My best friend and I found a strange corpse in the forest - Chap 1
I’m only writing this to get it out of my head; otherwise, I think I might turn mad.
It all started less than a year ago. Ron, my best friend, and I enjoyed the last weeks of our summer vacation before we had to return to our school life. On most days, we wasted our time with online games, terrorizing some kids who then tortured their mics due to their inevitable defeat.
As funny as it was to get called a son of a bitch repeatedly, we couldn’t spend the entire time in front of the computer. So every night we went outside, catching fresh air, trying to do something “productive” with our free time, or so our parents wished.
In reality, we sat in Ron’s car and drank some beer, smoked some weed, and then lurked through the neighborhood. The rest of our friend group accompanied us if they weren’t on some family trips or busy with their own stuff.
Ron and I hadn’t the wealthiest parents, making more than one trip a year impossible. But it didn’t bother either of us that much, especially if we heard our friends’ rather humble descriptions about their travels.
From time to time, we also went to a few parties. They were fine, I guess. Nothing special. Like the whole vacation thus far. Ron felt the same, expressing his boredom with our daily routine.
So, to rattle things up, we came up with the idea to change the location for our nightly trips, from the familiar streets in which we grew up to the “spooky” forest right around the corner. When we were kids, we loved to tell and imagine all kinds of horror stories that occurred between those trees. A free-running serial killer, occult sacrifices, strange monsters that would eat your insides while you were still alive. The more fucked up, the better.
Equipped with a peashooter (modeled after a Winchester gun) and some empty cans of beer, we got into Ron’s car and drove into the forest, chatting on the way there.
“Have you watched the newest episode of game of thrones?” Ron asked.
“Yeah,” I answered, “fucking awful!”
“Yeah, was quite stupid.”
“Nothing made any sense. It was like all of the characters went braindead and forget who they were for most of the series. Man, you should’ve seen my Dad. He lost his fucking mind. Hated it. And yours?”
“Your Dad? Didn’t you say you, too, watch it together?”
There was a short pause before Ron spoke. “Oh, yeah … ehm, we used to. But now he’s too busy … with work.”
“Really? Must suck.”
“Depends on how you view it. He hadn’t to watch this garbage.” Ron muttered, his gaze still on the road ahead.
“Yeah, that’s right.”
Shitting on Game of Thrones had become one of our main topics of conversations. If you hang out all the time, you’re bound to run out of things to talk about.
“How’s your mom doin’?” I asked, hoping not to upset him. Ron’s mum had trouble with depression.
“Better,” he mumbled, his demeanor making it clear he had no interest in talking about his family.
A slightly uncomfortable silence spread between us, and after clearing his voice, Ron tried to lift up the mood.
“So, … any new games we could try out?”
I thought for a moment. “Not really. Maybe another shooter? I want to hear those fucking dwarfs with their high pitched voice, losing their shit ‘cause they are too stupid to win.”
“It makes you addicted.”
“Eh,” I laughed, “remember the kid that screamed so loud his mom stormed into his room?”
A smile crept onto Ron’s lips. “Yeah.”
“’ What are you doing?’” I imitated the mom’s voice. “’ If you don’t shut up, I will throw out this thing!’”
“And then he started crying.”
“Oh my god, yes! That was too good.”
We laughed for a short while, finally arriving at our planned destination amid the forest. As a child, I would never have dared to step this deep into the woods, fearing that any of our horror stories could be more real than I imagined. Now, the same reason made us come here in the first place, the possibility of danger giving the entire thing a particular kick.
Ron locked his car, grabbing a flashlight while I carried the peashooter and the cans. Although we loved the feeling of horror hiding in the night, we didn’t want to move too far out. Getting lost in the forest in total darkness didn’t seem that appealing.
With the car still visible under the flashlight’s help, I put three cans on an overfallen tree.
“Do you want to start?” I asked, holding the peashooter in front of Ron.
“Sure,” he answered, handing over the flashlight to me.
Without much delay, he aimed at the can on the left, shooting it off the tree. It fell out of our sight, behind the dead piece of wood.
“Nice,” I praised him, taking over the gun (if you could call it that) and giving the flashlight back.
First, I aimed like Ron did until a better idea came to my mind. “Bet I can hit with my back turned to it?”
