Happy Hallovine

Norfolk Island, © Google Maps – Mark Harvey

“The guidebook says 1,600 people live here,” she said.

They scanned the empty beach doubtfully.

“Why don’t you stay here?” he said. “I’ll head inland, see if I can’t find someone to take a look at that mast.”

The clear path narrowed into a thick jungle clotted with boulders and choked with vines. Somewhere behind, him a branch snapped.

“Jenny? Is that you?” He peered back in the dim of the darkened canopy. His scalp prickled in the waiting silence.

He laughed at his own foolishness. Twenty days of open ocean had made him loopy. He started forward, only to trip on a root that snaked just under the surface. He moved to pull himself on all fours. A vine was wound all around one ankle. He laughed, tugging.

The vine tugged back.

“What the—” he started. A choking rope of vine slithered fast around his neck.

148 words

This has been an edition of What Pegman Saw. To read more stories inspired by the prompt or to submit your own, click here.

There were some interesting sights in this location (Norfolk Island) including this spot and eight others that were arranged in an oval around it. I noticed red pegs and white pegs and strange little statues. Like at the one above you can see what looks like a stone bird statue. Does anyone have any idea what this is? I was guessing some sort of golf game, but it’s unlike any golf game I’ve ever seen! Maybe a crazy bow challenge?

Karen

21 Comments

  1. Lavanya

    Whoa, the creepy feeling persists well after the story ends. Nicely done, Karen!

    1. Thanks Lavanya! Beware the creeping vines. 😉

      1. Lavanya

        For some reason I was reminded of the time Dorothy and companies were held hostage by evil trees on the way to emerald city. Thanks for that. Gave me a high

  2. Super creepy (no pun intended). The Norfolk Island pine looks like Dr. Seuss drew it on a bad day, so it figures that everything else would be likewise frightening. Nicely told.

    1. There is something so perfect it’s eerie, It reminded me of some video game–one where it isn’t hard to believe the vines will come to life. Thanks for reading!

  3. The pegs and statues be for worshiping the heathen gods of the damned.

    Just kidding. I have no idea. Nice tale of horror that could definitely be expanded if you so had the notion.

    1. Hahaha that explains it! Thanks for reading.

  4. A chilling little story, Karen. You build the tension beautifully. I love the word ‘snaked’ to describe the root; it led me to expect nasty venomous creatures, and instead you got me with strangling vines!
    Ugh! I hate jungles!

    1. You are most kind, Penny! That little spot creeped me out completely. It wasn’t hard to imagine those vines had sinister intentions.

  5. I love this story – and the title. “Don’t go into the woods tonight!”
    Twenty days of open ocean had made him loopy – Don’t we always try to make things better with a “No, really, it’s only because….”

  6. Never walk into the creepy, uninhabited clearing alone! Has this man never seen a horror movie? Nicely atmospheric story – lovely build and a suitably Halloween-y ending. Reminded Lavanya of the Wizard of Oz … Reminded me of The Evil Dead – do you know the scene where the girl goes into the woods alone … ? Wonderful tale Karen and thanks for sharing the bird statue pic – it’s all rather eerie

    1. Lol, I know, right? And never ever ever say anything along the lines of ‘let’s split up’. This guy was doomed the second they dropped anchor. Thanks for reading Lynn.

      1. Everyone should be made to watch a raft of horror films before setting out into the wilderness

  7. Creepy, Karen. Goosebumps only just settling. I enjoyed the sense of place you managed to portray naturally as the character unfolded his story.

  8. They don’t grow vines like that anymore, or so I thought.

    1. Let’s hope they don’t! But just in case, I’m staying out of the jungle over Halloween. Thanks for reading!

  9. Ooh, either the 1600 people know better than to venture into the jungle, or they didn’t and now he’s joining them as compost 🙂
    Now I get your clever title!

  10. well we have tons of vines in certain parts of the area I live in here in VA. and I might never look at them the same after reading this

    1. hehe, don’t walk through them, just to be safe!

      1. yeah – i am standing back – lol –

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