Klaus in the Woodsbycowboy109©
His face pushed forward between the tall tree trunks with the thick green canopy above. The tread on his boots twisted the fresh dirt and pine needles as his toes pushed off. The morning air, expelled from the trees, was so crisp and rich that it was palpable in his nose and lungs. The rich oxygen fueled his large thigh muscles to a fast pace. A sliver of slick sweat coated his skin under the early fall clothes.
For a moment, he paused at the side of the trail. His sturdy hiking boots toed the edge of the dark weathered rock. At 6'5", he towered high over the slope. His steady dark eyes, used to observing the woods, focused on the switchback beneath him. The couple in their mid-twenties had not noticed the tall man observing them. They chatted idly in between full and deep breaths. They carried overnight backpacks with foam mattresses dangling at the bottom of the packs. Their gear and clothing had the new shine of freshly bought REI equipment.
The girl had bleach-blond hair. Her hair was thick with product and hung smooth over one side. It was stiff and did not ripple with her steps. She wore a tank top that exposed her succulent shoulders. Her boyfriend followed close at her heel like a puppy. His hair was black, long, and floppy with the luster gone. His body was lanky like a musician.
The couple turned the corner. Motionless, he let them approach him. He was so still that the girl did not notice him. She was too busy staring at the ground and talking to her boyfriend. Six feet apart, he raised his deep baritone voice: "Howdy." The girl jerked to the side with the heavy backpack resisting her move. He suppressed a smirk at the little prank.
"You better stay alert in these woods. There are wolves and bears."
"Don't worry, I'm packing. I got my service weapon with me. I am a cop."
She stood feisty with her legs wide and a wild look on her face. Her glacier-blue eye pierced the air sharply. His face drew into a dull expression of annoyance.
"My name is Klaus. I am a naturalist. Judging by the mid-morning time and your gear, you are probably headed towards the Blue Lake for overnight camping."
"My name is Beth. This is my fiancé Orion. We are indeed headed there. Judging by your lack of equipment and even a water battle, you must be on your way back to the car from a day hike."
"Oh no, sweetie. I told you, I am a naturalist. All I need is my multi-tool. Nature is like a supermarket. You just have to learn to see it. Look over here."
Klaus walked to a tree trunk. The bark was severely weathered. Deep grooves were scored into the bark. Tiny little black pieces seemed to be crumbling off the bark. Klaus pointed to a green moss-like circle. It was a little too smooth for moss to grow on. Around the green circle was a band of bark that was bright, smooth, and vibrant. He pulled his multi-tool out and scraped the green dust into his palm.
"The locals call it Messy-Bessy. It's a kind of fungus that is rich in a penicillin-like substance. It's better at purifying water than iodine tablets. It's also healthier for the digestive tract. Iodine tends to damage the intestinal flora. But, be careful, if it has a purple hue, it's a different fungus. That fungus is a strong hallucinogenic. If you have a Ziploc bag, you should take some."
Orion quickly dropped his pack to the ground and pulled a Ziploc bag out. Beth cautiously let Klaus scrape more green dust into the Ziploc bag. Orion was excited like a little kid. Klaus had a kind of happy smile on his face like a dad teaching his son about the world.
"What is the occasion for your overnight trip?"
Orion blurted happily, "It's my first year of being sober. I have been going to meetings every week. My family is talking with me again. Beth has had a lot to put up with from me. Let's forget about me, this is her time to get a treat. I'm not much of an outdoor person. Though, it's her time to be happy."
"Orion, you are very open with such personal information. In a way, I struggle with addiction as well."
"You have to be open. Secrecy is what the addiction is based about. You start lying to everyone, especially yourself. I have cried for days, when I let out all the stuff that I was hiding from people. And, in the end, I felt liberated and light. The world was so beautiful again."
"I hear you. I carry a heavy burden with me. In my loneliness, I often wish that I could share it with someone."
Beth interjected, "you are not a prion run-away hiding in the woods, are you?" Her body was charged with tension, ready to combat. Her martial arts training was evident in her firm stance.
"Don't I look pretty well fed to you? We had a prison runaway years ago in these woods. He was malnourished. At night, he'd sneak into the village to eat garbage and rotten food. I see that you are not welcoming friendly company. You must move on."
