Splinters Lost

By
A swift slashing noise resonated through the leafy green branches of the summer forest. For a moment, all other sound paused; every creature seemed to be listening. It was a silence the mid-July woods were not at all familiar with. Then, in an instant, when virtually all living things with in hearing distance of this disturbance were shaking in whatever skin they had, there came a thunderous crash.

The creatures could handle this sound. It was the sound of a death; a tree collapsing, probably in its old age, as the poor ancient oaks often did throughout the years. All at once, every motion began again, every bird took flight from the branches they had perched on and fluttered to those where their nests rested. The squirrels and ants and chipmunks started scurrying about once more. Commotion was aplenty; the forest returned to its routine.


The letter had arrived two days earlier than Mave had been expecting; it was all good news; the magazine had loved what she had sent them, calling it a terrifying piece of literature, and she “a Hitchcock of the writing world.” They wanted her to write a monthly short story for them, and would be paying well. Mave was extremely pleased. She congratulated herself time and time again in her mind, excited by the prospect of the job she had just landed.
But beyond Mave’s own intricate thoughts, she had no one to celebrate with, and wished it that way. Her peace was in her solitude; she shared not a glimpse of her own world to others. She only unveiled particles of herself through her creation of other worlds in her writing; this she was not ambivalent about. She assured herself that her secrets were kept safely out of her words, and as long as she was a stone to others, she could write whatever lies she wanted.
Days passed and the forest rested in peace, with not another abnormal stillness or rush; the leaves gained a shiny golden tint from the sun perpetually beaming onto them. There was a small log cabin, which nestled among these trees; humans came now and again during the summer days, but the majority of time the cabin remained uninhabited.
I heard about the cabin from a friend who vacationed in the town nearest to it. My flat in the city was small and quiet, but for the task I had at hand, I needed somewhere far more secluded. This cabin was the ideal setting. It was miles from human civilization, disconnected from all communication save the one tower that joined the invisible waves of my laptop writing to my boss’ email. Trees enclosed the house in a dim eeriness that was sure to inspire and frighten me. But most of all, I would be utterly hidden; utterly alone.

It was nearing noon when Mave came to the end of the dirt road that her plain, red, Toyota had been winding down for the past hour. The road didn’t stop so much as disappear; it narrowed to a path, grown over with bramble that had been undisturbed for quite a while now. She parked the car with only inches of road on either side and stepped out onto the brown grass beside it. She hadn’t brought much at all in the way of belongings; just some small packages of food, spare clothes, and her computer. Writing had less contact with the author when typed, and she preferred this impersonal option to drawing out the words herself.

I pushed myself into the thorns and sticks covering the path in front of me. Eventually I was able to pull myself under the small overhang of the cabin. I picked the key I had been given from the depths of my pocket and, unlocking it easily, tugged on the thick wooden door, opening it with a mighty creak of rusty hinges.

Inside, the cabin was dark and dusty, but neither the dark nor the dust could smother her ideas. There was an abundance of them pouring into her head, and Mave had barely time to put down her bags before her hand reached automatically for the keyboard. A mouse scurried across the one room floor as she began the rhythmic tapping of letters that would soon form the images from her mind.


In only hours, and barely a few pages of recording my thoughts, the windows of my new home had turned to pitch black. The moon was barely a sliver, and beyond the glowing of my computer screen, not an unnatural light existed in sight.

With each passing minute, Mave’s heart began to beat at a faster pace. There was something supernatural about the warm air, and the closer to the end of her story she came, the more ominous the cabin seemed to became.

A swift slashing noise resonated through the leafy green branches of the summer forest. Another tree crashed to the bare earth, the cut between stump and trunk clean. The bark had been cut from this tree and lay in splinters on the ground, mingling with the thousands of other shards from the trees all around. Someone had to have been working fast; in just half a day, the trees around the log cabin had fallen one by one, dead, to the forest floor. An open ring now surrounded the structure, and once again not a sound could be heard, save the last crashing of that tree.

There were no footsteps crunching the dry grass outside of the sturdy wood door. No sign what so ever that the door would swing open, as if by a sudden gust of very strong, non-existent wind, except that the doorknob twisted open. Mave ceased her tapping. Her story had been concluded, another speck of her inner being revealed.

One large tree stump stood just beside the open door of the empty cabin. Its bare wood was stained with blood, an axe embedded in the open face of the tree. Every ring the tree’s history was highlighted in deep, steaming red liquid. No creature stirred in the forest. No screams, or cries for help ever echoed among that year’s leaves. Only a few unopened packages of food, a spare change of clothes, and a buzzing, running laptop remained in the dusty one room house.

She had sent her story, that last particle of her silent being, to a wrong address.





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