Just the Wind? Photo of Jillian's Dog in Woods.

Jillian Hardison
© Copyright 1999 by Jillian Hardison

Deep into the dark, damp woods, in a corner where light was scarce, there stood the huge old tree. It was evident that it had been there for hundreds of years. The bark had worn off in patches, and the worm-eaten gray wood glowed in the ghostly dim light. Its branches twisted up towards the sky, as if it were reaching to escape from its horrible home. Lightning had struck the tree, and the open hole ripped down its trunk. The air around the tree was deathly still and so thick it was unbreathable. The birds no longer graced its branches, which were now gnarled and ugly.

Time slips away as one stares at the filigree of the tree’s intricately entwined branches. A cool fog snakes its way through the forest and seeps out from its hollowed trunk. The moist feel of it against your skin is like silk. The fog begins to thicken and the air now seems chilled. Yards away a shadowy figure rises up from the darkness. A smooth, rustling sound whispers through the night. The shadowy figure? Or just the wind . . .

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