by Leanbh Pearson
He’d heard the warnings, but this was only a forest. No man had ever been killed by leaves and twigs. But the villagers muttered of teeth and bones, an abomination made manifest into something uncanny and terrible.
The first twig sliced his arm, the second his face, spilling blood to the earth.
The Forest roared, a humanoid shape forming from trunk and branch. He ran, but the Forest was hungry. Skeletal arms caught him, holding him firm as red eyes peered from the shady depths. Teeth of splintered wood gnashed. His scream echoed before the Forest ripped viscera from bone.
Leanbh Pearson lives on Ngunnawal Country in Canberra, Australia. An LGBTQI dark fiction author, inspired by folklore, archaeology and the environment, her fiction features in numerous anthologies. She has judged the Australian Shadows Awards and Aurealis Awards, is a recipient of an AHWA mentorship and a convention panellist. When not writing, she enjoys exploring the Australian wilderness accompanied by her dogs (the canine assistants). Leanbh’s alter-ego is an academic in archaeology, evolution and prehistory.
Follow her at www.leanbhpearson.com | Twitter, Facebook & Instagram @leanbhpearson