The sun had long since sunk behind the branches of the forest, and twilight settled quietly over the landscape. All of the nighttime animals began to awake to their sunless mornings, and the stars shone brightly in the dark sky. Somewhere in a clearing near the tall trees, a small trail of smoke began to curl into the cold night air, twisting and turning until it dispersed.

Sitting around the crackling fire, on makeshift chairs, or, simply put, logs and rocks, were a few men clad in flannel and camouflage print, as well as fluorescent orange. All of them had a beer in their hand, and their conversations grew more and more…odd.

"I swear it on my wife's grave!" one man cried, pointing at the other across the fire with his now empty beer can.

"You're full of shit, Dave," the other replied, crossing his arms over his chest. "You're just full of shit."

The other two sitting around the fire laughed, and turned their attention now to Dave. "C'mon, you morons don't believe me? Murray, I've heard it from several people, who heard it first hand! The forest comes to life during huntin' season, 'specially at this time of th' day, at that. Hand me another beer, mine seems to be empty."

Murray grabbed a beer from the cooler near him, and tossed it over the fire to Dave, who caught it, popped it open with a cold hiss, and took a long drought from it, as if it was the first thing he had to drink all week. "Anyways, you know my buddy Rick, right? Well, he told me that he heard from his buddy that the forest comes to life. Literally. Not jus' all those animals and bugs and all, but the trees."

The other men at the campfire laughed. "You're friend's friend is a little off his rocker. First of all, trees are already alive. Second, shut up and sit your fat ass back down. You're full of shit," the man on the right of him said, readjusting his hat.

"First off to you, Mr. Hot-shot-professor, don't get all science-y on me. Second, my ass is not fat. I'm just big boned," Dave said, turning and looking at his rear. "I think it's rather becoming. Anyhow! So my buddy said that his buddy said that he had a friend that stayed up too late huntin' one night, and that he was up in his tree stand, when outta nowhere, the trees started creakin' and bendin' but there was no wind. And then, when he jus' ignored it fer a little, the tree branches started closing in on him, and lifted him right outta his tree stand, and his gun went flyin' outta his hands. He screamed, and it musta scared the tree, 'cause it dropped him right back to th' ground, and he broked his leg 'cause 'a how he landed."

The group fell silent, before bursting into laughter. "You gotta be shittin' me Dave! Seriously? Trees are alive, but not like that, you fuckin' moron!"

"God, you must've had a few too many beers or somethin', 'cause you've gotta be wasted man, you dumbass," Murray said, shaking his head.

"I swear on my wife's grave!" he repeated. He then turned and pointed to the man on the right of him "You, Mr. Professor of science. You should know about this! It was some college 'er government experiment gone wrong, or maybe too right, or...well, you catch my drift. They wanted to give the rain forest a real fightin' chance 'gainst de-forest-azation or whatever the hell it is. So they did some gene splicin' and breedin' and all that shit, and viola! Killer trees!"

"Yeah," the professor said, rolling his eyes "but I'm sure that there bark is worse than their bite."

The other two men snickered, and Dave puffed out his chest. "Fine. Then I'll prove it to the lot of yah." He chugged the rest of his beer, wiped his mouth, and said "Any of yah got one of those, video cameras 'er somethin'? I'm gonna need some solid evidence to prove you guys wrong."

"You know what Dave?" Murray said, grinning, and lifting himself from his seat with a groan, "I'll just go with you. I mean, I'll be able to give the tree the Heimlich once it realizes you're too big for its mouth."

"Good man, Murray", the professor said, while the other man still just sat shaking his head and laughing.

Dave tossed his can behind him, and sighed, "Welp, let's get a move on Murray. We're burnin' moonlight!"

Murray laughed, but followed Dave into the forest, following a well worn path. "Oooh Dave, so scary out here, all these trees are gonna get us!" Murray whispered, wiggling his fingers over his head, circling around Dave.

"Shhhhh!" he hissed, frowning at his friend. "You'll let them know we're ontah them. C'mon, we gotta get offa this path.."

Murray shook his head, but clambered through the underbrush off the beaten path, staying close to Dave. "Damit Dave, did you let one rip?"

Dave laughed hoarsely, and nodded, "Yeah, that was a good one, huh?"

"Shit man, I think something died inside your ass after eating a pound of stink bait. Damnit, you're gonna melt my face off with that thing!"

"Shhh!" Dave hushed again, "Now, you stay here, and I'll just wander out there, and see what happens."

"Aye aye, Cap'n Stinkass," Murray responded, saluting his friend.

Dave ambled out of the thick bushes, stumbling a little, and falling over a tree root. He grumbled, and dusted himself off after pulling himself to his feet. He laughed at himself nonetheless, and stood in between a few tall oaks, turning his face upwards towards their branches. "Come on, you pussies! I know what yah really are!" He then proceeded to kick the trunk of the tree to his left, and crossed his arms over his chest.

Murray laughed from his position amongst the shrubs, and gave him the thumbs down. "Boo! You suck!" he jeered.

Dave bowed slightly, and toppled a little, and fell backwards. His feet went from under him, but he never hit the ground. "Look, I could be a ballet dancer! I'm so graceful!" Dave shouted, giggling.

Murray stood up slowly, staring in disbelief at Dave. He had not caught his balance. It was a few branches that had caught him. Murray's gaze traveled from the base of the tree trunk up its length, around the bend, and the branches that had the drunken man entangled. "O-okay Dave, I believe you. Let's go now.."

Dave laughed, and then his laughter stopped as he began to ascend into the air, inch by inch, foot by foot. His voice seemed to have left his throat, because Dave did not have a remark on what was happening to him. ""

Murray rubbed his eyes with his fists, hard. "I'm never gonna drink again, I swear it..."

The branches began to tighten on the large man, small holes starting to appear in his red flannel jacket, and then quickly biting into his flesh. Murray stared in awe, his mouth opening wider as he tilted his head further back, following his friends rise to the top. He watched as the contents of Dave's pockets dropped to the ground with a dull thud, and then his hand dropped alongside his wallet.

Murray's eyes widened, and he screamed, turning and running as fast as he could, his booted feet scrambling for tread on the flat earth. He caught himself, and started bolting through the dark trees, batting at branches that reached down for him. His feet went out from under him, tripped by a tree root. He screamed again, as a large branch wrapped itself around his head, silencing him abruptly.