“You know what you need? A girlfriend,” Ben whispered to me.
“Shut up. I’m fine as I am, thank you very much.” I would have glared at him, but I was busy aiming my rifle.
“Look, I get that you have this whole ‘being-a-virgin-isn’t-bad’ deal, but come on! How old are you, twenty-eight?” I aimed the rifle downward a bit. This would be clean shot, right through the buck’s heart.
“I’m twenty-seven, but that doesn’t matter. Now shut up, and let me take this shot.”
Ben stopped talking. Good, now I can actually pull off the shot. I put my finger on the trigger of the rifle and squeezed.
Ben stood up and bolted away from me, and I saw him turn on a light.
“Ben!” I yelled as I ran toward his light. I knew he had an industrial lamp, so I figured that would be bright enough for me to keep track of him.
I picked up the pace as I ran towards him. His light seemed to be moving away from me at about the same pace. I kept sprinting faster and faster until I thought I was catching up, or I couldn’t go any faster.
Eventually, his light started moving back towards me. I stopped running, and tried to catch my breath. Once I had caught enough, I yelled to him. “Ben! It’s me!” The light kept rushing towards me. I breathed a sigh of relief. I didn’t know where we had camped.
The light kept getting closer and closer, until I had to cover my eyes to keep from being blinded. It was at that moment that I got tackled to the ground, and the wind had been knocked out of me.
I tried to speak, but my lungs wouldn’t let out a sound. “Quiet!” He whisper-shouted at me, “It’ll hear you.” I would’ve asked what, but my lungs still didn’t work. I was gasping for air, but without the actual gasping happening. Ben laid on top of me, and wouldn’t move.
Once I could breathe again, I whispered my question at him. “What will hear us?” He covered my mouth.
“It chased me. I don’t know. We have to avoid it.” He pulled his hand off of my mouth. “Stay silent.”
We walked through the forest, as quietly as we could. I kept seeing other lights out of the corner of my eyes, but Ben pulled my face toward him whenever I tried to look at the lights. He wouldn’t tell me why I couldn’t look at them. His light was still on, which didn’t make sense. Wouldn’t a light this bright attract whatever was chasing him?
“Hey, Ben,” I tried to get his attention.
“Shut it!” He whispered at me again.
“Those lights could be a search party,” I tried to reason with him.
“No! They aren’t! Now quiet!” He turned back around, and kept moving forward.
“Ben, I’m not just going to follow you to our death! I’m going to find one of those search parties, you can come with me if you want.” I continued the tense, whisper-shouting, but I don’t know why
Ben grabbed my arm. “Stop. Those aren’t search parties. We’ll die out here if we stay. We’ve already spoken too much to begin with. We’ll be heard. Come on!” He tried to pull me towards him, but I pulled my arm back.
“HELP!” I finally built up the courage to shout. Ben stared at me in horror. He turned off his light, then burst away from me, leaving me in the dark.
I turned toward one of the lights, and started jogging towards it. “HEY! HELP! I GOT TRAPPED OUT HERE!” I kept moving forward.
The light floated up into the trees, and out of my sight. It hadn’t been a search party with another lamp. I don’t know what it was, but I think I had scared it off.
Then I realised that there was no sound. Usually I would hear crickets and owls and other insects and nocturnal birds, but this time there was no sound. I only heard my own breath. I turned around, and saw a few more lights. I didn’t know if any were Ben, but I now wish I hadn’t left him.
I stood in place. I didn’t know whether or not I should run, stay where I was, or hide. So, I chose to hide by climbing a tree. If there was something out here, I didn’t really think it could climb a tree. Black bears didn’t reside in this area, only grizzly, and even they weren’t common.
I started shifting myself up from branch to branch, ensuring that I wouldn’t fall, and making sure that I don’t get myself hurt.
I got up a few feet before suddenly noticing a totally white face right next to mine. It looked as if it were a mask, but its features were perfectly symmetrical, and its features were very soft. It looked like a lovely porcelain doll.
For a split second, I was fine with its presence. I admired the handiwork. The moment that I saw the face tilt I realised that something was wrong. I fell a few feet off of the tree, and landed on the ground. I might have felt sore, but my panic was overwhelming. I scrambled to my feet, and started to dash away. I looked back, and saw the face floating above the ground, with a shadow of a human body beneath it.
“AAH!” The ground disappeared beneath me. I found myself lifted into the air, my body contorting into a ball, where I realised I was stuck within a net. My eyes could still see the porcelain face moving toward me. Its face didn’t hold any new expression. It stayed neutral, and it stayed empty.
I tried to reach for my pocket knife. I was going to cut myself out of this net before that thing got to me!
I grabbed at the knife, and slid it out of my pocket. I was lucky I hadn’t dropped it, because all of my weight was forced onto my side with the knife. I opened it, and began to cut at the rope.
“YOU GET AWAY FROM THERE!” The shout startled me, and I tightened my grip on the knife. I looked up, and saw Ben. He was waving his lantern around like a madman. Suddenly, the porcelain thing ran towards him with incredible dexterity. I hadn’t expected that sudden grace.
