I’m describing a dead forest somewhere outside the land of the living. And it’s a birch forest, so I have to somehow make it creepy without trying too hard. You know how you read it in books and it's like, "Come on, stop trying to scare me and actually scare me?" Yeah, like that.
IT TOOK ME 2 BLOODY HOURS TO WRITE IT.
Here are the versions I went through:
Their long crooked branches scraped against each other and their many eyes fell on Olesya, close, closer, so close she could see the dark crusty pupils, the flakes of the pale silvery bark, the bits of them peeling and dropping and circling as they fell, the long lenticels stitching the trunks around and around and around like scars inscribed into skin and sealed and healed and blackened. They stood in a wall, shoulder to shoulder, and the light between them was grey, and the sky above them was grey, and the air, the air itself was lifeless.
The birches stood still, their long crooked branches sticking up and out like black coarse hair.
The birches stood motionless, their branches bristled like black coarse hair.
The birches stood motionless, in a solid wall, thick with branches like with thick black hair.
The birches stood motionless, shoulder to shoulder, their branches black and many like many black hairs.
The birches stood motionless, shoulder to shoulder, their branches long and dark and many. Thin flakes of bark peeled and circled and fell, and settled, and lay still.
I've been primarily struggling with the opening sentence, and then I shrunk the whole paragraph to 1 sentence, then expanded it to 2 sentences you see in version 6. It was the hair/branch thing that gave me trouble. Finally.
Thought I would fucking die.