Don't Eat The Berries

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

Emily and a group of friends take a trip into the mountains when their truck breaks down, leaving them stranded in the woods. In the dead of winter and night creeping closer, they are unsure what to do next. While out, Emily and Elijah spot a cabin across the clearing from them. When they get there, they find that it is completely abandoned and was in awful conditions, but it was better than freezing so they try their best to get cozy. Soon after eating, they realize something is wrong. There is a strange and eery feeling in the air and it isn't long before Emily realizes that they shouldn't have eaten the berries.

I had no idea what I was going to do, we were stranded. There was no one around for miles, we were in the middle of the woods, and there was no service. Jake was freaking out, like usual, Jenna was mad because she couldn’t post anything, who knows where Elijah went, and so that left me to be calm and collected when in reality I was freaking out.

Tap. Tap. Tap.

Jenna screamed, Jake cursed, and I practically jumped out of my skin, but when I looked over I was relieved to find that it was just Elijah, I guess there is a first for everything, I laughed to myself.

“What? What is so funny Emily?” Jenna screeched.

“Nothing, nothing,” I said trying to wipe the slight grin off my face. If I could’ve had my way, Elijah never would have come, but Jenna wanted Jake to come and he only agreed to come if Elijah came, so here we are. 

“Move over Emily, Jesus you’re taking up the whole god damn seat!” Elijah snapped as he opened the door to get in the truck. 

“I am not,” I mumbled under my breath, moving over more so he could get in. He was so irritating, always has been. I know it sounds so cliche, but I am not kidding when I say that we are mortal enemies, always competing for that number one spot, no matter what it was. I don’t understand what it was that I did to make him hate me so much, but I decided if he was going to hate me, then I would hate him in return. For a while though, there was a time when I tried to fix things and be friends, but when that failed I decided that enough was enough, and I fought fire with fire.

When he would trip or push me down the stairs, I would wear heels and “accidentally” step on him the following day, when he would take my chair out from under me I would break all of his pencils. I know they weren’t the best ways to get back at him, but I didn’t know how, up until then I had only one other bully that got to me. One phone call from my mother to him made us become friends very quickly in elementary school, but in middle school that wasn’t an option. So I have put up with his torment ever since. 

“Well I there is not anywhere close, and there is no service,” Elijah started.

“No way! Too bad someone didn’t already say that before you went out there for an hour and a half and came back with no new information.” I spat at him, irritated that he left in the first place. He wasted over an hour and came back with nothing, absolutely nothing. If he would have just listened to me, we could have used that hour to strategize and come up with a plan as to what we were going to do next. 

“Oh shut up Em, there was only one way to know for sure.” he rolled his eyes.

“No there wasn’t you idiot! I checked the map, there is nothing close for at least seventy miles, in both directions!” I couldn’t stop myself from yelling, my anger now boiling over. 

“Whatever.” he knew he was wrong but would never admit it, I hated that about him but I did the same thing. He sat there hands on the wheel, staring straight ahead. God, he was always so dramatic.

“Okay, guys we need to figure out what we are going to do,” I said turning around to face the rest of the group sitting in the back, but instead of answering they just shrugged. Go figure, I am going to have to try and figure out what to do myself, like always. I glanced over at Elijah, just to see if he was going to be of any use but he was still glaring out the window, pouting. 

I let out a loud sigh and pulled out the map. I looked it over to see if there was anything that I could have missed, but I already knew that I wasn’t going to find anything. I threw my head back against the seat and scanned the beautiful scenery around us. There was snow covering the ground and the trees like a thick blanket, it sparkled in the slowly descending sun, as night crept closer and closer. It was already getting cold and by the time that night did roll around temperatures would be close to, if not below zero. This truck was not going to keep us warm throughout the night, we needed to find some sort of shelter, but there was nothing for miles, nothing but snow and trees. 

“I am going for a walk,” I said suddenly, surprising the rest of the group. I opened the door and hopped out, then looked back to see if anyone was going to join me, but I was secretly hoping they wouldn’t. Thankfully, they didn’t. I slammed the door causing snow to fall from atop of the truck and began to walk out to the large clearing we had seen before.

As I got to the edge of the clearing I heard a door slam, and the crunching of snow as someone made their way over to me. 

“Damn it.” I sighed, walking faster into the clearing.

“Wait up! Stop walking so fast!” someone called out behind me. I stopped abruptly and spun around to face Elijah. 

“What are you doing? Go away.” I replied, hands on my hips. 

“Nah, I’m good.” he continued towards me, but then he paused and squinted past me, focusing on something behind me. When I turned around, at first I didn’t see anything, but then I caught a glimpse of a small brown cabin atop of the hill.

“Oh my god! E, look! A cabin! I found a cabin!” I squealed, jumping with excitement, but when I turned to look at him he just stared at me.

“No, I found the cabin Em, you only found it because I was looking at it.” 

“Oh whatever, no need to be a party pooper,” I laughed but continued when his expression remained the same. “Okay, let’s go get the others then.” 

The cabin was in far worse conditions than we previously had thought it to be. The door was rusted shut, a few of the windows were cracked, and there were a few holes along the walls. It was better than nothing, I had to keep telling myself but I knew that we were in for a long night. 

Before night could roll around, I sent Elijah and Jake to gather wood for the fireplace, otherwise, we would freeze. While they did that Jenna and I gathered berries and other plants we hoped were not poisonous. By the time we were all back to the cabin, we had plenty of wood, berries, and even a few rabbits that the boys had been able to catch while they were out. Maybe everything would work out after all.

