The forest – part 3 of 4
The forest – part 3 of 4
Fantasy, horror, gay coming of age
As they try to escape the forest, things get weirder and weirder
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The forest – Part 3
Hugo led Sam from the cavern, his arm draped around the teenager’s shoulders for emotional support. Sam was traumatised by the explicit video footage on his phone, and Hugo could feel him literally trembling.
On the other side of the fissure and the two caverns, the buff resumed, heading northwards. The trio set off again.
As they continued, Sam walked in morose as he tried to make sense of what he’d seen. How could someone have video of him and the guys doing something they hadn’t done? Just the thought of the video make him feel like he’d been violated, regardless of whether it depicted actual events.
After 15 minutes, Finn said, “I dunno where this boner came from;” he looked down at huge lump tenting his shorts, “But I fucking wish it would go away.”
“Me too,” Hugo agreed. “But at least I don’t have a tree trunk in my short like you.”
“Yeah, I’ll be honest,” Finn said with unexpected candour, “big dicks are not all that they’re cracked up to be. It’s constantly dangling out of my boxers and the girls are scared of it!”
“Awww, look at my fingers,” Hugo said.
He rubbed his thumb and forefingers together.
“World’s smallest violin playing just for you.”
Sam sniggered, finally coming and Finn burst out laughing.
A short while later, Hugo stopped the party.
“I think I’d better climb up and see how close we are to town.”
“I’ll come too,” Sam promptly said.
“Me too,” Finn seconded.
“No, look it doesn’t make sense for three of us to risk our safety. I’m just going to climb up a bit, look and come right back. You can watch me the whole way. I’ll be done in less than five minutes.”
Since the video, Sam had taken on the demeanour of a hunted animal, and he looked reluctant to allow his protector out of his sight.
“Sam, please,” Hugo said. “I’ll be quicker without you.”
“I can climb quickly.”
“Then you’ll fall and break your neck and we’ll have to carry you back.”
Hugo gave him a friendly shove on the shoulder to lighten the mood, and Sam took a step backwards, a nervous grin on his face.
Hugo started climbing briskly until he was way above the tree line, then he looked out in the direction of the town. He stared for a while, then looked behind them, then out over the trees. He climbed higher and looked again before scrambling back down. He was pale faced.
“What’s wrong?” Sam asked, immediately picking up Hugo’s mood.
“I couldn’t see it.”
“What, the town has gone?” Sam asked.
“Not gone,” Hugo said, “I just couldn’t see it. It must be hidden by the trees. In a dip or something.”
“How could it be hidden?” Finn asked. “We saw it from miles back.”
“Maybe it’s the angle of the slope here,” Hugo lied. “Let’s push on. We can check again in half an hour.”
They started walking again.
“You’re a terrible fucking liar,” Finn whispered in his ear.
Hugo looked at him solemnly but said nothing.
They trudged on shoulder-to-shoulder, walking in silence.
After a while, Hugo said what they were all thinking.
“We should have hit the road a long time ago.”
“Yeah,” Finn agreed flatly.
Sam remained silent. He’d felt the Sword of Damocles hanging over his head since they had found his phone.
Hugo said, “I’m gonna climb up again. Maybe higher. You guys can come if you like. I’m gonna leave my pack here.”
Sam and Finn removed their backpacks and they started to climb. The cliff was steeper here and the surface was crumblier, though still rugged with plenty of foot and hand holds.
“Be careful, this is a lot more dangerous,” Hugo cautioned.
Moving cautiously, they soon made it above the treeline. They all looked over their backs at the unbroken green.
“I don’t see anything,” Sam said.
“Me either,” Finn concurred.
“Let’s get higher,” Hugo said.
They climbed onwards and stopped again 230 yards above the ground. They turned and Sam gasped, shocked at how far they were above the ground. He swayed but Finn reached out an arm and pressed him again the steep incline. Sam looked at him and flashed him a tight smile of gratitude.
Then three of them cautiously turned and scanned the terrain. From horizon to horizon, a distance of well over 60 miles, the treetops were unbroken. They scrutinised the greenery for traces of depressions where the town of Carver might lie.
“Where’s the town gone?” Finn asked.
“I don’t know,” Hugo replied.
“How can the town keep moving like that?” Sam asked.
Hugo repeated his previous answer.
