This small Flash Fiction story about a boy who is mysteriously lost in the woods was written in a single draft one evening. It was inspired by the need for hand written words on paper intended for use as collage art background. I considered what to write, and the first sentence simply came to mind. After that my good old fashioned ball point pen ate-up both sides of a trusty sheet of notebook paper. The result is as follows below.
The boy wearing red shorts had no clue what he was doing, but he pushed onward into the dense underbrush. He couldn't remember how he'd gotten outside. He didn't recall the Sun having set either, and he didn't know how the blood got onto his shoes. A tree branch smacked across his face, after having been begrudgingly shoved aside, leaving a small trickle of blood trailing down the boys cheek. He wiped it away.
"Well," he thought to himself, "at least I know where that blood came from."
His cheek stung, and even though he wasn't afraid of being in the forest at night alone, he began to cry a little. It wasn't really all that painful, but the shock of the hit and the slight pain were enough to overwhelm his patience with the situation; his tears were mainly from frustration. The soft light of a Half-Quarter Moon shone just brightly enough that he could see the glistening wetness of his tears dropping onto his open palms. On one hand the tears were pink. He watched as a tiny puddle of diluted blood formed; his blood. Blood. Bleeding. The boy snapped out of the daze that had momentarily gripped him and continued to move forward.
He knew now that he had to find a trail, or better yet a road. He had to get home. For only a second he glanced down at his shoes. Small bits of the forest floor had stuck to the white leather sneakers -- leaves, twigs, and blood pressed together into cakes of gore. A second was all that it took for him to walk straight into a large tree trunk, knocking himself hard onto the ground. His head spun and throbbed at the same time. Now, tears fell in earnest. He let himself cry. He was generally a tough boy. He played on a soccer team and knew how to take a hit, but there were too many hits in a row on this night. He noticed that he'd fallen into a slight ditch after encountering the tree trunk and gotten turned around. He didn't want to loose track of the direction he'd been moving, so he stood up and brushed off his butt. As he turned to swipe the left cheek he spotted a cluster of white lights through the trees. They were moving. Flashlights?!
"A search party!" The boy said excitedly aloud.
Then, the image of his bloody shoes came to mind. What if!? He wondered if he'd been a witness, and the killer was at this very minute hunting him down to clean-up his tracks! What if I was in an accident so Search and Rescue are trying to find me? He questioned himself. The lights were definitely moving his direction. A whooshing sound filled his ears as his heart began to pump at triple-time flowing the pressure to a peak.
Hurt, and now panicked too, the boy tucked himself under a cresting log in the ditch to hide. A space between rotting branches allowed him a sheltered view of the surrounding forest, though now to him the light of the Moon seemed dim. Every shape and shadow seemed to dance to life as his eyes strained to see more through the semi-darkness. The lights in the distance did dance and move, disappearing and reappearing from behind clusters of trees.
The pounding in his ears had drowned out all sound -- or, wait -- there was no sound! He cocked his head side to side, now straining his ears instead of eyes. The usual chatter and chaos of insects had gone silent. The night birds had stopped calling to each other. The warm air was still so that not even the leaves above made a sound. He shivered and tucked his knees up to his chin.
Copyright T.E. Pruitt, Tree Pruitt. For profit use is prohibited. *If you share the words then please credit the author too.