“Try,” he replied.
Grinning, I turned around, having a basic feeling where the can should be. I laid the peashooter on my left shoulder, attempting to position myself correctly, and pulled the trigger. The metallic clang and the ensuing sound of the can meeting the ground spoke for my success.
“Christ’s sake,” Ron muttered, “you’re such a lucky bastard.”
“Lucky?” I asked, placing my hand on my chest and putting on my best-shocked face to express my indignation. “How dare you question my skill?”
He didn’t sputter any reply, only showing his middle finger to me.
Enraged by his blunted hostility, eagerness took hold of me. “Well, I shall prove you wrong!”
I turned my back to the last remaining can. But instead of resting the peashooter on my shoulder, I leaned forward and positioned the toy gun between my legs. Again, only a vague sensation of my target’s location guided me. And, again, it turned out to be correct.
“OH!” I burst, raising my hands to the air. “Oh my god! Science said I couldn’t be done!”
“Fuck off,” Ron faltered, glaring at the now empty tree in doubt. “You can’t be serious.”
“I am a god!” I declared, my hands still in the air.
After a few seconds, Ron digested the reality of my capabilities. “Yeah, yeah,” he said, grabbing the peashooter from my hands. “Get the cans, and I will show you your place.”
This time it was my turn to present him my middle finger while I walked over to the tree to get the cans. There I had to use my phone’s flashlight function to properly locate them as they had fallen into the shadows that Ron’s flashlight didn’t light up.
Two sprung into my eyes immediately. The third, though, was nowhere to be seen.
“The fuck?” I mumbled, scanning the ground for the missing one.
“What are you doing over there?” Ron asked, waiting impatiently.
“I can’t find the last can,” I answered, getting annoyed by myself for not finding the damn can.
Cursing, Ron stepped over to me. “Jesus, you have to do everything yourself.”
His nagging came to a sudden end as he, too, was unable to detect the can. We both went down to the ground, rummaging through every tiny corner that could have hidden the thing. It was quite ridiculous in hindsight. We had five more cans, but the anger of our inability to find it kept us going.
As I was about to throw another curse into the air, Ron’s right foot broke through the ground, and his leg sunk into it. I rushed to his aid, pulling him back while he yelped in a fit of panic.
“What the fuck!?” Ron barked, slowly calming down.
Uncertain and filled to the brink with anxiety for stepping on the wrong spot like Ron, I approached the new-made hole. I feared we might have discovered the entrance to a den of an animal, not willing to welcome us with everything besides an unhinged series of attacks.
After a felt eternity, my legs had carried me in front of the hole. Ready to jump back like a scared kitten, I dared a look. Even without a flashlight as a source of light (I didn’t dare to turn it on to not startle an already frighten animal further), I recognized that this wasn’t a den.
Relief pushed back my fear, enough to make me grab my phone and light up the hole. Our missing can’s fate was unraveled as soon as I activated the flashlight. Seemingly, it got flung into an already existing pit (on which Ron then stepped) and landed on moss. How we had missed this spot is beyond me.
The ground around the hole seemed a bit odd, though. It was mixed with some sort of light brown dust. Also, the earth appeared to be nothing more than a thin layer on top of some stone, the apparent source of the strange dust.
But as I looked back into the pit, I realized what the can had actually fallen on; a staircase.
“Ron,” I said, “you should come to see this.”
More frightened than I was, he cautiously crept beside me. “Is that … a staircase?” he hesitated, asking more himself than me.
Moss and other plants had overgrown the staircase. Only a few spots remained free of any wildlife, revealing the steps were crafted from stone and … they were old. Very old. The walls around had suffered a worse fate, crumbled and under the hand of the plant life.
The staircase led in a straight line, at least twenty feet underground, the end clouded in darkness my flashlight’s beam couldn’t reach. The entrance, so we guessed, should have been around where the dead tree was laying.
Ron bit himself nervously on the lips, deep into his thoughts. “Should we …” he mumbled, looking me in the eyes.
I gazed one last time into the concealed destination of the staircase, wondering what could be there. A sensation arose inside of me, filled with the desire to penetrate the darkness, unwilling to submit for any logic and reason. Since my childhood days, I hadn’t felt anything like that.
“Yes,” I finally nodded, “yes, we should.”