“I don’t know.”
Hugo thought for a while.
“Maybe when we went through that gap we somehow crossed to the other side of the mountains?”
They consider his suggestion for a few moments then he shot it down in flames himself.
“But then the sun would be on the other side of the mountains.”
They could all see it clearly on their side to the south, getting lower in the sky now.
“So, we’re on the right side but the town has gone?” Finn said.
“Not gone. We just can’t see it. But is that Hanning on the horizon?”
Hugo pointed to the south. A few tall buildings were just about visible in the far, hazy distance.
“I dunno. I’ve never seen it from the air before. But if it is, it’s too far to walk to. And that’s if we could even walk in a straight line.”
“So, what are we going to do?” Sam asked, desperate for a plan.
Finn looked upwards. The face grew steeper and rose an indeterminate distance.
“Suicide to keep climbing,” he said.
“Certainly extremely dangerous,” Hugo agreed. “And it will be dark in an hour or two. I think we’re going to have to set up camp for another night. We can work out a plan in the morning.”
“Oh no,” Sam whined, a lead weight plummeting into the pit of his stomach. “Not again.”
He felt himself falling into a dark hole.
“Whoa!” Finn said, and pressed him to the cliff face again. “Easy Sam. Are you with us?”
Sam looked at him confused, momentarily disoriented.
“You looked like you were gonna fall. I think we need to get down quickly Hue. Sam doesn’t look well.”
“Hold your position Finn, we can climb either side of him.”
Hugo moved into position and they flanked Sam on either side. Hugo looked into the youngster’s face. His skin was pale and sweaty.
“Sam, hey Sam! You okay there buddy?”
“I just want this to be over,” Sam said in a small voice.
He seemed much younger than his actual age now. On the verge of tears.
“Can’t we just go home? I’ve had enough Hugo. Please, take us home.”
“I will Sam, I promise. Tomorrow. First thing. We just need to get down off this buff in one piece. Can you manage that for me?”
“I’m starving,” Sam said, and Hugo suddenly realised they not eaten in over 6 hours.
“We’ll have dinner when we get down okay?”
“Bacon?” Sam asked, disconnectedly.
“Yeah, definitely bacon,” Hugo promised with a smile. “But now, let’s climb down. That’s it Sam, careful does it.”
“There is one good thing,” Finn said.
“Oh yeah, what’s that?” Hugo asked.
“At least my boner has gone at last.”
They slowly made their way back to the ground where their packs were waiting.
“I don’t wanna camp in the forest again Hugo,” Sam said.
“Nah, me neither.”
Hugo looked around. They were on a very gentle incline caused by eons of rockfall as the weather eroded the sandstone buff. It extended seven yards before trees started encroaching.
“This is plenty. We don’t have to pitch the tent. We can build a big fire and take turns sleeping in our sleeping bags while the others keep watch.”
“I don’t want to sleep,” Sam said.
“I get that dude,” Hugo said, “but you’re not going to be strong enough to walk out tomorrow if you don’t get at least a few hours of sleep. You don’t want to spend a third night out here do you? We can watch in pairs, two hours each, overlapping.”
“How ARE we going to get out?”
“Only idea I have is walking back through those caves and following that spur to the south.”
“I don’t wanna go back there,” Sam said.
“Nah, nor do I, but if we keep walking blindly, we’re eventually going to run of food.”
Sam considered Hugo’s words.
“Why is this happening Hugo?” he asked.
Hugo shook his head.
“Fucked if I know Sammy,” he said, using he and Finn’s affectionate name for him. “So, what do you say; dinner, sleep, then walk out tomorrow?”
“’kay,” Sam responded, seeming to diminish with each passing hour.
“Good job! Right, me and Finn are just going to collect wood to make a fire. Why don’t you unpack the cooking gear?”
“I wanna come with you,” Sam said immediately, moving closer like a child afraid of losing his parent in a crowd.
“Hey that’s cool dude,” Hugo cooed. “No problem.”
Yet again, they collected wood for an enormous fire, but they started with something much more modest while they cooked their evening meal. They ate slowly, and once again Hugo did his best to distract them with talk of happier times that they had shared. Finn went along with the conversation, but no matter how often they tried to pull Sam into it, he’d reply with short answers, if at all before retreating back into his own fearful thoughts.
