Estimated reading time — 4 minutes
It’s night, most likely. The canopy of sky above is that deep fathomless shade of dark that usually can be associated with nocturne, and the breeze is wispy with a crisp natural scent that it carried from the swaying branches above. It is quiet tonight. You like quiet. That is probably the reason you began taking these evening strolls through the forest, the rejuvenating quality of the tranquil, woodland air. But right now, it is very quiet; there are no crickets or insects chirping in the undergrowth, no unseen creatures shifting through the foliage, no stars. You don’t remember it being cloudy, but clouds could have rolled in relatively recently; even though the air is still down here, who knows what was going on up in the stratosphere. It doesn’t look cloudy, but it’s most likely just too dark to tell. As you continue to gaze skyward, you notice there is no moon. Was tonight supposed to have a new moon? You don’t really pay attention to those things, but that could explain the unusual darkness. Well, if it is even night. It should be but you’re not quite sure.
You have stopped walking; when did you stop? Oh, when you looked at the sky. This makes sense; it is unwise to not keep your eyes in the direction of travel when hiking, no matter how familiar the path. It would also be wise to continue on instead of wasting time considering matters of little consequence. It is getting late, probably. It is really, really dark.
Pointing the beam of your flashlight down the path, you continue on with nothing but the natural crackle as you tread upon the bed of fallen leaves and biodegradable debris that eternally blankets the woodland floor. Have your footsteps always been that loud? You don’t remember. The sound is bothering you though; you don’t know why. Carefully, you control each step, dampening the sound of your travels. But why are you doing this? They say that in the dark, your other senses are heightened, and it is very, very dark. However, there is no advantage in silence in the woods; noise actually is better to frighten away dangers such as bears. Not that there is anything to scare off. It is very, very quiet.
You seem to be at a standstill yet again, and you reprimand yourself silently for over-thinking such simple things, like a walk in the woods, albeit a very dark, quiet walk in the woods.
Now you start to notice that you are shivering; goosebumps are poking up along the flesh that is exposed to the air. Actually the air is quite nippy, chilly even. But this is the woods at night, or at least you assume that this is the woods at night, and you should have known better than to wear this light of clothing. Come to think of it, when did you put on these clothes? Your brain tells you that it was obviously this morning, but are you certain you ever got up?
A minute passes as you stand in place, mulling over how you ended up in the forest, in such a dark, cold, quiet, hour that may be night, but you cannot quite place the exact motivation for any of this, despite your mind supplying estimations that would seem logical. You are wearing a pair of khaki pants, a light button-down shirt, and those tennis shoes that you found in the clearance section that fit you just right. But can you prove it?. No. It is far too dark.
Wait. Didn’t you have a flashlight earlier? Your hands are trembling, and you realize that you cannot hear your own breathing. It is very, very cold. There is only one explanation. This is a dream, one that has tread into lucid territory, one that teeters on the edge of consciousness, not quite ready to dissipate.
You bring your hand to your arm slowly and pinch the the tender skin just below your wrist. A sharp spike of pain shoots up your arm, but that is the least on your mind as the world distorts in a way similar to pushing down on the screen of a calculator, and voices start whispering from nowhere identifiable, “She knows, she knows, she knows…”
All you know is that you want to wake up. You pinch the same spot again, causing the same weird ripple effect and the intensifying of the voices. You pinch the area again “She knows” and again “She knows” and again “She knows” each time the stimulation around you and the pain intensifies, coursing through your nerves; you scream in frustration but hear no noise over the cacophony of silent voices resonated right above you, below you, and beside you, cocooning you in a maelstrom of everything and nothing, chaos and oblivion. It hurts; you feel raw, as if your skin had been peeled away and yet you are desperately trying to push through a membrane of your own flesh, giving birth and being born simultaneously.
“She knows!” this time it is more urgent, and you pinch down harder, feeling something give way, the skin separating from the muscle below with a sickening pop. “Hurry,” then the darkness appears to scatter away from from on and around you in a sensation somewhere between water running off your skin after surfacing from the pool and a swarm of insects scrabbling over you, and it is quiet once more.
Your eyes are closed and you are warm, the type of warm that only seems to present itself when you are wrapped snugly in the blankets of your bed. You can feel the early sunlight shining invitingly just outside your eyelids, but you are far too comfortable to open them just yet.
It is morning,
Credit To – A Whimsical Technicality