It was just a stupid bet his friends made with him when they hung out for the last time. Tyler didn't want to go to the suicide forest located outside of their small town, Midrad. But of course, they bugged him until it was unbearable.
With a sigh, Tyler shoved his hands inside his pocket as he followed his friends, Milo, Joseph, and Katherine. It was just going to be a brief trip to the haunted grounds of hell. It was going to be brutal, so it begged the question. Why the hell were they going to such a gruesome landmark?
Their town had the highest suicide rates because of the severe conditions of living and general lack of everything. It was a depressing town with even more depressing people. Everyone wanted to leave, but the lack of funds and minimum pay from jobs only offered so many options.
Every year, more and more people were taking their own lives out in the suicide forest nearby. At this point, Midrad had more graveyards than the number of people living there. However, every town had those people who just cared about having fun, despite the decaying environment. Unfortunately, Tyler was not one of them.
For years, he had thought about going to the suicide forest just to scratch the itch. It was just a thought he had when he was younger, but as months flew by, his thoughts quickly took shape into a monster, rattling the cage to be free. It shrieked and banged its fist against the metal bars as it threatened to consume Tyler whole with just one thought; suicide.
It was an uphill battle he fought every day, but the worst part of it was he was fighting a losing war. He would wake up to the depressing sound of the alarm clock crashing its bells in his ears loudly as the sound of his parents deadened the house with miserable silence. None of them talked about anything joyful because they were always complaining about everything. So busy pinning the blame on each other. Pinning the blame on each other for even being alive.
It was no wonder they all wanted to end it all at the designated spot infamously named the suicide forest.
"Hey, cheer up, Tyler! We know you don't want to go to the suicide forest, but we just want to check it out!" Milo exclaimed enthusiastically for absolutely no reason.
How they managed to stay so cheerful was a miracle. They were probably the only reason he was still alive. As for the reason, he didn't want to go to the suicide forest was dead simple. If he saw all the bloody bodies in the forest, he was going to feel more inclined to do it.
"Yeah, whatever… Let's just make this trip quick." Tyler muttered as he followed them to the edge of the forest.
Joseph whistled as he put his arms on his hips and stared up at the tall trees. "These stupid trees sure are damn tall."
"Hey, if it makes you feel better, Tyler, we're here in the night so no one can see us," Katherine said as they entered the forest.
Tyler scoffed at her statement. She was stupid. It wasn't about being caught; it was a personal reason.
But just as they took a few steps into the forest, Tyler caught a whiff of the rotting stench coming from the forest. For some reason, it faintly reminded him of how Midrad smelled. Like a dead, hopeless community filled with despondence.
As they ventured deep into the forest, Tyler noticed the stench wafting through the air in horrendous waves. It was like witnessing all the despair of the town gathered in one area.
When the clouds cleared and the moonlight shone down on the forest, Tyler could see it clearly. The one thing he didn't want to see. The bodies of everyone who had lived in the town, only to succumb to the losing war.
Tyler watched in horror as bodies hung from the tree branches like Christmas decorations, except splattered in blood from the creatures eating their bodies alive. Flies buzzed around their flesh, mating and giving birth to maggots that squirmed around the rawness of their body.
Bodies were scattered along the base of trees with knives sticking out of their torsos while blood tarnished their clothing. From what Tyler could tell, only one of them had their organs spilled out on the ground in a rotten, revolting mess. Bugs crawled over the innards, feasting on the utter hopelessness of the dead person.
Looking around again, Tyler gazed at some of the bodies with their brains blown out with a single bullet, while some had evidently survived for a while longer, crawling the surface of the Earth in agony, waiting for death to kiss them on the lips. Now their lifeless bodies were on horrifying display, with bits of their brain scattered all over the floor of the forest.
The way one of them had shot himself multiple times caused Tyler to snap his head in the other direction. It was terrifying to think most of them once had a will to live, only for it to end by the monstrosity lurking around the corners of their brain.
The direction he faced didn't prevent his eyes from witnessing another gory scene. Lying in front of him was a body crushed with a heavy millstone. The blood still glistening and leaking out from the lacerations of his body was a testament to the recency of his death. It soaked up the debris from the ground, mingling with the redness of the crimson liquid, defiling the source of life from the body.
When they all heard a snap of twigs far away, they all woke up from their stupor and hid behind bushes. Emerging from the shadows, a man with a lifeless expression walked to the area where they were hiding and leaned on the trunk of a tree. He looked around at the bodies before sitting down on the ground with a gun pointed at his head.
"To hell with it all."
It was just one second too late before Tyler jumped out from behind the bush to stop him.
Tyler flinched as the man's brain splattered across the grassy area as blood painted the trunk of the tree behind him. Tyler stood in shock as he watched blood dribble down the man's face and blemish the jacket he wore.
Suddenly from behind him, Tyler heard laughing. He looked back at his friends and saw them chuckling and pointing at him. A sudden wave of realization hit Tyler as he slowly bent down to pick up the gun in the man's hands. He walked over to the nearest body with a knife stabbed inside of their torso and trotted over to where they were hiding. He didn't know what he was doing, but it just felt right. Sinfully right.
"Hey, um… What are you doing, Tyler? Wasn't that funny?" Milo asked as he wiped tears of mirth off his face.
Tyler thrusted the knife into his friend and watched him scream bloody hell while he shot Joseph in the face. Katherine screamed in horror before she looked up at Tyler with a frightened expression. "Do you still think it's funny?" Tyler asked.
"N-No, I was just-"
Tyler blew her head off before she had a chance to finish her sentence or justify herself. He bent down on his knees to look Milo in the face. He grabbed the knife out of his body and stabbed him repeatedly until Milo stopped writhing and gargling in agony. Blood leaked out of his stab wounds and washed his shirt into a sickening crimson color.
Tyler's hands shuddered as he realized what he had done. Looking down at his bloody hands, Tyler stared at the gun while his mind went crazy from the unholy acts he had committed. He wiped the blood on his friend's coats as his mind buzzed around with thoughts of being caught. However, the monster inside his head was finally quiet. Its earsplitting chorus of noise finally toned down to just murmurs.
Maybe it was his friends who made him want to commit suicide.
Tyler bent down and dragged their bodies next to the man who had just killed himself and propped them up all nicely, making sure their clothes were tidy and their hair neat. He snapped a picture of them with his flash on and walked out of the forest by himself, not bothering to clean the atrocious appearance splashed across his clothes.
It was a good day to be alive.