Deep In The Woods
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Posted by MissBlackthorne on: 09:38 AM, 01/20/19
This is a piece i've had written for a while and been overly critical on myself. People have read it and  never get actual constructive feedback from them,  just praise and asking for more. So I thought who better than to help me out on ways to improve than folks who write and enjoy the genre. Thanks ahead of time, even if you just read it.

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A flash of brilliant red and porcelain white, illuminated by the moon’s light that trickled through the maze of branches in the canopy above. That's all she was as she ran along the winding dirt trail. Her heart pounded in her chest as she ducked and weaved through the low hanging branches that obstructed her path, their gnarled claw like tips catching on her clothes like the greedy hands of some invisible fiend.

They tore at her simple white dress, catching her frilled knee socks to make her stumble. Her simple leather shoes were dirtied by the woodland debris, sinking into the thick mud at the sides of the trail as she sped on, refusing to be halted by such trivial things.

Her once immaculate and pure image seemed like little more than a long lost dream, even though it had been in reality merely hours before. How could one small detour have altered her fate in such a deadly way? Before she frolicked in the light of the afternoon sun, on a simple journey to visit family. Now,  she was running for her life, the moon’s light casting grotesque shadows across the landscape, while something lurked in the darkness, bestial and hungry.

Leaves crunched and branches snapped underfoot as her breath came in heavy pants, but she didn't dare stop, even as her calves burned. She could hear the swift rustles in the darkness that signalled her pursuer was still close by, watching and stalking her every move.

While she hadn't seen her pursuer clearly, small glimpses in the foliage and branches were more than  enough to make her pale with fear. Thick muscular arms. Dark shaggy hair. Something sharp that gleamed in the moonlight.
And the way it hunted her, toying with her fears and her now lost sense of direction while it knew every nook and cranny, every twist and turn. Panic built in her chest, a tight ball of powerlessness that slowly grew. She knew she wouldn't be able to keep this up all night. After all, she didn't even remember when night had fallen.
Her slight frame thrummed with pain, from both exhaustion and wounds. A simple misplaced footstep made her gasp as she skidded along the earth, her left foot tugged violently enough to send her sprawling to the ground. Her cry of pain quickly turned into a whimper as tears welled up in her crystal blue eyes.

Scrabbling to her feet she looked back briefly to see her shoe half buried in thick mud, the cause of her fall. She so wanted to fetch it, after all mother would be furious if she lost her shoe as well as ruined her clothes.However it was during that brief gaze she saw something that made her blood run cold and her worry over her mother's reaction fade to nothing.

It was behind her. On the path. It hadn’t stepped over the boundary of the dirt road until now as if some otherworldy force forbade it entry. She’s felt safe as long as she was on the path, but now...it seemed the rules had changed. She was no longer just the prey and it the hunter. It was her doom.

She bolted, what little energy she had left being channelled into a last ditch attempt to escape her pursuer. An angry roar and thudding footsteps broke the silence from behind her, making her tiny frame shake with fear. Her body was exhausted, her mind racing, only to be interrupted as pain lanced through her like a fiery brand. A jagged shard of glass stained crimson lay on the path behind her, her unprotected foot now hot and damp as blood and mud mixed on the once white fabric of her sock. She stumbled as her momentum continued to drive her forward, falling rapidly to the side as her foot stung and her leg gave way from the pressure of her steps. She could feel the pounding of her heart in her head as she lay sprawled on the forest floor, slowly curling into the foetal position as the thundering strides of the beast drew closer.

Its shadow engulfed her in darkness as a large hand reached down to grab her by her pale hair, yanking her head back until she could feel the creature’s vile breath on her ear.

