Lost Children Of the Forest

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Horror  |  House: Booksie Classic

Submitted: December 08, 2016

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Submitted: December 08, 2016

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Word count: 1,916

“Come on, we need to get back to the tent, or it will be too dark to find our way back!” Taylor yelled at me from the trail. I walked along, scuffing my boots along the rocks on the dusty pathway and craned my head back to shout back to her. She was on top of the forest cliff that we had decided to set up our little camp with several of our other friends, Duke – an interesting, dark guy with a macabre sense of humour, and Evelyn, the fairy of our group, inspired by anything whimsical and was a sucker for urban legends.

Then there was Taylor, who was a mix of everything, a soft spot for ballet, and with a love of metal and classical music, she was an unusual mix of eclectic and elegant.

4 friends.

The perfect number.

I took off my thick plaid shirt and wrapped it around myself as the thick night air was humid, meaning that the walk was going to be long.

I set off jogging up the rocky cliff face – which wasn’t that steep thanks to a carved pathway in the stones leading up the to the top of the cliff.

It got colder up there on the cliff oddly enough, shrouded by what seemed to be a thousand trees, stretching on for miles and hiding most of the cliff in darkness. I didn’t mind it really. I loved walking in the forests. They were…magical.

I finally heaved myself up the path to where Duke, Taylor and Evelyn were sitting, laughing hysterically around a blazing camp fire that shot off sparks of energy into the dark, still night sky. I myself let out a small smile as I observed the scene around me. Duke, even in all his macabre was letting out a small chuckle, and Evelyn was leaning back on one of the rocks giggling, while Taylor struggled to contain her own laughter and tried to be serious, before snorting out a massive laugh, sending the other two into fits of hysterics.

I shook my head and tried to get their attention. They finally noticed me and still laughing, gestured for me to sit down at a low rock by the sparking fire, that crackled the wood beneath it, sending off a relaxed yet somehow slightly ominous vibe through the air and I lowered myself onto a rock, sighing with relief as I yanked my boots off and through them into the tent behind me.

The laughter finally subsided after a few more minutes in which the fire continued to crackle and the stars glinted up in the endless abyss.

Then Evelyn sits up and looks at me excitedly.

“Come on, you have to tell a story! We have a campfire and everything!” she kicks a rock in her glee and it sends up sparks colliding into the air and I give her a look.

“Seriously? You’re the real story teller here. You do this for a living, remember?” I grab a massive marshmallow out of the bag that Taylor tossed at me and skewered it onto the stick, thrusting it into the flames and then quickly pulling it out and making a mess of it all over my fingers.

Whatever, roasted marshmallows are the best.

Duke seconded the motion, I think, from the smug look that he was giving Evelyn. I tossed a marshmallow and it hit her square on the nose and she gave me a little sassy glare before shoving the entire thing in her mouth.

“Fine, I’ll tell the story then. It’s a good one too.” She settled herself more comfortably on the rock.
“Duke, pass me that blanket would you? And stop giving me that smug look of satisfaction, it won’t get you anything!” she said in mock annoyance, and she caught the blanket and delicately laid it over herself and with that we all leaned in with baited breath.

The wind blew around us and then became silent. The distant howl of a wolf was abruptly cut off and the crackle of the fire became muted somehow, as if all sound had been vacuumed out of the atmosphere.

Evelyn’s delicate voice lowered to a gravelly tone as she spoke to us through the dim of the night.

“The story I’m about to tell you is probably the best one because, it is believed to have happened right here,” she leaned closer in to us, and her shadow was long against the ground, the flames glowing ominously around her small frame.

“In this very forest. The Lost Children of Luciola Forest.” She paused for a moment, looking each of us dead in the eyes, down through the chasms that lead to our souls.

“It all started on a summer’s day, about 4 years ago. A group of families had agreed to go camping together and had agreed to come here, to Luciola Forest.”

“They made their way through the forest, the sunlight filtering down amidst the ferns as their children ran up on ahead, their laughter drifting back towards the families and they all smiled at the sound of their children, safe and happy in the beautiful forest.”

“They set up tents in the clearing, 4 adults and 12 kids, all ranging from 8 up till 13. The moonlight was bright and the stars lay in the sky, whispering secrets from the sky back down to earth as she listened to the sky tell stories.”

