The Birch Man (Short Horror Story)

I didn’t get my horror novel out in time for Halloween, and it’s still being tinkered with. As lots of people are terrified of the snow and the slick roads in my neck of the woods today, I thought I’d post a short horror story – of sorts. (I also saw a perfect rendition of A Christmas Carol on the stage yesterday, and it got me in the mood for some ghostly tales.)


Originally this story came to me in a flash, and was intended to be the start of something longer. But, it’s been put on the back burner. Perhaps it will turn into something down the road.

This was also an attempt to be a bit more gory than normal. If you’re squeamish – especially looking at the illustration I did above – then you might not want to read further. If you’re into that kind of stuff, then knock yourself out!

I’ll let the “legend” speak for itself…

<>The Birch Man was originally a sixty-eight year old retiree named Paul Nathanson. <>Nathanson lived on a dead-end dirt road in a rural part of New Hampshire. It was there that he preferred to live among the birch trees that he knew so well.
<>Famous for giving candy to local children, Nathanson quickly became an object of fascination for the local juveniles. Being without a family of his own, Nathanson welcomed the company of so many youngsters.
<>Sadly, his generosity was the very thing that would do him in.
<>One September afternoon, Nathanson was out walking the back roads of the town when a group of high school boys approached him. Knowing that he usually traveled with pockets full of candy, they demanded some.
<>Nathanson reached into his pockets to find that he was out, having given the rest of his stash away earlier that morning. He wouldn’t have more until he went shopping.
<>Seeing that they would be without any profit, the boys then demanded Nathanson’s cash, to which he refused.
<>The boys warned him that if he didn’t give in to their demand that he would pay dearly. <>Nathanson laughed it off and continued on with his walk.
<>Later that evening the high school boys told their parents that Nathanson had assaulted them in the woods while they were on their way home from school. The accusations were entirely false, but this didn’t stop one of the fathers from taking action of his own.
<>The father hunted down Nathanson at the man’s house that evening, equipped with a sharpened axe. He tied up the poor man and hacked both of Nathanson’s hands off so that they would never touch another child again.
<>To add insult to injury, the father went out into the front yard and cut down two medium sized birch branches that raked out like clawed hands. He returned to the house to fasten these branches to each of Nathanson’s bleeding stumps and then left him there to die.
<>After that day nobody saw Nathanson around town. Kids looked out for the kind man who gave them candy, but he was nowhere to be found. After a week some local mothers prompted the police to investigate the dead-end road. Despite finding the chair and ropes that secured Nathanson during his torturous dismemberment, Nathanson himself was nowhere within the house. He had simply vanished.
<>Many people believed that the man was the victim of a horrible murder and that his body was buried in some unmarked grave. Others thought he had simply developed dementia and wandered into the woods where he was lost to the elements. Whatever the case, the man quickly evaporated from the consciousness of the town.
<>Until the parcels started to appear.

Whaaaaat?! What happens next? That part hasn’t been written. I may tinker with it in the coming winter months, but most of my time is being focused on getting Super Vision out into the world.

I hope you enjoyed this tiny excursion, though!

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