Describing a Dark Forest   4 comments

This post contains the first 5 levels from my descriptive writing book: ‘Writing with Stardust’. Most of my posts are about the beautiful and the alluring. This is a story from the ‘Dark Forest’ chapter.

1. The trees in the forest were bladder-brown. COLOUR
2. The trolls were chewing and chomping on red meat. A MONSTERS FEAST
3. They ate under the shadowy groves. DARK WOODS
4. The air was stuffy. BAD AIR
5. The forest was old and antiquated. YE OLDE FORESTE
6. The trees were staring at me like silent sentries. OTHER IMAGES
7. I crept around the poisonous wolfs bane. FOREST POISONS
8. There was a yucky pong in the forest. SMELL
9. It was a hair-raising place. SENSATION
10. I injured my mouth. The fishy taste of blood was disgusting.

The trees in the dark forest were nicotine-brown. Orcs were gobbling meat and grinding on bone. Gloomy scrubs hid dangerous creatures. The musty air was difficult to breathe. The forest was old and otherworldly. Oxblood-red toadstools littered the ground. Poisonous cowbane grew next to them. An acrid odour hung off everything. It was a teeth-gritting experience. I bit my tongue with nervousness and the metallic taste of blood filled my mouth.

The trees in the forest were malady-brown. Grains of poison begrimed the bark and gleamed like witch dust. Trolls haunted the sooty coppices, salivating over their prey and smearing the blood over their heavy faces. The decaying air and stifling atmosphere provided the perfect abode for those who worshipped the darkness rather than the light. In the dense shadows, spiders clutched their snare-strings. Their webs shimmered like meshed steel dipped in silver. Eyes a-flame with hunger, they were hoping to dine on bloated bodies and slurp on hot blood.
The forest was primordial. Centuries-old trees with sprawling limbs guarded the darkness, blotting out any sunlight. Their bark was mottled and splotched, as if bubbled soup had been frozen in time on its surface. Clumpy combs of wet moss dangled from their rotten boughs. Underneath the moss, lethal larkspur peppered the mulchy floor. A pungent tang oozed from every sentient being in the forest. Bewailing sounds ghosted through the trees. Whether it was from victim or victor, only the forest could tell. It was truly a place to make your veins freeze over. Everything considered edible in another forest was nauseating here. It left you with the same, sickening taste of your own blood. It was a forest to be avoided.

For much more of these types of posts, please check out my new book Writing with Stardust by clicking the book title.

Transylvania- circa 1350

“Cannibals always feast under a blood-red moon.”

Every child in his village had laughed at the forest-lore passed down by the woodcutters all those years ago. Now the villagers themselves were gone, swept away as if by some invisible hand, and he knew the saying to be true. Looking at the Godless scene unfolding in front of him, the king’s monster hunter believed he would die here today. He was duty bound to help, but there were too many of the heathens to fight. Their spice-blue eyes and waxy skin pallor marked them out as flesh-eaters. He watched, spellbound and revolted in equal measure, as they danced a ghastly ritual around a huge fire, ululating to the beat of a rumbling drum. Their limbs were akimbo and their expressions frenzied as they dragged the first victim towards the pig-spit. Mounds of old, gnawed bone, a midden heap of gleaming ribs and grinning skulls, caught the fires blaze and sickened him. His flesh crept and the hair on his neck rose like the hackles of a dog. Fear, a feeling he was unused to, felt like melting tallow under the surface of his skin, feverish and hot. The sanguine-red moon flooded the holt, giving off an unearthly glow of flame and fire.

The vast, contorted tree he leaned against leaked its sticky sap like the poisoned back of a toad, burning his hand. He snatched it away. He was at the outermost edge of the fires glow, concealed in the murky shadow of the tree’s massive vines. They twisted up insanely, like the despairing limbs of the damned begging for forgiveness. Above him, ghostly horsetails of moss were hanging from barrel-thick boughs like a poltergeist’s entrails. A large pearl of rain gathered at the bottom of one of these spectre-strings. It alone had made its way through the labyrinthine canopy of hoary limbs and leafy bowers. It teetered there for an age. Then with a slimy pop it released itself. A solitary moonbeam speared through the trees at that moment. The globule glowed red, like the vile drop of a blood oath, before splashing onto the rotten humus. The wraithy horsetails shivered once with a swished whisper of hatred and settled back into their silent spite. The hoary tree knots glared at him like baleful eyes. He felt like the forest was infecting him with its alien pox.

