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Rated: 18+ · Novel · Fantasy · #2316445
Carter grows stronger after his death, but his days are filled with pain.

Carter's eyes slowly opened, revealing a dark landscape of dead trees and dirt. Hundreds of trees circled his vision as he lay on his back. He remembers flying out of the carriage door from Princess Caroline's wind spell and hitting his head on the lithic ground. Blood trickled down his face as everything got hazy. Someone grabbed him and pulled him into the forest. Screams and pain circled him, trying to get to him, but someone protected him. He saw his body floating next to him, and he screamed in pain. He was... dead?

"Wake up, clodhopper!" screamed a raspy male voice from behind him.

"Give him time. Death is not easy," said another voice, female this time.

"Hell, I'm in hell," said Carter as he languidly pushed himself to a sitting position.

"Hell? No, worse than hell," came another voice that stood before him. An unholy scream came from his left side, and a large man took his fist and hit the shadow that was heading towards him. The see-thru phantom blew up into a haze of particles and then disappeared in a scream.

"Stand up, worm. We need you to follow us before you get eaten," said a smaller man. A large hand grabbed Carter's neck and pulled him off the ground. The imposing phantom floated before Carter, holding him tighter than what should be possible. He was judging Carter like a seated jury.

"Where am I?" asked Carter. The imposing specter stood inert, watching Carter with burning eyes, and then said, "Let's see if the runt can take it."

Ghost wails came from around Carter.

"It's too early. We lost so many candidates doing it your way. It's our turn this time," said a seemingly sane female spirit floating behind the hulking miasma holding him.

"Ella, you know how Red gets. We just have to hope the specimen won't go crazy like the last two," said a larger female.

"But look at her, she is so fragile, Era, she won't be able to take it," said Ella.

An unholy scream came from the dark woods, and Carter saw a screaming banshee with glowing eyes and sharp teeth heading for him. The two friendly spirits looked at each other and then moved out of the way.

"What's going on here? What is that?" shouted Carter.

The large ghost holding Carter moved closer to his face and said, "It could be you, but It better not be you! Fight!"

Carter was released by the mammoth ghost and turned to look at the thing flying at him. It must have been a person at one time. It had arms and legs, but its face was twisted. The arms of the ghost ended in long, razor claws aimed at his head. He tried to fly away, but the large ghost grabbed him again.

"No! No running!" yelled the devil ghost.

Carter stared at the large ghost with fear as the crazy thing coming at him opened its mouth to an ungodly size.

The shrieking ghost pushed its claws into Carter's face and tore it in half. Carter felt the pain rip through his face, then through his body, and he let out a scream that wasn't heard. Darkness came to him, and he was still screaming. "Shut up," said his mind, and he stopped.

"Death is around you. Keep your head, learn, and then live again," said the voice. He calmed himself down and thought about what happened.

"I died. My spirit is trapped in the damn Forest. The creature that attacked me was a demented spirit, while the person who held me had a brain. They needed something from me. If they know a way out, I can use them," said Carter in his head.

"Calm down," thought Carter again.

Carter opened his eyes, and the pain was gone. He looked around and found himself somewhere else in the dark forest. He stood up, or whatever the equivalent of stand-up that a ghost can do, and a small smile came to his face.

"I can't die," said Carter out loud.

"You are already dead!" came an eerie voice from behind him. He turned and saw this little floating girl watching him. Her eyes were black as coal.

"Who are you?" said Carter quietly.

Her face started to contort, and she said, "I was Amy." Her demeanor changed, and she ran at Carter at an inhuman speed. He went to move, but she grabbed him and bit into his ghost shoulder.

"That hurts!" said Carter as he tried to push her head back. She fell backward and landed on the ground.

"You need to be punished. We have judged you," said Amy as her head turned sideways.

"You're not going to do that again!" yelled Carter.

"Punished," came a voice behind him. He turned and found a few dozen spirits staring at him. Their faces changed, and they ran towards him with their claws pointed at him. He let out a scream from the pain, and these spirits ate him. The darkness came back again.

"Fucking campers!" said Carter to himself. That pain was excruciating. They hurt him without having physical bodies.

"You can hit back. Concentrate and hit back," said the voice.

"Who are you?" said Carter.

His eyes opened again, and he was in another part of the dark forest. A small, mold-covered brick building appeared behind him. He looked down to the ground and saw his "feet." He concentrated and tried to move. Despite his concentration, he only walked a few steps and then stopped. His brain started hurting, and he had to stop.

"Not my baby!" screamed a voice in front of him. He looked up, and a small woman his size ran at him. Her large teeth came out of her mouth, and she aimed at Carter's face.

"No!" screamed Carter, and he balled up his fist and punched her face. It hit her hard, and she went flying backward. She looked at Carter for a moment and stopped.

"Yeah! Stay away from me!" screamed Carter, jumping up and down in triumph. Large teeth sunk into the back of his head, tearing out a chunk, and he fell to the ground. The woman he had hit before ran forward and chomped down on his face. He let out screams that echoed through the forest. The pain of dozens of spirits eating him before he blacked out.

The darkness enveloped him again, and he stopped screaming again. "Is this what my life will be like? My only placidity is here? I wouldn't mind it so much, but damn, that shit hurts! " thought Carter to himself.

"Calm your mind," came a voice.

"With all due respect, Fuck you. You calm your damn mind, asshole," said Carter to the voice.

"I'm going to fuck these fuckers up," said Carter. He had never used profanity before, but this would be one of those times it was needed.

