Short Story Exercise: The Forbidden Forest

(had Jason roll a D12, took that number of random Rory’s Story Cubes, shook ’em up, dropped on table and arranged in order they fell top to bottom, wrote short story)

A cold winter breeze shook the quaking aspens causing their leaves to tremble. Sherilyn yanked the zipper of her jacket to the top. “How much longer do we have to be out here?”

Karen laughed and grabbed her hand. “Isn’t this fun?  Aren’t you having the best time? I told you to dress warmly!” She tugged on her kid sister’s hand and ran faster down the trail.

“You’re going too fast! And my feet hurt.”

“Hey, do you remember that time when we were kids and Leslie tricked us into eating those dragon flies? Remember, she said they would make our boobs bigger?”

Sherilyn stumbled and jerked her hand away. “Yes. All of my sisters are comedians.”

“But do you remember what they tasted like? I know mine wiggled around a ton.”

“Mine tasted burnt.”

Karen howled at that and skipped ahead on the trail. Sherilyn shoved her hands deep into her pockets and followed slowly. The trail dipped and rose, and the wind didn’t let up. It twisted her hair into knots and blew strands into her eyes. She wished for the hundredth time that she’d worn a hat, or better yet, refused to go hiking. When Sherilyn finally caught up to Karen, she found her taking selfies next to a fallen tree.

“Can we go home now? It’s getting dark.”

“Wha–” She dropped the phone onto her face. “Ouch!”

Sherilyn smirked and turned back. After a few minutes her sister caught up, her eyes glued to the screen on her phone. Karen was carefully adjusting the filter on her selfie to better accentuate her cheekbones. As they trudged up a particularly steep hill, a glint of white off to the left caught Sherilyn’s eye.

She elbowed her sister and asked, “What do you think that is?”

Karen frowned at the object and marched towards it, shoving her phone into her pocket. There were dead leaves and fallen branches barricaded around the thing, and as Sherilyn got closer she could see a rusted white fender peeking out. Karen yanked at the leaves and sticks, uncovering the car.

“I wouldn’t do that,” Sherilyn warned.

“Why not?”

Sherilyn circled the mound while Karen continued to dig. It looked like the car had been deliberately buried, but what she couldn’t figure out was how it had gotten this far into the forest through all of these trees. The aspen grew so close together there was no way the car had been driven back here.

“The windshield is broken!” Karen said. “And…gross…looks like somebody’s in here.”

“Stop touching it! We need to call the police. Your fingerprints will contaminate the crime scene.”

Karen groaned. “Seriously, you need to stop watching those CSI shows. This car is old. They won’t even be able to get fingerprints off the dead driver.”

“Still, you should to stop messing with it.”

“Fine.” Karen pulled her phone out of her pocket, opened the camera, and then raised it high above her head to take another selfie. But when she looked up, her eyes widened and she let out a blood curdling scream.

“What? What?”

Karen continued shriek, backing away from the car, her eyes fixed on the branches above their heads. Sherilyn looked up, and her jaw dropped to her chest.

A fully clothed skeleton dangled from broken branches, its mouth hanging open.