Klaus watched the couple move on. He made sure to stare at Beth's firm butt in the tight Prana climbing pants. The forest was idyllic and peaceful. A few song birds chirped. Vibrantly green ferns grew under the trees. A soft wind blew high in the tree tops. White light fell through the gaps of the tree canopy.
Klaus pivoted out of his motionless stance. The heavy boot tread deeply disturbed the soil. He broke into a jog perpendicular to the trail. He took long strides. His boots hardly even hit the ground, while his body flew through the woods. His treads broke the underbrush beneath his weight. He ripped skinny vines. He paralleled the trail at a safe distance.
His heart pounded strongly and steadily -- strong yet relaxed from the half hour run. He stopped at a clearing. A wooden sign-post signaled a branch in the trail. A beautiful, smooth, marbled rock was a typical stopping place for hikers. It was a good two hours from the parking lot. People often had a little snack here or adjusted clothing. Klaus hid behind a tree that gave him a good view. He forced his breath to slow down and become inaudible.
A few minutes passed and the couple arrived. Orion was slogging behind Beth. Beth held her head high. Her eyes were full adventure and eager to push into the wilderness.
"Beth, I need to pee. Where do I do?"
"Just pick a tree."
"But, what if someone comes?"
"I'll be your lookout, baby. I got your back. Get your little guy out, or I'll have him for breakfast."
"It's so good to have a cop as a fiancé."
Orion turned to a tree. The zipper sounded. Beth put her pack down. She reached her arms behind her back and undid her bra. She reached through her arm openings to pull out the pink Frederick's of Hollywood bra. Her young breasts stood high; the silicone enhanced breasts were perfectly round. Their ample size pushed the outline of nipples through the fabric of her tank top. She sighed, "Ah, it feels so good to be free and away from civilization."
Orion walked up to Beth, hugged her, and gave her a romantic kiss. Beth melted into his arms. She let her legs lean forward, so that he was holding her up in her arms. She smirked and rolled her eyes, "Oh, yeah, get your pee-pee hands all over me."
His face dropped disappointed at himself, "Oh, I'm so sorry. I'll get some alcohol swipes."
Recognizing the slump in his mood, she added "Hey, babe, we are in the woods. It comes with the territory. And, you know that I am a bit naughty." With the word naughty, the smile pushed up her cheeks to make them round and bubbly. She reached her hands down to his bottom and squeezed it smartly pinched the sensitive spot next to the sitting bone. "I hope to get some of that tonight in the tent."
A tear ran down Klaus' face. He could not wipe it, because the motion might draw attention to his hiding spot. His stillness gave him the stealth to stalk in the woods. He had sensed the tenderness between the couple. His heart was warming with empathy at the tenderness and intimacy that he felt between them. He was alone in the woods. He was alone for good reason. He had done many bad things. He had to warn them. It was the night of the full moon. Bad things would happen again.
Secrets -- Yes, so many secrets were buried in his soul. He had admitted some of them once to a red haired young girl. Such a sweet, innocent, save-the-world thing had been out for an overnight hike by herself. They had a little conversation by the trail side with all her understanding and compassion, he had opened up to her. He felt the weight of solitary self-judgment lifting. She was enamored by the tall handsome man and had stayed with him in the forest, endeared by his expert naturalist knowledge to live like a connoisseur in the wilderness.
She had assured him that there was nothing he could tell her that would drive her away. It had felt so good at the time. And, then she had betrayed him. He had learned that some things cannot be forgiven. She had learned the truth about his kind, and a living thing won't betray its own kin.
After they left, he shook his stiff limbs from being motionless for half hour. The couple would slowly make their way up the back of Big Rock. Klaus stepped to the face of Big Rock. The round rocks had withered in the weather. Wet moss covered them. Everything was too slick for recreational rock climbing. However, there was a secret crevice that Klaus pushed himself into. The cold, wet, dirty rock pushed against his shoulders from both sides. Klaus squeezed himself deeper into the womb of the rock. His heavy boots stepped over big rocks on the ground.
Deep inside the crevice with scant daylight flickering in, he leaned heavily against the rock. His left foot pushed him even harder against the rock, until he was wedged in hard like refuse in stuck toilet plumbing. His right food bent and shoved him up an inch. His shoulders lifted. His whole back had a rippling motion to pull up another inch like a caterpillar. Dirt and moss rubbed on his clothes. Deliberately, he moved inch by inch up toward the white light of daylight above him. He ascended to heights that felt airy and exposed. Every move counted if he were to avoid the plunge to the death.