‘’Didn’t your mother ever tell you not to stray from the path, little one?’’ The smooth, dark voice teased, rumbling with a powerful masculinity. Her eyes remained shut tight, tears running down her cheeks, though whether out of pain or fear she did not know. Childishly she hoped if she couldn't see it, it wouldn’t be real. ‘’Who knows what kinds of beasts and monsters lurk in the shadows, eager to feast on your innocent flesh?’’ Something hot and slimy passed over her cheek and through her tears, making her recoil in disgust, her hair being tugged at the roots.  ‘’Come now, look at me little one, see that which wishes to taint your innocence and devour you entirely. Gaze upon the beast one last time before you are dragged into a world of darkness.’’ He purred, nipping her neck as his frame engulfed her own. She merely trembled, eyes screwed shut as her body ached like a raw nerve. ‘’I SAID,LOOK AT ME!’’ he roared, losing all the smoothness and gentleness to his tone, devolving into a growing, gruff demand. His free hand grabbed her by the wrists, easily containing them both in his grip as he pulled her arms above her head with a rough jerk. Turning her to her back he pulled her hair harder, pulling her face close to his as he pinned her beneath his bulk. Crying out in pain, she opened her teary blue eyes, terrified of what might happen if she disobeyed.

Meeting her gaze, merely inches from her face was someone she recognised, someone she trusted. With emerald eyes shining with a dark and insatiable hunger, black hair loose and wild from the pursuit, axe on his back glinting in the moon’s pale glow, was the woodsman. The man who would greet her and her mother every morning. The man who would bring her sweets and play games with her when she was sad. The man who would always warn her that the woods were far too dangerous for such a sweet little girl. The man who had watched her leave for grandmother’s house this morning, telling her to watch out for monsters.

Her gasp made him chuckle, a low bass rumble that vibrated through her tiny frame as his hard body pressed against hers. His eyes sparkled with mirth and madness as he leant in close, free hand clutching the hem of her dress and cowl.
‘’Silly little Red. Didn’t I tell you to watch out for monsters? After all, we’re much closer than you think…’’




Posted by Squidmanescape on: 01:27 PM, 08/19/20
I can see why you got praise.

Do you need the line "That's all she was as she ran along the winding dirt trail"? Why not put "she was" in front of the sentence before and ?

How about the the tree branches "catching on her clothes like the greedy hands of some invisible fiend"? Are the branches invisible? That sounds cool, but why?

Besides that, you could merge "their gnarled claw like tips catching on her clothes like the greedy hands of some invisible fiend. They tore at her simple white dress, catching her frilled knee socks to make her stumble" into one sentence like "Their gnarled claw-like tips tore at her simple white dress and caught her frilled knee socks to make her stumble."

I think "refusing to be halted by such trivial things" is self-evident by the fact that she "sped on".

Do you need to say her image is "immaculate" and "pure"? Why not one or the other? (I prefer "pure" because it's shorter, easier to read, and more common.) Similarly, when you say  "even though it had been *in reality* merely hours before", do you need to specify that it had happened "in reality"?

Why not structure "Before she frolicked in the light of the afternoon sun, on a simple journey to visit family" like the sentence after it: "Before, she frolicked in the light of the afternoon sun, on a simple journey to visit family." Otherwise, it looks like a sentence fragment.

Why not put "bestial and hungry" in the middle of "while something lurked in the darkness"? I like "while something bestial and hungry lurked in the darkness", though I gain hedonistic pleasure from "the moon’s light casting grotesque shadows across the landscape, while something bestial and hungry lurked in them."

You say the beast is "watching" and "stalking" her, but doesn't "stalking" encompass both?

Again with "foliage and branches", why not "branches"? Also, why not "small glimpses through the branches" instead of "in the branches"?

Do you notice that "She was no longer just the prey and it the hunter" sounds clunky? Why not "It was no longer just her hunter" which also leads much better into "It was her doom"?

Same deal with "smoothness and gentleness", where you could have said "gentleness".

The passage "The man who would greet her and her mother every morning... telling her to watch out for monsters" would work better if foreshadowed earlier. "The woodsman had told her not to stray."

When you say "easily containing them both in his grip", couldn't you say "easily gripping them both"?

The sentence ending with "was the woodsman" would read better if the sentence was an action, such as "the woodsman grinned at her" or "the woodsman held her."

otherworldy --> otherworldly
She's --> She'd / She had

I liked this story, which is why I spent so much time writing this. I can't wait to read more of your writing.





 

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