a picture adjacent to aokigahara in japan where the horror flash fiction viral is set
Image Credit: josstyk via Pixabay

Horror flash fiction

‘Viral’ by Stewart Storrar

He fastened his top button, pushing his tie up to the crest of his neck. He always liked it so that he could feel its soft bite; that meant it was tied right. He double checked how he looked in the car’s wing mirror to his right and satisfied with his outfit, stepped from his car. He swung the door leaving it to shut behind him as he wandered off towards a dirt path; outlined by ornate wooden banisters. He took a long draw of breath, then began walking down this dirt path; his loafers chipping against the grit beneath him.

Their was some kind of ornate temple up to his left hand side at the top of a gentle incline. There were signposts everywhere and even a monk, simply standing by the banister into the forest. He kept a steady pace as he walked up to and past this monk. The monk had went to initiate conversation with him but something stopped it before it could start. Maybe it was the look in his eye that spooked the monk. Maybe it was the way he was dressed. Or, maybe, it was what he possessed in his grasp. Simply put, it was safe to assume the monk thought that there was nothing his religion could do. Not this time. Not to this suited man.

Maybe in a past life things were different. Maybe in some alternate reality out there, things had panned out differently. Maybe that monk had the courage to strike up conversation. Maybe the man decided against what he was here to do in the car. Maybe he decided against it when he left home the previous morning. All he knew for sure was his intentions in this reality, and those alone, let him carry one foot in front of another. Even past a monk.

As he continued walking up this dirt path, he became aware that he didn’t really know how far he wanted to go. It seemed pointless really. It didn’t really matter how far he decided to go, the end result would eventually be the same. The only thing that would change would be the cause of death. If he went far enough and long enough, thirst would cause him to succumb. If not, the rope in his hand would suffice.

He walked on a bit further and, glancing off into the forest, he decided it was time to get lost. There were many tales of people coming to this forest and getting lost. Some did it intentionally. Some accidentally in search of loved ones. He didn’t know if he wanted to get lost yet; that would mean prolonging his purpose for coming here. Then? Then he saw it.

The perfect place.

Up ahead was a little spring of water, surrounded by a beautiful array of flowers. At the far side of this small pool was a tree with a branch just high enough. He paused for a moment to take in the surroundings. He stopped to smell the fresh forest air, lined by the scent of a flower’s bloom in the wind. The only thing he could think was that this? This was the place.

It did not take him long to tie the noose. He made sure that it would take his weight by using it as a rope swing for a minute or two. It was fun the first few swings but, when the reality of why this rope was hanging from the tree hit him, he didn’t feel it was appropriate to use his noose as a rope swing. Then again, nobody would know.

The sense of reality hit him again when he slid his head into the noose and felt the rope around his neck. He sat on the branch for a while, just thinking over the events that had led him to this point. The pushy parents pressuring him through the education system. The coercement of his life to a career he did not want. Then the shame of being fired, for being late no less. He had brought shame to his family name. He simply couldn’t live with it. With his final thought of a family he didn’t want to disappoint, he slid from the branch.

He was dead within minutes.

It was several days later. His suited body lay limp, strangled in the noose he had tied from a branch. He thought he would never have been found but that was not the case. Mere days after his death, his shame was made viral. There, plastered over screens across the globe was his dead body. Was it not enough that he was dead that he needed to be exploited too? Was it not enough for him to feel shame? Had he known, maybe that would have changed things. Maybe not.

All he really knew was, he never wanted his dead body to end up on YouTube.

About this horror flash fiction

This rather morbid horror flash fiction was written by Stewart, a writer from Glasgow, Scotland. It was inspired by real world events around the controversy with a famous YouTuber filming a dead body in Aokigahara, Japan.

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