I hope you will find this exercise interesting and you will enjoy the weekly posts. The series is still unnamed - waiting to use your suggested titles after a few weeks worth of posts.
Maybe a contest for best name?
You will be able to write comments about any story section posted, and your suggestions can help guide the story along. I am looking forward to your feedback.
I think this will be fun!
Here is the first post - I hope you enjoy the story!PART ONE / CHAPTER ONE
I was in the middle of the woods all alone. Often I came there, at different times of the day, to clear my head and gather my thoughts, but that day was different. The fog was thick. I could hear twigs snapping underfoot, and wished myself to go slower and be quiet. There was something out there, I felt it. A cold draft shot up my spine, and I felt the pain it delivered against my nerves, which were jumping out of my skin.
I squinted, as I tried to see what was in front of me. I knew this path by heart, every turn and rock and root that jutted out of the ground creating small stumbling steps for anyone unfamiliar with these woods. My thorough knowledge of the area had always brought comfort to me. I knew these woods better than anyone in the area. So how could someone else be turning me in circles, and stalking me now?
I decided to stop and wait, and listen. That’s when I heard the sound. At first I couldn’t place it. It was a low murmur, but then it kept growing in pitch. What was at first a raspy rumble was now almost a high whistle in my ear. A scream from another world. That was when I knew bad things were going to happen. That’s when I realized I was over my head, and was probably going to die.
It all started a few days ago when I was working with my crew clearing paths before the tourists arrived for the season. It was a cool spring day, even though the sun was shining. As we walked through the woods, streams of sunlight filtered through the trees, making us all feel optimistic. We were kidding around, joking and laughing, as we worked the ground with rakes and picks, smoothing out the walking paths and getting rid of heaved ground. We did the same route every year, every spring. My work mates were Josh and Kevin, both were boys I grew up with, and were men now, although they often didn’t act the part, especially on a day when they had stores of energy, and used it to pull pranks. That’s when it began, how it began, with a joke. Josh pretended he heard something in the woods. He knew Kevin was afraid of his shadow.
“Kevin, quiet! Did you two hear that?” he said.
I knew he was trying to pull one over on Kevin, it happened every spring. Of course it worked, and Kevin’s face immediately sunk, and his eyes bugged out in fear. Then Josh went one better than usual. He turned and started going into the woods.
“Where are you going?” I called out.
I shook my head as I pitied myself for having to put up with two lunatics. Since I was in charge, I decided it was best to follow my crazy friends, knowing we had a long day and the sooner we get their pranks over with the better.
“Karen, over here.” Josh shouted.
I labored through the woods, pushing the foliage away as I walked farther away from the path. These woods were dense, in this patch of the mountain side. The trees were thick and close together, with a lot of bramble and vines clogging the way. I had a rake in hand and used it to push the green thickness away and blaze my path.
I heard him call again. Kevin was following me into the woods. That’s how it always was, Josh starting the prattle, and Kevin following behind me, letting me get the brunt of the joke first. It was the same every year, and this was the tenth time since high school, but who’s counting , right? As we walked through the woods, the wet leaves brushed against my clothes and slapped my face, and actually felt good against my skin. It was a clean fresh feeling, and at this point I really didn’t mind the distraction. I love these old woods. There was magic in them, more so in this area, so undisturbed by the annual hikers and path followers. This was a place that most people didn’t venture into, deep off the track in the immense denseness of the forest.
“Quick Karen. Check this out. What is this?” Josh asked.
When we found Josh near a pine grove, I followed his eyes down, and looked at the end of his hiking staff that he was using as a pointer. There on the ground laid a strange blob. I bent down on my knee to get a closer look. It didn’t smell, the only scent in the air was of the pines and the wet leaves from last fall, still fermenting on the ground. I picked up a nearby stick and prodded the thing lying there. I loosened the soft wet leaves around it, and pushed the moist debris away. I stopped as soon as I realized what lay there. It was a corpse, not an animal’s but a dead person’s body.
“Let’s get back boys. We have to call the police. This is a dead girl.” I said.
I looked up at my two friends, they were both white as ghosts. I don’t know how I managed to keep my wits about me, but I did. I stepped back, said we needed to mark our way so we could find this spot again, when we bring the police up, and then I managed to get Kevin and Josh to march back out of the woods with me. No one said much, we were all dumb founded.
Our little corner of the world didn’t see much of death. The only ones who died were the old around here. We were a small community, a small hill town. Everyone who lived in Cold Valley was a nature lover. That’s all there was around these parts, nature and more nature. Our population was only a thousand give or take a few. Our police force consisted of one man, Officer Grady and one half timer, Tim O'Brien.
I knew this was way over Grady’s head, and that the area sheriff would be called in, along with the state police. I knew my odds of seeing Rory again had just quadrupled. I swore I would stay away from him, but sometimes fate kept rearing its nasty head. I swallowed hard and promised myself that if Rory did get this assignment, I would not let him get to me again. Secretly I knew that somehow, he would creep right back into my heart.
Watch for next week's post - Hope you enjoyed this beginning. Send a comment about any thoughts you have about where this can go...