The creaking drone is punctuated by your heavy breathing, by the slurping rustle of your frantic movement through the moist underbrush, by the thrush of the wind through the leaves, like small sails, propelling the ceaseless, almost tidal motion of the grinding trees. Like the gnashing of teeth, the sound gnaws at you, chewing up your well-being and spitting out a tough, slimy mass of anxiety like gummed gristle, too hard to swallow.
Bewildered, each step is stumbling momentum carried forward by your body’s continual lurch closer and closer to collapse. Your feet repeatedly fall under you in a drunken panic. Your hands too flail out, swatting at the branches and spider webs that reach out between the trunks and grab and push at you as you pass. Your fear is the only thing keeping you upright, but, blinded by frenzy, it leads you deeper into the woods.
A sudden silence grips the air. The hair on the back of your neck stands up. Time seems to freeze. An eternity passes between the desperate throbbing of your heart and lungs as some instinct begins to twist your head around just enough to glimpse behind you out of the corner of your eye. Dark fingers of shadow snatch at your face and, like a hand extinguishing a candle’s flame, everything blinks out. A root arches up and catches your foot and you pendulum forward into the ground. Swallowed by the damp undergrowth, you feel an uncomfortably warm tightening as the forest resumes its groan.
For #MayBookPrompts day 17 prompt “The Forest of Hands and Teeth”