mammoth trees

Sleepless Nights

Originally posted by frozen-delight

You felt a stinging sensation slice through your cheek as you bolted through the thick forest, the scenery barely visible in the misty night time darkness. Brushing your fingers across the pain you saw they came back sticky and dark. The scent of fresh blood wasn’t going to help you any. You needed to get as far away from here as is humanly possible. Away from it.

It was chasing you.

You could feel your panic levels continue to rise as you attempted to leap over a fallen tree that was just too high for you. Heart thumping out of your chest, you grunted as you jumped and clung onto the jagged bark and pulled up as hard as you could.

You could hear it pounding towards you, it was catching up. Swinging one leg up, you rolled over onto the top of the log and dropped down on the other side, unfortunately on a rather sharp rock that stuck out of the ground. Landing hard on your arm you felt the skin around your elbow split open and the bone twist unnaturally. You shrieked at the sudden pain and gripped it tight.

Doing your best to ignore the injury, you staggered to stand before you could take a proper lungful of air and then carried on running. You could hear it breaking branches and slamming into tree trunks behind you. It was hulking, massive. At least 10 foot tall from what you could see from the corner of your eye.

A loud and inhuman screech suddenly bellowed, shattering through the night, blasting through the air with a lightning fast boom. It felt like an earthquake as shockwaves knocked you off your feet. Dirt and leaves swept up around you as you squished your eyes closed and covered your ears with your hands, your elbow protesting from the movement, forehead pressed to the ground. It was so deafening that you couldn’t tell if you were screaming or not.

And then there was silence.

No birds, no crickets, not a whisper.

Had you lost your hearing? Or had everything else in the forest either died from shock or fled from the noise?

You scrambled over on all fours to press your back against the bottom of a nearby tree, its mammoth roots digging into your backside. You covered your mouth with a dirty, bloody hand and tried to breathe quietly through your nose. You wrapped your arms around your knees and pulled your legs to your chest to try to make yourself as small as possible.

Maybe it would go straight past you.
Maybe if you stayed here it wouldn’t be able to find you.

You heard something wet slosh onto the ground.
And then a crunch of a pinecone.

Your eyes widened as a towering beast stepped out of the shadows. It crept between the trees just 20 foot from you. You could see the grey, rancid skin that stretched unnaturally over it’s ancient bones and joints. It stunk of decay, you had to switch to using your mouth to breathe. A black slimy substance oozed from the holes where it’s eyes used to sit, out of its mouth where cracked and brown teeth jutted out. You could hear its haggard breath as it inched its way around. It didn’t know where you were yet, but you could tell it was listening, hunting. Waiting for you to make a mistake. Step by step it got closer and closer, it’s bare feet dragging across the crispy leaves and its skinless fingers tapping together quickly, resembling the sound of an agitated rattlesnake.

And then it stopped.

Its mouth hung open, no lips to close it. It tilted its head back slowly as if in a trance, letting the ancient grey robe slip off of its head, revealing the ghastly scratches and decayed spots all over its scalp. It looked like a walking corpse. And it definitely smelled like one.

You fought not to gag. Whilst the smell was mostly obstructed by the finger pressed to your nostrils, you could taste the foul scent as it coated your tongue and slithered its way down your throat.

Your eyes stayed locked on it, watching its every move, trying to predict what it would do next. The pain in your arm was starting to throb agonisingly hot, blood coated your stomach, arms and hands.

Black gunge oozed its way down it’s sunken cheeks and slopped onto the ground like death’s fallen tears.

What was it doing just standing there looking at the starry sky? Obviously it couldn’t see, it didn’t have any eyes, and it’s a good thing too.

It was 5 foot from you. All it had to do was turn 95 degrees and it would be facing you.

It’s jaw creaked open a little, and a long croaky noise spilled out as it twisted its head slowly to the right, towards you. The overwhelming terror that wracked your body was the first thing that inspired you to try and shift to ready yourself for another bout of sprinting.

And of course, as you leaned back to plant your feet on the ground, you snapped a twig under your palm.

The croaking sound morphed into a piercing screech and it flew towards you, looking like death itself as rotted robes surrounded it like a dark aura, it’s arms spread wide, a vulture in flight.

You screamed and started to kick your legs to push yourself away, with no luck. It’s decrepit hand was already gripped around your throat, rotted fingers digging painfully deep into your soft flesh. Your lungs seized and your skull ground against the bark behind you as it bent down and hovered menacingly. You couldn’t breathe, you couldn’t think. All you could do was stare at the bottomless pits in its face that stared back, maybe you would fall into them and die there.


And then it crushed your neck and cracked your spine.

.

“..Y/N! Y/N WAKE UP! Y/N GODDAMN IT YOU’RE DREAMING WAKE UP!” You felt a harsh slap across your cheek and you bolted up. Breathing heavy and drenched in sweat, your eyes darted around the dimly lit room looking for the thing that just pulverized your throat. Still panicking and making distressed noises, your hand fumbled with your pillow behind you, reaching for the knife you always kept under it.

