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Willow Men

Estimated reading time — 5 minutes

There’s a local legend where I come from. They’re simply referred to as the willow men.
There’s hardly a need for the law enforcement in this town. The willow men take care of all that. Every single step taken, every word spoken, every drop of blood spilt.. The willow men know about it before anyone else. Believe me, anyone that has invoked the wrath of the willow men has gone missing without a trace.
That’s why when I realized what I had done it was too late. The willow men were coming.

She just wouldn’t shut the hell up. No matter what I said and what I would do she was just hysterical. She kept pacing about the house screaming. She said she found this and that and knew I was cheating on her. She’d ask me who it was and I told her she was crazy. I guess I wore that excuse out. After a while, I couldn’t take her damn voice anymore. I’d walk room to room and she’d follow me. When we got to the kitchen I had my fill.

I reached for the first knife I could find and jammed it into her throat. The face of anger and sorrow melted into one of despair and disbelief. The crimson fluid ran freely all over her blouse and she dropped to her knees, scrambling around on the floor. She clawed at the tile and made gurgling noises which only served to infuriate me. I grabbed an iron skillet that had been pre-heating on the stove and took a swing at her head. A wet crack followed the impact and while I didn’t need to keep going I did.

I lost count of the number of times I hit her but I had a good deal of blood on me. What was left of her head was being held together by thin particles of bone and blood continued to rush out. I dropped the skillet to the floor with a loud clang. I wish remorse could have followed so I would’ve felt a least a bit human but it didn’t. I was just happy to be rid of her. With a grunt I picked her body up off the floor and hoisted it unto my shoulder. Her face hung next to me, dead eyes staring with conviction. I could only chuckle. As soon as I got outside, I dropped the ragged heap onto the ground and went to find a shovel. That’s when I knew they were watching.

I could hear the whispers from the woods and in the corners of my eyes I could see them staring intently at my every move. Whenever I would look up to the woods I would find only gnarled trees staring back at me. I knew they were there. It was dusk by the time she was good and buried. I was drenched in sweat and it had made the blood stains on my clothes expand and turn orange. I looked back up to the woods and I saw them peering from behind the trees. Long, gnarled faces with hollow eyes and gaunt figures. I could only half see the faces as they chose to hide behind their precious trees but they were there. Watching, whispering…

“What are you staring for, bastards?! You heard her! I had to do it,” I yelled at them.
Was I expecting a response? I don’t know. They just continued to watch me from behind the trees. I spit on the ground and threw the shovel down. They would come for me under cover of darkness and I wasn’t going without a fight. I stole away into the house and prepared. I pushed couches and dressers in front of doorways. I nailed wooden boards haphazardly to cover all the windows. As the sun crept underneath the horizon a great trepidation settled in the pit of my stomach. Was it honestly nerves? I hated to think it was such a powerful fear that I would start breaking into an ice cold sweat. I loaded up my shotgun and reached for a bottle of whiskey. I forced down a mouthful and then another and slammed the rest of the bottle against the wall in frustration.

One door I left open. It was the back door that stared out to the woods. I put a chair down in front of it and sat, shotgun in my lap. They were still staring at me. The willow men. We stayed staring at one another for three days. Eventually, exhaustion began to get the best of me and I started to nod off. I tried desperately to keep my eyes open. For a foolish second I propped my head up with the shotgun so that it wouldn’t fall. I snapped back to reason and lifted my head high. Last thing I wanted to do was shoot myself. Had I known what was coming I probably should have.


I pushed myself to stay up for a few more hours. The day came and went and it was the dead of night before I knew it. They persisted behind the trees. I began to rationalize that if I closed my eyes for a second, I could have enough time to open them while the willow men were coming at me so I could take a few down. Smiling I did just that. Of course, its’ difficult to tell how long you were asleep. Could be a second, could be for days. I opened my eyes again and found I was still sitting in my chair with my shotgun in my lap. I snapped up when I saw that the willow men were no longer behind the trees. I flipped out and held the shotgun up, darting around barrel first. I took a few steps outside and tried to control my heavy breaths. I shook damn near uncontrollably and found it impossible to keep the gun steady.


