The Unusual Suspects
The Body Orchard
The woodland is beautiful. Wildflowers of a dozen different kinds carpet the woodland floor, catching the dappled sunlight in brief flashes of color as it filters down through the trees. The air is fresh and fragrant. No birds are visible, but there’s birdsong in the distance.
A path leads through a hallowed out tree and into someplace else. The transition isn’t obvious to begin with, but soon, a vague feeling of unease begins to take hold. The sound of birdsong has stopped, and there is nothing at all to replace it. The blues, yellows and whites of the wildflowers are gradually replaced by fleshy pinks and bloody reds. The flowers are still swaying, but there is no wind. The leaves on the trees, a few minutes ago green and vibrant, are now yellowed, and have a strange, thick, rounded look to them. The bark on the trees looks smoother, like rough skin, the furrows in the bark looking a little like open wounds.
The colors start looking wrong somehow, artificial, like an over-saturated photograph.
Within a few dozen yards, there’s a clearing, a vaguely circular opening in the middle of a grove of trees. The ground is covered with fleshy leaves that look like freshly sliced slivers of skin. Mouth-flowers lick their lips and frantically speak in tongues. Blades of grass look like locks of human hair and swish back and forth. And the trees are all composed of remolded human flesh: the torsos that compose the tree trunks rise and fall, and make the sound of tortured breathing between screams that come from mouths with no faces. The place smells like a butcher’s shop.
In the center of the clearing is a small still pool of milky liquid. a metallic tube thrusts from the ground on one side, slowing drizzling more of the waste into the pool.