The Cold Spring

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

Hey everyone! I would appreciate if you would give me any feedback on this story, negative or otherwise. I am trying to improve my writing and enter into more writing contests. This is a short
story about a night wandering. A bit slow, but I think the ending makes up for it :).

Winter’s cold stayed late, that year. It was the kind of cold that sat in the woods like a wet blanket and chilled everything it touched. The kind of cold that left snow in the shadowy places between trees, but still, rain turned the paths to muck. The kind of cold that kept most people inside with hot chocolate and roaring fires.

I was not most people.

It was not the first of my night wanderings; nor was it likely to be the last. It almost seemed routine. I woke up around three: not the slow wakefulness that you can shake off, but all at once. Someone else may have blamed it on coffee or a large super, but I haven’t had either since I moved to the woods. I woke, and, knowing I would not fall asleep again, left the warmth of my bed. I slipped through the hushed house, sending mice scurrying for cover. I slipped on my old, green, rain boots and my brown rain jacket, pulling the hood tight around my face to ward of the cold. And then I began to wander.

I followed no set path but followed my feet, trusting that, come dawn, I could find my way back. And if I couldn't, I could imagine much worse fates than dying in the woods. I wandered between the trees, stopping from time to time to look for snowdrops pushing through the old leaves that had fallen last Autumn. I thought in the way you think when you first wake up or are falling asleep; my thoughts jumping from thing to thing, but forgetting them but a moment later. I tried, sometimes, to trace my line of thought backwards, to find out what made me think of one thing or another, but I soon became distracted by a new line of reasoning.

I gradually became aware of a strange noise; a high, keening note, held longer than all but the best opera singer can hold it. As I became aware of it, it dropped, then rose again. My feet were leading me towards the noise, and I saw no reason to stop them.

It was some minutes before I reached the clearing. I call it a clearing, but it was no more than a break in the trees and brambles, a place flattened by layers of leaves. I saw the clearing from some ways off and started towards it. I was stopped by the appearance of - for lack of a better term - a lady.

It was from her that the keening came, and I could hear it clearly now, rising and falling in a way that made the back of my neck prickle and the trees shiver. The clearing was no lighter than the surrounding trees, but I saw her clearly in the darkness. She was tall and graceful, wearing a dress that swayed around her legs as if dancing to the strange music.

Suddenly she turned to me, and I saw her face for the first time. Her eyes were dark, darker than any humans, and reminded me of a frightened animal. Her mouth was open slightly, and I glimpsed sharpened teeth. The keening didn't stop as she stepped toward me. I knew I should run, but my fear made me freeze, like a deer in caught in headlights, or a mouse cornered by a fox.

The keening rose to a pitch that ran through my blood and sent my heart throbbing and my limbs shaking. The cold night settled on my bones and turned them to ice. If I could turn from the eyes, the terrible eyes, I knew I could run, but even as I thought it, I knew the woman would not release me from her stare.

She opened her mouth, ever so slightly, letting out a last, tremoring note.

The world did not go black, nor white, nor any colour that I know.

It simply went.


Submitted: March 31, 2018

© Copyright 2021 Kara B.. All rights reserved.

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Very nice. The descriptions of the cold, the forest, the fear....all well done. And no, it did not start off slowly at all.

Sun, April 1st, 2018 8:19pm

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