Short Stories

The Lumberbeings of Anglewood Forest

Most people have heard rumours of the various groups of people that gather in the woods, screaming in the night and doing their forbidden dances. Everyone has heard of the Fhurbahel Cultists, who use the gentle streams flowing through the forest to baptize new members. Few people have heard of the Lightbringers, young men and women who set parts of the forest on fire to appease their dark masters. However, most people do not know of the Lumberbeings of Anglewood Forest.

When you walk through the forest at day, you will notice them. You won’t ever see one in person, of course, but you’ll definitely see the plethora of sigils they leave behind on their hunting grounds. You might hear the anguished cries of the local wildlife, as they are shot down and dragged off for their dark purposes. If you get lost at night, just when you realize that you are not ever coming home, you will see their ever-growing cabin in the distance.

It is a massive building, made out of materials native to the forest. It towers over the trees, yet most of it is located underground. The lumberbeings haul animals and wood there, to construct new rooms and other expansions for the terrifying structure. If you would ever gather up the courage to enter it, you’d be met by a massive maze of rooms, doors, and stairs. Most of the stairs do not go anywhere, and walking up them only leads to hard ceiling. Other stairs seem to stretch on forever, and as you walk up those you would feel as if you are leaving reality altogether.

Of course, you wouldn’t ever really leave reality. That’s the stuff of fairytales and horror stories penned in a free afternoon by depressed loners. No, the truth is far more unnerving. Many consider places like these to be distant from their homes, distant from them as a person. They tell themselves stuff like that does not happen to them, but the truth is that all these things are just part of our reality. Reality is a weird thing, and the sooner people realize that, the better we as a species will be prepared for when other realities decide to start bleeding over into ours.

Of course, this was never “our” reality to begin with.

Exploring the chambers of the neverending log cabin will reveal to you objects and events that you would have never dreamed of, not even in your darkest nightmares. Depending on what kind of person you are, this could leave you screaming and banging against the walls, begging to escape. Or, it could fascinate you, and fill you with a sense of child-like wonder as you realize our reality contains far more than you have ever thought.

Even when you enter the library, and read some of the horrid tomes in it, you would feel excitement and curiosity rather than fear. Journeying to the edge of reality can, for some, be a refreshing escape from daily life rather than a dreadful punishment.

As you walk deep into the bowels of the structure, you might meet others who got lost. You might talk to them, or you might ignore them. You may feel the urge to swap stories with them, and maybe, just maybe, sit down together and discuss the implications of some of the artefacts you have found.

Whatever you do, eventually you must carry on. This is where things get a tad odd, however.

If through all this you never felt a desire to flee or hide, at this point you would inevitably enter the same room you started in, with the door wide open. Outside, you can see the trees and the soft grass. You can choose to exit, or simply go the other way and explore more, though the latter is incredibly ill-advised as you will stumble upon things far more important and far more dangerous than your mind can comprehend.

When you exit, you will feel a desire to walk north. After walking to the edge of the forest, you will notice that your phone has reception again, and that you are very hungry. You can then check to see if there is anything good nearby, but before you would finish your internet search you would notice a small diner out of the corner of your eye.

As you sit down and enjoy a slice of French toast with whipped butter, you sigh and get back in the mindset you were in before you went to the forest. You will finish your meal, generously tip the waitress, and hail a cab home. When you arrive at your home, you will sit down and realize that you have been part of something quite special, and now share a connection with others who have been part of it.

Maybe you will meet the people you met in the cabin again in your life. You would share a knowing nod, but would not stop to talk with them about what you’ve been through. There’s not much to say, after all.

Whether or not any of this is positive, is up for you to decide for yourself. Discovering that there is more to the universe than meets the eye can be a frightening experience for some, and this is very understandable. However, you will definitely feel like you have become a wiser person from the experience, if only because you now know something that is quite literally unknowable.

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