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Monsters In The Trees, Cold Steel In Her Heart

Updated on February 8, 2017
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Jo has been an ITU nurse at the London North West NHS Trust for 14 years. She obtained her RN at University College London Hospital.

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Monsters In The Trees

How dare he... how dare he turn her into a victim? A scared girl who's life he would take, conclude for a moment's satisfaction. The sick bastard is going to kill her anyway, so why should she make it easy for him.
She was of no consequence, of no more value in his eyes than the putrid dead animals that littered the forest floor. She was his, his prey, an animal to be hunted, taunted and played with, to satisfy his diseased mind. She was merely entertainment for his warped sense of pleasure, but only until the psycho becomes bored with his human toy. Then, and only then, would he put her out of her misery by slitting her throat with no more emotion than he showed when he gutted the terrified buck rabbit that he ate for breakfast a few hours ago.

The girl stopped screaming, gradually, she took in her surroundings as if for the first time, she saw the beauty of the forest no more, what she saw, was a place of sanctuary.

Her senses heightened; she could hear a pin drop. The woods grew quiet. The girl experienced a strange calmness, unlike anything she had ever felt before. Her eyes dilated like targets on a rifle range as she is drawn towards a thick pile of dank, moist, musky leaves at the base of an old oak tree, just a few feet from where she knelt.

She began to crawl, moving slowly at first, then faster and faster; furiously she scrambled on all fours until she reached the welcoming shadow of the old tree, like a womb, it enfolded her, offering a degree of safety and protection.

With bare hands, she began to dig, and the damp musty smell of things long dead crept into her nostrils, seeping into her lungs. Still, she dug into years of rotting leaves caked with mud, through old branches immersed in a dense growth of fungi. Her hands were sore, raw and cold as it came into contact with a piece of wood that had been cut by someone with a sharp blade some time ago.

She grabbed hold of the sturdy stick, wrenching it from the tangled bundle at the base of the tree; she held it in her right hand, grasping the object within her palm. Running her left hand along the length of the wood; she tested the point of her make-shift weapon against her thumb, and with a resigned look in the large dark eyes, she held her prize close to her face.


Cold Steel In Her Heart

This is my conclusion to Monsters in the Trees, Steel in her Heart Part ll

Read to find out if Jenny became part of the forest, or if the resourceful young girl made her way back home.


Cold Steel In Her Heart

Reassured by the roughness of the wood against her skin, she knelt quietly among the leaves on the damp earth, caressing the sharp point of the wood against her finger, she whispered, "perfect," the smile that extended her muddied lips did not reach the coldly determined eyes.

The girl gathered dried branches, grasses and broken shrubs; she ran her mud-stained fingers over her face, then weaved dried leaves, dirt and twigs into her brown shoulder length hair.

The forest grew still, not a bird sang, Nature held her breath until the thunder of a single leaf falling, broke the pregnant silence. She buried herself in the shade of the old tree, cocooned and perfectly camouflaged, and she waited.

If you enjoyed this short story, please check out the original and first part of the story by Frank Atanacio at http://frankatanacio.hubpages.com/hub/Screaming-into-the-Darkness-of-her-Despair and

http://frankatanacio.hubpages.com/hub/Monsters-in-the-Trees

Check out more alternative endings to Frank's original story from other hubbers, available from Frank's hub.

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    • tobusiness profile image
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      Jo Alexis-Hagues 3 years ago from Bedfordshire, U.K

      Hi Betty, thanks for reading my alternative ending to Jenny's predicament. :) I'm glad you enjoyed it. I agree with you...this was a wonderful exercise, all the participants excelled, much credit to Frank.

      Take care and my best to you.

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      Betty Niall 3 years ago

      this one is packed with creativity I have yet to read a failed one

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      Jo Alexis-Hagues 3 years ago from Bedfordshire, U.K

      Hi Pochinuk, thank you for reading my alternative ending, I'm afraid I felt I had to go back, so I wrote a continuation. I just could not leave poor Jenny in the forest. Looking forward to reading your ending. Have a lovely day , my best to you.

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      pochinuk 3 years ago

      Jo,

      Exceptional ending for our dear Jenny. I really like it:

      You have sharpened Jennys' character very uniquely, by illustrating how she had to live now in a place that she had hoped to keep: nature, birds... this is accounted for in Part One of Franks' story.

      Now, you conclude:

      "...The forest grew still, not a bird sang, nature held her breath, until the thunder of a single leaf landing broke the pregnant silence. She buried herself in the shade of the old tree, cocooned and perfectly camouflaged, she waited..."

      I just finished my alternative ending, and it's be enjoyable to read the others now; your ending truly gives Jenny strength and firmness in her rules for herself in that forest.

      Thank you,

      pochinuk

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      Jo Alexis-Hagues 3 years ago from Bedfordshire, U.K

      Hi Ann, thank you for reading this, to find out if Jenny got the better of the killer and escaped the forest, or became one with nature, you'll have to read the next installment.:) I simply had to go back and finish the story, just couldn't leave it open. I appreciate the wonderful comment and encouragement.

