Who is that widow in the Dark Forest?

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Horror  |  House: Booksie Classic
Lola is lost in the dark forest...what is she about to experience?

Submitted: December 03, 2016

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Submitted: December 03, 2016

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“Run Lola run”, screamed Ila. Both the girls were running in the forest as fast as they could, breathing heavily and their hearts pumping fast. It was raining. Lola had a heavy basket in her hand. She had collected all medicinal herbs and shrubs, roots and leaves from the forest.

Ila was her step-sister. Lola’s father had married Ila’s mother a few years back when both girls were very small. Ila and her mother lived in the village near the forest and Lola’s father had newly come to this village for trade. Later he married Ila’s mother and started living there. Lola’s father always went out of the village for trade. Also, their financial condition wasn’t good enough. Therefore Ila’s mother sold the medicinal herbs, shrubs collected from the forest in the market once a week. The village was situated near the forest, a forest which had many stories. No one ever had spent a night in the forest. There were few deaths in the dark forest. Everyone blamed a widow in the forest. They said she kill the people when the forest turns dark. The forest was 4kms away from the village. People knew about the magical herbs, shrubs of this forest. The forest had plants and herbs and trees which could cure many diseases. The herbs and medicines were of great demand in the outer towns. Yet, no one dared to go in there at night or even in the day many a times.

Lola lived with her father, step mother and step sister. Lola’s step mother wasn’t good to Lola. But Lola’s father loved both the girls equally. Lola was nearly of the same age as Ila just 4 months older to her still, Ila got all the pampering and Lola was given heavy and tiresome tasks by her stepmother. Amusing and valorous Lola didn’t mind such a treatment. She did the tiresome tasks. She loved candies and her stepmother always gave her 4 candies once in a week for the heavy and tiresome work at the forest. She knew she was bribed for the work but she didn’t mind it as she loved those candies. Lola didn’t know about the stories of the forest. Whenever Ila tried to tell her such stories her mother scolded Ila. She never wanted Lola to know about it as she thought that Lola would never go to the dark forest again. Lola knew that people were afraid to go in the forest but, what was the reason she didn’t know. She always thought it might be the wild animals. She wasn’t scared of them. Ila was kind with Lola and she loved her.  Sometimes she went to the dark forest with Lola when her mother was working or sleeping. She helped Lola many times but she avoided carrying the heavy basket.

It was raining and the ground had got slippery. The sun was about to set. Lola was gasping for breath. She was tired of running with the heavy basket. “I can’t run at your speed Ila with such a heavy basket!” she said sniffing loudly. “Yes I know but, mother needs them…or else we will not be able to sell them in the market which is one day later.  You know the market is there once in a week. We can’t lose a single day as we have to earn money for buying new clothes for the festival, Lola. I am there with you, leading you to find the way,” she said in a kind voice running in front of Lola. “Hmm… know that …also it is the only time to get the candies.” replied Lola. ”Yes your candies….. hmm…” said Ila. ”You know I would love to help you but running along with the heavy basket is impossible for me. So, I came and helped you in collecting those herbs. Mother doesn’t know, she thinks I am playing with others” she said miserably.