I began to calm down when I didn’t see anything outside and began to return to my post when I stopped dead in my tracks. I felt tears well in my eyes and something began to push up and out of my throat. The willow men were peering from around the doorway and the sides of the house. I froze staring at their gnarled up faces and branch-like hands. I had to do something. I pulled the gun up and fired off a round. It managed to take out part of the door frame but it missed any of them altogether. I popped open the shotgun and madly grasped for a fresh shell in my pocket. I successfully reloaded it and lifted the gun back up.

The willow men continued to look at me from where they had been. I took careful aim this time and fired once more. Another shot hit the doorframe this time although closer to the willow men. I fumbled for a third round and as I did, I saw a large shadow cover me. Looking up, the willow men were upon me. I screamed and closed the barrel down on my thumb effectively severing it. Immediately after that, I lost all consciousness and collapsed.

When I awoke, it was ice cold. My vision began to return to me slowly and I could feel that I was being dragged. My heart sank when I looked around. Darkness stretched as far as the eye could see and I knew I was in the deepest part of the woods. Where my thumb had once been was black and swollen and had managed to numb up to my forearm. My ankles were in severe pain too but I didn’t know why. When I looked, I saw that they had been clearly snapped and the willow men were dragging me by my feet. I began to scream as loudly as possible for someone, anyone.


All I did was cause more willow men to appear and watch me from behind the strangest willow trees I’d ever seen. Their trunks were small and looked just like leather. The earth around them was red and moist yet where I was being dragged was dry, rugged land. I looked up to the canopy and wish I hadn’t. Skinless corpses hung down, blood dripping freely to feed what I now knew were flesh-bound trees. My screams were swallowed by the dark and my throat gave out, hoarse from the strain. In the silence, I heard a faint moaning.

I looked around to see if there was someone else here. Maybe some poor bastard who suffered my same fate. To my horror, I discovered the source of the moans. The bodies hanging on the branches of the trees were all still alive. Soon, I too would have my flesh torn asunder and be damned to hang up there and feed the hungry willow trees. There was nothing I could but accept my fate. The willow men had me.

Credited to Vel.

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160 thoughts on “Willow Men”

  1. Ranty McParagraph stuff if you dont feel like reading:

    I feel like this could be a great short story, if it were stretched out longer and didn’t rush to each important point right away. Like maybe vaguely mention the historical amount of willow trees in the area or something, and subtly lead up to the end. I did like the revenge aspect, despite the idea of domestic abuse making me cringe inwardly (it can definitely be a powerful tool in writing). I’ll take abusers and murderers being skinned by tree people any day. lol

    Other than that, I loved it because it made me think back to nightmares I have had. Good jerb!

  2. You see, this is the reason why I am careful with my decisions. I don’t go freaking putting a KNIFE IN SOMEONE’S THROAT, unless they deserve it, need it, can’t die or get hurt, or wreak vengeance or a terrible fate after me. :) It’s simple as man! If I were him, I would listen to music all the FREAKING TIME!!!!! I wouldn’t want to turn into a shrivelled up, but still living corpse as constant tree food!!! PUMPERNICKLE BREAD!!!!!!

  3. Minecraftian Creeper

    I think that this pasta could have used a bit more work, it wasn’t very scary, there was no logic whatever, why the hell would you leave a door open and unguarded, a gun doesn’t really get a tree, only damages it, try a chainsaw, that would work, and just because your girlfriend thought you were cheating on her doesn’t mean you have to kill her, ask her what the evidence that she claimed to have is, and then look at it together, you don’t have to immediately go berserk and call her crazy then kill her. Duh!

    1. I’m pretty sure the door was open and guarded. He was probably sitting right next to the door with the shot gun, ready to run in and barred if it proved to hard to fight the willow-men back.

      As for the girlfriend bit, I think it’s pretty obvious that a) he WAS indeed cheating on her, and b) she’s accused him before, and c) his usual explanation (that she’s crazy) was no longer working, and d) her hysterics were starting to wear on him.

  4. I have one question and one question only: What the fuck was that whole “thumb” thing about? Came out of nowhere. And I’ll admit that I wasn’t exactly expecting that, but mainly because I don’t think it’s ever happened to anyone in the history of everything. Ever.

