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What Lies Within the Hollow Tree

    I recently inherited my grandfather’s rural home. A log cabin buried deep within 100 acres of woodland— a picturesque scene untouched for decades and a perfect dwelling that I am now proud to call my own. I would spend the weekends here as a child. The wooded paths, …

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New England Residents Beware

One night outside Longfield, Massachusetts was all it took to never feel peace again. The little town is not too far from Thoreau’s famed Walden, and curiosity drove me and some like-minded friends to make the trek one hot summer. It’s a little place, and so secluded that you won’t …

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Her Silence

He turns the steering wheel in different directions, taking different roads when he needs to. He needs to go through the woods to get to his destination. He’s confused, but not about that. What confuses him is why his sister is being so silent as she sits in the backseat. …

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Black Sap

We were having another lockdown drill when I found out about Holly Reyes. I was in Social Studies, third period, when Principal Weston’s muffled voice spat at us from the ceiling. We all sighed and ducked under the long tables, limbs shoving aside plastic chairs as we army-crawled into tucked …

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A Loving Ruination

I’m awoken by Rebecca’s sudden lurch upward. The whole bed’s shaking from it. My mind’s jumpstarted awake. Immediately, I’m feeling disorientated. Inactive for many hours, my brain now has to remind me where I am. The information floods in: I’m in my bedroom. In my house. It’s dark. I instinctively …

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The Stars of Bigface Marsh

It was cold. Cold and dark. That’s all I could feel when I stared into the black abyss, that made up its eyes. There was a tingling sensation in my feet, that slowly rose up in my body like panic trapped inside of me. I felt changed. I don’t know …

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The Whistlers: Bill’s Account

I’ve got calluses on my hands from burying my brother. If we’re rescued today, I’ll have to explain that to someone. Some search-and-rescue trooper, some forest ranger, will hold my palm to the light of a chopper window and want to know how I managed to rub the heel of my hand raw. I practice, sometimes. I practice what I’ll say to people when we get back home. Dr. Harmon, the department head, will need to know how I got Geoff and Lillian killed doing what was supposed to be straightforward field research. They were both his students, hand-picked for great things, led astray by the man who wrote his dissertation on the Russian Yeti, who taught a cryptozoology class disguised as a folklore survey. I got bumped off the tenure track for that. Harmon talked over me in meetings. Like I wasn’t there.

The Whistlers: Ruth’s Account

The man on the trail is dead and will need to be moved. It is a more difficult task than I would have guessed, and nearly impossible for a 5’ 4” woman with no help and no gurney. I tried to drag him toward camp right after I found him this morning, but only succeeded in pivoting him and twisting his legs around each other horribly. Bodies look so wrong once they stop feeling pain. I never thought I would have so much experience with death, but I haven’t cried over the loss of someone since the lighthouse. This man shit his pants before he died, and moving him made the smell worse. It will bring the animals in. Still no sign of Ira or Bill.

The Wolves of These Frozen Woods

I can’t stand to be back here. This tiny, rural town I grew up in, it makes my skin crawl to see everything around me. I’m well into middle-age now, but it’s like this town has been frozen in time since I was a teenager. And the older I get, …

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Northern Lights

I never wanted to go on that stupid hike in the first place. Yet there I was, allegedly enjoying nature and getting healthy exercise while hiking from “cabin to cabin” in the Norwegian mountains with the devil spawn otherwise known as my class. Woohoo, right? For a misanthropic misfit like myself, it was a nightmare. Within half an hour of walking on the uneven path over the heather, I was at the back of the group.

The Unfortunate Life of Jamie Robert Mitchum

My mother always told me to stay away from Jamie Robert Mitchum. Maybe I should have listened to her. I guess I didn’t really understand why at the time. I guess children are more trusting. Sure, he was strange. Anybody could see that. Jamie was the type of kid to …

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The Portal in the Woods

“Dad, you said you’d play catch with me!” I yelled as my father walked past me to his office, where he spent most of his days when he wasn’t at work. “I’m sorry, bud, I’ve gotta get these documents done for tomorrow’s big meeting. We’ll do it another day, okay?” …

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Bigger Fish

My friend and I have always known not to go into the woods around my house at night. I live in a really, really rural area. Like, the nearest house is about a mile away kind of rural. I love it; I grew up in suburban areas, so living somewhere so far …

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slithers

Slithers

Arthur had just come home from a week of restful camping with his 2 best friends. The three of them had been planning the trip months in advance due to the increasingly toxic work environment that was created with their new supervisor. Arthur was particularly excited when the three of …

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There's Something in the Fields behind my Apartment

There’s Something in the Fields Behind My Apartment

I’ve never really considered myself to be much of an explorer or even a particularly brave man, however that hasn’t seemed to stop me from getting in the predicament I’m in now. It was around 3 months ago that my girlfriend of 4 years left me for another man, and …

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forest awaken

Forest Awaken

His voice echoes through my conscience over and over again. I remember his face was a sickly, yellow color. The corners of his mouth were veiled with blood; the sound of the air- pacemaker was just as I’d imagined it would sound. The oropharyngeal airway stuck out from the corner …

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Scorpion River

I’d always been afraid of Scorpion River. Ever since I was eight, I’d gone with my aunt, uncle, and older cousin into the wilderness of southern Arizona where we’d spend two nights in their rickety, blue, camper. We weren’t alone. Around ten other families joined us for that December weekend. …

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Bound

Paul pulled the envelope out of his leather attaché case and settled into an uncomfortable chair behind a large writing desk. Late afternoon sun filtered in through the bay window but couldn’t defeat the dankness of the old house, nor the dreariness of his mood. Luckily, he had had the …

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