Darkness. I couldn't see a thing, but it wasn't just because the torch was off. I couldn't even see the moon, the stars… It was as if a black cloud had descended over my eyes, blinding me to the world…
Then I felt them.
Voices. Voices in my head. Although I couldn't understand what they were saying, there was something unmistakably threatening in their tones, something that gave me chills. At that very moment, I realized that I was paralysed. I tried to make my limbs move, but to no avail; it was as if I was frozen, as if something very big and heavy was lying right on top of me. I struggled, but I couldn't regain control of my body, no matter what I did. Suddenly, the voices became clearer.
"Don't bother, you're not going to move", said a deep voice.
"Not until we let you. If we decide we want to let you" added a second one, followed by a terrible laughter.
"We should do something. It's the first time in a very long time that we get to be inside something that moves; we might as well use it."
"In this weak, human body? How far do you think we're going to get? Besides, I don't know if we can use a human without them realizing it."
Some small part of my mind wondered who "they" were, though I was quite sure I wasn't going to get an answer. Not that I could ask, of course. I didn't seem to have more control over my mind or body than a bee over the wind.
Then I remembered my friends. They were just outside the forest, waiting for me to come out. If I took too long, they would come to get me. And they could take me out of this… On the other hand, they might also fall prey to the same… things than me. My memories of them attracted their attention, and once more I was suppressed inside my mind.
"They'll come to get him… we don't have the power to take over several humans at once. They ensured that", the first voice I'd heard said.
"That's right, so we'll have to use him before they come. But what are we going to do with him?"
"Well… we can't get inside a body that can actually move. But he can."
There was some silence as the other voice grasped the implications of that. I tried to make sense of what they were saying, but I couldn't. I was inside a body that could move, after all. Yet they didn't want it, so…
"We can make him… another body" the reply came with enthusiasm, although it was a cruel, twisted enthusiasm.
"And put him in it."
"Yes, yes, but what do we do while we make the body? We must make sure he doesn't get away."
"He won't. If we can't get away, then he can't either…"
I didn't understand what was going on, but suddenly the voices, the… beings, or whatever they were, in my mind, turned to me again. Despite their silence, I could sense something terrible going on. Then my arm began to move.
I hadn't tried to do a thing with it. However, it was raising, stretching to its full length. As it did, I became aware that I was still holding the tree branch. In a fraction of a second, I understood their intentions, but there was nothing I could do about it.
The branch came down with force as I stabbed myself with it. Going right through my heart.
In an instant, I felt more pain than in my whole life. The branch had completely crossed my chest, and my heart was desperately trying to function, but I could feel that it was in vain. In a matter of seconds, I could feel myself slowly fading away… unconsciousness taking over my body… soon, I'd be dead, but at least I'd be free from the voices.
Or so I thought. Just as I realized it was my last breath, my mind suddenly woke up again, more lucid than ever, and I felt as if something was pulling me up… Not my body, just my mind. During some seconds, I tried to comprehend what had just happened, until my vision was restored.
There was I, lying on the floor. The branch was stabbed in my heart, and my shirt, as well as the ground around me, was splattered with blood. My face looked completely lifeless, my eyes open looking at nowhere, my red, wet hand still on the branch.
For a moment, I just stared, unable to think. Then it struck me. They had killed me. But not all of me, just my body… They had taken my… soul, my mind, whatever it was, in the last seconds. So here I was, floating in nothingness.
Just as I reached that conclusion, I felt that strange contact again. This time, however, it was pushing me with a lot of force. All of a sudden, I sensed something physical again. As if I had a body. I tried to move, and to my astonishment I felt the rustle of tree leaves. It also felt like I had many arms, and all of them quite thin. When I tried to get up, though, I was unable to.
A tree. I was inside a tree.
If they wanted to use me, why had they put me inside a tree? I couldn't do much inside there, except for moving my arms. I couldn't even see. Then I felt those voices again.
"We hope you like it, because you might be in here for a while" said one of them, the cruel tone much clearer now.
"Yes, until we decide what we're going to do with you…" the other one added, sounding somewhat like it was smirking.
And so they left. My mind was only mine once more, but what about my body?
I'd been in that state for a while when I felt their presence again. All of a sudden, I was dragged away from the tree. I wondered what they had planned, but then one of them answered me.
