Forest Haibun Poem – Short Horror Story

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Crackling leaves and snapping twigs and whispering wind are the music of my path with my hiking stick its steady beat. My desire grows for inner peace hearing such an orchestra. My mind is glass, unclear and incomplete, bereft of my love's warmth, cracked without her solid foundation.

This ancient stone beast, with its jagged body no match for veteran feet, lies quiet and still. A game of silence it plays until a stream gushes between moss dressed stones and dancing trees against the summer breeze.

The ancient beast soon stops its silent haunt by complete descent. The earth, once merciless in body, softens to seas of bladed green. The air carries tweets and buzz now, as the growing shade from the endless, hovering verdure and boughs shields me from the sizzling, thankless sun.

Beneath the shadows of towering timberland, cool in its embrace, my breath steadies, but my heart drums. My desire for inner peace is aching.

Fifty steps later, a sharp chill slices through my skin. My heart drums heavily, vibrating throughout flesh and bone. My mind is glass, unclear and incomplete, bereft of my love's warmth, cracked without her solid foundation. It cracks even more. My breaths are no longer measured. My sharp eyes dart frantically at every angle. Obtuse shapes, some mouselike too, creep onto me. "Ignorance is bliss", as the saying goes. But no use.

All the shadows seem to follow me between yellow, brown and green summer shades. They follow me relentlessly like I'm prey. Ten, twenty, thirty, fifty, sixty steps. Their claws and teeth hide amongst the verdure and trees. Then comes the soft whispers that pierces through the air:

Good to see you…

Seventy, eighty, ninety steps.

My heart drums, measuring movements, a drummer boy's beats for the marching army. My mind is glass, with every movement shedding a small shard off as the distant whispers haunt me:

I have a surprise for you…

The silent, shadow dressed towering timbers, now alter into a massive frenzy maze. My mind is glass. Is it shattering now? My eyes look for a hopeful way out.

A hundred steps more.

What are you doing? Aren't you happy?

My veteran feet, so nimble in hiking maneuvers, finally fumble, my face slamming upon the ground. Blackness and suddenly, colors. Colors of summer.

What's with the knife?

My shattering mind is cracking upon seeing my wife's face etched on many endless moss dressed thick tree trunks.

Her face, sunken, dry as bark in forthcoming white winter. Her hair is as wild as the Greek monster Medusa. Her soulless gaze and gaped mouth seep ruby red saps. And I hear a soft baby's cry.

Echoes of distant screams. It never stops.

My mind is glass, unclear and incomplete. It shatters into a billion pieces.

The darkness never ends, shadows approaching. Her soulless wooden faces never stop staring at me. Desire for inner peace fades.

Buzzing bees work bliss.

Soft reds, yellows, purples come.

Flowers are budding.

submitted by /u/Economy_Candidate299

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