In blood soaked soil, plants grow with pulsing veins
and sensitive roots, to feel the vibrations of those who lost their group.
The trees shift, confusing their prey.
From their bark, crimson sap leaks,
capturing curiosity to draw in the prey.
The tall grass tastes the flavor that awaits.
The bramble moves, preventing escape, yet they hope it tries.
The thorns quiver in anticipation,
barbed and dried.
Thirsty and impatient.
The rustling leaves cry.
The roots rise from the ground, grasping the Feet. The Feet shake loose, and attempt to flee.
The bramble shakes excitingly, as it’s coiled branches catch the Torso, the Arms, the Legs.
The brush embraces the Flesh.
The trees sway.
The leaves emit a cacophony through the violent wind,
deafening the Screams.
The roots extend, wrapping again. The Feet squirm.
The roots tighten. It pulls.
The thorns tear streaks of skin. Blood spills onto the soil.
The earth opens beneath the Body. It pulls.
The Body sinks into the pit. Decaying corpses embedded in its walls.
The earth closes, the Body is gone.
The leaves sigh with the breeze as the bramble recedes.
The trees lie still.
The night is dark.
Keegan Milano is a creative writing student at Columbia College, Chicago. His interests are within fiction and game/narrative design for tabletop role-playing games such as Dungeons & Dragons. Genres that interest him are Horror, Fantasy, Sci-fi, and everything in between. To connect with Keegan, follow him on Instagram (@keegz_mgee).
We loved CRIMSON SAP and had to know more about the poem and its creator. So, we asked Keegan Milano some quick questions to learn more about his writing and creative process.
TDS: What was your inspiration for writing this piece?
Keegan Milano: The original idea came from a subreddit prompt simply put as “monster,” but you couldn’t use the word monster, you had to convey the idea. I thought about having a monster in a forest and eventually transitioned to the idea of having the monster be the forest. From there, I thought about how each individual plant and their parts could be used to assemble a monster.
TDS: What was the writing process you used when creating this poem?
Keegan Milano: I tend to throw all of my thoughts out at once. If the idea comes to my head, I put it on paper as soon as possible, so I don’t lose the original concept. After that, I move everything around to where I think it fits best and adjust accordingly. I originally was going to have a specific person in mind fall victim to the forest. While moving stuff around however, I found it more compelling to have the victim remain anonymous to allow the reader more freedom with the scene.
TDS: Who influenced you as a writer?
Keegan Milano: I take huge amounts of inspiration from the games I play. When it comes to horror, I specifically take inspiration from games like Bloodborne and Darkest Dungeon. I hope to achieve the heights of Hidetaka Miyazaki in FromSoftware with my own writing. The sense of horrific awe from Bloodborne has always stuck with me, and I aim to get that same feeling across with my own work.
What do you think of Keegan Milano’s poem? Let us know in the comments below. Be sure to come back to The Dark Forest on April 23 at 11:00 AM (EST) to read an extensive interview with our featured poet. It was fascinating learning about the writing advice Keegan found most useful to him, along with many other interesting topics we discussed.
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