"We want you to watch this", said one of the voices in a sick way. "You can't watch from inside that tree, so we'll just have to move you for a while. Don't get used to it." And it ended its words with what seemed like laughter.
It wasn't long before I heard their voices. When I did, I went cold from head to toes, or I would've if I'd had a body.
"Mike! Where are you?" that was Will.
"Come on, this isn't funny! Come out!" added Frank.
At last I saw them approaching, or at least their shadows. All the guys were there, looking for me. And they wouldn't find me…
Wait. I looked down and saw my dead body there, the branch in my heart. It was simply lying underneath a tree… in the direction my friends were walking to. I tried to scream, to move, to do something to prevent them from discovering me, but it was useless. They soon saw the dark silhouette on the grass and came to investigate.
At this moment, I started to turn, for I didn't want to watch this, but I felt like I was being held in place by… them.
"Guys, is that…" When Will's voice broke, I had an urge to cry, though I couldn't, of course. They all went up to the corpse, and when they illuminated it with their torches, I saw the looks of horror in all their faces. Will and Peter let out a pained scream, while the others gasped and stood motionless.
"Oh, God… Mike…" My best friend's voice was no more than a whisper. "Mike…" He began to sob quietly, while Peter tried to calm him down, though his own voice was quivering. My other friends –Frank, Mark- had no reaction at all. They were petrified, unable to move or say anything.
I was glad they couldn't see me now, because I wanted nothing more than to break down and cry. Why was this happening? When I woke up in the morning, it was a normal day, and I was just a teenager. I just wanted to have fun in Halloween. I was supposed to be with my friends, laughing at jokes about the forest, and not here, floating in the air, seeing them cry over my dead body. What had I done to deserve this? My desperation turned into anger against the voices, for the fault of all that was happening was theirs. I tried to attack them, although I wasn't sure of how I could do that considering that we seemed to have no body, but I didn't care. I wanted to charge at them and make them suffer, see what I was feeling right now. So I mentally tried to ram against them, break their minds, take control of myself again.
All of a sudden, I felt a strange pressure on my mind and my thoughts. At first it was slight, but then it grew until it seemed like I could no longer think for myself. It was as if a strong hand was gripping my thread of thought, squeezing it, trying to break me.
"Do you really think you can defeat us?" one of the voices said. "We are far more experienced than you, boy. Do not try to meddle with us, or we might just decide you're not useful to us anymore and end your pitiful life."
I would've liked to tell him that my life was already over anyway, and that there was nothing worse than what I was going through at that moment, but I couldn't, of course. Instead, I had to continue seeing my friends crying for me.
"Who?" Will was saying at that moment. "Who would do such a thing? Why?"
"Twisted people", was Frank's grim reply. "People whose evil knows no bounds, who care nothing about the rest of us."
Oh, if only he knew just how right he was, I thought.
"We must call the police", said Will. "Now."
Peter got his mobile out, dialed and then said, "There's no signal here. We need to get closer to the edge of the forest."
"All right, let's go. I can't watch this any longer" answered Mark, and they all got up except for Will.
"Will", Frank said softly. "There's nothing we can do for him right now. Come with us."
"No", he growled. "You go call the cops. I'm staying with him."
"Come" Frank insisted. "It'll do no good to stay here. Please."
My best friend seemed to think for a moment, then said, "You start going, I'll come in a minute."
The others hesitated for a moment, then nodded and left the tree. Although I was relieved that I didn't have to see them suffer anymore, Will was still there.
"I'll get him", he promised. "I swear to you, Mike, I'll get the son of a bitch who did this to you and I'll make him pay. He'll regret this day for the rest of his miserable life." Then he breathed deeply, got up and slowly walked away. Little did he know that the chances of him being able to do that were very slim.
At that moment, I was dragged back into the tree, and again forced to hear helplessly.
"All right, now that this whole sentimental nonsense is over, we need to think fast of what kind of body we're going to make, considering the powers we have."
"It must be special, something that fills men with fear when they see him."
"Something horrifying to see… something that is killing to look at."
The thoughts seemed to stop at that sentence, and I felt a sudden glee and a sense of realization coming from them, but before I could try to understand their words, they blocked me out from their conversation. No longer than a minute had passed when they contacted me again, and took me out of the tree.
"Now" one of the voices said in a dangerous voice, "you're going to watch this. You'll be reborn soon."
When they heard me wondering what that meant, the other voice said, "We're going to make your new body."