  5. @Anon way up there, Thank you so much for sitting Chaosworm straight and explaining it in such detail. It’s nice to know that there are some people who don’t expect everyone in the world to be of…sane mind I suppose I should say.

    As for the story I gave it a 10 because while it wasn’t so much creepy it was a good What the fuck kind of story. It’s very intriguing to read about “insane” or sociopathic tendencies. I also really love the fact that the writer mentions in the beginning that there was no reason for the police in that town because the Willowmen take care of pretty much everything. I love the fact that it’s stated that way because it pretty much points out that if a person of justice such as a police man does wrong even they will be taken care of by a higher/more powerful and “creepy” force. I loved the amount of detail that was put into the story. Overall very good.

  6. Pretty good..

    But if you had a raging girlfriend… You could just kick her out of your house. The murder scene seemed to be pointless. The willow men were well described but he could’ve just done some things to avoid them….

    1. Dont murder your girlfriend
    2. Drive out of town while its day time
    3. Lock ALL your doors (not leave one open)
    4. Get some sleep

    Besides the main characters complete lack of intelligence this was a good story.

  7. Looks like he gets what he deserves… A weird twist.. it goes from being a murder story to a you-get-dragged-into-the-woods kind of story. Great work. 10/10

  8. Hmmm, it was alright but I wish there was more on the Willow Men, more on their actions and such. 7/10

  9. I offer the same solution as The Thing that Stalks the Fields: Burn the fucking forest down :p
    Either way, good post

  10. ….meh…it was scary with regards to the willow men and the violence, but creepy, twas not unfortunately.
    was an okay read though, so 6/10.

  11. @Chaosworm: I hate to break it to you, but some people can kill their girlfriend (or boyfriend, parents, or whatever) and not feel awkward or guilty or whatever afterward. I want to let you in on a little secret: not everybody feels the same way you do. Now, most of the time, you can use your own emotions to gauge how other people react. By and large, we are very similar. But some people aren’t. The term for them is sociopath (though that might not be the current accepted term – stuff like this changes often because it’s so poorly understand). They don’t feel guilt or remorse. They don’t feel like normal people. A sociopath might kill somebody and be disgusted, but not because they just ended somebody’s life, but because the blood is so messy. About 1 in 300 people show sociopathic tendencies. Now, there is some good news, if you can call it that: those sociopathic serial killers of legend are relatively rare. In a way, they’re failed sociopaths. But here’s the bad news: most sociopaths excel in stuff like business. They’re the type of businessmen who see nothing wrong with weighing the cost of substandard safety equipment versus lawsuits. If the money they save is greater than the money they could lose for damages, then they will do it, the deaths of hundreds or more people be damned. These are the type of businessmen who will give themselves $100 million+ retirement packages, while slashing the health coverage of their workers to the bone.

    So, there you go. Sociopaths. The term is widely disputed in psychological circles since it seems so “Hollywoody”, but people like them do exist. And the worst part of all is this: physiologically, we’re conditioned to believe that other people are like us, so must of us can’t even recognize sociopaths when we see them.

  12. – careful on what you do. I see every move. every step. every noise. every breath you make. I will stare at you for days. I’m warning you. I will wach attentivly. and if you go too far, you will suffer for the rest of your life. alive. but suffering.

    Good luck :D

  13. I did not like this at all. Nobody could just violently kill his girlfriend for such reason and then feel no awkward afterwards. It would be 100% perfect if the penitence feelings would exist somehow, and the person would really have to think should he kill himself or try to survive. But as they do not exist at all, this mainly just makes me feel sick, not horrified.

  14. “The crimson fluid ran freely …”

    You have to be fucking kidding me.
    Half-decent otherwise, but those words RUINED it.

  15. When he turned around and they were watching from the house, I immediately looked all around my room and out my window and read the rest of the story EXTREMELY paranoid.

  16. Too much action, dude. I was slightly scared when you wke up after falling asleep on your chair, but then the shotgun came out, and I was a bit disappointed. Action or horror – never both.
    And I was kinda detached from the beginning. A load of detail about how you killed someone. Apart from making me think “Well, you deserved it. You said yourself that these willow men are like law enforcement…” I kinda felt like, if I didn’t brutally murder someone, I’d be fine.

