Incident On Panther Mountain part 3

Hello friends! Tonight’s feature image is titled “A Light In The Forest 101519A” and is available for purchase by the instructions at the bottom of the article.

Please read Part 1 and Part 2 of Incident On Panther Mountain first.

The shadowy figure had topped the hillside by the time I reached where I had seen it. I looked up where I last saw it but by that time the fog was clearing up and the glare of the sun was hitting me right in the eyes. I couldn’t see beyond a few yards. As I squinted to try and spot any movement in the trees I could hear whispering coming from the top of the hill. My first reaction was major relief that panthers don’t whisper. But then I was also overcome with anger because this means that whoever it was had been spying on me. The right protocol would have been to announce your presence when you walk up on a stranger in the woods.

I continued to scan the hillside and trees looking for a sign of who might have been following me.

Image Titled “A Light In The Forest 101519b”

The was no movement at all. But I could still hear whispering coming from the top of the hill. Then the whispering turned into giggles. It was a small voice. It sounded like a child. There are houses and camps nearby but not really within walking distance for a child. And, even if the panthers are an urban legend there’s still bears, coyotes and bobcats in the woods. I didn’t struggle long with the choice. If there’s a child this deep in the I’d better find out who it is just in case someone is looking for them. I retrieved the axe from behind the seat of the truck so I could cut myself a proper hiking staff and a dead Dogwood tree I had just passed was just what the doctor ordered. Most of the rot was on the butt end of the tree so I cut it off about a foot above the ground and sharpened one end so I could dig it into the hillside for stability while climbing. The lose alluvial ground threatened to drop me back down to the road several times as I dug my homemade spike into the mountain and pulled myself up to the top. I looked back down at my truck and clicked the lock button until the truck respond with a beep of the horn to confirm that the lock engaged. I was blocking the road but if someone came up behind me I’m sure that they would understand why I’d done it. I scanned to the West first since the sun was so bright. There was no sign of a child to the West or the East. The woods were thick but not so as to hide in unless the child was behind one of the trees. I decided to wait them out a little and sat down on a stump where I could see the truck and the surrounding forest. I would sit there until either I heard movement in the leaves or someone else came up the road and was blocked by the truck. It wasn’t long before I heard the whispering and giggles again. It was coming from directly above me. I looked up the trunk of the tree I was leaned on. That’s when I noticed that this tree had a mouth and it appeared to be drooling.

Image Titled “The Hungry Tree”.

For a moment I wished I had not left the axe in my truck below. Thoughts of Tolkien and the Ents came to mind and I fully expected to be plucked from the forest floor and hurled for some distance. “There’s no way I’m seeing this.” I thought as stepped back for a better look.

To be continued on Part 4

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