Picture copied from here: https://www.reddit.com/r/SimplePrompts/comments/6aq85f/image_faint_laughter_as_i_climbed/

 

 

Straight lines enmeshed in the web of branches in front of me as I explored the woods beyond the castle.

As I entered the clearing, flower petals from a nearby cherry tree fell at the base of the remnants of a stone construction.

The leaves crunched under my boots as I circled it. My eyes narrowed. There were three arches, pummeled by time, holding up an ascending staircase.

It lead to nowhere. There was no sign of wood or the remnants of any building at all. They lead to nothing, ten feet up.

I looked around for any leads. The forest sang its usual song, but the scene was so serene that I had an itch in the back of my mind that this place was special. Perhaps in a good way, perhaps in a bad way.

Birds seemed to be singing for me now. The flower petals caught the mid-day sun like art out of a painting as they dropped. The slight wind blew in sweet smells of the clearing and beyond.

Everything was pushing me to skip up to the steps and ascend.

I smiled. An adventure is what I came out here for. The steps were stone, nothing more. I could see over the tops of the trees downslope. It would be a nice view.

With the first step, a small gust of wind. It pushed my loose clothes, and pulled me to my left. I teetered a bit and then corrected myself. There were no rails to hold on to. I looked at the steps ahead. They seemed to hypnotize me. I had to place my feet on that last platform. I had to claim this place.

My boots slapped the stone as my weight shifted. With each step my giddiness grew. Halfway through I froze.

Faintly, softly, muffled, there was child’s laughter.

I waited. The trees touched each other. The scent of the cherry blossoms found my nose again. It washed away any doubt of what I was doing.

My feet moved up the stairs. Over the arches I went. Three quarters of the way to the end I heard it again. Laughter from a covered mouth, like they were trying to hide it.

Was a little one watching me ascend the nothing stairs? It could have been funny to see an adult this gleeful over such an event.

I kept going, nearing that final step. This laughing person would see that it’s alright to have fun, even as an adult.

I placed both feet on the last platform, and turned to look at the view. The moment was taken from me.

A single hand swept from under one of the arches about halfway down. It reached for a piece broken step, something to grab onto.

My smile dropped. I moved to run past whatever was joining me on the stairway, but froze. It moved like a spider, swinging around the side of the arch. It stopped on all fours.

It had yellow eyes, hooves instead of feet, and horns that grew from the space above its forehead.

I took a step back. My heel found the edge. I pulled my weight lower, and my breath snapped in my throat.

The thing raised its body. It giggled. The trees seemed to follow suit. Like an applause. As if nature itself was taking cues from this half-man, half-goat that appeared from under a stone arch in a forgotten clearing.

It stepped towards me.

“What do you want?” I stammered.

It giggled again. Its head lowered as it did, covering its mouth a little.

“What do you want!?” I said louder.

Its face changed to confusion. Its head tilted a bit. But it kept moving forward. It was only a few steps away.

I looked behind me. Rubble dotted the tall grass. If I jumped, I would need to make sure that I found a spot that…

The thing leaped towards me. It shoved my chest, hard.

I fell from the steps and found stone. The impact was beyond painful.

“What the HELL!? My leg! Oh my god, my leg!” I screamed at it.

My hands shot downwards. My leg, or legs were broken.

It giggled again. I could see its face looking over the ledge at me. Flower petals fell on my face, and it disappeared from my view as it turned away.

My breathing quickened, my teeth ground against one another as I gritted through pain.

The giggling continued. The tall grass seemed to fold over me. Slowly at first, but the blades gathered courage. They fall upon me, pushing me against the earth.

“What do you want from me!?” I yelled.

As the last word fell from me the foliage wrapped itself over my mouth.

It giggled, and continued as I sank deeper into the earth.

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