We walked over to the rotten wood, examining the ground for any indication of an opening. Ron was the one who noticed a handle buried under dirt and leaves, being attached to a trapdoor (the dead tree had fallen right beside it). God knows how but it wasn’t a husk of its former self, time only having attacked the timber and bronze (it was crafted from) to a slight degree. At that moment, I didn’t inspect the entrance further; my mind settled on the things under the door.
It took both of us to stem the trapdoor open. It craked and rebelled against its usage, showing countless decades had an effect on it. This minor success strengthened our determination, though I still felt a chill running down my spine as I looked into the descent.
Ron received a similar sensation, continuing to bite on his lips. Though it was unnecessary, we both kept our flashlights. We looked at each other, readying ourselves and nodding simultaneously.
I took the first step, Ron close behind me. A moldy odor crawled into our noses as we walked down. The walls were in an even worse condition as I initially thought. Nature had demolished all of the structure’s once glory, leaving an eaten shell behind.
While I took the lead, Ron kept a closer look at the trapdoor, the peashooter in hands, if some creature should try to trap us down here. He knew that his toy gun wouldn’t have much effect on an enemy trying to kill us, but it spent him some relief in this tense situation. Relief I envied him for.
Dust danced in the air, getting visible in our flashlights’ beams, made us cover our mouth with our jackets’ collar. Curiosity finally brought us to the end of the staircase, and its destination, a small cabin with an ancient desk and … a corpse on it. But not a human corpse.
It was too large for that, probably being around nine feet tall. Its skin was blue and completely dried out and wrinkled, though I couldn’t see much of its body as it was clothed in some timeworn robes. Its head was covered by a white scarf, but I could undoubtedly observe two small pointy bumps … horns.
I was startled as I first saw the strange creature, not noticing that it was dead. I stumbled backward and collided with Ron, who still had been watching the entrance, walking with his back turned to the decent.
“Jon,” he began, then seeing the thing lying on the desk.
He froze immediately, growing roods in the staircase. The thirst for knowledge for what was down here dried up as fast as you could imagine. My mind screamed at me to turn my back to it and bring as much distance between it and me. But I didn’t. Likewise, Ron, too.
Our shock had paralyzed us beyond recovery, or so we assumed. My sick mind played thousands of visions of this creature, standing up and killing us most cruelly and painfully possible. Then I really wished for that damned peashooter.
What felt like years of our bodies refusing us their duties weren’t more than a couple seconds before we regained control of our action. So, we turned around and ran like fucking chickens.
Every step, I could feel the awakening of the monster, chasing us, his newest prey who were stupid enough to walk down into its layers. Nothing of that sort happened, and we reached the surface.
Ron and I slammed down the fucking trapdoor as hard as we could and stormed into his car. Thank god the road we took to get here and now used to flee wasn’t littered with streets bumps and other obstacles. Otherwise, the speed at which Ron drove would have led to our untimely demise.
As we reached civilization, our fear calmed down a bit, though not enough to make us stop. Ron’s paranoia even forced him to drive the most prolonged and most complicated path home, hoping to shake off the creature. Though, there weren’t any signs of us being persecuted.
Twenty minutes passed until we found us in front of my home. At that point in time, we had realized that our reaction to the discovery of the strange being might have been a bit … extreme.
A mixture of an eerie forest, our tension of encountering an ancient ruin, and some weed before we got there might have caused it. I mean, we didn’t really know what it was we had seen. Maybe our eyes had fooled us. Could’ve been anything.
Heck, it might have been an old sex doll of some ass who had dressed it up and had laid it down there to scare people unfortunate enough to find the trapdoor. Many more theories of this kind were thrown around, loosening the situation. Even a few laughter got caused.
Honestly, we just talked shit to devalue what we encountered in the forest, to calm our nerves. And it did work. We parted ways, returned to our homes, and even found some sleep.
The next few days went back to normal. Wasting time with video games and walking around the streets at night. We took our preferred routes and avoided the forest. Though this time, we appreciated the routine.
This stupid encounter opened our eyes to the blessing that was our life. None of us was in constant danger of losing his life. We could spend days as we wanted, still having the stress and the responsibilities of adulthood life ahead for a few years. We were safe.
And then we returned to the forest.