    I reckon if you concentrated more on the horror, than the action, it’d be excellent. Replace the shotgun with a knife or something, and you’d be good.

  17. There’s one major thing that ruined this story for me….

    It mentioned that they’d wait for ‘cover of darkness’ to attack… and so he stayed awake for three days

    Question: Why not sleep during the day, then be rested and actually able to deal with the tree folk when night rolls around?

    To fight something that’s nocturnal, why not BECOME nocturnal?

  18. its not bad, not bad at all; i just have a few comments

    1 can they really be just a local legend if they are seemingly relied upon for law enforcement

    2 three days is a LONG ass time to be awake staring at some tree people

    3 the violence in the murder was a bit over the top i felt

    4 i feel like part of the scary factor in these stories (for me at least) is empathy for the main character and the idea that it could happen to you; the fact that the main character killed his wife, especially like that, makes him not someone you feel sorry for, or someone you can relate to

  19. wow, that was rough! awesome! i don’t exactly get the willow men part all that well but the part at the end where the willow men ate the still alive people, wow, scary. I’d hate to have cops like that in our town.

  20. Dirjel obviously knows what he’s talking about…. Damn grammatical errors. Especially on the internet? God forbid!


    The know-it-all commenter is more predictable than anything i’ve read on here.

    I thought it was great. :)

  21. @ ?! : dont u see? the big tree IS the willow lady. She’s the boss.

    good past gooood.^^ nice visual images at the end, yesh.

  22. Those who said this was anything like the Village are dumbfucks. The only resemblance is that there are things in the woods.
    This story was actually well written. Those who bitch about grammatical errors and don’t point them out make themselves look bad.

    The guy in this story was the dumbest guy ever for every reason- he did not do a single intelligent thing the entire time.
    I also agree with WHARRGARBL. The creepiest things are things that happen to average folk.

    However, I gave this story a four out of five. Why? Because it was described brilliantly. I did feel terror for this guy. He was so stupid, but when the willow men were watching him, watching him screw up, toying with him even, I got that sinking feeling in my gut. I knew something absolutely awful was going to happen to him- and it did. The concept was good, the details were good, the overall execution was average.

    It was a good old gruesome folktale.

  23. See, to me, what makes a pasta creepy is the “oh shit that could happen to your average guy like me” factor.

    There’s absolutely none of that here because the guy had it coming to him, and so it’s a story about justice being served, and not some random guy getting singled out for supernatural horror.

  24. Besides a few spots that seemed ill-fitting, it was actually a pretty entertaining pasta. The death at the beginning seemed to have very little motivation, though. It was different than the last handful of pastas I read, even though it’s pretty much a typical overly-gory supernatural demise sorta story.

    And so what if he dies at the end and would be unable to write it? Then you wouldn’t be reading the story! That’s not the point!

  25. its pretty okay i guess.. i actuually like it, i find it interesting. It reminds me of the movie by M. Knight Shamalan, “The Village”. But i didnt find this all too creepy. it needs a little more suspense, i mean it’s only long because of the describing-what-happened parts but it was moving by quite quickly. i am slightly dissapointed but it was good.

  26. What a dumb protagonist. “Burn the forest down and pretend that it was nothing but a campfire gone horribly awry? No thanks, I’d prefer to sit here with a shotgun for four days to and then miss like a spaz when it actually came time to kill me some forest freaks.”

  27. Honestly enjoyed it. Some of it was a bit predictable but it’s a hell of a lot better that some of the other pastas I’ve read on here in the past few days!

  28. It was a nice pasta with a concept that’s not overly hackneyed, not played-out like the creepy dolls or the WITNESS pastas. Not the best one ever, but better than most.

  29. I can’t say I really feel sorry for the guy. He cheated on his wife and then killed her because she was mad.

    … Seriously?!?

    This guy’s a little disturbed. But it was a very cool idea for the town “police” to be the willow men. However, I didn’t like the way it ended. I was expecting a more clever way for him to meet his demise, not just the usual twisted visceral death. Gory details don’t really support the story’s plot and mostly just end up being disgusting and unnerving.

