Silent Tragedy by Victor Moore

Disclaimer: All charatchers created by me.

A decrepit mansion, whose angular towers jutted towards the dark sky with its ominous clouds, stood wearily in the clearing of a small forest. Surrounding trees shied away from the clearing as much as their trembling limbs would allow. The wind too avoided the area, leaving the stench of decay hanging in the cold air. A worn path amidst the long weeds and grass, led from the dwelling to the forest, twisting and turning as if made by a serpent.

The slow scratching of rusted metal caught between breaths could be heard from the unmoving door at the entrance of the house. On the once trodden path, where weeds and grass attempted to reclaim it, a small section of the growth shriveled and turned brown as if the icy hand of death claimed it. Slowly another appeared, then another. Leading away from the mansion, each in the shape of a small footprint.

Each step brought it closer a tree. Not the ones cowering in fear at the edges of the clearing, but a single ancient leafless and lifeless oak tree. Its gnarled black limbs twisted and contorted at odd angles as if trying to choke the life out of everything it could reach. Sickly yellow sap oozed out slowly like pus. The remains of an owl were encased in it, gradually dissolving into nothingness. Dangling from a large straight branch, the only one, was an old dusty rope with a loop at the end.

Time halted as the steps stopped at the tree. Even the wind of the forest shied away from the unsettling stillness. The eerie silence was broken by a sound. A sniffle. It was followed by quiet sobs, then pleading tones within them. A deeper sound made grunts and yelled at the first then it was gone. The sobbing returned for a minute and stopped. A stretching noise and then a quick loud snap. Finally, a long breath shuddered across the clearing.

Upon the ground, below the rope, the weeds parted in death. Their shrinking revealed the decaying bones of a small corpse, some still held together by a torn dress, the pink of it faded into a pale peach and encrusted with remnants of age-old mud. Just out of reach of an outstretched hand lay a teddy bear. A seam was torn and stuffing protruded from it. Like the dress, it too showed the signs of great age and neglect. A trickle of water ran down the doll's single eye. After a couple of seconds, it slowed to a stop.

The footsteps returned and quickly ran away from the tree towards a huge brush behind the house. Shrinking and dying plants revealed a closed car door pitted with small dents. The rust still had remnants of blue and flakes came off, as if something brushed it. Inside the car, the rotting garb of a priest scarcely held a larger skeleton together with a silver cross hung around its neck. Weeds and long grass speared their blades into the corpse. Its skull nestled between the seat and the door with a gaping hole in the rear of the braincase. A metal gun could be seen in its fingers upon the torn seat. More rust flaked off as a new dent appeared in the door.

Then all was still once more.