The darkness came crawling. Slowly it stole over rocks towards me, smothering the last of the light as it passed over retreating flowers. Silently it moved, my eyes fixed on the front between light and shade, the boundary between all I could see, and all I could imagine. I peered through the hole of my bivvy bag as I pulled the cords tighter and slowly watched the world disappear.
Silence. Far below I knew there was a river flowing but its gentle trickle was now silent to me, the sound of blood rushing instead, my heart forcing it faster around my body, the sounds of my life betraying its presence as though amplified a thousand times within this echo chamber, this terrible choice for a place to sleep, this dark and foreboding canopy of trees.
A noise. A scuttling scurrying right past my head I’m imaging it I must be. I’m sweating now but the bivvy bag tiny hole is pulled tighter. I can hardly breathe and the pinhole breathing gap only serves to make me gasp for every inch of life.
In the distance, moans, as though the ghouls have awoken, approach, dragging their feet as they come through the dead leaves and bark of the tangled forest floor, rising up from the dank, hidden swamps of the deep forest core. I have chosen the very spot where they dance at night and they walk now around my entombed body. Will they prod me to see if I am alive? Will they just grab me now and feast on my mortal soul? Or do they mistake me for some fallen log and I will go unnoticed as they perform their dark rituals around my motionless, petrified form?
Who is this heavier one now? Gasping it comes! Four legged if I’m not mistaken I can’t bear it as it slowly parades around my body. The scattering all around the chamber must be the start of the dance and he leads, but why the sudden, single, piercing, painful screech of a second? What was the screech? Am I hearing the undead signify the peak of the revelries or was some other poor soul the sacrifice and I’ve just listened to the agony of his final moment on God’s forsaken Earth?
Something passed by the pinhole. And again, a fluttering in silence but my vision was definitely disturbed. Do I turn, no I don’t move I daren’t move as the pinhole flickers its silent movie onto a screen I can’t see. There’s a coming and going, a to and fro, a push and pull, a sickening tear and rendering of flesh I can hear it so close I can smell the death.
Then of a sudden, as silent wings rise, the stillness descends. And now the darkness cowers in fear for the gates of nightmares are about to open, as I slowly, inevitably, succumb to sleep.