So this week I’m reading Suicide Forest, a horror novel (possibly involving ghosts) by Jeremy Bates, in which a group of hikers, whose plan to scale Mount Fuji has been thwarted by weather, decide to go camp in Japan’s Aokigahara forest.
Aokigahara is a real place, and people do in fact go there in droves to commit suicide. What could possibly go wrong with spending the night in a forest where hundreds of people kill themselves annually? If you, nice reader, even need to ask, then here, let me introduce you to the horror genre. Horror genre, say hello to the nice reader.
Smiling sadly, she rolled up the cuffs, then the pink sweatbands she wore around each wrist, revealing a series of white, ragged scars. The cuts appeared to have been made recently.
The forest is practically another character in the novel, which is, of course, just what you want in this sort of scenario. The author excellently captures the atmosphere of a still, dark, eerie wilderness; I’ve been in a few such woodlands (although not, as far as I know, ones that are the final resting place of countless suicides), and I remember what they’re like. Aokigahara is creepier than all of them put together. Perform an image search for it at your peril, and preferably during daylight.
Suicide Forest is not to be confused with Suicide Corners, although they may be in the same neighborhood.
Speaking of people who shouldn’t have gone into the woods, editing continues on Television Man. The forest in this book, though, isn’t really the creepy, ghost-infested type. It’s mostly just insane.
“Look, we’ll get there, okay?” Kyle snapped, turning toward Chuck. “We just have to keep going north, and …” He trailed off, because his compass needle hadn’t moved, even though he’d just rotated three-quarters of the way around. It still said north. He shook his wrist hard, looked at the compass, shook his wrist again. Still north.
“What’s the matter?” Gwen said.
“Nothing.” He flicked the dial with his finger. The pointer didn’t budge. He hit it again, harder this time. Finally the needle spun, rocked back and forth, and came to rest in a different place.
“If nothing’s the matter, why are you beating up on your Boy Scout watch?” Chuck said.
I used to have a compass watch myself. In fact, it was the exact model shown below, which someone is currently selling on eBay. Hey, Kyle, maybe you can get it overnighted to the forest!