They were in the shadow of the trees, so as the sun fell, although it was summer, night came quickly.
They quickly stoked the fire, building it even taller than they had the night before.
Finn looked the enormous fire and sniggered.
“What?” Hugo asked.
“I think we might have overdone the fire. It looks like one of those signal fires in Lord of the Rings!”
He was referring to the mountaintop fires in the movie, that were designed to be seen from dozens of miles away.
Hugo grinned at the comparison.
“You’re right, but you can never have too much light, right?”
“Well, if you look straight at the sun you can…”
“Doofus!” Hugo shot back playfully. “Anyway, who’s gonna take first watch with me?”
“I will,” Finn said.
“No, can I?” Sam asked.
“Hey Sammy likes the idea of a double-shift asleep!” Finn said.
“No, I just don’t want to go to sleep at all.”
“You can both take first watch if you like?” Hugo offered.
Finn and Sam looked at each other.
“Okay, sounds good,” Finn said.
“Great, well wake me up in two hours okay?”
Finn chatted constantly to Sam, asking him questions that forced the teenager to remain engaged with him, and slowly, he brought Sam back to the point where he was not completely incapacitated by his existential dread. Sam stared constantly into the roaring flames, but his mind was far away.
In a little over two hours, when it was time to change watch duties, Sam insisted that Finn was the one who slept.
Hugo tentatively started a conversation with Sam about the new video games console, and to his relief, Sam responded.
“Feeling a little better now?” Hugo enquired after a while.
“But Hugo, what was that video? We didn’t do any of that stuff. Did we?”
“Of course not Sam, but do you really want to talk about it now in the middle of the night?”
“No, I guess not, but I can’t stop thinking about it. You were ass-fucking me, and… and I was enjoying it!”
“I keep tell you Sam, that wasn’t us. I don’t know how. There’s some weird stuff going on here. But you KNOW that wasn’t us. You wouldn’t let anyone fuck you in the ass would you?”
“So, it can’t be real can it?”
“I guess not. Unless… Well, what if someone drugged us and made us do it but now we can’t remember?”
“How would someone do that Sam? One of us was awake the whole night.”
“But the video…”
“Okay look, I didn’t want to talk about this in the middle of the night Sam, but there’s some supernatural shit going on. The noises; the way we keep getting lost; the video. I was thinking about those paintings in the caves. The way the little ones were giving the dick statues to the big ones, and the lines outside the big ones. I think they were supposed to be spirits, and the little ones were making some kind of offerings. The big ones were like spirits, or ghosts of their ancestors or something. Look, I’ve been hiking all my life and I’ve NEVER gotten lost. I know how to read a map and how to use a compass. But tomorrow, come what may, we’re walking the fuck out of here okay.”
“Absolutely. 100% guarantee it. Even if we have to leave our packs and climb straight over this entire fucking mountain, we are leaving this damned forest.”
“Yeah. Now can we talk about something else?”
On the change of watch, Sam was exhausted enough to try to sleep. He lay down fully clothed on his sleeping bag and instantly fell into a deep sleep.
A couple of hours later, it was his turn on watch again.
“Don’t wake him,” Hugo said. “He really needs the sleep.”
“You need the sleep too,” Finn said.
“I can do without a few hours of sleep. That video hit him really hard. Like this shit was targeting him personally.”
“Yeah, What the fuck do you think is happening?”
“Honestly, I don’t have a fucking clue, but if I had to guess, after seeing those wall paintings, I’d say some kind of old Indian curse, or magic, or… I don’t know. It’s supernatural that’s for sure. I never thought I’d hear myself saying that anything supernatural is real, but after what we’ve seen and been through, it’s pretty fucking hard to deny.”
“Yeah, that’s what I was thinking. Hey look, I’ll stay up with you. It seems quiet. We can let Sam sleep, and figure this shit out when it’s daylight.”
“Great, sounds like a plan.”
Five hours later, Sam’s eyes slowly flickered open. Something was wrong. He was laying on his back with his legs apart and his feet flat on the ground, which he never did to sleep.
“Guys?” he said, as he gained his senses.
Then he felt cool air his skin. He sat up with a start and discovered to his alarm, that he was completely naked.
Finn and Hugo were asleep nearby, but starting to rouse at the sound of Sam’s panicked voice. They were also completely naked.
