The walk

So on this cold Tuesday afternoon, I’ve decided to share a short story I wrote a while ago. It’s a pretty good example of the writing style I developed in college, and my love for open endings. Enjoy!

The Walk

“Where have you been? I’ve been waiting for almost an hour,” the woman asked. She was sitting by a small fire, drawing circles in the dirt with a stick. The young man whom she addressed warily approached her. His sandy blond hair was slightly messed, as if he had just woken up.

“I was talking to my mother,” he said. The woman laughed and shook her head, causing her sleek black hair to glisten in the moonlight. The woman’s laughter echoed through the quiet forest. Somewhere in the darkness an animal stirred. The young man glanced solemnly at the woman’s smiling face. “You think it’s funny that I took time to say good bye?” he asked.

“You know how I am,” the woman replied with a glint in her eyes. “Come on, let’s get going now. I’ve been waiting long enough.” The woman stood up to put out the fire then began walking down a path that the young man had not seen when he first saw the woman. The young man noticed how the trees and shrubs made a dark tunnel and pulled out a small flashlight.

“That’s not going to help, you know,” the woman chuckled.

The young man stopped and closed his eyes. He clicked off the flashlight and dropped it on the ground by a mossy rock. After a minute he opened his eyes and saw that the moonlight illuminated the tree-lined tunnel with an eerie clarity. The woman turned slowly, allowing her waist-length hair to move around her like a curtain, and beckoned the young man.

“The moon is very fitting of tonight,” he said as he continued after the woman. The young man brushed a leaf out of his hair and zipped up his jacket.

“I know,” the woman said with a slight smile.

The pair kept walking through the trees along the dirt path. The leaves thinned out the further into the forest they got. The young man finally became aware of the full effect of his decision, and began to wonder if he was doing what was best. Soon all the trees and shrubs lining the path were bare and the temperature had dropped a few degrees. The man decided to make the best of what he had done, so he smiled at the woman.

“Haven’t you any new tricks?” he questioned mockingly.

“What?” the woman asked, turning around in confusion.

The young man stopped and snapped a twig off a barren tree. “It’s gotten colder,” he stated, holding out the broken twig. The woman took the twig and sighed.

“This is why I like you. You’re smart.”

“You don’t have to be smart to feel a temperature change,” the young man pointed out as looked up at the moon.

“But you understand now. I can feel that,” the woman said softly.

The young man kicked at a clump of dirt and put his hands deep in his pockets. Suddenly he resembled a guilty five ear old who forgot to put away his toys.

“I do understand. I wish I didn’t, though. It’d be easier to continue if I didn’t know what was to come.” The young man hung his head and breathed deeply. The weight of the night’s events was finally hitting him, and he was struggling to move his feet anymore. The woman gave him a look that bordered on sympathy, but in her eyes it was not quite right.

“Come on, only a few more minutes and it’s over,” she said soothingly. The young man looked up at the moon again and forced his legs to continue.

They walked for five more minutes, and when they reached a small clearing the woman stopped the young man. The man once again looked up to the almost full moon.

“Is it the same for everyone?” the young man asked.

“Every man is different. Some cry, some beg, some even try to trick me. There are a few like you, though. They have an idea of what’s going on from the beginning. Once they arrive here, they fully understand their decision. It makes them calm. They accept it and it makes things go much smoother. When people try to fight it, things just get harder for everyone. It’s not easy to concentrate with a forty-five year old man weeping at your feet,” the woman finished with a loud echoing laugh.

The young man looked around at the clearing. It really was the perfect night for this. The moon was bright and the air was calm. It was like the forest had known before him. The young man sighed with resignation.

“Are you ready then?” the woman asked, moving close to the young man.

“Yes.”

The woman took his hands and stood inches away from him. The young man studied her face, noticing for the first time how there seemed to be something lacking there. She had all the features of a woman, but a hardness that came from deep within. Before the young man could think any more about what it could mean, the woman instructed him to close his eyes. She did the same, and they leaned their heads back at the same time. The woman gave a violent shudder, and her true form was revealed. A sudden wind picked up and whirled around the pair. It moved faster and faster with a disturbing silence. At the last moment the young man opened his eyes.

“Oh, God…” he whispered.

“No,” said the figure in front of him. “Not here.”

And with that the wind stopped. Somewhere in the woods an animal stirred, then it was silent again.

I hope you enjoyed reading this! I hope everyone is staying warm with that gross weather out there!

-JBL

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About jblamping

I'm just going to keep writing until I run out of words
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