Never had he encountered these emotions on his many hunts. He had quarried after dread vampyres in the fathomless bowels and dripping basins of the deepest caves. He had ascended sky-kissing mountains to seek out blood-besmeared trolls. He had even, as a favour to a foreign king, crossed a tyranny of distance to bring to bay the Black Golwroth of Karaganda in his lair. But this dark forest was different to anywhere he had been before. Hunting after base beasts into dens and burrows, down begrimed pits and through gloomy hollows, could not begin to compare to this gullet of madness. Just being here felt like partaking in an unholy parody of life. He tried to think of a word for the renders of human flesh he was gazing upon, but it eluded him. They had maggoted their way to this glade, burrowing like wood-weevils into the corrupted heart of the forest. He noted with contempt their filed-down fangs and brutish weapons; clunky clubs, brutal bull-axes and wicked sickles. It seemed fitting to him that they would inhabit this sacrilegious wood.

Two weeks of plunging through stunted coppices and hacking at misshapen thickets had gotten him here. It was a grotesque haunt, offensive to eye, ear and nostril. The air was hot and stale, burning his lungs like the fumes from brimstone. The floor of the forest belched up constant waves of foul and rancid odours that smelt like sickly excrement. All the freewheeling flotsam of the trees gathered there in blasted mounds of steaming mulch. The scorch of the sun didn’t cause this. Only an occasional, listless ligament of light would pin-prick through the dense foliage. It was like a constipated beam of hopelessness, limply flickering. It had all the cheerless comfort of a dying candle flame. Heat was provided by the thickness of the forests canopy. It compressed down upon the lucifugous heads of those below, creating a sunless curtain of chaos-black. Toxic-yellow fungi tossed their pestilent spores into this goulash of decay. Deformed trees pressed in from the sides, adding to the mood of stuffy claustrophobia.

Only one trickling streamlet gasped its way through the stomach-souring compost. Like the river of hell, it was Acheron-black and gleamed with a deadly lustre. At its swirling edges, bladder-brown leaves got sucked into the inky morass and added to the treacly pollution. On the trees, wet clumps of glistening Jews Ear hinged themselves slickly to the bark like clotted pus. Their glossy texture resembled the skin of slugs. Over the bitter water, great screens of milky mist were heaving with their own steaming malice. Stealthy scarves of the mist detached themselves, slowly glided in silence and coiled serpent-like around helpless limbs. Between the trees, wispy cobwebs threaded out like fibrous star-streak. They would be the sinewy tentacles of destruction for all those who would dare their tensile strength. Exhaling miasmas of rotting vapour rose up to meet the webs, while above, fevered eyes, glazed with hunger, waited among the endless damp. Cruel as those eyes were, they lacked the ferocity of the hunter’s eyes.

Those eyes were scanning the shroud of shadow at the other side of the fire. There appeared to be a crude, stone building made of poorly built, bulging stone. It was lichen-encrusted and a rotting roof lay upon it. From its interior came the most piteous moans and stomach-souring thumps. A caterwauling sound, somewhere between a tortured whine and a despairing screech, echoed in the night air. The tormented screams of the victims seared his soul. He was kinless and kith-less, with neither family nor friend, yet he had been smelted in the fiery forge of violence since he was a child. He was no longer afraid. The blood-lust was upon him, a familiar feeling. He kissed his crucifix and left it to hang in the tree. Wrapped around each forearm were cords of thin rope, edged with serrated, razor-steel. He unfolded these, letting them hang from each hand. He had a sword and three throwing knives, but he left them in their sheaths. It would be gory work tonight, silent and bloody. He eased away from the tree, a foe far more deadly than the hemlock and wolfs bane his moccasins stepped over.

Skirting the glade, he made his way to the stone building. He couldn’t see anyone guarding it, but could make out some horrible, stony voices from within. Their low harshness reminded him of lonely cemetery vaults and mildewed tombs. They were deep and seeped with malice. Creeping over to the wall, he searched for a gap between the stone to look through.

Four brutes with pop eyes and saucy beards stood over the villagers. They were wielding crude, bone-edged clubs. One of the bug-eyed heathens raised his club to continue his grisly work, but the monster-hunter had seen enough. “Abominations”, he whispered. He prepared himself to meet his Creator in this womb of pandemonium. He crept up to the entrance and stepped in…..

For much more of these types of posts, please check out my new book Writing with Stardust by clicking the book title.



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4 responses to “Describing a Dark Forest

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  1. A wonderful story

  2. Hello,
    Just wanted to thank you for having such a wonderful and informative website. I used some of your tips to write a descriptive essay for my sister. It came out top in a nationwide contest.
    Thank you once again for the assistance.

    • Hi Buhie: I hope you’re well. Thanks for taking the time to comment on my blog. Very classy of you. I’m delighted the posts helped your sister to win a national competition. You might give her my regards and congratulations please. I will keep uploading posts to help people with their descriptive writing. Thanks again and best wishes. Liam.

      On Sun, Feb 28, 2016 at 4:00 PM, Best Descriptive Writing Sites wrote:


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