Don’t go near the trees, mother said, but I don’t believe in childish nonsense. I trail my hand across dank moss-spattered trunks, shivering at their spongy wetness. My fingers find a crack in the armour, a knot. A hole. It tugs at me, rough bark tearing skin. The sucking darkness at its heart engulfs me. There is only death here, hollow. They have been waiting. Shadow tendrils fill my eyes, lungs, heart in a sinuous embrace. I am no longer discrete, the others twisting around me; no ending, no beginning. We are the creature that waits in the dark wood.
Author bio: Sarah McPherson lives in Sheffield, UK, and has too many creative hobbies and a problem with procrastination. Her writing has been featured on Paragraph Planet. She tweets sporadically as @summer_moth
Heartwood is part of 101 Fiction issue 17.