The Widow of the Dark Forest

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

Submitted: December 14, 2016

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Submitted: December 14, 2016

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Words: 2,144

 

There once was a hunter named Colin.  He used to hunt right here, in the Dark Forest.  He was a big man with sandy hair and a matching, scruffy beard.  He spent a lot of time hunting deer in the Dark Forest, and that day was no different.  Early that morning, just before the sun had risen, he readied himself behind some shrubbery, watching a large clearing for any bucks, bow and arrow at the ready.  After some time, a four point buck came into the clearing to graze, and he shot it.  Unfortunately, as most deer do when they have been hit, it ran off, meaning Colin would have to track it.  He followed the blood trail through the thick woods for some time before he lifted his nose to the air and sniffed. 

“Huh,” he said.  “There’s smoke in the air.”  Thinking it was a fellow hunter’s campsite; he followed the scent, and came across a small, wooden cabin.  Now Colin had spent a good four years of his life hunting in the Dark Forest, and he was almost certain no one lived in it.  He thought perhaps someone had recently built the cabin; a trapper or another hunter would be his most likely guess.  But as he approached the structure, he saw that vines were growing up one of the walls.  The cabin couldn’t have been new.  The hunter raised his hand to knock on the door, a split second of anxiety washing over him.  Being such a large man and so skilled with his weapon, he simply shook it off.  He’d dealt with far scarier than an unusual cabin in the woods.  Colin brought his fist to the door, rapping on it firmly and loudly.  After the fourth knock, it slowly creaked open, revealing a young girl of about fourteen.  She was petite and slender with pale skin and long, blonde hair so light it nearly looked silver.  She looked up at Colin with big, gray eyes and frowned.

“Mother!” she called, looking back over her shoulder.  “There is a man at the door.”  Colin heard footsteps growing louder and a woman appeared behind the girl.  She, too, had very pale skin and gray eyes, but her hair was an inky black.She appeared to be in her forties, with slight wrinkles in the corners of her eyes.  She grasped the girl’s shoulders and guided her back inside the house. 

“Thank you, Maybelle,” she spoke in a hushed voice.  “Now go finish your sweeping.”  She then turned her attention back to Colin.  “Is there anything I can help you with?”  The man scratched at his head and looked around a bit.

“Not really, ma’am.  I was just out here hunting, and I happened upon your home.  My name’s Colin,” he said warmly, extending a hand.  The woman shook it delicately.

“Josefine,” she replied.  “Would you like to come in for a warm drink?  It’s a bit chilly out this morning.”  Colin nodded and followed her inside.  The cabin had three rooms.  The largest had a table for eating, a fireplace, two rocking chairs, and a cook-stove.  The other two appeared to be bedrooms with curtains hanging in the doorways.  From behind one of the curtains, the girl peeked out, behind her, a boy with the same silvery hair and gray eyes.

“Mother, I finished with my sweeping,” the girl Colin assumed was Maybelle said, walking into the main room, broom in hand.  The boy followed, cautiously eyeing the hunter.

“These are my twin children,” Josefine told Colin as she poured him some tea.  “The girl is Maybelle and the boy is Marcus.  Greet the man, children.”  Maybelle did a small curtsy.

“Hello,” she said sweetly.  Marcus raised a hand in a wave-like greeting.

“Hello,” he mumbled.  Josefine handed the cup of tea to Colin, and he took a sip.  He couldn’t quite place the herbs in the mixture, but they made the drink very sweet and rich.  He took another drink.  Josefine wiped her hands on the apron tied to her skirt, and went to the door. 

“Why don’t you two keep our new guest company?  I have to go pick some blackberries for a pie,” she said to the twins.  They both nodded, and she made her way out the door with a basket.  Maybelle took Colin’s hand and led him to one of the rocking chairs for him to sit down.  Once he was settled, she glanced in her brother’s direction.

“Marcus and I have to run to the spring really quickly.  We’re in the middle of our chores and need water to clean our breakfast dishes.  The spring isn’t far, so we should be back a few minutes,” she stated with a smile as she took Marcus’ hand, grabbed a bucket, and headed out the door as well.  The hunter took a look around the cabin, taking another sip of his tea.  After a moment, he stood intent on exploring the home a little further.  The first thing he did was peer around the curtain to the room that the twins had been in.  Inside, there were two beds, two dressers, and a nightstand between the beds.  Continuing on, he looked inside the other bedroom, the one that was Josefine’s.  Inside was what you would expect to be in a bedroom.  There was a bed, a nightstand, and a dresser in the corner.  He was about to head back for the rocking chair when he noticed that, on the floor, there was a door.  He walked over and kneeled next to it, pulling it open.  Inside, all he could see was darkness. 

“Stop!” a voice suddenly shouted.  Colin jerked back, startled.  Marcus, who had been standing in the bedroom doorway, ran over and closed the door with a slam.  “That’s Mother’s special room down there.  No one’s allowed to go down there expect her, and sometimes Maybelle.”  The boy grabbed the hunter’s arm and took him back to the rocking chair.

“Special room?” Colin asked him. “You mean where they do all their lady things like brushing their hair and making dresses?”  Marcus shook his head.

“No, I don’t think so.  They only go down there at night.  Usually it is exactly at midnight.  When they do go down there, I always hear screams after,” he whispered.  “It scares me a whole lot.”  Colin patted Marcus’ shoulder.

