“Fucking disgusting!”, Evan thought as he looked at his hands and arms. They were covered in a thick, black muck that smelled a lot like canned oysters mixed with rotting garbage. Needless to say, it was awful. “Holy shit, that was insane. What the fuck even was that?” Evan said to himself. Standing in the warm, shit-stew that he’d landed in, he surveyed the area. Nothing but dark twisted trees as far as his eye could see. His glasses were splattered with particles of the swamp, his shorts now weighing heavy with the moisture and grime. He did a piss poor job of wiping his glasses clean, gave a hard yank on his shorts and set forth to get out of the bog. It was eerily quiet. The squelching of his shoes smacking the water and low hum of insects surrounding him was all he could hear. Reaching the shore and stepping out of the swamp provided Evan a brief moment to gather his thoughts and take further interest in his current state. “These shorts are ruined. What a fucking joke. I can’t believe this shit. I gotta find a way outta here. Those things were moving quick and between my mud-caked shoes and my 80 lbs shorts, I’m gonna be eviscerated. Why am I talking to myself? I’m fucking losing it.” Evan began walking. Eye’s wide and ears alert, he took each step carefully. Not knowing this area was dangerous enough, due to the dense canopy of trees. Mix in a setting sun, limited mobility and cackling beasts looking for you, Evan knew he was a tough spot. He, like every one in the county, had heard the stories of the Doom Woods. A silly name he’d always thought. Trees are trees, dirt is dirt and Evan wasn’t afraid of anything that required the same air as him to breathe. But he’d underestimated legend and abandoned all precaution for nothing more than to go viral. “Idiot.” he said out loud to himself. “‘Do it for the Gram, Evan.’ ‘Let these dudes know, Evan’ ‘Worldstar!’ fucking dumb. Now I’m lost in fucking Narnia, being hunted by demons, in clothes that look like I lost a fight with a unserviced porta-potty.” The smell was getting to him. Evan had a sensitive nose as it was, but the pungent odor of mold water and plant decay was giving him a headache. “What the fuck was that?” a snapping branch caught Evan’s attention. Out of nowhere a light breeze began to whistle through the gnarly trees. The wind almost sounded like the voices of souls past. Eyes darting back and forth, Evan tried desperately to pinpoint where the sound came from. The wind was making it impossible to determine the branch’s prior location. The wind became stronger, almost blowing his glasses off his face, and making it difficult to keep his equilibrium in check. It was sensory overload for Evan. A full assault on his vision, hearing, smell, and even taste, as the moisture in the air had penetrated his pursed lips. Shielding his face and leaning forward Evan tried trudging forward. Or at least what he believed to be forward. At this point he could be walking back towards that cesspool of nature called a swamp, or into a coven of witches performing a seance, nothing would surprise him. “Oh shit!” with a quick thud, Evan slammed to the ground with enough force to cause his glasses to fly off his face. After a split second of gathering his thoughts he noticed that the wind had stopped. It was almost as if his test of gravity had flipped a switch on the category 4 typhoon that was about to take place. Evan scrambled forward to find his glasses, picked them up, shoved them on his face and again took notice to his surroundings. It was so silent he could hear the ants crawling on a nearby downed tree. The tick tick tick of a thousand sets of legs, carried in the still air like the bass of a Fergie concert. The leaves were so motionless it was almost like God had hit the pause button on life, leaving Evan and the ant colony the only animate objects. Making a full 180 Evan turned once again to try to find a main road, cabin, hell maybe that witch coven, something, to get help. “Alright, that was weird. This place is a nightmare. No wonder people avoid it.” Adjusting his glasses once again, Evan took his first step towards freedom. As his foot met the forest floor, his heart nearly jumped out of his chest. There was no floor, and faster than the 2008 stock exchange, Evan plunged into a hole. Sliding on his back for what felt like an eternity, he finally hit rock bottom, the impact knocking the air out of him. Gasping and confused, Evan managed to squeak “Oh, the irony.” But before Evan could finish acknowledging the humor in his predicament, he heard it. The hair raising laughs of the winds. Evan quickly looked up to see the light of the opening he had just traversed. As if it was out of thin air, two green eyes peered back. Locking gazes, Evan felt his soul leave his body but before he could even scream they were gone. A few leaves blew over the opening, then nothing. Evan stared for a few seconds longer, trying to see if anything reappeared. But the only thing he saw was darkness overcoming the opening. The last of daylight had burned off and he was 20 feet below ground. The winds could be heard above once more, and the dangers that only lurk at night were stirring. What the rest of the night held would go on to reshape Evan Starworth’s future forever. Surviving the Doom Woods wasn’t going to be easy.