By Olive Lambert

I. wooden crosses mark the place // red ribbons adorn // where a 707 came down in the dark oak woods // no survivors except for the stories // of how the crash didn’t kill everyone // the mutilated bodies half-buried in the soil // victims of the creature lurking in the shadows // hidden in the spaces between the trees // only caught in a dark flash out of the corner of your eye

II.  a thing wearing the face of Linda Carlisle of seat 15 walks into a drug store // it buys two packs of licorice // and some Marlboro reds // from the teenage cashier // as the owner calls the police from the back // by the time the cops arrive // the creature is gone // and the deep footprints in the mud lead back into the woods // the teenage cashier says // the prints look like hooves

III. the wooden cross bearing Linda’s name becomes a tourist attraction // her red ribbon keeps being stolen // the townspeople cannot tell if the screams they hear // echoing from the woods at night // are the tourists or the beast // but they know the missing persons reports // are piling up

IV. along the quiet stretch of highway // on the edge of the dark oak woods // three cars crash in fiery fury // no survivors except for the stories // of how their torn off faces // must have been from the fire // not from the creature // that four people saw watching from the trees // while they visited the memorial // the town does not bother leaving red ribbons this time

V. a truck driver stops one night on that stretch of highway // no one knows why // leaving the safety of his vehicle // to walk into the middle of the road // where his mutilated body is found in the morning // the teenage cashier starts a blog about the murders of the dark oak woods 

VI. a hunter tells the local news // that while having his morning coffee in his cabin  // he saw a creature wearing the face of Brandon Sawyer of the fiery car crash // and it called to him from behind a dark oak tree // he closed the curtains as the creature wailed // he said it asked for a red ribbon 

VII. the teenage cashier posts on their blog // that this creature must have lured the truck driver into the road // and maybe giving into its demands // would make the killings stop // so they venture into the woods // camera rolling // to decorate the crosses along the highway

VIII. the police find the body the next day // flowers strewn around the mutilated face // the white ribbons the teenager tied around the crosses // dyed red with their blood

IX. the camera is never found // and the townspeople do not know // whether to put up a cross to display their grief // or stay quiet // and let the dead be at peace


Olive Lambert is an undergraduate student of creative writing at Susquehanna University. Her published work spans poetry, fiction, satire, and creative nonfiction. He is the author of two poetry chapbooks published by his university’s publishing and editing program. Her aspiration is to write queer science fiction to support her coffee habit.

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