Elseworld (inspired by The Princess Bride and the Edgar Rice Burroughs Barsoom books)
Disclaimer: These characters belong to the CW and DC Comics, not to me.
From the journals of Chloe Sullivan:
The woods surrounding Smallcroft are known to be dangerous, filled with ROUSes, sandpits, and sudden outbursts of fire from the ground. But more dangerous by far are the lost villagers who have changed into something less than human, who have taken up residence in the forest, far from the friends and family who once loved them. These lost villagers wander the woods, searching out the unwary, injuring and killing wantonly, without regret or remorse.
In the darkness of the woods, one imagines hearing all sorts of ominous sounds, and seeing any manner of strange shapes. But sometimes the greatest danger in the forest comes from that which one can neither see nor hear...
Chloe crouched in a thick stand of underbrush, Clark by her side. They'd moved a fair distance from the path, and fortunately so, because now even her ordinary ears could hear the sound of hooves clopping, weapons rattling, and male voices talking in low, rough voices. Some of the curses she heard made her cheeks burn. She was fairly certain these were not nice men of the sort a lady would wish to encounter in the dark woods.
Beside her, she felt Clark suddenly stiffen. "They are planning to abduct Lana," he whispered, his voice low and dangerous.
She cocked her head, but couldn't make out anything beyond the low rumble of male speech, and an outburst or two of coarse laughter. "Are you certain?"
"But who would do such a thing?" Lana was unquestionably lovely, but her family was not particularly wealthy, nor noble. Chloe could think of no good reason for her to be kidnapped.
"I know not. I have not yet heard them mention the name of their employer." Clark turned his head and looked at her. In the dappled moonlight, his eyes looked almost black. "But we must stop them. Wait here with the horses, Chloe. I will go attempt to discover how many of them there are."
He ignored her whispered protest. Silently, he crept forward, leaving her behind.
She didn't like being separated from him in the dark, thick woods, particularly since she'd heard enough stories from travelers to know that this forest was not at all safe. But she was a big girl, not a child, so she waited staunchly in the underbrush, silent and motionless, listening as intently as she could to the men on the path. Doubtless Clark could hear more than she could, but it was always possible she might hear something he wouldn't understand, because no one knew more about Smallcroft and the surrounding towns than she did.
Attuned as she was to the noises of the long column of men wending their way through the forest, she barely noticed Beetle and the chestnut stallion snorting and stamping their feet nervously. There was no other noise behind her in the woods, no unusual sounds, only the soft buzz of nighttime insects, and the occasional hoot of an owl.
And yet something suddenly grabbed her from behind.
She automatically tried to yelp for Clark, despite the very real danger the men in the forest represented, but the something had her mouth covered. She struggled frantically, but it did no good. Whatever had her was stronger by far than she was.
She found herself being dragged backward. She continued to fight, silently but fiercely, and her captor apparently grew impatient with her, because something struck her on the head, rather hard.
The forest faded to a darker shade of black, and she knew nothing else.
She drifted back to consciousness slowly. A terrible smell assaulted her nose, a smell of rot and filth and blood. She had to struggle not to gag.
She forced her eyes open and found herself in a small structure. A hut, perhaps, but a very rundown, dirty one. She could barely make out a clutter of debris on the ground. The interior of the structure was lit only by the wavering light of one candle, and a single shaft of moonlight, so it was difficult to see what the debris might be. But it smelled horrid.
Attempting to move, she discovered she was tied to a chair, her wrists and ankles bound with coarse hemp rope. She tried to call out, to offer a friendly greeting, but there was a gag across her mouth. She sincerely doubted her captor had friendly intentions, since guests were rarely tied to chairs in her experience, but perhaps her captor had mistaken her for an enemy somehow.
But she couldn't discuss the matter, or attempt to negotiate for her freedom, if she couldn't talk.
The hut was silent and still. Deciding that she was alone, she spent several moments struggling very hard to pull her arms loose, but with no success. With some effort, however, she did manage to get the gag loose.
She blinked into the darkness of the hut, deliberating on whether to speak or not. It seemed foolish to speak into dark, still emptiness, but it was possible her captor was just outside the hut. She wondered if shouting for Clark would do her any good, or if he was miles away by now, saving Lana from her would-be kidnappers.
As she considered the matter, the candle rose into the air. And yet as far as she could see, no one was holding it. Her throat went tight, and her heart pounded. She wasn't possessed of a nervous constitution, but the strange and inexplicable frightened her just as much as it would frighten anyone else.
The candle moved toward her, lighting the debris on the floor. For the first time she saw the interior of the hut clearly, and she didn't like what she saw. Not at all. Because there were bones all over the floor.
Read Chapter 4 here.