Finally, he was heart-poundingly close to the ground above. His hands felt the grass above. He'd have to lean forward to let go off his legs that had kept him stuck to lean forward. He swung his body forward. For a moment, he was without hold. His fingertips found a hold on the ground. His legs kicked and rubbed against the rock to push his butt up onto the ledge. He smirked. He had done it again.
The view down on the forest beneath was gorgeous. The green of tree tops was thick. The canopy mirrored the ground beneath revealing soft depressions and hills. The green expanse reached the horizon. The sky was blue with a few fluffy clouds. Nearby was an outcropping of sun bleached rock that provided a wonderful view and lunch point. The couple was likely to stop here.
Falling back to the forest boundary, there was a thickly mossy area under the shade of trees. Klaus' arms reached elbow deep into the spongy moss. He ripped it out by its roots. The moss clung together. The faint roots had cracked the iron rich soil beneath. Underneath the quarter inch black top soil was bright red iron. The iron rock had been cracked by all the tiny roots that were reaching into it. The moss was so thick from the mineral nutrient. The wet iron rock stained his hands rust colored.
He ripped fistfuls of iron rock sand out of the ground and threw it on the sun bleached rock. He carried thick pads of moss onto the rocks as well. He squeezed the rain water out of the moss.Then, he ran to the cliff edge to search for a crack that contained crystallized potassium feldspar. He broke off little pieces of potassium feldspar and drizzled them on the dissolved iron. The yellowish iron and gray potassium spontaneously reacted to turn into a bloody, dark red.
His fingers dragged the fake blood across the rock to imitate a human clawing on the ground in a final battle before crossing the mortal line. He painted a big blotch onto a rock to insinuate the head hitting the rock and unleashing a bloody head wound. For good measure, he scrawled help with blood onto the rock. Then, he tossed the moss back into the forest.
He hid in the thick underwood. He cowered behind a half rotten log. His face was giddy. He was excited to see his plan of scaring the couple out of his forest succeed. It took a whole hour for the couple to come. "C'mon, Orion. We are almost at our lunch spot." Orion was leaning forward. The overnight pack weighed heavily on him. His city legs were wobbling from the steep hill climb.
"Argh," Orion grunted. He fell over in panic. The backpack flipped him on his back like a superior wrestler holding onto his body. He looked like a turtle on its back. His arms and legs struggled in the air to gain momentum to turn over. Beth on the other hand, smoothly in one motion released her backpack, squatted low to the ground, and drew her black gun. Motionless, with purpose, her eyes scanned everything in front of her. The gun was pointed safely into the ground with the trigger finger at the guard.
In a low squat, she approached the blood painting on the rocks. Her eyes warily scanned the forest. Orion screamed, "Shoot, shoot already!" Beth ignored him. Her free hand touched the blood on the ground. She lifted it up to her eyes and smelled it. She moved her hand around and let it reflect in the sun light. Quietly, she whispered, "this doesn't look real."
Beth holstered her gun. She stood up. She strolled over to Orion, who looked up to her in terror. "It's some country redneck kids having too much fun. It's iron. It only looks like blood, because blood has a lot of iron in it. C'mon, I'll help you out of your pack."
Beth's police training had her already completely calmed. Orion was still scared. He hugged her hard. His fingers pulled at her clothes for protection. "Jesus, I didn't know you had gotten so strong from playing guitar," she said.
Klaus slowly backed away. He was upset at the defeat. However, seeing the loving and supporting connection between the couple only strengthened his resolve to scare them back to the city, to safety.
The next stretch of the trail had burned a decade ago. The trees were still young and low. One could not see more than ten yards. The long tree needles often reached into the trail and brushed the passing hiker. In there was a hidden backpack of a hiker that had vanished years ago. Klaus occasionally used the supplies in it. He pulled out a clear fishing line and a bear banger. A bear banger looks like a pencil with a ring. Pull of the ring and a loud explosion terrifies any bear into a rout, or so the theory goes.
Klaus found two bushy seven feet tall young pine trees that stood on opposite sides of the trail. They formed a squeeze. The overhead lighting was dark from an older tree claiming all sunlight. He stretched the fishing line across the trail at throat level. He attached one end firmly to the pine tree. The other end was attached to the ring on the bear banger. The bear banger was wedged into the crook of a branch. This would give them a good jolt. He hid nearby.
