There is an old rotting tree hidden in the forest of the property I grew up on, this is the story of the children that were lost there, and the photos of what they saw.
They say children used to live near here. Two to be exact, but that was a long time ago. Winters have gone and springs have come, the land has passed through generation, and almost all has been forgotten, but I remember… I remember the stories and sometimes late at night I can still hear the ghostly cries of their mother as the days came, the nights passed and she slowly realized they would not be coming home.
It began a normal day, just as everyday begins. Daylight spilled over the mountain tops as the sun slowly worked it way into the sky, dawn casting its warm glow across the world glistening like honey as the new morning light woke the creatures within. The house was alive with laughter as the children stumbled out of bed, racing for the breakfast table their mother piling heaping portions of eggs, ham, bacon and stir fried potatoes onto their plates. They squealed with delight as the salty savory aroma of cooked meats and spices reached their nostrils, and began stuffing their little faces before their bottoms even hit the chairs. If only it could have stayed this way. If only they could have woken up every morning to an inviting smile and the comforting love of their family’s home, but that is the fate of a different story, a happy story… which this is not.
With full bellies and clothes for playing their mother pushed them out the door sternly warning them to stay out of the forest before heading back inside. They raced down the old dirt road that lead towards the meadow, laughing, shouting and stumbling the whole way. Rocks flew and a cloud of dirt rose from the path as the boy came to an abrupt stop, shushing his little sister’s joyous sounds as she caught up with him. He craned his head towards the forest and listened…
“Music!” the little girl squealed her voice full of delight. Her brother reached out to stop her but was too late; she was already headed for the trees. He ran after her calling out for her to stop and wait, but she only looked back for a second a naive smile spread across her face. When she reached the edge of the forest she barely slowed as she began pushing and crashing her way through the underbrush. He paused at the edge of the grass heeding his mothers warning, but knowing he could not leave his younger sister alone. He crashed into the forest after her calling out for her to stop and turn around but she did not listen, she only pushed through the trees and farther into the shadows.
The forest began to close in around them, the trees to thick for the honey glow of the morning light to shine through. The little girl stopped as the music came to an end. The only sounds she could hear was the crunching of leaves under her brother’s boots, and the panicked beat rising from her chest as the cold darkness wrapped around them. She began to shiver as they look for some way out, but the darkness grew thicker until nothing could be seen. Her brother grabbed her hand as they frantically strain their eyes against the growing blackness, helplessly searching for some source of light to lead them home
And then she saw it… the warm glow of a camp fire not more than a few moments away. She lets go of her brother’s hand and points him towards it, a wave of relief splashing through her voice as she laughs at their good fortune. A path through the forest seemed to open before her as she easily made her way to the old hollowed out tree where the fire had been laid.
The makeshift home had jars and candles perched on every surface while a pot bubbled over the coals. The smell of the cooking and the warmth of the flames drawing her to her knees as she warmed her chilly hands. The sharp snap of a twig pulled her mind away from the comfort of the fire and she looked around, her breath catching in her throat as she saw she was alone. Her head jerked from left to right as she searched the woods for her brother but saw nothing. Another twig snapped as a woman stepped out from behind the tree. She smiled down on the little girl her green eyes sparkling as the reflection of the flames danced across her gaze, and as she opened her slender lips to speak the girl recognized the light enchanting melody that had brought her all this way.
The young girl was entranced by the calm even melody and fell deep into the persuasive stare of the forest woman’s emerald eyes. The melody shifted, and the little girl felt the heaviness on her eyes as a lullaby began. So tired was her little body from ambling through the woods, so warm was her skin as she sat near the blaze. As exhaustion rushed over her she slumped on to the fire warmed earth and slept to the enchanting sounds of the forest woman songs.
When she awoke all was quiet, the sweet lullaby had ceased, and the fire was beginning to burn down. She reached a hand up to wipe the sleep from her eyes but it did not budge, looking down she saw the ropes binding her wrist together. Raising her head she looked around for her brother hoping to see him nearby, but all she saw was the bottom of the forest woman’s long dress. She looked up into the still smiling face of the young beautiful woman and felt comfort once again, but as she continued to stare into the woman’s eyes the spell was broken, and fear began to tingle in the base of her spine crawling up through her shoulders and filling her mind.
She looked down on the young helpless girl as she released her from her spell feeling the fear as the child watched her change. The forest woman’s eyes began to glow and, her teeth began to sharpen she could see the trust draining from the little girls face just as the beauty was drained from her own. The young girl’s petrified scream pierced the air, but there was no one left to hear her cries. The witches dry and flaking lips curved into a smile around her jagged broken teeth as a white bony hand reached from beneath the dark cloak. The screaming stopped and the little girl was left alone in the dark dampness of the forest a now hollow vessel filled with nothing but fear…
Her spirit still wanders these forests, forever searching for her brother, and on cold dark nights like this one you can still hear her soft cries calling for her brother as she trips and stumbles through the trees terrified by even the faintest of sounds…
Read Full Post »