Forest of Silence
by Eric Liang
Image Credits to Bjorne Kristian
The weather was cold. I was semi-freezing, and small clouds of smoke formed from each breath I made. It has been one hour since I entered the forest. I was surrounded by nothing but dead trees. There was not a single sound. It was quiet, too quiet to the point where I can hear my own heartbeat. Bump bump, bump bump, bump bump. Not a single ray of sunlight pierced through this forest nor through the thick light gray clouds that hovered above the forest. There was something about this forest unlike any other that I’ve ever seen which seems to intrigue me. Was it due to the lack of sound? Was it due to the feeling given off by the dead trees? I felt that there was some deep and potentially dark secret that is hidden in this forest.
I continued to travel further down the path which led me deeper and deeper into the forest, and it became darker, and darker, and darker. Suddenly, a huge flock of crows flew out the forest, and broke the dead silence. A chill went down my spine. I had a feeling that something was off, but I couldn’t stop myself from proceeding deeper and deeper into the forest. It was as if my feet were under a trance caused by this forest. Every step I took, ignoring all potential dangers, brought me closer and closer into the heart of the forest, while further and further away from where I started walking. I would glance around every now and then only to see nothing but the same dead trees surrounding me. It felt as though if time just froze. I checked my watch. It was now 4:30 PM. Soon it will get dark, and it would be dangerous to turn back now. I must hurry and find a suitable spot to spend the night.
As I journeyed a bit more deeper into the forest, suddenly, several feet ahead of me, I saw something quickly passed by. Without warning, the temperature suddenly dropped significantly and a somewhat thick layer of fog began to form. I started to panic. I looked to my left, then to my right, there was nothing to be seen. What could that thing that I just saw be? A wild lion? A bear? No, it couldn’t be. The figure was too human-like to be an animal, but its movement was too out of the ordinary and too fast for it to be human. Then, a thought popped into my mind, could it be a ghost? Suddenly, I found myself running without hesitation while breathing heavily. Not only that, I lost track of which direction I was going. Was I running towards where the mysterious figure headed to? Or was I running away from it? One thing’s for sure, I have to escape this forest from whatever I saw. Whatever it was, my instincts are telling me that I do not want to cross path with it again. It felt as if this situation was straight out of a horror film, and things don’t usually end up well in the end, at least, not always. Hopefully this isn’t the case.
I continued to run until I was out of breath. I fell on my knees, tired from the long run, trying to catch my breath while breathing heavily. I looked around: in front of me, to my left, to my right, then behind, then front again. There were no signs of life other than myself. The fog suddenly began to slowly die down. Again, I checked my surroundings once more, nothing changed, except the fact that the path that I was taking has now disappeared. I am now lost and hundreds of miles away from civilization. Calling was out of the question, since this entire forest is located in a dead zone.
After recovering from the run, I continued to walk. With each step, it became darker, and darker, and darker. Every tree I passed seemed to be the same one. It felt as if I was walking in circles. I decided to tie a piece of yarn on one of the tree’s branch and continued to walk. After about five minutes of walking, I arrived back at the tree where I tied a piece of yarn to. Except, this time, the yarn seemed to be worn out, almost as if it had been there for several years. I thought it couldn’t be, this must be left behind by some traveler who came here before I did who just so happen to have the same yarn that I did. And so, this time, I decided to tie a piece of paper with some writing on it, and repeated the process. Again, I arrived at the same spot, and to my surprise, the paper was worn out, and the contents on it matched exactly what I wrote.
Then, it hit me. It must be the forest. The forest must be draining the life force of whatever is left abandoned. What if it happens to me? What if this forest drains my life force away? I have to get out of here quick. I ran. I ran. I ran. Suddenly, I slipped on some leaves and fell on hit the back of my head on a rock which was on the ground. I felt lightheaded and dizzy, and without any more strength to stay awake, I lost consciousness. Time went by, no one came, and finally, I regained my consciousness. I checked the time on my watch. It was 7:00 AM. I was out cold for almost a day. I tried to get up, but struggled. Then, something long and white blocked my view. It was my hair. In terror and dismay, I used my smartphone and took a picture of myself. There it was, in the screen, was a man with white long hair with a pale colored face. This can’t be… this can’t be… I grew old! If I can’t get out of this forest, then I rather die than stay here lost forever! Without a moments hesitation, I took my pocketknife out of my pocket, and used every bit of strength I had left, and committed suicide. This… is… the end.