in the woods

I missed my flash fiction post last week, so this is me catching up. Hit up the 500 Club for the prompt or to join the fun.

in the woods

Billy found the body in the river. The head was on the bank near the county road bridge. Colin found it. Crystal spotted two of the legs on the other side of the road, just at the edge of the field. She came back to the boys with a white face and drops of vomit clinging to the side of her mouth.

“Just like my dad said,” Colin declared. He was, perhaps, just a little too proud of the confirmation.

Crystal wiped her mouth with the back of her hand and then wiped her hand on a patch of tall grass. Billy saw the look on her face and asked, “You okay?”

“The legs,” she said. “I found two. It made me sick. I threw up on the other side of the road.”

Billy nodded, but Colin pressed her. “Made you sick? There’s hardly even any blood.”

“It wasn’t the blood,” Crystal said.

Billy understood. She loved animals. She wanted to be a vet some day. Of course it would make her upset to see what they’d seen. Colin was all bluster and pride, though, and he couldn’t see past the end of his upturned nose. “Satanists,” he said. “I told you, Billy. My dad says there’s Satanist who do all kinds of rituals in the woods. Teenagers. They get drunk and high and have sex and kill things. I bet they did it.”

Billy put a hand on Crystal’s shoulder. “I can walk you home,” he said gently.

“We should try to find where they did it,” Colin continued. “There’s probably an upside-down star or an altar or something. Maybe they left some beer out here.”

Billy turned to Colin. “Stop it, man. Can’t you see Crystal’s upset?”

“I told you we shouldn’t bring a girl!”

“And I told you we were just coming out here to find the body and bury it. My uncle doesn’t want coyotes on his land. It was probably just another animal anyway.”

“No way, Billy. Didn’t you see the head? The eyes were still there, all gooey and mushy. Animals would’ve eaten the eyes. Nah, man, this was them Satanists.”

Crystal began to cry softly. Billy’s feet made hardly any noise as he marched the ten feet to where Colin stood looking out toward the river. When Colin turned, his cheek met with Billy’s fist. There was a wet slapping sound and Colin yelped and fell in the mud.

“You’re a jerk,” Billy said. Colin began to cry, holding a hand to his face. Billy walked back to Crystal and took her hand. Together they walked away from Colin, leaving him sitting in the mud.

After a few minutes, Colin regained his composure. “Stupid girl,” he said under his breath. He threw rocks in the river for a few minutes and then decided to head back to town. His face still stung.

Maybe quartering the animal was too much. Next time he’d just kill it. Then Billy would believe him.

There were Satanists in the woods.

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About Ash Martin
Ash Martin writes dark fantasy and horror, has a thing for classic monster legends, Nordic mythology, coffee, and sarcasm, and is currently working on multiple books.

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