Sam looked down at himself. He was intermittently covered from head to toe in drying splatters and streaks of sticky liquid ranging in colour from sparkly white to cream. His dick was coated; his balls were crusted with it; his pubes were sticky and clumped by it. He recognised it with disgust. It appeared that he had been the guest of honour at a wank-party, and hundreds of guests had jizzed onto his smooth body just recently.
He looked at himself with horror.
“GUYS!!!” he yelled.
They were fully awake now.
Finn said, “What the fuck? What happened to you?”
The Sam noticed that not only were his two companions also naked, but they were both hard. VERY hard. Finn’s enormous erection swang like the boom of a yacht as he stood up. The glans was still shiny with cum. Sam glanced at it, then at Finn’s face. He looked across at Hugo. His dick was also still wet with cum.
Sam jumped to his feet.
“Keep away from me!”
Finn was confused.
“What do you…”
“You two. You’ve…”
He looked down at the cum coating his torso, his soft pubes, even his flaccid dick and balls. Then he poked out his tongue tentatively and touched his lip. It was even on his face and in his hair! A look of absolute disgust crossed his face as he realised he had been turned into a human Jackson Pollock painting.
“Sam, what happened?” Finn repeated.
“You! You fucking know what happened. It was you two. You did this!”
Hugo joined the conversation.
“Sam, how could we possibly? It looks like you’ve swimming in… In whatever that stuff is all over you. Where would we get it from?”
“It’s spunk. You know it is! I don’t fucking know how you did it. You were supposed to be keeping watch but now this.”
Hugo rose to his feet, his own brutally hard erection sticking out like a missile, as though threatening to fire at Sam. Sam backed away, mortally afraid of his companions now. Hugo took a step forwards, and Sam turned and ran naked into the forest. Hugo and Finn followed as Sam disappeared into the trees.
Barefoot, they ran 20 yards, after Sam then came to an abrupt halt. As they rounded a clump of trees, Sam stood motionless fifteen feet in front of them. They were back at their original camp site. The remains of the fire and the pond lay ahead, and the stream bubbled away off to the left. But something was different. The entire clearing where they’d pitched their tent was now filled with the rock-pile erect penis sculptures.
From behind, they could see Sam’s body was visibly trembling, his shoulders rising and falling and his rib-cage swelling and contracting as he took in enormous gasping breaths. Hugo caught up to him and Sam stood paralysed by fear, staring at the scene, his eyes as wide as a bush baby’s.
“Sam,” Hugo murmured.
Sam didn’t react.
“Sam!” Hugo repeated more firmly.
Sam turned, then looked down at Hugo’s throbbing dick and back up at his face.
“I don’t know what’s happening Sam, but it wasn’t us dude. Just stop and think about it for a second.”
“You were meant to be keeping watch!” Sam screamed accusatorially.
His voice was hysterical.
“And we were. One moment me and Finn were talking, then we’re waking up with boners. Dude you KNOW something supernatural is happening here. Just look at all these.”
Hugo gestured to the statues.
“There’s got to be hundreds of these things. Do you really think me and Finn would spend hours in the dark building these IN CASE you ran this way?”
Sam looked forlorn as he considered Hugo’s words.
Eventually, he said quietly, “My head hurts. I can’t think about this.”
He walked to the pond and waded out until the cool water was up to his chest. Then he carefully washed the spunk from his body and face and hair.
Hugo and Finn watched him, discussing between them their arrival back where they had started, the appearance of the extra stones, and their plan for escape.
When Sam was clean, he walked from the pond and headed back to the place they’d left their gear without acknowledging Finn or Hugo. It was only upon his return that he realised their gear was absent. Clothes, packs, food; everything was missing.
He turned and headed back along the face of the buff.
“Sam, where are you going?” Finn asked.
“Our stuff’s gone.”
Finn suddenly realised that Sam was correct. He looked to Hugo in a panic. Hugo willingly took on the burden of leadership usually, but even he was struggling to keep his shit together as things became weirder and weirder. He looked around, scanning the area for any trace of their gear, then at his own wrist. It was all gone.
“Even my watch is gone,” he told Finn, starting to feel the same dread that overwhelmed Sam.
Then with a what’s-the-fucking-point fatalism, he shrugged and set off after Sam.