, all the while the deafening silence continued. Not a damn thing could remind me where I was or how to escape. As my eyes glanced around they fixed to something irregular. There seemed to something calved on a tree. I slowly walked forward and realised they were words. When I got close enough I could read those words.
‘Don’t look at it…don’t listen to it’


My torch started to flicker.
“No no no no no, please no”
I hit it against my palm until mercifully it sprung back into life and then…the forest wasn’t quiet anymore. I could hear breathing. Heavy, laboured breathing. Almost like someone having an asthma attack. I shone my torch toward the noise and saw a hand clutching the side of a tree. I couldn’t see the body just the hand but it was so far up the tree that this thing must have been at least eight feet tall. The breathing didn’t stop and my torch began to flicker again as whatever this thing was began to move. It tilted its head slowly around the tree to look at me. Two huge white eyes gazed into my very sole. I wanted to close my eyes and press my hands over my ears but I was frozen again.
“Look at me.” It said.
It then took a slow giant step out from behind the tree to reveal itself to me. The smile had returned to its face and it never looked more unnatural then it did at that moment. It was huge. It was even taller then I thought, almost as big as the trees it moved through. Its arms were long and bony and its spine was twisted and contorted. It struggled as it moved slowly towards me, as if its body was being controlled like a puppet. It then stopped in front of me and slowly bent down to walk on all fours, its body clicking and snapping as it did.
“listen” it said.
It was inhaling its words as it spoke as if it was gasping for air. Its smile stretched further across its emaciated, grey face and its cold white eyes didn’t blink. As if nothing could get any worse at that point, my torch gave in and died. I was in complete darkness, I couldn’t see a thing. I could hear it getting closer as my legs began to tremble and give way. I fell to my knees. The air smelt more and more like decaying flesh the closer it got to me and the sound of breaking bones as it moved itself across the floor was getting louder and louder until I could feel its breath on my face. I closed my eyes as tears started to roll down my cheeks. I braced myself for the end and then I felt a cold hand brush my cheek, wiping away the tears from my face.
“Goodbye.” It said and the all the sounds were gone once again.

That was the last I saw of it. I’m still here. I don’t remember my name. I don’t know this place. Why am I here? How do get out? I don’t remember…I don’t remember.

Credit: Tom G Robinson

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