It calls to me at night
Familiar and voiceless, it beckons me from sleep and draws me outside.
As if inviting a guest in, I leave the door open and walk barefoot out onto the porch. The wood beneath me is swollen with rain and each breath drawn from me is a puff of foggy tendrils.
Back-lit by the flickering porch light, I grip the rail with white knuckles and I'm soaked to the bone. The water drips heavy from my lashes and I'm shaking, but not from the cold
It's there, at the edge of the treeline. Rotted pale skin stark against lush green. It is something tall and gnarled.
Flesh is split where toadstools grow and limbs as twisted as the roots of the pine trees it hides among. Hair of flaxen gold spills over its shoulders and it smiles, teeth tinged pink where insects crawl.
It digs claws into tree trunks and its fingers are blackened with the mud of the creek it was born from. It is flesh, bone, and teeth.