He was spiritually dragged back to the Quietus forest over and over again through a baptism of oblivion. He tried fighting and got ripped apart time and again. Sometimes, he had enough time to rest, and sometimes not. He randomly jumped from place to place for what seemed like an eternity. But he was learning and growing.

A sizeable empty field appeared before him, devoid of ground covering or trees. A sizeable purple slit wounded the sky; energy crackled, escaping from the middle. The energy around the object felt foreign to him. The air crackled with sparks and flashing lights. No sounds of spirits or animals permeated the air.

"What is this?" said Carter. He walked closer to the large fissure, and his mind started screaming to run.

"It's a time fissure. If you get lost in it, your soul will be frozen and trapped forever," came a voice behind him.

He turned and saw a spirit who sounded sane. He took a defensive position against her.

"I'm not your enemy. They are," said the delicate voice of the spirit. He turned and saw a group of twenty spirits running toward him.

The friendly spirit looked at the time wound and then back towards Carter.

"Sometimes, you reach a point of pain where you don't care anymore. You need something different. You know?" said the spirit.

She waved goodbye to Carter and ran towards the fissure, and disappeared.

The first good spirit he's met, she throws herself into that purple scar.

Carter held out his hand and said, "No! Let me help you" before the mob of death consumed him.

After a few days? Weeks? Months? Years? He appeared again next to a lake, where people talked and swam. He was saved.

He ran toward the lake, toward the border of the forest, laughing and yelling to the people, "I'm here! I'm here!" yelled Carter.

A spirit turned around, and Carter punched it in the head, and it dissipated quickly. The trouble would be the twelve spirits watching the living people, waiting for the living to make a mistake and come too close to them.

They didn't like Carter ruining their concentration and turned their attention toward him. The anguished spirits attacked him, and he fought them off. Bites were taken, and pieces of his spirits disappeared, but he pushed forward until he floated out of the dark forest.

"You can leave, you can!" screamed Carter in excitement. He turned around and saw the other souls laughing at him. That's when he felt the pain. Worse than the spirit-eaten creatures laughing at him could ever do to him. He screamed in anguish and disappeared.

"Note: Don't leave the forest."

Carter's spirit grew bigger, larger, faster, and stronger. He lasted longer without disappearing and killing everything coming at him. The forest was giant, and he had been all over it. It took a group of one hundred spirits to destroy him now. They overwhelmed him with numbers, sending him to the dark void. The voice no longer talked to him.

He appeared next to a large, ornate, vine-covered tower with a large wooden door. It reached toward the sky, hundreds and hundreds of heads tall. Why hadn't he seen it earlier if it was so high?

"Where did that come from?" said Carter to nobody.

"This forest hides its secrets," said a voice behind him. "Stupid," he said to himself and turned around lightning-fast.

"You survived and flourished!" said a female spirit before him. Carter recognized the voice as one of the people who initially met him.

"Ella Landers," said Carter quietly. Her face glowed brightly with that recognition.

"You know who I am?" said Landers.

"You were called Ella by the one known as Piker Dern as he held me for the Shriekers," said Carter.

"You are something special, aren't you?" said Ella Landers.

"Why?" said Carter as he heard someone coming up behind him.

He turned around and blocked the ghost fist that was coming at him. He punched back, knocking the ghost backward.

The ghost stopped and looked at him, puzzled. Carter noted that that punch had killed everything in this forest until now.

"Oh, you want to fight?" said the ghost.

"Queen Era, I presume," said Carter.

She stopped for a moment and looked at Ella. She smiled and moved towards Carter at a speed he had never seen before. She punched him in the head, and he disappeared.

"Why did you do that? It will take a while before we find him again," said Ella Landers.

Queen Era threw up her hands and said, "He hit me. I can't let a male get away with that."

Ella Landers grew a smile, or at least what resembled a smile. "Did it hurt?" said Landers.

"Like I was punching a rock," said Queen Era as she faded and disappeared.

Carver skipped around, killing everything he could. He tried to copy Queen Era's speed, but it was hard. But he had time. When he had the time, he ventured next to the lake and waited till someone came down to swim. It made him reminisce about life when he had it.

"I come down here to remember my past life too, but this place used to be filled with, what did you call them, Shriekers, waiting for life to get close to them," said Ella Landers.

"You might as well come out too, Era," said Carter as he stared at the naked women swimming in the lake.

Queen Era walked out, not knowing if she would get into a fight with this man. She sat beside Ella and was satisfied that Carter wouldn't attack her.

One of the women from the lake decided to walk up to the side of the forest. Ella and Era let out a little moan. "They are always so reckless," said Queen Era.

"We were like that too," said Ella.

The female was naked with a body that Carver remembered he liked. Large breasts, luscious hips, and long legs. She had wet hair that was probably blonde and curly, and she whipped it around behind her as she walked.

A loud noise came behind them as a Shrieker ran towards the female. Both Ella and Era stood up and moved back.

Carter lifted himself off his perch and ran towards the Shrieker, who was already outside the forest line. He screamed like he was on fire, but he kept moving forward.

"No! That pain will drive you mad!" said Queen Era.

Carter jumped past the beautiful woman and jumped towards the screaming Shrieker. His hand turned into a large blade and cut the Shrieker in half, ending his spirit life until he returned from the void. Carter turned around, and the swimming beauty turned toward him. She could almost see him, and she screamed and ran. Carter frowned and then disappeared.

"He moves fast, can create weapons from his spirit, and doesn't go mad right away outside the forest. I think we found what we need," said Ella.

"We need to find him and get him to his body. The sooner, the better," said Queen Era, and they ran back towards their home.

Carter appeared behind them. "My body?"

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