II.  The Rural Hauntings

Written and Illustrated by Benjamin Andrew Fouché

Rather hurriedly, you move farther into the thickened woodlands and wisely decide to conceal yourself underneath the wilting limbs of a decaying maple. The unbearable and anguishing wails of other susceptible victims reverberates throughout the entirety of the precarious night. While more of the abhorrent creatures scavenge around in the browned leaves and thickets, they snuffle to and fro. Your pounding heartbeat echoes in your very own thoughts while you watch in utter anxiety. They crawl nearer, sneering to one another––and you involuntarily tremble––understanding that your unmerited death could indeed be near. There is a persistent silence that settles over the wilderness––and, of course, nothing happens––only the haunting dread is lengthened. But lastly, when the quietness is broken, the horrid beings uncover your pitiful place of hiding. Ominously eyeing you, they slightly leer––knowing precisely how flavorsome you are. The creatures begin to surround you, manifesting signs of an impending feast, for which they shall find great pleasure in.

You are, without doubt, surrounded, and rendered helpless––yet, you are indeed willing to do anything in order to escape this nightmare that eternally enshrouds you. Prowling nearer to where you defenselessly crouch, the creatures' sharpened jaws open to a gaping degree––they all are about to dine without proper courtesy. But in abrupt desperation, the instinctive will to survive possesses your every thought and action. Scurrying over the repugnant beings, they become disturbed further and swiftly scuttle after you, from not too far behind. Unbearably shrieking, they slash their thorn-like talons through the smoky air and hiss venomously. Their slanted eyes are illuminated while the wraithlike gusts of wind moan through the thickets pugnaciously. Ravens, perching on mangled branches above, caw, and other ghoulish whines call out in the vast, Vermont landscape.

Out from underneath the shadowy arms of the innumerable trees, you rush into the moonlit cornfields––the thousands of sprawling stalks give the dale an even more unwelcoming touch––they appear as slender nightstalkers, beckoning those to come forth, while they sway in the wind. The bitter coldness constricts itself around you while the bellowing beasts continue to skulk, hither and thither, through the broad fields. The relentless creatures violently topple over the cornstalks, abolishing anything which poses infuriation to their only longing, which is to feed upon your flesh and bones. The exceptionally blustery weather continues to whip the shocks of corn, while the wicked creatures shriek as they shred even more destructively through the desiccated cornfields.

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