Into the Woods

Woodland_English_Autumn_SunlitIt made such a difference to him, the quiet. Here, he had only the breeze for company, the breeze and his thoughts. Silence had always been his saviour; this was where he came to contemplate life, but for once he couldn’t bring himself to do so, couldn’t bring himself to process what had just happened.

He strained his ears to listen, desperate for some sudden rustle in the branches to distract him, to take him away from the inside of his own head; even the sound of falling pine needles would have been enough. But he knew none would come. He had chosen these woods for a reason, all those years ago when he had first been looking for somewhere to clear his head, and that sacred silence he had craved was now betraying him.

He regretted coming here. He’d arrived at the spot in a haze of numbness, driving as much on instinct as anything else, but now, hours later, that was all beginning to fade. Now what he’d done was beginning to come into sharp focus, and he couldn’t bear it.

He wasn’t ready to be alone with his thoughts yet, and here he was surrounded by nothing but a dark void that sucked sound from all around it. Doubts screamed at him from every angle, mocking him in a cacophonous chorus of disapproval, accusing him of what he could not bear to believe.

He rushed back to his car and sparked the ignition, just to add some noise, any noise, to silence the voices in his head. No, not the voices, it was his own voice alone, and he knew it was right.

Distracted, he didn’t notice the flashlights emerge from behind him, the noise of footsteps coming towards the car covered by the sound of his engine. The first he knew of them was the tap on the window to get him to turn his head, just enough for his pursuers to make sure they had the right man.

The sound of the shot erupted into the air, tearing through the nocturnal idyll and finally breaking the pact of silence he had held with the woods, the pact that had protected him for so long. Darkness descended once more, and with it, the quiet he had once craved. Those woods the only witness to his fate, and they would never speak.

Shoutout to Laura Feasey and her Literary Lion: Into The Woods prompt.

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9 thoughts on “Into the Woods

  1. Great story! I love that notion of craving silence but then when you finally get it you want the noise to drown out the thoughts. Pure silence is very rare when you’ve got your own head for company… ‘Cacophonous chorus’ is just lovely by the way.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. It is surprisingly tense for a story which mostly takes place in the character’s head–other than when the man climbed into his car and the ending. Nicely captured. Of note, the use of the word ‘nocturnal idyll’ tends to have only one possible interpretation for me. Sad to say, I have a puerile mind. I think the sentence would work just as well if you wrote: “the shot erupted into the air, breaking the pact of silence he had held with the woods.” It’s a bit sharper, like the sound of a bullet tearing through brain matter and shattering glass.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi, thanks for the notes, I think I agree with you about the sentence regarding the shot, but that’s why we write and share with others isn’t it, to sharpen our craft? I do find myself wondering what your mind wanders to when you hear nocturnal idyll? I fear I may have made some awful faux pas that could be misconstrued whilst personally remaining blissfully ignorant of some double entendre I have accidentally employed!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I doubt anyone else has the same lurid mind I do. Or, if they do, they are too busy surfing the internet for porn to read blogs. I read the word ‘nocturnal’ and my brain immediately associates it with ’emission’. There. Now you have to go wash your mind out with bleach to get rid of that thought.

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  3. Your writing is beautiful. I wish I can be able to write like this someday. It’s moving and you use words really well. Thank you for being so inspiring.

    Like

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