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John Christopher Cook

Short Stories
- The Journal

The Journal (40 ratings)
         by John Christopher Cook
Page 1 of 5
I

  If you could ever imagine a world so lost and hidden beneath darkness, then imagine this place. A world covered in forests and mountain ranges hidden away within a blanket of mist and moonlight. A place where the wind blows harshly and the trees dance beneath the moonlight to the cries of hungry creatures that lurk behind every turn of the path. The twisted and dark paths seem as if they are the roads to doom as the clouds overhead travel past at such indescribable speeds. Constantly you would have to look over your shoulders to be aware of danger and run for every inch of your life. In this world it is not wise to defend yourself for most fail. It is in these woods and this twisting cobblestone path that we meet a young man. This man is but a humble farmer who has ventured out in search of an evening meal. He has traveled miles by foot and tries to stay to the path. He has grown very weary and stops to rest. As he sits down against a tree and lifts his jug of wine to his lips he hears a rumbling in the branches. Not the type of rumbling a bird would make, but a much more terrifying sound. He rises to his feet and starts off again faster than before. As the sound encircles him, he finds himself twisting and turning around in circles to see what is hunting him. He sees nothing, only mist and branches dancing in the wind. Suddenly the noises cease and he wipes the sweat from his brow. When he comes to senses he looks at the path only to discover that it is no longer there. Somehow in this fear he had ran off in an odd direction. The moon was now hidden behind hazy black clouds and there was no way to know which way was home. His hands were trembling in fear as he noticed a little hut standing in a dark thicket close to a dying stream. As he slowly and carefully approached this place within the mist he noticed that it was made of broken twigs and branches. There was no light peeking from the cracks and crevices only the sound of crows cawing in the branches above. After a moment of petrified horror he collected himself and continued towards the beaten and battered door. As he knocked on the door he felt pain on his knuckles. He covered his mouth and shouted out with pain under his own breath. His hands dripped with blood as the door was covered with thick vines with thorns. It is only then that he leaned against the door and crept inside. This, my friends is where our story truly begins.
  Before his first step touches the dust-covered floor, he feels an amazing coldness that crept into his skin and struck deep in the heart. Then a loud shriek came from across the dust filled room. He held his hands to his ears to contain the pain and fell to his knees. As he looked up in terror he saw a gruesome decaying body hunched over on a table covered with over-flown candle wax. An old woman's body looks as if it has been sitting there for years and is covered with parasites and cobwebs. The hardened wax is blood red and covers the entire table along with the woman's fingertips. Under her fingers is a hardbound journal that looks to be made out of human skin. It seems to be written in strange black ink that has crusted up and chipped off. He soon realizes that it is the dried blood of the woman that wrote this journal. What kind of evil madness could have over came this woman to cause her to write with the blood from a wound of her own arm? Slowly, with the journal in his hand, he backs away from the table and looks around the room. In the darkness he sees the disgusting half-eaten crows hanging from their claws from the ceiling. Their heads have been bitten off and the wings are hanging only by broken bones. The bones have been gnawed on and the flesh and feathers have been ripped apart. The man stumbles backwards and falls towards the door that suddenly shuts tightly in front of him. The wind begins to blow and the sounds of hanging bones begin to sound like wicked wind chimes. The floor is covered with decaying flesh from rats and crow bones are scattered every where. The wind chills his soul and his blood crawled through his veins like parasites under his skin.
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