“Don’t let it scare you, buddy,” he started.  “I bet they’re not screaming.  Most of the time, when women laugh, it’s just so shrill that they sound like they’re screaming.”  The boy wrung his hands a minute before looking up at the large man.

“You don’t understand, mister.  It’s not them screaming that I hear.  It’s a man’s screams,” he muttered.  Colin furrowed his brow, a chill running up his spine.  He was about to ask the boy to explain further, but the door opened and Maybelle walked in. 

“I wondered where you ran off to, Marcus,” she said absentmindedly, setting the full bucket of water on the table.  The boy twin’s demeanor changed immediately, and he started bringing the dishes to the table.

“Mother told us to keep our guest entertained, and I figured we shouldn’t leave him alone,” he said cheerfully.  Maybelle nodded.

“That’s good.  I’m glad you did.  If Mother had come home and saw we were both gone, she’d be upset,” she laughed.  A few minutes later, as the kids finished the dishes, Josefine returned home with a basket full of blackberries and other herbs. 

“Maybelle,” she addressed her daughter.  “Would you accompany me to the special room for a few moments?”  The girl nodded and they disappeared into Josefine’s bedroom.  Colin turned his head to Marcus.

“I thought you said they only went down at night,” he whispered.  Marcus’ eyes widened, and he grabbed Colin by the bicep.

“You’ve got to get out of here.  You have to go now.  Hurry,” he urged, tugging on the hunter.  Colin stood and grabbed the boy by his shoulders. 

“You need to tell me what is going on right now.  All the details.  Don’t leave anything out,” he demanded of the boy.  Marcus swallowed thickly.

“The only time they went down during the day is when they took the man down there.  He was a trapper that found our house just like you. They took him down into the special room that day, and went back down that night.  That’s when the screaming would start.  They won’t let me go down there.  They say I don’t have the courage, and that I’m too sensitive.  Maybelle sometimes tells me I don’t have the guts for it.  Please, mister, you’ve got to get out of here now!”By this time, Marcus was crying and his voice pleading. 

“What are you doing!?” a voice shrieked from behind Colin.  The two turned to see Maybelle standing in the doorway of Josefine’s bedroom.  The twins’ mother appeared, hearing her daughter’s shouting.  Marcus put himself between the man and his sister, shaking.

“You can’t take him down there!  You’re gonna hurt him just like you do the other man!” he screeched.  Josefine stomped forward and grabbed him by the forearm.

“How dare you!?  You’re nothing but a disgrace of a child, Marcus!  You’re weak!  Forget the hunter; I’m taking you down to the special room!”  With that, she dragged the sobbing boy into the darkness beyond the door, leaving Maybelle alone with a terrified Colin.

“He wasn’t supposed to tell you,” she said after a moment.  Colin tried to step towards the door to the special room, but she blocked it.

“What in the world do you two do to people down there?” he asked, panic welling up within him.  Maybelle crossed her arms in front of her, looking off to the side.

“I suppose I can tell you since you’re gonna die soon anyway,” she began.  “Mother and I are witches.  We practice dark magic, and we get stronger every day.  Usually, she keeps the cabin hidden with a spell, but she reveals it when she needs another person.”  Colin blinked slowly.

“But why do you need people?” he whispered.  An evil grin broke out upon Maybelle’s face. 

“Some spells call for fresh human eyes or tongues or blood,” she answered, locking eyes with Colin.  At that moment, Colin heard Marcus cry out in pain.  The hunter pushed passed Maybelle and descended the stairs to the special room.  He could see a flickering, faint, orange light at the other side of the room.  Creeping closer to it, he could see Marcus chained up to a stone wall, his head down, and crying softly.

“Don’t worry, buddy,” he reassured the boy.  “I’m gonna get you out of here.”  As he looked around for something to break the chains, he realized Marcus wasn’t crying at all.  He was laughing.  The twin boy lifted his head, a demented look on his face.

“Sorry, mister, I really did like you,” he said between giggles as Josefine came up behind Colin and grabbed him with surprising strength.  Seemingly out of nowhere, Maybelle appeared and helped her mother chain the poor hunter to the wall where Marcus had been only moments before.  The twins began to move about the room, lighting candles, making it easier to see.  Once the room was illuminated, Colin could see the remains of four other bodies, all at varying stages of decomposition.  One, the oldest he assumed, was simply a skeleton.  Josefine caught him looking at it, and chuckled.

“The pile of bones was once my husband,” she cooed.  “When the twins were still infants I caught him with another woman.  I was devastated, but mostly angry.  Since I could really use some human ingredients for my spells, I decided to kill two birds with one stone.  I locked him up down here and used pieces of him until he died.  After that, whenever I needed another person, the twins and I would enact our little plan.  In complete honesty, you were the easiest person to lure.  So trusting.”  She handed a dagger to Maybelle.  “Do me a favor and retrieve one of his lungs for me.”  The twin girl made her way to Colin, pressed the dagger gently to his chest, and his world turned to blackness.  After that day, no one ever heard from the hunter again.  Josefine’s cabin was once again cloaked by a spell.  The assumption was made that he must have been mauled and eaten by a wild animal while hunting.  Though, most all who have seen the cabin vanish, there are a few that have caught a glimpse.  No one wants to believe it, so they give their warnings in hushed whispers.  If you ever come across a small, vine-covered cabin in the Dark Forest, don’t knock on the door.  Those who do meet the widow Josefine and never make it back home. 


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