The Hungry Forest

In response to the Doubt prompt at Writingthe200.

Never one who excelled at map reading, Franny found herself at an isolated watering hole at the end of a service road on the edge of the National Forest, convinced this was her intended destination, Donner Lake.

150 years earlier, ill-prepared pioneers were forced to winter with no provisions at that relatively nearby location when severe weather blocked their passage.

‘You think there would be a monument at least,’ thought Franny, leaving her car to follow a formation of blue winged dragonflies for a stroll around the perimeter.  A flash of yellow caught her eye. Believing it was a rare bird, she went deeper into the overgrown woods. Branches scratched her arms, tore at her clothes, reminding her of the possessive boyfriend left behind when taking this solo road trip.

Lifting her sneakers from thick mud required effort as she searched for the illusive yellow among the graying brown tree limbs catching her hair with a jealous grip. She struggled free, came to the object of her attraction to find it was merely strip of frayed fabric.

Fingering the nylon, she wondered how it got here, and was lost in thought, unaware she was sinking until marsh encased her ankles.


Inspired by the Awake prompt at Writingthe200.

I wake to itching fingers on one hand. The satisfaction of itching is only surpassed by applying pressure that releases fluids from the tips, flattening each digit like I’m popping pimples.

There is overwhelming relief until the itch returns to the palm with searing discomfort that must be extinguished at any cost. Soon this hand is limp and useless as I scratch further up the arm, battling the fire line, until the limb that once held my brother in unity is nothing more than a flap of dead skin, it’s former contents pooled on the floor, a mixture of puss and blood. It feels good.

By dusk my toes are burning up. I rub away each flare of irritation, along each foot and up each leg. In the morning, I’m unable to get out of bed without rolling onto the floor, attempting navigation on the stubs of legs. I prop myself against the wall, spend the day scratching ears, nose, genitals with my still operational left hand.

By the end of the second day I’m content, a fraction of my former self, unattractive perhaps, but pleased that only the most worthy and unbothersome parts remain to reflect the real me.