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What Lies Beyond the Wood- Part 1

I sat, rigid, on the slab of concrete that functioned as my bed. Swatting mosquitos from my face, I squinted to see who approached me through the darkness. "h-hello?" As soon as the sound escaped from my mouth, I knew I should have shut up and stayed still.  My voice still sounded strange, carrying a tone of desperation. Ever since I'd got here, i couldn't recognize myself. Each time I spoke, I would feel the need to look around and see who was talking. I haven't sung in two weeks.

 Crying as silently as possible, I gazed up at the full moon; the only source of light. The clouds around it glowed brilliantly, nearly as bright as day. The tips of the pine trees reaching up to the sky beamed in the glory of the moon. I remembered the song my mother used to sing every time we walked into the forest, led by the moonlight.

"I see the moon and the moon sees me, the moon sees someone that I long to see, God bless the moon and God bless me, and God bless the ones I love"

I was so afraid to hear my cracking, terrified voice, I did not sing. I chanted the song in my head, over and over again, as if it were a hymn and I was religious. I put all my energy into believing that this song could protect me from this person, slowly approaching me, sealing my fate with each heavy step.

I was frozen, waiting for the adrenaline to kick in and motivate me to fight to survive. I was so tired, anything physical seemed like too much. Not eating for two weeks will do that to you. Even if I had a full stomach, I would be no match for the disease-ridden being. I created scenarios in my mind. If I got a sudden adrenaline rush and killed the being, he would contaminate me; and I would die a slow, painful death. If I stayed there, sitting quietly, and he saw me, he would eat me alive. While this is a faster, more gruesome death, it is not necessarily less painful. And then there was the change that the universe would take a different path, and the being would pass by me without smelling, seeing, hearing, or sensing me in any way. 

I said my prayers. 

I woke up the next morning, completely unaware of everything and anything that had happened. A splitting pain ripped through my veins when i pushed myself up on my elbows. The next thing I became consciously aware of was a burning desire- no, need- for food. My stomach was painfully empty, even after my usual scarce-but-sufficient breakfast of fruits and nuts. It was as if the food had shot through me and been stored in an alternate stomach... Somewhat resembling a cow. With the realization that i compared my digestive system to that of a cow, I began to wonder what had happened to me after all... And whether i should be concerned. 

I took a look at my surroundings. It was a beautiful day, the cloudless blue sky showed a promising week of good weather. I saw a squirrel. Ready to attack, I leapt to my feet, sprinting after the wretched being. I reached out to grab its tail, and with one swift set of movements, I ripped off its disgusting little head, tore apart its body, and consumed the remains. 

Slightly woozy, I staggered over to a nearby rock and buried my head in my blood-streaked arms. For a minute, the silence of the forest was peaceful. Then it went back to being eerily quiet, as if someone had wiped out all species on earth. I peeked out my fingers at the blood bath before me. Slowly, the realization of what I had done sank in. A shard of glass on the ground showed my reflection, and I watched my face as it whitened to expose the blueness of my veins. I had been infected.



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