Both were running fast and after a little while the rain stopped. Both the girls were wet and cold. “We have to pick up fast or else the sun will go down Lola and we could not see anything,” said Ila in a shivering voice. The forest was getting cold and the fog was getting thicker. Ila was scared as she knew about the scary things in the forest and one which she was frightened about was the widow of the dark forest who killed people. But Lola wasn’t scared. She was tired and wanted to rest. She knew that they could get lost in the forest if it gets darker. But she couldn’t help herself running any faster. The forest grew darker and the tall trees looked crueler and the shadows grew darker.  Ila was running faster and she was a little distance away from Lola. Suddenly Lola’s foot got hit on the stone and she tumbled over and fell down. “No!” shrieked Lola. She lost the grip of the basket from her hand. The basket rolled over the slope and all the collected herbs and shrubs got scattered on the muddy ground. The leaves, herbs, and shrubs floated on the muddy water and were ruined. It was little dark now. Ila stopped suddenly on hearing Lola’s scream and then walk a few feet ahead and then asked in a frightened voice ”Lola are you okay?” She was scared to look back. She didn’t dare to turn and her heart was pumping heavily. “No! I lost the basket.  I fall down.” replied Lola sadly. ”Are you hurt” asked Ila and looked back in fear. But to her astonishment, she couldn’t see Lola behind her. The fog had got thicker and so was the darkness. “I hurt my feet a little but I am not crying and I have lost the basket. All the collected herbs and shrubs were spoilt. I can’t find them in this darkness Ila!” said Lola trying to sit on a nearby stone. “Hmm... Uh… I can hear you but cannot see you, Lola, where are you? We need to go but need to collect the herbs first “she said in a low voice.  ”I lost them and I am not able to find them anywhere!” said Lola breathing heavily. She was looking here and there for the herbs and shrubs but she knew that it was difficult to find them in this darkness. “Get up Lola we need to go!” she said. The trees were making echoes of their voices finding it hard for Ila to look for Lola. The fog got much thicker. Ila walked a few feet and saw the main road. “I can see the road Lola… getup… leave the basket… hurry we need to go… I will tell mother it was my mistake” she yelled. Her voice echoed and Lola got confused as she didn’t know where the voice was coming from. ”I don’t know the direction Ila,” she said shivering. Her clothes were all wet and shabby. Ila was also shaking as she was wet too. “The trees are echoing our voices, Lola… where are you?” said Ila sobbing. She was quite scared to move in any other direction as she thought she might lose the sight of the road. “Go Ila I will come back once the fog goes away.” said Lola valorously. She didn’t want Ila to get lost. She knew Ila wasn’t brave enough to survive in the darkness.  Ila loved Lola and didn’t want to leave her. She was trembling in fear. “No! Lola not without you!’ she said in a trembling voice. “Listen, Ila, mother will worry if we both aren’t home and you didn’t tell her you are with me so, she definitely she will scold you if you stay here and are late. Go away!” she shouted. “Lola… how could you stay…the widow of the dark forest might come and get you so come on!” cried Ila. “Then let her!” said Lola getting angry. “Go away or I will scream and call her… I am not scared Ila, you are… go away!” she shouted back. “Oh, Lola! I should have told you about her. Whenever I did mother stopped me from telling you!” she sobbed. “I am not listening to anything, go and find your way home Ila... I am tired of walking and running.” said Lola. “God help you to go home safely!” she said in a small voice. “I will ask someone to help you once I reach the village” screamed Ila at the top of her voice. ”Of course like any one is brave enough to come here Ila!” replied Lola who was scared a bit. “Wait for me at the house and don’t tell anyone that you have lost me” she said. “Okay, Lola please do come, waiting for you at the house. If you are not home before dawn I will tell everyone that you are lost and get some help for you.” If Ila waited anymore she too could get lost. So she decided to move fast. Ila knew now Lola was not coming till she wanted to and she herself had no courage to find her in the thick fog. She was disheartened and started moving towards the main road.

Lola grabbed her basket but didn’t know where to look for the herbs. She looked for them here and there but couldn’t find them. Then she decided to walk but after few moments she understood she was lost and cannot go until the fog goes away. “Oh dear, I am lost! Really?” she said to herself. She then settled on a nearby stone. “Huh… all wet… I have not only lost the way to go home, but my candies too.  I am going to miss them this week. Hah! How tiring the day was!” she mumbled to herself. There was silence. “If there really is any widow of the forest she could come and get me… I now know why my stepmother sent me here. She knew about her and was scared to come here or send her daughter. But does that widow exist and if so does she really kill people?” she murmured.  “But Ila is too kind to come along with me. People are scared to come here but I am not. Good for me that I was not told about her before or I could not have come here and got those candies either. Poor Ila is definitely going to get the scolding for coming with me” she smiled to herself.

She tried to rest. She leaned her back against the tree trunk but then suddenly she saw a shadow approaching her. It was moving through the fog in her direction. Though Lola was scared she bottled herself up in few moments. “She must be the widow of the forest!” she whispered to herself. She decided to talk and speak out in a loud tone so as to show she is not afraid. ”Who is there…? Are you the widow of the dark forest? I am not scared of you. I am here alone. No one to talk to, hope you can give me some company.” Frightened Lola thought how valorous she is that she is speaking with the shadow instead of being scared and running away. The shadow grew closer to Lola and bigger and darker and she could hear the tinkling of the anklets.  Lola pushed herself back against the tree and held her basket tightly. There was a lump in her throat. She took a deep breath. “I am not scared of you!” she said feeling cold. The shadow grew darker. “Don’t worry I won’t hurt you… I came here for the herbs and shrubs that my mother use for making medicines and then we sell it and get money and I get candies as a return…” said Lola trying too hard to smile.

The shadow stopped coming closer and then suddenly a woman walked out from the fog. The woman had a white long gown. The gown had small green diamonds on it. She had long black hair and a small green crown on her head. She was quite beautiful. There was some coldness in her. She had worn many garlands of fresh flowers whose fragrance was very strong. She also wore a small flower bracelet in her hand. She wore silver anklets which made a very sweet tinkling sound. As the woman advanced towards Lola there was some dim white light in the forest and Lola could see herself and the woman clearly. “Lola,” she said coldly as she came near Lola. “Yes… Lola” said Lola shaking miserably. “I know you, you come here once or twice in a week to collect those herbs, shrubs, flowers and then go away!” replied the woman. Lola got up. ”Hmm… but how do you know?” asked Lola. “I like you dear, a real valorous child with a pure heart. You are quite strong.” said the woman settling on a nearby trunk of a tree which was lying on the ground. ”Sit,” she said to Lola. Lola once again sat on the stone. She felt a bit normal now. “Uh… are you the widow of the forest?” she asked in a low voice to the woman.

