Nature's Womb...Frank Atanacio's Creative Writing Challenge
Frank Atanacio issued a writing challenge for hubbers to create a third and final chapter to his Jenny Camacho story. I tried to blend the details and dark tone of Frank’s first two chapters into my finale. I only hope I was able to do justice to his pounding and compelling thriller.
Frank’s rules include the following:
1) A minimum of 300 words in length
2) More description and less dialogue
3) Dark and dreary
4) Creative/The title must come from a line in the story
5) An ending to end all endings
1st Chapter - 'Screaming into the Darkness of her Despair'
There were dried branches being broken by heavy footfalls. Jenny didn’t know whether to run and hide or call out for help.
2nd Chapter - Monsters in the Trees'
The forest gave the maniac his much needed coverage. He could kill her once and take a day doing it before anyone would know.
Nature's Womb ...
Jenny managed to take two steps forward before an intense pain in her stomach crippled her movements. The rancid pond water was poisoning her body. Falling to her knees, she stuck a finger down the back of her throat. Sour vomit burned her mouth as she heaved the foul liquid to the ground. A sudden lightheadedness forced her to lay down. The feel and smell of the warm earth were soothing. She fought to stay awake but soon drifted into a shallow sleep.
Minutes later, a whistling echo woke her into terror. The whistling sounded again, but fainter, as if the killer was moving somewhere ahead of her hiding place. Jenny sensed that he wanted her to hear the sounds, to force her to run like an animal to the point of exhaustion. “You go to hell!” she whispered. Pure rage ebbed the panic from her mind. She wanted to kill him, to watch him writhe in pain like the wild dog as the light faded from his eyes.
She shook her head and calmed her breathing. Think, girl, think! She remembered what her father had taught her during a hike in the country. “When lost in the wild, panic kills," he said. "Always travel downhill. Never lose hope, and move with nature – not against it.”
Jenny was devastated to realize that she had fled in an upward climb -- every step in the wrong direction. At that moment, she viewed the surrounding environment through her father's eyes. An idea flashed into her scattered thoughts, filling her with adrenaline and a new-found resolve. The trees and vines no longer looked menacing as she slowly crept back to the overgrown path. Although the whistling sound had stopped, she pushed her mind and body forward.
Keeping her movements steady, she walked with cat-like stealth over the path, the wind at her back, driving sound and scent downward.
Reaching the pond, she noticed a patch of thick grass soaked in blood. The wild dog had been disemboweled -- the head, ripped from its torso. His yellow, lifeless eyes stared into the sun. Shrieking with fear and despair, Jenny fled down the path.
The tall figure in the distance jerked his head toward the direction of the screams. His face crooked into a half smile. He wiped the wild dog’s blood from the long machete blade in the thick brush before slipping the weapon into a leather sheath. He turned to look down at the graves of the five beautiful young women he cherished. They had all preceded Jenny’s flight into his world. Soon, he would bed her down alongside them. The land was his domain; he knew every inch of the forest that was his killing ground. Like his previous victims, she had no chance of escape.
He lingered briefly next to the graves before resuming his hunt. The natural flight response of his women was predictable. Their efforts to outrun or outsmart him didn’t matter, as they always failed and succumbed in the end.
Cupping his hands next to his mouth, he whistled, trusting the wind to carry the sound to his prey. He knew the path well and followed quickly in Jenny's footsteps.
As he neared the shack, he heard her loud sobs echoing from within. She's beaten, he thought. There’s nowhere left to run. He entered the abandoned structure and saw her trembling, cringing on the floor amid what was left of the rotting carcasses. Grabbing her by the hair, he pulled her up and twisted her face around to meet his.
Jenny stared into him with slitted eyes and a deadly calm. Stunned, he watched a small round opening form in her lips, followed by a thin whistling sound as she sucked air into her mouth. He reached for the machete but it was too late. The scalpel-honed sharpness of the steel kitchen knife he had used to slash the bear’s throat tore through his abdomen. She twisted the blade in deep, ripping it to the side. The searing pain shocked his brain into darkness as he fell to the floor.
Jenny knelt quickly beside him and slashed open his pockets with the knife. Her search yielded a set of car keys with a lobster claw clasp. She stood up and clipped the lock through a thick belt loop in her jeans. Judging from the severity of the bastard’s wounds, she knew it wouldn’t take long for him to bleed out. With any luck, he’ll regain consciousness before then, she thought.
Clutching the knife, she staggered out of the shack and into the sunlight. As she gulped the fresh air into her lungs, she was filled with a sudden awareness of life she had never before known. Every fiber of her being responded to the singular sounds and scents of the surrounding wilderness. Jenny felt reborn, as if emerging from nature’s womb. She looked up to see a magnificent Red-tailed hawk soaring overhead, and embraced his freedom of flight.
Smiling through tears of release, Jenny made her way down the path toward the stream of fresh water and breathtaking beauty she had passed only hours before. Behind her, the hawk’s screeching calls smothered the screams echoing from the shack to perish in the wind.
© Copyright 2014. Genna East; all rights reserved.