The Black Forest - Flash Fiction

By the time you read this, I will be no more. Let this by my warning to humanity. Enduring mankind’s dominion, they gaze at us from the periphery of our cities, waiting to reclaim what was once theirs.

            It was in the summer when I received the letter telling me of my father’s passing. I never knew the man, but the message still came as a shock. A key to a cabin and the deed to a plot in Maine were enclosed. Putting in the time necessary, I left the world of academia to pursue this latest acquisition. After hours of driving, kept awake only by anticipation, I arrived outside the cabin. The door moaned ominously as I entered. Inside, the walls were covered in odd pictographs from an ancient and forgotten culture, no doubt. Further inspecting the interior, I found a map of the property; I noted a nebulous patch of territory in the center.

            The next day, with all the provisions necessary, I set out on a hike. After an hour, I reached the mysterious patch of territory and beheld a sight most peculiar. They were unlike any Birch I had ever studied; their bark was the color of coal. Smooth to the touch, it was as if they had just grown. Sampling the sap, it was thick and bitter. That’s when I first heard it: the whispers. Looking around frantically, I lost my footing and fell into oblivion.

            I woke up hours later and night had fallen much to my dismay. I quickly rummaged through my sack for the torch. With torch in hand, I was baffled as I observed the black trees pulsating. The whispers returned in a language I couldn’t discern. Sensing anger, I fled into the night. During my flight, I felt the ground beneath me change, becoming hard. I saw two lights, like eyes, fast approaching.

            I awoke, finding myself hooked up to a monitor in a hospital. I had been hit by a truck. My terrifying account was dismissed as nothing more than the result of a concussion. The nights that followed were hellish, as I recall; I continued to hear whispers. On nights where I could sleep, I was plagued with visions of a man. His body was held erect by several plant-like appendages, while a thousand claws, seemingly branches, pulled him apart. I did not get a good look at his face, but I’m sure I knew him. When I was released, I sought the cabin, but found only the black trees. With no sign of my lodging, I was driven away by the approaching sound of whispers. My closest friend, an astronomy professor, indulged my tale, but his skepticism was apparent. I proposed the concept of panspermia; that those trees were not of this world. I was met only with raucous laughter.

            Now, penniless and alone, I write these words. I can hear them coming; the window upstairs has shattered. It’s scrambling down the stairs. Those branches…

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Novel / Novella
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In the dead of the night, one man tries in vain to make sense out of his final moments as his mind reels from the shock of the horror he has witnessed. Here is his account of the journey to the black forest, and the strange cabin he inherited from his estranged father...
A Word from the Writer
This was entered into the Wilde Hearne Flash Fiction Contest (2009), but didn't win. I was most heavily influenced by H.P. Lovecraft's "Dagon" and other works that explore the psychological horrors man faces when confronted by things we can't understand.