“Ha…ha…ha…” laughed the woman. As she laughed the tree leaves shattered and a cold breeze flew in. Lola looked here and there. “No little Lola, I am not the widow of the forest or what you say. I am the queen of the forest. I am Van-rani. Van means forest and Rani means Queen.  I am the queen of the forest who stays here and protects the forest. This forest has got many magical plants and many different species of trees. Here there are many wild animals too. They live here with me.“ “But people say you are… the widow of the dark forest?” asked Lola thinking if she should talk or not. “People build stories about me. Few ages ago, I was termed as a witch and then as days went by I was called a widow. So now, I am called as ’the widow of the forest’. But I own this place. I wander here. Many people lost their lives on seeing me, but not in this incarnation, rather a crueler one. Humans destroy the forest, animals, and plants. They misuse the herbs. They can take them as medicines but uprooting all of them and handling plants and trees carelessly is not good. I punish them. They get frightened and get killed. They themselves are responsible for their deaths. Forest gives you everything, but you should respect its privacy too. I am here to take care of this forest” smiled the woman.

“If so then, I too take the herbs and shrubs?” asked Lola curiously. “I expected this question from you dear. You do take the herbs, shrubs, and flowers, but you handle them with care. You are kind to them. You don’t harm them. You take only what you need and don’t destroy the habitat. You are not selfish. Only you want are those candies. You take what you need and go away. You never try to take the magic away from the forest.” said the woman.

Now the fog got thinner. The surrounding atmosphere had changed and there was little warmth in the wind.  “So you scare the bad ones away,” asked Lola. “Hmmm… you are right. I do what is needed. Never take nature for granted or Nature would punish. Don’t lose your pure heart Lola. I will never hurt you. You are a kind girl, you are welcomed here.”

Lola smiled at the woman. “You are not bad at all,” said Lola beamingly. The woman got up. She came near Lola and took hold of her hand. As the woman came close, Lola could smell the strong fragrance from the garlands the woman wore. It was a pleasant smell. “Come I shall show you the way out dear” she said in a calm voice. Lola bowed and said, “Thank you!” and smiled. The woman smiled back. Both walked. “I would love to see you soon,” said the woman.

“I shall tell my sister Ila about you. Will you meet her?” asked Lola jumping. “Hmm… That’s tricky … let nature decide. I am seldom seen here.  If she too is having a pure heart then nature will decide. Remember Lola I am scary and bad to bad people but the pure heart always attracts me.” Till the time they reached the end of the forest. “Here is your road…” smiled the woman. She left Lola’s hand. Lola stood there staring at the woman. “Go! You will be late!” said the woman kindly. “I will” smiled Lola with tears in her eyes. “Run to your home. Don’t be scared. You will get whatever you want in your life, even your candies. There will be nothing less in your life. You will have all that you want and need. But make sure that you don’t lose your pure and valorous heart Lola” said the woman. Lola nodded happily and waved her goodbye. “See you soon!” she smiled at the woman. As she ran farther the scent from the woman’s garlands diminished… Lola held her basket near her and then to her astonishment it was full of the herbs and shrubs and flowers she had collected earlier and which she had lost when she fell down. They were clean and fresh now. Also, the basket wasn’t heavy. “I can’t believe they are all here,” said Lola surprised. She looked back but there was no one. Lola smiled and without being scared went home happily.

When she reached home it was about to dawn and the clock stroked 4 a.m. Lola didn’t believe that she had spent nearly one night in forest. She didn’t know how the time went so fast. Ila couldn’t believe her own eyes to see Lola alright. Lola got the scolding from her mother. But now she didn’t mind it a bit.  Lola didn’t tell Ila about the woman for few days. But then one day told Ila about her however, Ila didn’t believe her and thought it was just a joke. Some of Lola’s friends overheard her story. It spread like a wild fire in the village. The villagers rewarded Lola for returning back safely from the forest. She was a small hero to them.

Lola who kept her candies in the jar was happy to see them full. Each time she took one candy next time there were full. She knew why her candies kept on adding. She always knew what she saw and felt was real as she knew the secret of the forest and her extra candies. Lola’s family’s financial condition grew stronger.  Lola took Ila to the forest but never had a chance to meet her sister to the queen of the forest. She went alone too many a times hoping to catch a glimpse of the wandering forest queen but she could only hear the tinkling of her anklets and felt her presence but never saw her.  She is still hoping and longing to meet the Vanrani one day… Just wish she sees her soon.

Now Lola’s story is being told by the villagers to the camping groups who come to camp in the dark forest.

Lola is happy to have her name in the story which many think as a joke or lore but it is her life’s reality.

 

Words count: 3251


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