A moment later, I realised what Ben had done for me. I took the chance to continue cutting at the rope. A few strings later, I was falling to the ground. This time the wind wasn’t knocked out of me, because I was prepared for the fall. I might have broken my off-arm, though.
I stood up, and raced away from where I thought I remembered seeing those two run off. I had no clue whether or not I would get away.
After a few more moments, I had to stop. I was out of breath, and needed to stop and catch my breath. Then, I saw another light flicker into existence. Ben!
I ran toward the light before suddenly realising my mistake. This light was going to float away, too. I watched it for a moment, then saw it move toward me ever so slightly. I guess that means that this wasn’t one of those fake lights. This was Ben.
I broke into a hastened walk, and made my way toward the light. Ben wasn’t speaking, so there might have been a chance that he still needed me to be silent.
Once I got into range of the light and could see the lantern, I realised it was alone. I stared at the tree it sat before blankly. Why would Ben abandon his lamp?
Then, I heard muffled sounds of struggle from behind the tree. I leaped toward a nearby tree, and hid behind it. I listened to the sound closely. I heard some rope, and some quiet cries, as if the person crying was gagged.
I kept listening. Maybe that wasn’t Ben and the porcelain thing. Maybe it’s a couple of fetishists? I didn’t know, and I didn’t want to find out until the sounds stopped.
A few more minutes passed, and the sound continued as it had. Then, there was one much louder cry, the sound of animal flesh being torn into, a splatter of blood, then nothing. I didn’t hear the sounds of any footsteps running away.
I slunk toward the origin of the sound, and hoped for the best. Maybe it’s just a satanist?
I picked the lamp up off of the tree, then moved myself around the tree to see what had happened.
“BEN!” Ben was tied up. His arms were tied onto a branch above his head, and his feet and legs were just tied together. His head hung over his neck, and his abdomen was torn open, and everything was falling out of him.
I gasped and dropped the lantern. Ben was dead, and I was alone in this forest- alone with god knows what.
I hurtled away from the scene. Ben’s dead. Ben’s dead. Ben’s dead.
I kept sprinting, hoping that I wasn’t going to run into the porcelain thing again. Then, lights of various colors appeared from behind the trees, and I took a sharp left.
More lights began to show themselves. I kept turning and kept seeing more lights, until I realised I was boxed in. I dropped the lantern, and stood in place. There was nowhere for me to go. There was nowhere for me to run.
The lights slowly moved toward me, the colors becoming more muted tones: grays, blues, and yellows.
When they were close enough to me that I could have taken one jump and touched one, they opened up a small entrance, and a porcelain mask floated through. Now, however, I could see what the mask’s body looked like. It looked like scrap metal jammed into a humanoid shaped, albeit a rather accurate one. I could consistently see through certain parts of the body, and many areas of it were rusted. I could tell it was supposed to have a more feminine form, because of its small steel breasts and its visible curves.
It walked up toward me, and lifted my chin to match its eyes. I should have ran, but I didn’t know what the lights would have done to me.
She grabbed my jaw, and pulled me up to my feet. She stroked my cheek, almost as tenderly as a real woman. At least, I think. I closed my eyes, mostly out of fear.
She placed her hands behind my head, and pulled me forward. Suddenly, I could feel the curves of her cold, glass lips between my own. The lips stayed rigid in their place, which caused my lips to move to make way. Her face stayed near mine for a moment, then she pulled away, and released my head.
I opened my eyes once again. What is this thing? Her hands ran down my neck, shoulders, and onto my hips, which she pulled into her own. I could feel the metal of her pelvis rather clearly, but those same curves felt almost natural, if only a bit stiff.
She quickly pulled her hands back to my face, and pressed my face against hers once again. One of her hands stayed on my head, and the other slid down to my lower back. It felt like a real person trying to love me, but her metal fingers and hands didn’t hold the same qualities flesh did.
After another few moments with her lips forced onto mine, the lights began to shift to more warm tones, such as red and orange. I think the yellow lights probably stayed the same.
The doll held my hips, and kept them pressed to hers. She cocked her head at me a few times, as if trying to decide whether or not I had said something funny or embarrassing. I found myself awaiting her judgement.
Then, one of her arms was caressing my chest, while the other stayed in place. Her iron appendage made its way down my torso and onto my abdomen. Her head tilted back forth at a slow and random pace all the while.
“There’s no way you were the one who killed Ben. What am I missing?” The porcelain doll’s face didn’t change its neutral expression.
Her hand was forced into my abdomen. She punched through my organs, and I felt her hand slide out of my back. I gasped, and she pulled her fist out of me just as quickly as it had gone in, tearing even more flesh off of my midsection.
“You lied…” I feebly let the words go. She removed her hand holding me up, and let me fall to the ground. I saw my insides fall out of me. My vision was turning red. That might just be the floating lights. I might have chuckled to myself, but the color faded to black before I had a real chance to think.