“The children were slowly drifting off to sleep, while the adults sat in front of a campfire, much like our own right here, and spoke in muted voices as to not wake the children. It was nearly midnight when they all made their way back into the tents, and drifted off under the canopy of a peaceful night.”

“It was around 4 in the morning when one of the adults awoke to a silent sky once again. She looked up out of the tent at the enchanting moon above her and sighed in contentment and was about to slip back into her tent, when she felt the urge to check on the children.

Quietly easing herself out of her tent, she made her way over to the tents that the children lay sleeping in and unzipped the cover and cautiously peeked her head in. She let out a relieved breath. The children lay inside their sleeping bags, hair across the faces, eyes gently closed, some curled up against one another. They breathed evenly and slowly and she zipped the tent back up again and made her way back.”

“Then she felt something thrown at her, a twig, a piece of paper, she didn’t know what, but it had hit her directly and squarely in the centre of her back and she whirled around. The tents to the children’s tents were still shut and she yanked back the zipper and then fell back in shock, her feet clattered loudly on the stones under her feet, the twigs cracking angrily under her boot clad feet and she stared horrified.

The children had vanished.

Even more shocking than this was that there sleeping bags lay undisturbed, as if they had simply dissolved out of their sleeping bags and into the night air.

She ran frantically back to the other adults and arose them with a shaking voice, frantically gesturing at the children’s tent, her voice growing more in volume and higher in pitch as time wore on. Two of the men leapt towards the tent and then yanked back the cover to find that it was indeed true. The children were gone. Every last one of those adults scrambled madly back to the tents to get every flashlight they could find.

In a panicked frenzy, they managed to assemble themselves into two separate search parties and head off into the woods, yelling the names of the children at the top of their lungs, their panicked, broken voices echoed out into the chilling air that belonged to this dark night.

Nothing.

They searched for hours, until the sunlight snuck through the trees. Their voices torn from screaming the children’s name’s thousands of times, over and over, they were forced to come to the realization that the children were gone.

Numbly, they walked back to the campsite, their feet dragging under the ground, their hearts and flashlights drained of power, and they made their way back to the campsite.

Some still just stood there in shock, staring into the distance. Finally, one of the older men began to walk over to the children’s tent to take it down and the other’s followed suit.

Then a loud scream rang out.

The man fell back in terror and the other adults were ripped out of their haze and bolted towards the tent and gasped in unbelief.

The children were there.

Undisturbed.

As if they’d never been gone.

Their sleeping bags wrapped around them, curled up next to each other, their hair draping softly over their temples.

The adults nearly cried out in relief and they sunk to their knees.

They said nothing of this to the children, so as not to set panic to them.

The adults, shaken yet ecstatic, couldn’t help themselves. They decided to celebrate between themselves and they gathered them and the children for a late night hike, determined to keep them close.

The children were excited and their little giggles rang out through the woods as they skipped nimbly next to the relief filled adults. They jumped over boulders, ducked behind trees, playing among themselves.

All was well.

But, if that was the end of the story, we wouldn’t be here, would we?” Evelyn continued on, and I was snapped back to the scene before me. Everyone was still seated around the smoking fire and the flames burnt through the logs, leaping up into the black painted sky, the sparks gravitated towards the forest and a few embers fell on my sweatshirt.

“The forest seemed to stretch on for hours, and that was when the first flicker of fear began to strike up in their hearts. They could still see the children up ahead and they rushed to catch up to them, running and fighting their way through the undergrowth to where they could hear distant laughter.

They reached the clearing, the laughter loud now, echoing in their ears, little shouts and whispers and they sighed in relief as they stumbled through the last tall tree.

And stopped cold.

Nothing.

No children.

But laughter all around.

Endless shouts and giggles all around, seeming to be so loud and yet they were gone.

The laughter slowly faded away and the shouts turned to whispers, which then turned to nothing.

 

That was when they called the search parties.

The helicopters.

The state police and FBI force combed the entire forest, making their way through the undergrowth.

 

The children were never seen again. “

And that was when Evelyn stopped dead, silence wrapped around her lips and she became deathly still.

As was I.

The darkness swarmed around us, and we only seemed to be protected by the faint light of the towering bonfire, that despite its stature, seemed to be growing dimmer every second.

I looked off into the depth of the forest; frost bitten fingers clutched my heart, playing with the fear inside me as if it was a toy, and then cast it through my very being.

Through my very soul.

 

That was when I heard distant laughter.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


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