It's time for Free Fiction Friday! I hope you enjoy this dark little tale and here's hoping there's not bouts of poison ivy this summer...
What’s In the Woods
Copyright 2016 Carey Burns
Judy dabbed more ointment onto the slash of oozing red skin.
"So, you heard something and ran off into the woods?" Frank chuckled.
She scowled, focusing on the rash that covered her legs from the knees down. At least it hadn't spread to her arms. "I told you. I saw someone at the window and watched him run into the trees."
"Did you find him? Was he hiding in the poison ivy?" He snorted. "Really Jude, you aren't a ghost hunter. You can't just go running off into the woods like that. What if it was a burglar? You need to get a grip."
A grip. She'd been pushed down stairs, pelted by broken glass, and tormented day and not. Sure, she'd get a grip.
"You're cooped up in this house all day with nobody around for miles...you're starting to get paranoid. What are you doing out here on your own anyway? Brandon died...this was his dream property, not yours."
Judy stood, twisting the cap onto the ointment tube and walked to the bathroom. Sure, it was Brandon's dream house out in the country with a good stand of woods to hunt in and a huge pond to haul fish out of. But part of it was her dream too.
She stared at herself in the mirror, wondering at how she could look so damn old. She opened the medicine cabinet and placed the ointment on the top shelf beside Brandon's athlete's foot cream.
A coldness enveloped her and she sighed, shutting the cabinet door. Judy returned to the living room and looked out the window behind Frank.
"What's wrong?" He turned in his chair, squinting out into the dark woods. "Did you see something again?"
"There! Do you see it?" She pointed at herself reflected in the glass. "It's out there!" She bolted, flinging open the front door and running to the spot she pointed at.
"Jude!" Frank followed close behind her, sprinting into the dark woods, her white shirt his only guide.
She froze, panting.
"What the hell are you doing running off like that?" Frank stood beside her, catching his breath.
"He's right over there, Frank! My god, can't you see it?" She hissed, pointing straight ahead and leaning against a tree trunk.
"Where? All I see is darkness, Jude." He leaned forward, peering over a cluster of brambles.
"Why didn't you help me?" She sobbed, swinging her hidden spade with all she had, wincing as the metal clunked against Frank's head.
He fell forward, his body dropping into the hole she had dug for him days before. Judy stared at him, searching for the rise and fall of his chest.
Satisfied, she walked to the side of the hole and sank her spade into the pile of dirt. She shoveled and shoveled until the hole was filled.
She trekked back to the house and opened the door to Frank's car. She had snatched up his keys earlier and pulled them from her pocket.
"You knew what he did to me." She started her car and drove toward the pond. "You knew and didn't do anything." She stopped at the edge of the water and shut off the lights and killed the engine. She put the shifter in neutral and got out of the car, leaving the keys behind.
Judy walked to the trunk and pushed with all her might, grunting and grinding her teeth as the car began to roll. With a final push, it was in the water and sinking into the dark water.