Doug pulled the body from the back of the car, he let it drop to the ground with a heavy thud. He grabbed it by the legs and dragged the body into the middle of the clearing, he looked at the trees nervously then quickly went back to the car. The sun was setting, it would be night soon. In the car he turned up the radio and waited.
He didn’t see it, but he could hear it, tearing and ripping its way through the body. He kept his eyes focused on the steering wheel the entire time. He continued to wait after the noise died down, around him the trees rustled and whispered to one another. He took a deep breath then stepped out of the car, he had done this many times before, but still he feared the creature would attack him. He moved around the car and into the clearing, there he shone his torch over the patch where the body had been. Dark glistening patches covered the ground, there was no sign of the body, no bones, no skin, nothing but splashes of blood and that dark liquid. Satisfied the body was gone he hurried back to the car. Once inside he locked the doors and began to drive. He had never seen the creature and anyone who had wouldn’t talk about it much, the most he could ever get out of them was a simple, “you don’t want to know. I still get nightmares.” Doug took them at their word.
As he left the woods he felt himself relax a little, he had always hated them. Growing up nearby his childhood was full of stories about them, about the things that lurked inside. Even as children they were forbidden to enter, every now and then a child would disobey. When he was a child it was a young boy named Evan. He was a loner, never really made friends with the other children. He would spend his evenings playing at the edge of the forest, climbing trees, catching bugs. He had even started to build a little fort in one of the trees, though when the parents found out they tore it down themselves. He went missing a week later, it looked as though he had been trying to rebuild his fort, this time he had moved it a little deeper into the woods. Doug had heard that they had found a mangled hammer at the base of the tree and that was the only trace of him that was ever found. Even now as an adult he hated the place, even though the few overgrown roads were supposed to be safe enough. As he drove he swore he could see things looking at him from the dark shadows, quick glimpses caught in his headlights as he drove by. He didn’t look too closely, nor did he slow down. Bobby, the man he replaced, told him of the things in the woods that would try to lure him from his car, beautiful women that beckoned to him, the sound of children crying or screaming. Doug always made sure to have the radio as loud as he could stand it. Once or twice he caught sight of someone standing just beyond the trees, he could have sworn that one of them was his father, though his father had been dead for the last fifteen years.
The trees started to thin a little, something darted across the road, his didn’t slow, nor did he stop as he drove over something, he didn’t look in his mirror. What ever it was he didn’t want to know. The creatures that lived here were clever things, on more than one occasion he had seen a small bundle lying in the middle of the road, they always looked like small babies, wrapped in old, faded cloth.
As he pulled onto the main road he felt himself relax and he lowered the radio a little, the road itself was empty of other cars, most of the people in the city didn’t like to be out here after dark, strange things could happen. He knew he was safe enough, they had never directly attacked his car or anyone who was dropping off a corpse, but still the fear remained. They were animals after all, and sometimes instinct was too strong.
He pulled into his driveway and sat for a moment, he turned off the car and stepped out into the cool night air. He moved around his car with the torch, looking for any damage, there was none. He bent over and peered under the car, torch light shaking in his unsteady hands, there was nothing there. He stood up again and moved towards his door. What ever that thing was it had stayed in the woods. He let out a breath he wasn’t aware he was holding, sometimes the stress didn’t seem worth the money, but it was an easy enough job and someone had to do it. He liked to think of it as a public service, that it helped keep the creatures satisfied, a tribute to them in return for staying in their woods. He didn’t know who the people were, he didn’t care, they were already corpses when they came to him and he was fine with it once he didn’t have to do the killing himself. He unlocked his door and went inside, there he kicked off his shoes and continued on to the kitchen, turning on lights as he went. In the kitchen he opened the fridge and grabbed out a beer, he opened it and downed it in a few gulps, then he grabbed another, opening it as he let out a loud belch. He took a sip of the second one, feeling some of the tension ooze out of him as the first beer got to work. He went into the sitting room and sat down heavily on the couch, it was small but it was just him in the house, he flicked on the TV and found something to watch, a comedy, these days he watched little else.