He was staring straight ahead, so I gawked a little more than I normally would. He was wearing camouflage pants and a jacket the color of birch bark. On his head, there was a hat that no one would ever call a hat unless they saw it on someone's head. It was a toadstool covered in moss, and it suited him. He was long-bearded. The beard was grey and slightly stained around the mouth from tobacco juice. At least that was my guess.
I didn't realize it was blood until I was very close to him. The hair stood up on the back of my neck.
He looked up at me, finally, with eyes that carried oceans of pain. He raised the twisted roots of his hands and made a sound that I can't describe. A sound that came from him, but was inside me. I tried to turn, to run.
And that is all I remember. The hypnotists failed. The police got nothing. But I soon found myself back in the forest, feeling my heart thump blood-smell throughout my body.
I took my place at the tree and smiled.