The Shed in the Woods

Ahh, October in Indiana. Crunchy leaves litter the ground. Crisp air breathes a distinct life into your lungs. And the humidity and bugs cease to exist. The rolling hills of southern Indiana provide a beautiful patchwork quilt as the vegetation changes colors. Reds, oranges, yellows, and browns all intermingle as trees rise from valleys and disappear over hill crests. Perfection in nature.

Hiking through the woods surrounding the massive Lake Monroe reservoir has always been a favorite hobby of mine. I’ve always loved spotting animal tracks and seeing where they lead. On one particular morning hike, I took a tentative step on the slick, morning ground, and heard twigs snapping underfoot. I carefully stepped over a downed tree and surveyed my surroundings. I took several more steps into the rising, morning sun, when a strange shape caught my eye.

I was exploring a new valley when I stumbled across a small, non-descript shed. The structure was very out of place, surrounded by nothing but trees. There were no houses or other buildings in the vicinity, making the placement of this particular structure rather odd. The construction of the shack seemed rushed, and the sturdiness was questionable at best.

I inspected the exterior from a safe distance. A single window along one of the sides was the only feature that broke up the wooden construct. I tentatively approached the window to try to peer in, but it was so covered in dirt and yellowed with age and grime that I couldn’t see in. On the front, there was a solid wood door with heavy duty hinges holding it in place. I grabbed the knob and gave it a turn. Surprisingly, it performed a full turn in my hand. I yanked on the door, but it didn’t budge. Instead, I heard some clanging near the top edge. I looked up and saw a metal flange holding the door closed with a Masterlock keeping the door shut. Curious, I tugged on the lock to try my luck. Alas, it remained firm. I shrugged and decided to move on, completing my morning hike in peace.

*****

Ahh, October in Indiana. Crunchy leaves litter the ground, masking the blood trail to the naked eye. Crisp air breathes a distinct life into your lungs, as long as they’re still functioning. And the humidity and bugs cease to exist; flies no longer circle and swarm endlessly around rotting flesh. Blood reds, yellows, and browns intermingled as the body drained itself of all liquids. Perfection in nature to a demented mind.

On the inside of the shed, a local outcast was fast at work. He sawed and hacked, disposing of the remains of his latest victim. The woman, who had cut him off in traffic earlier that week, had no idea what consequences she would face for her careless behavior. Her family first reported her missing three days prior, and the news story ran just the previous evening.

The countryside killer had just severed his transgressor’s lower left leg with a sharpened hatchet when he saw a shadow move by the lone window. Luckily, he was confident in the lack of visibility into the shelter. A moment later, he heard a tug on the door. He immediately stopped what he was doing, staying silent and still. His pulsed pounded out a rapid rhythm in his ears. He readied the ax for attack, in the event he was discovered. His palms grew more sweaty as he tightened his grip on the hatchet. After another attempt to open the locked door from the outside, peace and quiet returned to the makeshift shed. The killer resumed his work, destroying any evidence that could ever be discovered. Saved by some hardcore hinges and a Masterlock. Peace and quiet. Such a strange concept given the nature of events that occurred in that tiny structure.

The dying trees hold secrets that nobody will ever know about. Some of us wander through the woods, oblivious to the dangers that hide there. Others create chaos, never knowing how close they are to being discovered.  Each sharing the same world, living on complete opposite ends of reality. Peace and quiet. Such a strange concept indeed.

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