Watch Those Shadows in Spooky Hollow...

because they watch you.

The hint of a conversation drifts in and out of the aether as fluidly as I drift in and out of the filtered light along the canyon-bottom trail. The sound is so faint I can't make out what is being said, but the laughter interspersed is clear as it ghosts through the morning stillness. The problem is I can't situate it; it seems to come from one side of the trail, then the other. It neither draws nearer, nor recedes, but keeps pace with the stroke of the pedals. It is as if the sound possesses a life force all its own and is able to move, weave through the branches above - the tenor and tone rising and falling with the movement in and out of the malformed limbs. Up and down, the voices mirror every undulation of the trail. But spectral, whispered sounds are not the only ones to be heard in these woods.

The crashing sounds of unseen things rampaging through the underbrush are not unusual in Spooky Hollow. What you have to determine is whether they are coming at you, or moving away. Makes all the difference in the world. Really. A couple ravens perch in the branches overhead; dark limbs look like twisted, reaching arms attempting to ensnare the unwary. The ravens are hidden at first, but their calls are demented and draw my attention to them. They knew I was approaching; how could the not. Those black eyes see all, keep untold secrets. A cackle draws a response sounding like a rolling of bones in an empty skull: The ravens are playing a morbid game of yahtzee, and I decide it is not wise to linger here for long. I don't wish to play that game.

Winds, water, a stretching of roots, encroaching growths in shaded corners, withdrawing where 'er the light - the path through Spooky Hollow constantly shifts, its motion exposing new rocks, the sharp incisors, grinding molars of a mouth ever in search of fresh meat. An appetite insatiable. Detritus piled deep, spat aside, this carpet of rest most eternal. Waste, corruption and the multitudes who devour such death, would quickly overwhelm the trail through this grove, but for those who pass through in spite of the reaching shadows. Flaying in decomposition, bones lie scattered about, relinquished to the grave from once lofty perches. Collections of limbs entangled in their last repose, play host to ghastly webs which billow in and out with the drawing and exhaling of rattling breaths. These woods are sentient in their ways, some of those ways are visible, others hidden to our mortal eyes.