    But maybe I’m too picky…

  30. Yummy pasta, but I think it would have worked a LOT better in present tense. It doesn’t make much sense that he’s calmly reflecting the event while hanging skinless in a tree. Present tense would also have upped the pace and added more tension.

  31. It was kinda nice, but am I the only one who wants answers to these questions –

    1. Why didn’t he just get out of town?
    2. How could he have written the story if he was gonna get skinned, hung up and fed to the trees?

    Or maybe I’m just too nitpicky ;p

  32. Pretty good, albeit long. Yeah, it does go down in quality at times, but in general it is well written. I really liked how you made it feel like if these willow men were all part of his imagiantion at first and then made them real.

    Still preferring shorter pastas, though.

  33. “And yet I don’t hate it. It’s not bad, it’s just not knock-your-socks-off good. It fluctuates between being well executed and terribly written. It’s suitably creepy, then laughably gratuitous. I guess this one’s only criminal flaw is inconsistency.” -Media Guy

    I second that.

  34. Concept was okay, but……Inconsistent. And, there were a few unrealistic things (outside of the Willow Men themselves, and what all’s suppose to make the story creepy), and, well…..It just wasn’t creepy. Guess I was one of the few people that didn’t like it this time.
    Also, it’s not that gruesome, in my opinion. I’ve read hella more descriptive stuff, seen hella more graphic stuff. Thta’s just me, but the gruesome meter really didn’t move on this pasta.

    1. Yeah, everything described here is pretty tame stuff. I’d guess that the “Omg dat was real disgustin guys lol” posts are from people who wandered in here by accident / while searching for something else.

  35. Aw, man…now I’m scared to go into the woods D:
    It was great though =D Made me squirm x] But those are the best kind, am I right? ^-^

  36. Feaster of Fear

    Been awhile since I saw such an influx of creepy. Glad to see the pastas return

    This is a pretty good one, also. Reminded me of our local legend, the loup-garou

  37. blacknensharpie

    Too much of The Village. It wasn’t great, but it has potential. It’s a little too long, in my opinion, too much needless detail.

  38. I have yet to see a creepypasta that is creepy. You, sir/madam, have busted my cherry. Not a lot of creepy, but at least creepy.

  39. It’s been a really long time since i’ve read a pasta that good. 5/5
    and also: WHO WAS WILLOW MAN!?

  40. “There’s a local legend where I come from” I don’t like this sentence. Doesn’t fit with the rest of the story

  41. jess.the.killer

    Am I the only one who wondered, hmm, are the Willow Men using these criminals to breed more willow men? Like, their blood is taken in by the hungry willows and their despair and rage at their pain is transformed and filtered, until they turn into a Willow Man as well?

    Though this wasn’t the best written pasta in the world, it’s an interesting concept.

  42. If I lived in a town where horrifying tree-people abducted any and all criminals, I know murder would be my first reaction!

  43. Uh…

    Am I the only person who was unimpressed?

    It wasn’t very well written (lots of grammatical errors), and I was absolutely unsurprised by every turn of the story.


    I assume you people aren’t new to the horror genre. This stuff was pretty typical, by Goosebumps standards >.>

  44. Thing In The Drain

    Excellent pasta! A bit long, and a teensy bit confusing at parts, but overall, one of the best I’ve read in a while.

    I wonder how long until the trees are done with the bodies and they’re allowed to die…? Maybe forever. O_O

    Brix were shat.

  45. Oooh, cool. The main thing I love about this one is the idea of supernatural creatures keeping order. Scary shit, there.

  46. wow….I am truly speechless. One of the best pasta’s i’ve read in a while! The part where they were in the house he just left actually gave me chills.
    Excellent work.

  47. Needless (and slightly awkward) graphic violence at the beginning, plus a weird tree-people subplot interspersed with a completely insane narrator…

    And yet I don’t hate it. It’s not bad, it’s just not knock-your-socks-off good. It fluctuates between being well executed and terribly written. It’s suitably creepy, then laughably gratuitous. I guess this one’s only criminal flaw is inconsistency.

    1. I found it to be like “horror revenge gore porn” or something like Hellraiser, just without making the victim have to be the one to convince some trees to do the dirty business.

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