      My very best to you.

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      Ann Carr 3 years ago from SW England

      Great response to the challenge! I love the way she's hopefully going to get her own back, or will it all go wrong.......?! Does she become part of the forest?

      I love the photos you've chosen too; always good to have pertinent illustrations.

      Well done! Ann

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      Jo Alexis-Hagues 3 years ago from Bedfordshire, U.K

      Thanks Gypsy, glad you enjoyed it. Always a pleasure to see you, my best as always.

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      Jo Alexis-Hagues 3 years ago from Bedfordshire, U.K

      Hi Cat, lovely to see you! And of course, you are right about Jenny, I guess something snapped and she just had to fight back. I'm glad you enjoyed the story and thank you for the kind comment, much appreciated. Take care and my best to you.

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      Gypsy Rose Lee 3 years ago from Riga, Latvia

      Suspenseful from beginning to end. Well done.

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      Catherine Tally 3 years ago from Los Angeles

      Good morning, Jo. Your story had me in suspense from start to finish! I like the way Jenny's confidence and resolve build when she thinks of her predator's lack of concern for her life. Fear becomes that cold steel.

      Nicely crafted.

      My best,

      Cat :)

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      Jo Alexis-Hagues 3 years ago from Bedfordshire, U.K

      Theresa, sorry I responded to the wrong story...duh!! :)

      This was the very first image I looked at, it was the one, I couldn't resist it. Thank you for the great comment. Have a fab day.

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      Jo Alexis-Hagues 3 years ago from Bedfordshire, U.K

      Theresa, I'm glad you enjoyed it, many thanks for the great comment, from you it always means a lot. The handsome fox in the picture is our old friend Casper, I wrote about him in a previous hub "A song for Megan." Megan was out little dog who was befriended by Casper before she died of cancer a couple of years age. Always a pleasure to see you, have a wonderful day and my best to you.

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      Theresa Ast 3 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia

      Jo - Quite mesmerizing. You kept my attention. Very well done. :) And what an incredible picture!! Theresa

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      Jo Alexis-Hagues 3 years ago from Bedfordshire, U.K

      Hi Will, so lovely to see you, glad you liked this.

      I've decided to tie it all up, I'm just about to post the concluding part of my version of Jenny's parallel universe, :) please read if you have the time. The excellent means a lot. My best to you.

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      WillStarr 3 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona

      Excellent!

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      Jo Alexis-Hagues 3 years ago from Bedfordshire, U.K

      Flourish, you're so right, if people don't fight back the bad guys win every time, and we can't have that now. Thank you for stopping by with such an encouraging comment. Appreciated.

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      FlourishAnyway 3 years ago from USA

      Awesome. You are quite a superb short story teller, Jo. I love it when people have fight in them, no matter whether they win or not in the end. I have a feeling things are going to get ug----ly for that wacko. Game on.

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      Jo Alexis-Hagues 3 years ago from Bedfordshire, U.K

      Hi Genna, thank you for taking a look, I'm glad you liked my ending, I guess there is a time to run and a time to fight back. Frank was very inspiring. My best to you, hope you're having a lovely day.

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      Genna East 3 years ago from Massachusetts, USA

      Very good!! I liked her courage and determination, along with the imagery you have written so well! Voted up and more. :-)

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      Jo Alexis-Hagues 3 years ago from Bedfordshire, U.K

      Nell, glad you enjoyed it, thank you for taking the time.

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      Jo Alexis-Hagues 3 years ago from Bedfordshire, U.K

      Jodah, you already know I love your version of alternative endings, so I'll let Marcoujor reply.

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      Jo Alexis-Hagues 3 years ago from Bedfordshire, U.K

      Marcoujor, thank you for this very encouraging comment, I must say, if the ending leaves the readers wanting more, I can see why Frank's writing is so addictive. :) my alternative ending may very well continue if the people who read it really wants some more. I much appreciate you taking the time. Best wishes to you, have a great 2014.

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      Nell Rose 3 years ago from England

      This was a great story, I am useless at telling them on here, I wasn't aware of the writing different endings challenge, I came in just to read this, awesome!

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      John Hansen 3 years ago from Queensland Australia

      Look forward to getting your comment for my ending marcoujor. You have given excellent comments to all so far.

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      Maria Jordan 3 years ago from Jeffersonville PA

      I am working my way through all the endings of Frank's challenge...

      You have written a commanding and empowering version...most fascinating, making me wish you would keep going...

      Excellent job...voted UP and AI.

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      Jo Alexis-Hagues 3 years ago from Bedfordshire, U.K

      Ghaelach, Frank's stories never fails to evoke strong emotions. I began to write this immediately after reading the original piece before he set the challenge. You are right about the potential to take Frank's unique writing style in a variety of directions, it was interesting how each of us handled the ending. Thank you for checking this out, my best to you for 2014.

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      Jo Alexis-Hagues 3 years ago from Bedfordshire, U.K

      Eddy, So glad you enjoyed this, thanks for taking a look, and for the wonderful comment, take care and my best to you for the New Year.

