This story was for a flash fiction (no more than 500 words) horror contest entry. Sometimes believing can save your life...
warning: this story does not exactly contain mature content, but due to implied graphic scenes, I would not recommend it for younger readers.
Jesse was striding through the forest---at the night’s beginning. He’d heard the rumors, talked to the witnesses that had escaped. But nothing was going to scare him. He was a young and stubborn betting man, and did not like to lose at a gamble. Alas, this time, his life might have been the prize.
Individuals called them the small gods. When the unknowns were feeling generous, a passing person would only become a victim to their pranks. Jesse did not believe any of it. But sometimes, trusting a legend’s accuracy is not the way of a fool…
The trees grew thicker, and the night remained unchanging.
“Heh. I knew all of those stories were a bunch of bologna.” He was barely able to utter the last syllable before the legend’s process began.
Beneath his feet, the once sturdy forest floor softened. The soil gathered, and lapped at him like rolling ocean waves. Two eyes appeared in the midst of the undulating ground, and paused to return Jesse’s incredulous gaze.
Then, the head appeared.
Had it not been for the creature’s glowing, pallid green skin, Jesse would have thought whatever was before him was of the human race. It was hairless, and as it continued to rise from the still-rolling soil, appeared shirtless as well.
But the creature hadn’t a need for clothing. When a full arm had emerged from the woodland floor, the utter brute was revealed.
At the height of Jesse’s knees, it floated above the ground, curling its sole arm into an ominous fist.
Jesse wanted to scream, but he was too proud, and in denial of the legend that proved itself real before his very eyes.
By reflex, he took a step backwards. The moment he did, dozens of the same creatures grasped either of his arms with their own, and pinned him against a nearby tree. The first came closer to him, and did not stop until it was within inches of the bewildered and terrified boy’s face.
“What’s the matter, Jesse? Does the legend have you by the arms?” The voice was eerie, and quavered in an almost elderly fashion.
“How… What… Who are you?!”
“We’ve been eavesdropping on your pathetic little town for centuries.”
“C…centuries? Then why were all of the reported victims in this forest?”
“Oh… so you believe now.”
“How could I not?! Your kind is touching me… You are speaking to me…”
“Feel. Talk. See. Are those the definitions of believe? I think not. It’s because of people like you that we were trapped by invisibility outside of this forest for so long. If one individual, one person would have acknowledged our presence, we could be whole again. Here, at least we could confront the skeptics with the horrid truth.”
“I… I’m sorry…”
“Too late.” Abruptly, the creature’s teeth metamorphosed into razors of white. Its one hand mimicked the action. Jesse screamed; the myth was unremitting. The brute did not rest until the last of the human heart’s blood was spilt.