's 2016 Horror Write-off:

The Whispering Oaks

Submitted by Nuclearxpotato

"Guys could we stop for a bit? Nature's calling, and it won't go on hold." I call out to the rest of the group, me and my friends were finally meeting for the first time face-to-face rather than face-to-screen, but I still didn't understand why we chose a camping trip in Yosemite.

"If you really need to go that bad, just go do it and meet us at the lake when you're done" replied Jose.

"Here, take my map just in case." Sergio said as he reached into his pack and pulled out a map with colourful letters and a picture of the main waterfall on its front. "If you take too long, we'll come back get your stupid arse."

I quickly ran and hosed down the nearest tree. As I got back on the trail, I pulled out the map so I'd have something to look at. Though, the actual map inside didn't resemble the trail or even any part of the park. I looked at the cover and found that the text was replaced with coloured rectangles and the picture now depicted a forest of white trees and a person walking along its trail. I flipped back inside to find that the map itself was now replaced with a spreadsheet describing the Whispering Oak, a supposed tree unique to the area, and the endangered "Whistling Cat" that lives in it branches.

The trees were unsettling in that they don't resemble any tree that I know of. The Whispering Oaks were tall, white-with-black-scratches trees suspended well above the ground by their roots, and had branches that exploded off in all directions before tapering off and ending with small bundles of limp leaves.

I closed the map and look at my surroundings, the trees around me changed to the Oaks and the grass was more blue in colour. The Oaks begin to speak to me, each with a different voice but most weren't speaking English. Each were panicking and warning me to get away, some would tell me to get away, some would call out if I made a noise, and one kept sobbing. I was walking along a ridge above a ditch when I heard something crash to the ground behind me and make a mad dash towards me, hitting me in the back of my knees and sending me tumbling to the ground.

I looked up to see a large beast on four legs with bulging eyes, a dark messy mane of thin hairs, and a large gaping maw that only went into darkness. It made a horrible wheezing noise as it closed in, but before it reached me, I pushed myself away until I fell down the slope behind me. I crashed and rolled down the slope as the area melted back to redwoods and ferns before landing on the lake's beach. All I could do was hope that my friends would reach the lake before that thing did.