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      Jo Alexis-Hagues 3 years ago from Bedfordshire, U.K

      Devika, thanks for checking this out, it's always a pleasure.

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      Jo Alexis-Hagues 3 years ago from Bedfordshire, U.K

      Hi Jackie, occasionally the worm turns and the odds are shortened. I'm glad you liked my choice of ending to Frank's roller coaster of a story. My best as always.

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      Ghaelach 3 years ago

      Hi Jo.

      Great ending.

      Nice to see you are among the team in Frank's challenge.

      Great ending that I'm sure Frank will love. There is a potential for hundreds of different endings. A super challenge idea from Frank.

      LOL Ghaelach

      Europe 5:05pm

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      Eiddwen 3 years ago from Wales

      What a truly wonderful read and so powerful a message. Voted up for sure Faith and wishing you a wonderful day.

      Eddy.

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      Devika Primić 3 years ago from Dubrovnik, Croatia

      Monsters In The Trees, Cold Steel In Her Heart is a well written and presented hub. Your message is quite clear and well described.

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      Jackie Lynnley 3 years ago from The Beautiful South

      This is great, if I had done it this was where I would have gone with it to show the monsters they might not always get away with it! lol I love it!

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      Jo Alexis-Hagues 3 years ago from Bedfordshire, U.K

      Joelle, if you like the image, follow the link and follow the blogspot site, there are some amazing images you'll enjoy the blog.

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      Jo Alexis-Hagues 3 years ago from Bedfordshire, U.K

      Joelle, I love it when the table is turned. Thank you for reading this, much appreciated.

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      Jo Alexis-Hagues 3 years ago from Bedfordshire, U.K

      Jodah, I'm sure I'd already posted a response to your very generous comment, but I'm at work and on my break, the iPad is currently having a nervous breakdown so anything is possible. Anyway, I'm thrilled that you liked my alternative ending and yes, I kept the ending open, in Frank's unique style, but there's no doubt that the psycho is in for a real surprise. :) thanks again for taking a look. My best...

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      Jo Alexis-Hagues 3 years ago from Bedfordshire, U.K

      Frank, your story was moving and inspiring. After reading it, I just had to have a go. I didn't know that you had written a follow-up with a challenge until I saw Faith's story. Jodah's pretty special also, you've got us exploring our darker sides...be afraid, be very afraid. :)

      I'll catchup with the others later, after the night shift...

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      Jo Alexis-Hagues 3 years ago from Bedfordshire, U.K

      Shanmarie, such a pleasure to have grabbed your attention. :) I think you should have a go at writing a short story, you may be pleasantly surprised. Thank you for stopping by and for the encouraging comment. My best you.

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      Jo Alexis-Hagues 3 years ago from Bedfordshire, U.K

      Hi Ruby, I'm so glad you enjoyed it, this one was purely inspired by Frank's incredible writing, even before he wrote the second story and set the challenge, only he could have taken me over to the dark side. :)

      Thank you for the supportive comment, much appreciated. Take care and my best to you.

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      Jo Alexis-Hagues 3 years ago from Bedfordshire, U.K

      Bill, thank you for taking a look, it means a lot. Frank can always be trusted to take the emotion into overdrive. :)

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      kidscrafts 3 years ago from Ottawa, Canada

      And I forgot to say that I find the picture at the top of your hub, wonderful! I love sculptures covered by nature.... just beautiful!

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      Jo Alexis-Hagues 3 years ago from Bedfordshire, U.K

      Faith, bless you! I'm so please you liked it. I just wanted her to fight back, we need a little justice now and again. Take care and my best to you.

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      kidscrafts 3 years ago from Ottawa, Canada

      I read the ending from Faith this morning and it's interesting to read yours as well! She is armed and dangerous :-) Well done!

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      John Hansen 3 years ago from Queensland Australia

      Great alternate ending Jo. Very descriptive and I liked how you turned Jenny around from being the victim and had her armed, camouflaged and lying in wait for him. Left me wanting more, the way Frank himself sometimes does. Well done.

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      Frank Atanacio 3 years ago from Shelton

      I agree with Faith.. wow another different take.. yeah amazing simply amazing :)

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      Shannon 3 years ago from Texas

      Definitely one to grab attention. It got mine! Wish I could write a short story that effectively. I don't even attempt them.

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      Ruby Jean Fuller 3 years ago from Southern Illinois

      This story grabbed me and wouldn't turn loose... Amazing! Intriguing throughout. I hope you write more stories like this. Up and shared....

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      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      It sounds to me like one sick bastard is going to get what's coming to him. Very good, Jo. I rarely read short stories on HP but this one grabbed me instantly and demanded that I read it....it helped, too, that you had written it. :)

      Great job...loved the images and similes.

      blessings always

      bill

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      Faith Reaper 3 years ago from southern USA

      Awesome, Jo, yes, don't let that sicko get the best of her. I love her plan! Yery creative and I love your pics too. I am so glad you did publish your alternate ending. You rock! Up and more and sharing. Blessings, Faith Reaper