“Hey, HEY. Look at me.” hands gripped either side of your head and forcefully turned it to face a very worried looking Dean. His eyes were searching for your recognition, for you to realise that here - there was no threat. You visibly relaxed and relented your search for a weapon, but your eyes were still ablaze with fear.

“Dean.” your voice cracked and you swallowed thickly.

“What was that?” he asked, stroking a thumb up and down your cheek, the sensation of his calluses giving you something to focus on, his eyes grounding you. You pressed your lips together in effort to keep your miserable cries at bay and shook your head, your messy hair swishing over your shoulders.

“Please, don’t make me-”

“Hey, I’m not gonna make you do anything you don’t want to,” he pulled you closer and put your head on his shoulder, you automatically pressed your forehead into his neck. “but you’re gonna have to tell me what’s going on at some point. This is the third time you’ve had a bad dream this week, and I know this isn’t a normal nightmare.”

Tears spilled down your cheeks and onto his bare chest, running little rivers down his body. You nodded against him and sobbed. You scooted around and climbed into his duvet covered lap, craving his warm and safe embrace. Wrapping your arms under his and gripping his shoulders tight, you shook as your sobs took control. His hand had moved from your face to slid around your back, the other clutching the back of your head, his fingers weaved into your hair. Dean had no idea what was frightening you, tormenting you as you slumbered. He hadn’t asked the first two times you had woken up with a scream.

It wasn’t unusual for Hunters to wake up from nightmares, whether they be from bad dreams or just bad memories. It was something you both dealt with, but this was different.

This wasn’t a memory, and it wasn’t a monster you had seen before. It was new and terrifying and it made you feel like a newbie hunter coming face to face with your first ghost. It left you speechless and trembling, it was unfamiliar and yet it felt like… a warning.

Your eyes snapped open. You stared unseeingly at the door as an unsettled feeling invaded your body, and horrible thoughts permeated your mind. What if it was a warning? What if that dream was spelling something out for you and you couldn’t see what it was?

What if this was how you died?

A shot of ice cold fear trickled down your spine and you shivered. Dean, thinking you were actually cold, dragged the soft white blanket up from the bottom of the bed and slid it over your shoulders, tucking around your front.

Dean studied your tired, miserable face and realised that tonight wasn’t the best time to get into what was plaguing your dreams. He sighed out of his nose and then flicked the tip of yours, making you jump and weakly glare at him.

“Do you want to get a hot drink?” he said whilst he slowly ran a palm up and down your arm. You took a shaky breath in and out and then nodded. “Good. I’ll even use your fancy coffee machine and make you that weird green crap you like.”

You sniffed and rolled your eyes. “It’s called a macha latte, Dean. And it’s delicious.”

“Yeah, whatever.” he replied playfully and grinned when you pinched his arm.

He brushed the tears from your cheeks before he kissed your forehead. Then both of your cheeks. Then the tip of your nose. You gave him a little smile and gently pushed at his chest. “There’s my girl.” he gave you a tender smile that he saved just for you, and you softly brushed your hand against his cheek and then wrapped your arms around his neck, leaning your chin on his muscled shoulder.

“Carry me, I’m so tired.” You feigned weakness. It wasn’t too difficult, if you had one more nightmare-filled, sleepless night you might just break.

Dean scoffed but slid his legs out of bed and picked you up anyway, one arm still around your back and the other under your knees.

“Alright, Princess. You get away with this tonight, but you owe me.” his voice echoed off the walls as he walked you down the hall.

“Of course. Whatever you say, love.” You watched the long hallway fade into darkness behind you with unblinking eyes, just incase. 

As light as your conversation was, that fear hadn’t fully left you, it still had it’s claws sunk into your bones. And it wouldn’t leave you, not until you found out what that thing was, and why it was chasing you. Maybe it was time to talk to Crowley. If anyone was going to know what that beast was, it was him.
Dean wasn’t going to be happy…


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A/N: I THINK I want to make this into a series. At the very least a two parter. I want to explore what the reader might do, what Crowley might say, and how Dean will react to everything. 

Hope you all enjoyed this one! 

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Whoops it’s been awhile since I posted a drawing on this blog. I just got my new monitor tablet in today, so here, have a sketch!

Anrien wants to keep moving, but Sifjar wants to stop and…. stare at whatever she’s lookin at for a little bit longer. The Aurora Borealis? The Eldergleam tree? Some Mammoths & Giants? Whichever works for you. LOL

The trees are columns of slick, brindled bark like muscular animals overgrown beyond all reason. Every space is filled with life: delicate, poisonous frogs war-painted like skeletons, clutched in copulation, secreting their precious eggs onto dripping leaves. Vines strangling their own kin in the everlasting wrestle for sunlight. The breathing of monkeys. A glide of snake belly on branch. A single-file army of ants biting a mammoth tree into uniform grains and hauling it down to the dark for their ravenous queen. And, in reply, a choir of seedlings arching their necks out of rotted tree stumps, sucking life out of death. This forest eats itself and lives forever.
—  Barbara Kingsolver, The Poisonwood Bible
Watch on the-earth-story.com

Spire (most likely metamorphic rock) sticking out of the Sierra Nevada Mountains near Mammoth. Plus a tree in the lake in the foreground.