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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Children Stories  |  House: Footsteps, yarns and little fibs
A girls loses track of the time.

Submitted: January 04, 2017

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Submitted: January 04, 2017



Little Eva and Boo, her puppy were playing in the sunny meadow with Boo chasing the sticks that Eva threw. She hid silently among the long tufts of grass until Boo found her. Eva did not notice that the sun was going down, but she did see the golden butterfly that looked strangely like a fairy. She and Boo ran after it, trying to catch it, but always it kept just a fraction ahead of her.

Eva hesitated as the golden fairy-butterfly entered the forest, it was dark in there! Suddenly the branches of an old oak tree reached down and quickly swept the little girl into the dark forest. Bravery deserted Boo who stood, bouncing on his feet, barking at the forest edge. The same branches of the old oak tree reached down and swept Boo away, so frightened, and with his tail between his legs, he ran in the direction home!

Little Eva stood up after her roly-poly, she was unsteady but unafraid of the dark. But she did not like to be alone, the forest was cold and there were strange noises all around her. She spun around, intending to return the way she had come, but the bushes moved to block her way and soon she was hopelessly lost. Her little heart thumped in her chest because now she was frightened! She recalled her parents’ warning to never enter Ripley’s Forests because bad things are said to have happened there!

A pale moon rose shedding enough light for Eva to dimly see and she thought it strange that clouds were scudding across the moon, but there was no wind, just an eerie still in the forest. The moving clouds gave the appearance of movement on the ground with the tress moving in unison whispering, whispering, ‘Death, death, death!’

Eva blundered into the strands of a sticky spider web, which stung as it settled across her face and she frantically tried to wipe it away – but it was so sticky! Half blinded she fell into the hole left when an ancient beech tree had tipped over leaving its roots exposed. She hurt her hand on landing, but it saved breaking her nose on the stones in the bottom of the hole! Her heart skipped a beat when she looked up! Silhouetted by the moon was a black witch with a crooked nose and enormous hat! But wait, she breathed again, it was the shape of the beech tree’s upturned roots.

Meanwhile Boo yapped to attract the attention of Eva’s parents, who were already worried their daughter hadn’t come home – they knew she had gone into the forest. Panicking, her dad ran to the house of Crippen, the Warden of the forest, but he refused to help.

‘The forest is cursed,’ he said, ‘when it’s dark, the Howlers rule, I’m sorry sir, your daughter will not come out of there. There is nothing to be done.’

Fearful, Eva’s parents, her dad armed with a pitchfork, went to the edge of the forest and called her name. Their reply was the eerie noise of the night forest.

Eva felt some security in the hole until she saw the big yellow eyes of an owl blinking at her, one eye at a time, blink, blink! Suddenly with a noisy flap of its wings, it flew off crying out, ‘Howlers, Howlers, Howlers!’

Eva climbed to the lip of the hole and saw rabbits, a badger, a fox, all running in the same direction away from the low howling noise. Then in the moonlight, she saw six running goblin-like-hunched beings slow to a walk, the leader sniffing at the air.

‘Ah ha! Tonight was feast on the flesh of human!’ he howled.

Frightened and confused, Eva nearly lost hope, but she felt the bangle on her wrist vibrate ever so slightly. She remembered back to when the gnarled old woman at the fete, who out of the blue, gave her the thin, brass bangle with the funny marks. She ran her fingers over it now.

‘When you are in danger, hold the bangle in the moonlight and call for the Star Keeper. He’s sleeping now, but if he wakes, he will help you.’ She said in a frog-like voice. ‘The Star Keeper, he’s old now and not called on for centuries. He sleeps now, snoring like thunder, but he is there – always there.’

The Howlers were getting closer, sniffing, snorting and cursing at each other! Eva could smell their rankness! Can she trust that gnarled old witch of a woman? Who was she anyway? And if she calls out to the Star Keeper, the Howlers will surely hear her!

There was a glint of moonlight just beyond her reach! She stretched her bangled hand for it, closer, closer! The Howlers caught sight her and began to run toward her! She stretched, closer, closer, the clouds shifted and the bangle was bathed in moonlight!

‘Star keeper, Star Keeper, please help me!’ She called.

At the sound of the Star Keeper’s name the Howlers hesitated. The bangle began to spin around her wrist, faster and faster! So fast it began to hum softly. The Howlers surrounded Little Eve, belching and farting smelly green fumes! The leader pulled a long, curved knife from a fold in his skin and his grin was dark. The others stopped their belching and farting in anticipation!

‘I’m done for.’ Mumbled the little girl, shrinking back into the hole.

Quite suddenly she was bathed in bright starlight, the Star Keeper had woken from his slumbers! He felt Eva’s cry and with a simple wave of his hand, he sent starlight to her aid. Light far too bright and pure for Howlers! They loped off seeking the darkness of the forest, howling in fear! The Star keeper directed the starlight to pulse back and forth encouraging Eva to follow and once she realised, the starlight guided her into the arms of her waiting parents.

The three, and Boo of course, bathed in the starlight and felt the warmth of the Star Keeper, and as quickly as it came, the starlight returned to its place in the sky.

Eva never spoke about her adventure, who would believe her?

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