The couple came by an hour later. They must have had lunch. Orion looked spooked by the dark forest. He twitched occasionally, as if he was imagining threats lurking in the shadow. Klaus couldn't resist throwing a big rock to make a loud sound. Orion jumped and tumbled. Klaus had to put his hand over his mouth to stifle the laughter. Beth said, "Hush, it's just forest noises. It's only nature out here. Enjoy the trees caressing you. This is much safer..."
Beth froze in place. "Don't make a move." Orion instantly froze and stopped breathing. Beth got her switch blade out of the cargo pocket of her pants. She carefully lifted the fishing line with the blade. She mumbled under her breath, "They told us to watch out for the shallow glint during urban warfare training."
Her knife very gently lifted the fishing line to avoid triggering anything, yet be able to trace it in the darkness of the thick forest. When she discovered the bear banger deep in the young tree, she exclaimed pissed, "That's crossing a line. Those things are so loud that they can damage your hearing. I better disassemble this booby trap before someone gets hurt."
"Beth, don't you think, we should turn around? First the scary guy, then the blood, now booby traps."
"We wouldn't make it out in time. The sun goes down early this time of the year. I don't think we will make it to the camp ground. We were slower than we planned. Our best bet is to find a good spot and set up camp for the night. And, tomorrow morning, we'll go back. There is a stream with fresh water nearby."
"Damn," thought Klaus. He had failed. That hot police chick was too cunning. The twilight had already settled over the forest. Nightfall was close. The whole day he had been cool and basked in the beauty of the warm fall day. Now, desperation was driving him. He was running. He was running with all his might. The power of the night would soon take hold. He ran. His body broke through dead branches. Dry cracking sounds marked their breaking. And, then the light branches would fling in the air. He only had to watch out for his eyes to not get ripped by branches in the half light.
With his heart pounding, the side stitch squeezing, he was holding onto a rock in the wall of his cave. The cave was earthen and wet. It was the next best thing from hiding in a hole. He just had to get away and hide. He could already feel the transformation. He could feel the black energy stretching through his blood vessels. He looked up at his hand. The blue veins were slowly turning black. His body shivered from the sweat turning freezing cold.
The beast inside of him was coming alive. He screamed in agony. His internal organs transformed. His rib cage grew. The tender thoughts went out of his head. The pain blinded his thoughts. The animal inside of him was awakening. His nose became more sensitive. The scent of the young woman in the forest tingled his nose at first and then became a clear vivid impression. He could smell her young body odor, so sweet. He could smell the sweat beneath her arm pits. He could smell the sticky moisture of her sex. He remembered her succulent body. He remembered those glacier-blue eyes that he wanted to get lost in.
He let out a growl and started following her scent in the air. His mouth watered from the memories of her spunky nature. He paused for a moment. The night air was heavy with humidity. He smelled the earth. He smelled the sap of the trees. Crystal clear was the direction of her scent. He walked, driven to take his prey.
Beth's scent turned deliciously thick. He could smell the lavender in her deodorant. He could smell the musk of her hair. He could smell the cheesy scent of her sweaty feet in her running shoes. And, there they were. They had found a flat spot in the forest. The tent was pitched. The light was out. City slicks tend to fall asleep right after dusk; they are so tired from the hiking and fresh air.
Klaus sneaked silently toward the tent. He'd plant down one foot, slowly shift the weight on it. Then, move the next foot. He had all the patience of a predator, because he had only one purpose tonight and nothing else to do. He kneeled in front of the tent. He carefully pulled on the zipper. He let each zipper link quietly click individually. There was the slight sound of fabric rubbing against each other when he placed the tent flap on top of the tent. The sleeping couple didn't even twitch.
Orion was rolled into a blue sleeping bag. His face was half covered by his long hair. Beth was a hot sleeper. Her sleeping bag was half kicked away. Her butt was exposed. She was wearing a snug panty that let her strong butt muscle show at the side. Her legs were firm. Her tank top had slid to the side, so that one of her breast fell out. The large areola was exposed to the night air. The nipple was big and firm. Her mouth was lightly open. She was a mouth breather. Her toes were stubby. Her legs were curvy. Klaus got the full view of her. The animal side gave him night vision.