Shortly before the Wood, I’d re-watched the Aliens movies. There was a famous line in there about how our parents told us monsters weren’t real, but in reality there are monsters. Of course, the deeper punchline being that maybe it’s actually our fellow humans that are the real monsters.
When humans had lost the war against the Wood, and had been absorbed, we’d breathed a collective sigh of relief. No more war, no more monsters.
We had lost the war, but won peace and immortality.
But we had forgotten about the ghosts.
And in the Wood, ghosts had an outlet. In the Wood, ghosts had bodies.
I was watching one now, near the water. It had formed from algae and other bits of plant and plant-like pond sludge. I wasn’t sure, but I think it was a woman. It was looking for something, combing through the water with distorted arms and fingers. Reaching, stretching, frantically. It was crying. Looking for a lover? A child? Its thoughts were closed to me, but its intent bled through. Someone important had died here.
A lot of humans had died in the war, but many from suicide and murder, not in the fighting.
Maybe she had drowned her child before the Wood had taken her family.
Before she had known the truth of the Wood.
I moved my consciousness closer.
The ghost’s head jerked up, looked at me. It wailed and tried to run, but its body began to fall apart as I reached out with root and branch.
Come back to us, I urged her. I could sense the bits of her mind falling to the ground, becoming lost. Ghosts barely had anything left to them to begin with, and couldn’t afford to lose any more of themselves. Pieces of her broken mind became open to me as they hit the ground and vanished.
Memories of terror, of being chased. Holding someone small and squirming. Then, holding someone small under the water until that someone stopped moving. Going into the water, then feeling a rough grip around an ankle.
And then she was gone.
Nightmare Fuel 2017, Day 4