I could feel the skin of my arms beginning to crawl with goose flesh as the icy mist crept around me like an invisible dancer. The brilliant white of the moon shone through the canopy high above, casting shifting beams of smoky light like the lights of a rock concert, flashing and waving about me.
I could no longer see any semblance of a path or a trail, I was simply running. Running through the forest.
Running for my life.
My unknown assailant seemed to be right behind me all the way, yet when I snatched a look over one shoulder and then the other, he was nowhere to be seen. It was as if he could blend in to the mist and flow freely through it, assimilating where ever he needed to be.
My breath growing short and raspy, my legs getting weak and trembling with every step I stumbled and tripped. I reached out one hand to try and break the fall but it went straight through the mossy carpet of the forest floor and my head struck a fallen log.
Lucky for me, the log was long dead and rotten. The blow sent darkness and shooting stars across my vision and the world seemed to dim for a moment. Had the log still been solid I would have been knocked straight out, if not killed. It was one hell of a fall.
His voice all around me now, echoing through the silent nothingness of the landscape I awoke from my daze with a scream. The laugh was maniacal but infectious. It made me tremble with unknowable fear yet I wanted — somewhere deep in my soul — I wanted to join him. I wanted to join Mr Scratch in his world. His forest. His tortured existence. I wanted to be him.
I managed to work my way up to my feet, my head spinning around as my body stayed where it was. It was like staggering home after a night on the town, except I hadn’t touched a drop of alcohol all week long. My feet seemed to work for themselves as I desperately tried to halt the carousel in my mind, to stop the trees from spinning.
Then I turned.
And there he was.
The eyes where endless and the world within…