Jacob Landry's Blog
The Ghost of the Woods
[Slick Nick] [Reader View]
The snow didn’t glisten in the moonlight like glitter or diamonds like the stories always said. It didn’t sparkle and dazzle the eye or create a magical or enchanting scene. The full moon simply turned the white field into a dull blue waste. The trees were black with blue snow causing the heaviest branches to droop. A light blue-white haze danced lazily about the bases of the trees but disappeared in wisps as it tried to approach Nick where he stood. His footprints behind him became mere dark circles in the otherwise perfect blue field in which he stood. They led back into the woods behind him, towards his home, but he had no interest in going back there just yet.

His quarry stood just before him in the middle of the field, walking slowly across the depressing landscape, a bloody red foam on its lips. It was known as Marēdier in these parts, gray of skin and course fur with open sores covering its body that oozed blood and puss. Its eyes were jet black and its head sported a massive rack of black antlers that were broken and cracked in several places, making them sharp and dangerous. It walked deftly on four hoofed feet and a slight red mist hovered around its nose as it snorted. Nick quietly shook snow off of his fur boots and pulled back his fur hood, letting the cold air lick at his ears. His black hair was ragged, he kept it short with his hunting knife to stop it from snagging on low-hanging branches as he walked through the woods.

The Marēdier glanced behind him, hearing a sound somewhere in the distance and Nick froze. The creature was harmless aside from the antlers. They weren’t aggressive and they weren’t contagious, but they made the locals very uncomfortable. No one really knew where they came from, once in a while they would be seen or heard in the forest but no one ever saw a baby or a migration path. They closely resembled the local deer that roamed the woods and the locals referred to them as zombie deer, using an old Nepali word in their name. For some reason they always came to Nick when they found one. Perhaps it was his size, or his proclivity towards hunting, but either way when a strange creature was found Nick was asked to don his furs and trek through the woods to rid the town of its presence.

The Marēdier went back to grazing, digging its snout into the snow to reach the roots and grass below, leaving a trail of dark red in its wake. Nick silently moved in, feet softly and silently sliding through the snow as he pulled his large hunting knife from the sheath on his belt. With unmatched speed, Nick hurtled forward through the snow, pouncing on the Marēdier’s back before it had a second to react. As it reared and tried to throw him off, Nick’s knife dug into the skin on its throat and tore a hole in the tender skin. The creature tensed, then collapsed in the snow, the gaping hole in its neck leaking dark blood into the snow. Without a word Nick stood, pulled a match from his pocket, lit it, and tossed it onto the corpse which ignited immediately.

With a slight nod, glad that everything went according to plan and happy with a successful hunt, Nick turned away to head back towards his comfy cabin in the woods. To his surprise, his eyes locked on the dark eyes of another large humanoid creature in thick furs that was creeping towards him in the snow thirty feet away. The two silently eyed each other as drops of blood dripped from Nick’s blade that was held ready at his side. Suddenly, without provocation, the person bolted from the field, moving with lightning speed. Nick’s heart raced as the being fled from the field with a sickening howl, he was no longer the only hunter in these woods.