Ghost Story: Alone in the Woods


Mike Spera

"Even if you run, I will find you..."

Prosthetics - Slipknot

Jonathan sat on his favorite cliff rock and greedily dumped the contents of his leather pouch onto the smooth stone in front of him. His eyes lit up as the gold and silver coins fell out of the bag and bounced, rolled, and spun in a thousand different directions. He gathered the coins up in one pile and began to count them.

Three hundred and fifty seven! He counted the money again and again, just to be sure that he wasn't dreaming. He would have to try his graverobbing talents again tomorrow night. What use did the dead have for jewelry? If only one ring had gotten him this much money, what would a whole set of rings, necklaces, and other buried goods get him?

The ghoulish man began to drop the coins back in his pouch, grinning like a fool at his ill-gotten wealth. A slight breeze blew through the trees.

I'll kill you, the wind whispered to him.

Jonathan dropped the pouch and drew his blade from its sheath in less than a heartbeat. His eyes and ears spent a moment scanning the area. Did he actually hear that, or was he merely becoming paranoid? After a moment, he concluded that he was indeed alone, and that the wind, as well as his ears, were playing with his imagination. He placed his dagger down and continued to shovel the coins into his pouch. The wind died down, and all was still. It was then that Jonathan heard it again, directly behind him.

As clear as day, a woman's voice whispered "I'll kill you."

Jonathan picked up his dagger again and got to his feet, expecting to see some greedy woman behind him. Instead, there was nothing but the woods to greet him. There was no wind this time, so the voice had to be real. But where was the woman?

"Who goes there?" Jonathan called: "I've heard you and I know you are here. Show yourself!"

There was a moment of silence, and Jonathan saw and heard nothing out of the ordinary. The wind blew through the trees again, and the young man laughed to himself.

"What an imagination," he said to himself: "I'll drive myself mad this way."

Suddenly, he felt a cold hand slap against his own, and the dagger clattered against the smooth stone at Jonathan's feet. The young man felt the same cold hand wrap around his neck and squeeze with a fury that seemed more determined than death itself.

It was then that Jonathan saw her. She seemed to come together from empty air, a foggy mist in the shape of a peasant woman. A peasant woman with a death grip on his neck, no less.

Jonathan fell to his knees, wheezing, forcing as much air as possible to go into his lungs. The dead woman's fingers continued to crush his windpipe, making every breath a labor.

The young graverobber tried to choke out a dying phrase, something that would have been "I'm sorry," had the words ever made it past his lips. Jonathan did not rasp out his apology, however. Instead, his tormented lungs collapsed from the lack of air, and Jonathan's kneeling body collapsed with it.

A moment later, all was normal, save for the dead man lying strangled near a rocky cliff. Those that would discover his body would conclude that he had choked and suffocated, rather than being a victim of foul play. They would shake their heads and say that it was a shame that a man as healthy as Jonathan should suffer such a tragic accident, and pity that no one could have helped him, all alone in the woods.