Down in the Dark Woods by Gavin Ough

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Episode 1

Shall I tell you how I became the Battle Leader of the Wood Nymphs and Dryads? The storm had been chasing us as we walked.

“It’s gonna be a short one tonight, Daxy-boy,” I called to the long-haired German Shepard who tilted his great head to one side with an ear pricked straight up.

The wind had just picked up, tearing leaves from the ground and throwing them hard in my face and pulling at the hood I’d drawn over my head.

When the rain finally fell from the slate-gray sky, it was is if I’d stepped into a cold shower, my coat kept my torso dry but my legs were soaked through in a matter of seconds.

A blinding flash and clap of thunder sent me sprawling as it hit the ancient oak tree a few hundred feet from my position. Dax appeared at my side in a second, snuffling my face to make sure I was okay.

I looked into the storm, awe pulling at my mind as I watched half the oak tree fall, as if in slow motion, to the ground.

I covered my face as the old, dry wood splintered and exploded in all directions, sending splinters and chunks of wood flying through the air like missiles.

As the rain had lessened slightly, I made my way across to the remains of the oak tree, through the steam, which the lightning strike had caused, to look down the near perfect line where the bole had split.

“Jesus Christ!” I heard someone shout as my eyes looked down upon the young girl’s body, curled into a fetal position in a hollow at the base of the oak. It took several moments for me to realize it had been me who shouted.

With a trembling hand, I reached down to feel for a pulse, jumping back when my fingers touched her cold, pale skin. What to do? What to do? The question rolled over in my mind. If she’s dead, I can’t move her, or the police might think I’ve tampered with evidence.

The police; the police! CALL THE POLICE, DICKHEAD!

I dragged my phone out and looked at the screen. No signal. Of course there’s no signal, why would I expect there to be any fucking signal?

She moved! My eyes snapped from the phone to the girl’s form, noticing she was shaking as much as me. She’s alive!

Without thought I snatched her thin body up and clutched it against mine. She was so light, so thin her body felt like it was made of match sticks.

I raced for home; just on the edge of the woods, warmth and safety lay there as well as a working phone.

I flung the back door open and raced inside, laying the girl on the sofa and throwing more wood on the fire. I raced across to the phone, which, of course, was dead, the storms around here always knocked out the phones.

I looked down at her small form. Vote below on what will happen next or if reading in email click Take our Poll.

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