March 1st, 2023
Planted is a short story in Fear Forge: Spring Quarter 2023 Edition
Rain poured down in torrents, pooling and disturbing the soil. Mud dripped into Amanda’s eyes. Darkness pressed in all around her, but the weight of the soil comforted her like a therapeutic blanket. They had buried her. Dead or alive, she wasn’t sure anymore.
She wriggled her fingers.
The rush of rainwater lasted several days. Soaked and chilled, she lay trapped in her damp grave as lizards and snakes crawled over her face and torso. Insects and small rodents nestled beside her, making nests in her hair. Inch by inch, the continuing storm washed away the dirt and stones that covered Amanda’s upper torso.
Amanda dug at the saturated soil covering her legs until her fingers were raw and black blood oozed from under her nails. In the darkness, slipping and sliding, she crawled out of the water-logged hole. Above her, moonbeams filtered through the bare tree branches. She cracked her jaw.
A bouquet of delicious odors wafted from deeper in the woods. Ripe, rotting flesh and congealed blood made Amanda’s mouth water. She licked her lips and followed her nose.
High up in an oak tree, a body swung from a limb. Amanda grabbed the lowest branch and climbed. Saliva flooded her mouth when she reached the rotted and bloated corpse. While untying the knot, her hand brushed one of the many black festering lesions on the female corpse. The woman’s death screams filled Amanda’s mind and she clutched her head in agony.
– Chris Stenson
Available March 1st, 2023
Paperback and Kindle