By The River Running

Don’t you understand honey?” She said, trying to sound helpful. “They’re taking it all down all of it all the trees the river the forest, they’re already bulldozing it down.”

I ran, bushes and leaves slapping against my legs. A bird took flight from its hiding place, calling out with an ugly voice.

Raven.” My mind stated as the black wings disappeared beyond a stand of trees.

Behind me my grandmother’s apartment shrank behind the usual hedges of scrub oak and lilac.

I ran on, heedless of the noise and destruction I was causing. The trail wound it’s way up and over a small hill. For a flash I could see the green tops of trees leading off into the distance, ending in a long line of roofs

My thoughts returned back to what my mother had said, “It doesn’t matter anyway, Michael, Grandma is moving somewhere else, a better place.”

“But what’s better than this place?” I growled between taught jaws. It wasn’t fair. None of it was, especially for grandma. She was different, always had been. But now they were taking her away from this, from her home where it was safe to be different.

I continued on, now slowing my pace, daring someone to catch up with me pull me back inside.

As trees passed me I again heard my parent’s voice. “Now Michael it’s alright, this move will be good for grandma, they’ll take good care of her.”

Ahead of me some vines hung low over the path and I swung out at them, dashing greenery aside.

Why move from here? It’s perfect for Grandma. She doesn’t-” Thoughts suddenly derailedmy steps faultered and I tripped, almost sprawling head first into a bubbling stream.

I stopped for a moment, realizing just how deeply I was breathing, ears burning in my eyes. But the silence was too complete, my ears rang from it.

Something was not right. I stopped and scanned the forest where I stood. Large trees spread wide overhead, while the elevated path I stood on made up the river bank. Everything was normal, everything except. . .

Something swung in the gentle breeze, lazily circling in and out of view. It looked like a woven basket.

I walked up to the grizzled bush and pulled vines away. Something large swung out toward me and I leapt back in shock.

“What the?” I said, feeling my stomach twist. A woven form half the size of my body hung from a tree. Vines wrapped around most of its twisted limbs securing it to one side.

“Are you some kind of voodoo doll?” I asked, realizing that if a reply came from the woven form I’d most likely need to change my pants. There was no answer, just the sound of vines rubbing on branch. My attention focused beyond the vine. My eyes went wide. Nothing could prepare me for what I saw beyond the swinging form.

A small clearing sat to one side of the stream and path. A makeshift leanto sat between two trees, various objects and trash lay scattered about the space.

A fowl smell of rotten trash filled the air, making my neck tingle.

Maybe it’s a homeless person’s home.” I thought, trying not to panic.

Wind blew through the clearing picking up leave and trash, and throwing fetted air into my face.

I coughed and gagged, covering my nose and looked around. That what when I saw it, saw them. Dozens and dozens of twisted woven forms hung from the trees, swinging the wind. Their knobbled forms tossing this way that, faceless heads turning to look at an intruder, at me.

Dread fell upon me like thick oil. I did the only thing I could, I ran.

And I never looked back.

-M.E. InkOwl


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