You live on your own, and you tell yourself this is by choice, but really part of the reason is you were never that great with people. Which is also part of the reason you live about ten miles from the nearest town. “The land was cheap” you’ll say. “The view is beautiful” you’ll insist, even if no one is around to ask. There is the benefit of the fact that out here you don’t get nearly the amount of traffic or noise that comes with surrounding yourself with people, which is always a plus.
So it surprises you a little, as you prepare your dinner one night, when you think you hear a man in the woods. You stop for a moment, setting the knife down so you can hear it clearly. The sounds remind you of dogs, but the tone is not quite right. They sound more like men imitating dogs, and as time passes more join. Then, just as suddenly as they came, they were gone. You shrug it off. Coyotes, probably. Drunk men far from home wandering the woods, possibly. You don’t really care to know, though you do lock the door this night, something you don’t often do.
It’s later this very same week that it begins raining, and you notice that once more that something sounds off. You can see the rain, you know it is there. You can see the woods, you know no one is around. And yet you find the rain sounds not as it should, but like a man imitating rain. Unlike the dogs, you find this rather soothing. You leave the door unlocked, and you sleep in the living room, watching and listening to the off-key rain.
The very next day you notice deer tracks in the mud as you enjoy a cup of coffee on your porch, well rested from the night before. You finish your cup, suit up, and follow the tracks. The nearest market is so far away, you rather prefer to hunt and gather what you can to avoid the trip. Staying as hidden as you can, you spot the deer from a distance. You also spot what looks like a bush at first, but a harder stare tells you it is a man. A man imitating a bush. This is private property, and from the way he looks you gather he’s here to hunt. But he’s too close. He’s standing not ten feet from your prey. You see he hasn’t drawn any kind of gun or bow, and decide to beat him to the punch. You aim, you fire, you kill your target with practiced ease. Quickly, you start to get up, eager to see if the other man has startled, but stop when you see he has not.
He instead slowly turns his head to the deer, stands, and makes the short walk over. And thats when you realize something is very wrong. He moves as if he has no defined bones or joints, very fluid and bendy. You can see now that he’s at his full height that where the leafs don’t cover there are no clothes or human limbs, only thin branches bunched together in a poor replica of what they are meant to be. He shuffles over the deer for a moment, before reaching down, sharp branches growing out to form too many fingers, and bringing the whole thing up to consume. You realize, struck motionless with fear, that all this time it was not men imitating things.
It was things imitating men.
Credit To – LaLaLuma