“Mr night. “Mr Joseph!” Overwhelmed and exhausted, Tyler’s screaming

“Mr Joseph you need to stay back, we’rebreaking the door down.

“”JOSH!” The demands of the woods were confusinghim, Josh was confusing him, Josh, J-Josh didn’t sound like that, and he knewhe’d been bad recently and not visited his boyfriend’s hidden hideaway but thatdidn’t mean he’d forgotten what his saviour’s voice felt like in his soul. Joshwas smooth, Josh was serene, Josh was solace. Josh was what he needed. “Mr Joseph, you need to stay away fromthe door! Stay back! Okay?!” Again, Tyler frantically searched forwhere the echo was first established, head twisting sharply, but to no avail.

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Just as he was about to hide his swollen eyes behind his bloody palms and foldin on himself in despair, a bright white light flashed across his visionbetween blinks. It was no torch, no stray headlight, no, n-no identifiablecause at all – just his mind playing tricks. It had to be a trick, there was nolight in the darkness of night. “Mr Joseph!” Overwhelmed and exhausted, Tyler’sscreaming legs refused to lift high enough to protect him from the impendingattack and the stumbles became more and more frequent until eventually hetripped over the winding gnarled root of a twisting and towering black oaktree, looming above him as he wept. The scrapes on his palms were excruciating,and as he turned to look at them, kneeling in the soggy undergrowth, all he sawwas blood.

Blood, deep, dark, blood running down his arms and pooling in hishands, dripping off his fingers and washing away with the rain. Then suddenlythe source of the pain revealed itself to him, and he noticed for the firsttime the dozens of lacerations that ran up his wrists for as far as he couldsee. “JOSH!” He screeched through his wails,knowing his hyperventilating attempt wasn’t good enough to survive above theroar of the weather, nothing he did was good enough.  “TYLER!” A distant voice cried outdesperately, the strain dragging each syllable out to beyond its limit until itwas ripped from the air by a gush of howling wind. At that point Tyler realisedhe was sobbing, and no matter how hard he tried to locate the scream’swhereabouts, it had long been absorbed by the engulfing emptiness that coatedeverything around him, lost forever.

But that wasn’t good enough, it simplywasn’t good enough to give up, he had to find him, he had to find him. A sudden squawking sound from abovecaused his head to whip up only to quickly snap back down, needing toconcentrate on the weaving route he had no choice but to take. The crows hadjoined the rats. The mob was growing. The sky was filled with no stars thatnight, just dark smothering clouds purging their burdens.  Every time he entered the forest, he wasfleeing. Sometimes during the day, he went back and tried to explore, to trackdown the place he’d been the night before and find the boy who hid away in theshadows, but something about his crossing of the boundary of the woods was likea call to battle and, as quick as a flash, the rats appeared, and the chase wason.

A calm search was impossible, instead his only option was to run for hislife and hope the stars aligned and sent the demented beasts in one directionand showed him the way to his salvation.  Even the darkness of the early hours ofa winter night wasn’t enough to dispel them, they chased him, they smelt him,they were hunting him, and they were never going to give up. Part of him wantedto make the job of the demon possessed creatures easier, be the one to fold, tosink to his knees on the swollen muddy forest floor and allow them to rip andtear into his body until he became nothing but a hearty meal for a dozen blackcat-sized rats. But he couldn’t, he couldn’t, especially when he knew whatcould potentially be laying ahead of him, who could potentially be laying aheadof him. All the warning signs that they werecoming had been and gone, Granny felt the storms in her knees and Tyler feltthe rats in his chest and the mites in his skin, clawing their way out with thehelp of his nimble yet shaking fingers. The weather didn’t get to him anymore,the quivers were triggered by an overriding and overwhelming tsunami of terrorthat came hand in hand with the first scratch of the rats’ dirty claws againstthe bottom of the door.  He didn’t know where he was running to,he just knew what he was running from.

 There was no way to track the passing oftime in the depths of the forest once sun had gone down, but Tyler knew he’dbeen running for longer than he’d ever run before, that this time was worsethan ever before, that the trees were more alien than ever before and that he’dnever had to go that far before. And he couldn’t stop. The cloak of darknessthat disguised the pattern of rocks and roots beneath his feet was thick enoughto trip him every couple of rapidly sprinted strides, but he couldn’t stop.

 Comfort was a foreign notion. The surface of his skin, a place wherethe heat of his sweat evaporated and immediately fell back down alongside theconstant lashes of rain that exploded with a sting against his otherwise numbflesh. The rain was iced, the pellets sharp and fast moving and unending, andhis blood was cold as it was forced along his tight constricting veins. A warbetween hot and cold was brewing, his chest felt cold, it always did, and theliquid pulsing through him at alarming speed was like a constant flow ofchilled dread. The air bit at his dripping nose and ears, the sensation in hisfeet and fingers was long gone, and yet he felt far too hot for comfort. Dans le fond des forêts votre image mesuit.