You choose the time carefully. Broad daylight, clear skies, because characters who tackle the frightening task in the middle of the night or during a dark storm annoy you.

“What are you doing?” you scream at the screen, but there they go, through the dark house. “Just turn on the lights!”

But they don’t, then they die by ax or knife or Jason or monster.

The sun is high. The sky is blue. Broad daylight. You thought this through.

You make lots of noise as you work your way through the bramble in the patch of woods south of the cabin.

“Hello?” just in case someone else is here.

The giant banana spider scurries to the bridge of her web, as you wipe the threads from your face. You see movement in the branches of the birch ahead. Squirrels? Birds?


The dead characters also go it alone or end up alone.

But I had to.

So you’re alone, in the middle of the woods, heading north toward the cabin.

Am I still moving north?

You should reach the clearing soon, but the woods ahead are dense.

Will there be a clearing around an abandoned cabin, no one there to clear it? Or maybe… what if someone is there now?

Even in Board Daylight

Thorns pierce your flesh, and you yank your arm away from the offending bush.

Calm, stay calm, as you detangle your sleeve. Damned thorns.

And now you see it, a massive patch of thorny bushes.

Can you get around? You look overhead, the sun too high to read cardinals, but if I’m still facing north…

You look east, then west. Which way around the stand of thorns?

For no solid reason, you choose east (is this east?).

Soon, the murderous thorns snap around your leg like a game trap. You can’t reach down without injuring your arms and face, so you jerk your leg to free it from the thorny trap.

Flesh and thread rip, blood on the thorns, like the angry teeth of wolves.

“What are you doing?”

You pull again, harder this time, and fall back, into a bed of thorns.

You’re face up, the sun has moved slightly to the west. Yes, I was still heading north.

You stay still, calm, easy, to sort through this plan, through the pain. You thought this through, but not the through the thorns.

Still broad daylight for another six hours. You have time, calm, easy, to find the clearing, to get to the cabin where no one can find you.

Unless he’s already there.

©Pennie Nichols. All Rights Reserved. 2023