By the time we all got back to the cabin though, it was dark and temperatures were dropping rapidly. I was struggling to get a fire started because all of the wood was still damp from the snow. My hands began to shake, along with the rest of my body, and I found myself losing feeling in my fingers. I needed to get it started otherwise we would have very little to eat and no heat to get us through the night. I was starting to panic, I didn’t know what to do, and I always knew what to do. I couldn’t catch my breath and my vision was starting to go black, I tried to shake it off but eventually, I couldn’t fight it any longer, I felt myself falling backward, and after that nothing. 

My eyes flew open, scanning my surroundings. I began to remember what happened. The car getting stuck, finding the cabin, and trying to start a fire, but after that there was nothing. 

Mid-thought, I was interrupted by the growling of my stomach. When I sat up though, the room swayed making me feel nauseous. 

“Look who’s awake guys!” Jenna squealed, Jake smiled as well, but Elijah did not share their enthusiasm.

“Lay back down Emily,” he said, poking around in the fire. I didn’t want to listen to him, but he was right, my head was spinning. 

He walked over with part of the rabbit and sat down next to me. I closed my eyes to try and collect myself, and then the next thing I knew, pieces of rabbit were being shoved into my mouth. My eyes flew back open, and sure enough, Elijah was feeding me.

“What the hell?! I can feed myself, Elijah!” I swiped the plate, glaring at him.

Then, suddenly there was a blood-curdling scream from outside of the cabin, but when I turned to face Jake and Jenna, they were nowhere to be seen.

“You have got to be kidding me,” Elijah sighed, rising off the bed and starting towards the door.

“Wait! Don’t open it!” I shouted at him as he reached for the handle. He turned around slowly and just looked at me for a moment.

“What is your deal, woman?” he asked, frustrated.

To be honest, I didn’t know what my problem was. For whatever reason, I felt the need to stop him from going out to face whatever caused Jenna to scream, but part of me also wanted him to go out there and get eaten by a bear. My head began to hurt again, I was overthinking this, what did it matter if he went out there? 

“Well? Are you going to just sit there or are you going to answer me?”

“Oh, uh nevermind, but if you get eaten by a bear or something, you can’t say that I didn’t warn you.” I shrugged, then laughed as I said, “Well if you get eaten by a bear I guess you wouldn’t be able to say anything at all, huh?”

He just rolled his eyes and said, “God, aren’t you smart?” He reached for the door again, this time I didn’t stop him from opening it, but when he did he only stood there, staring. 

“What?” I made my way over to him, popping the last berry on my plate into my mouth. “Elijah, what is it…” but as I stood there, I was unable to say anything.

On the ground, Jenna sat there hovering over Jake’s body, covered in what appeared to be his blood. She let out a loud sob, as she dropped the large knife. 

For a moment I wasn’t sure if I was still asleep or not, I couldn’t be sure if I was awake or if this was all just a nightmare. Everything went strangely quiet, and something in my gut told me that things were only going to get worse.

I hadn’t realized it before but Jenna had stopped crying, she rose to her feet slowly, staring down at her hands. She was saying something, but it was too quiet, I took a step towards her. I jumped when Elijah grabbed my arm, the look on his face asking me if I was sure about this. In return, I gave him the most confident look I could, although I doubt it was very convincing. Nonetheless, he released me, and I slowly made my way over to Jenna. 

“I’m so sorry… I’m so sorry Jake… I didn’t mean to…” was all she said, over and over again. I placed my hand on her shoulder because I had no clue what someone should say in this kind of situation, but as soon as I touched her, I knew I had made a mistake. The look in her eyes was unmistakable, she was afraid. I jumped back, unsure of what she would do in this state of mind.

I stood there unable to move, even though I knew what she was doing before she did it. I couldn’t stop her, no matter how badly I wanted to, I was frozen. 

She just looked at me and smiled softly as tears began to roll down her face. 

“Bye, Em.” was all she said before she took the knife and sliced her throat, I screamed, all of a sudden feeling coming back to my body, allowing me to move again. I rushed over to her as she fell to the ground, her blood everywhere, soaking the cold snow, turning it a beautiful shade of red. 

I sat there for a while, just holding her and crying. She looked so helpless, so innocent in death. She didn’t deserve this, neither of them did. 

“Well since they're gone, I am going to eat the rest of the berries, if you don’t mind,” Elijah said from behind me. I rose slowly to my feet, shaking with anger, when I turned to face him, I could see in his face that he knew he messed up. He backed up slowly, back into the house.

“Okay, okay. My bad Em. Maybe that wasn’t very considerate of me, I’m sorry.” there was fear in his voice, he was afraid of me. I couldn’t believe it, I was scaring Elijah Woods, the very man who wasn’t scared of anything, according to him at least, and because of this, I couldn’t help but laugh. This only scared him more though. He ran over to the bathroom and the click was the door locking.

What an idiot, I thought. I laid back down on the bed and closed my eyes, I figured I would go to sleep and when I woke up everything would be just fine. 

The door to the bathroom creaked open, but there were no footsteps. When I opened my eyes though, Elijah was standing above me, eyes filled with fear as well as tears.

“I am sorry, Emily… it’s the berries… they made me do this...” he sobbed, but I didn’t understand until he was already plunging the knife into my stomach, I screamed but it’s not as if that was going to change the outcome of such a situation. I flung my arms around, trying to grab ahold of something, anything at all that might allow me to have the upper hand, that’s when I found it. A gun. I didn’t hesitate, I shot him, then again, and again, and again until I was out of bullets. When the initial shock finally wore off, I stood there, and suddenly felt as though I should join them, wherever they are.

‘You could be together again,’ a mysterious voice said, appearing to have not come from any particular source. ‘You could sit in the field and eat berries for the rest of your lives, doesn’t that sound nice?’ 

Berries!! Of course, Elijah said something about berries before he stabbed me, I ran into the bathroom, to protect myself from the same gruesome fate as my friends, but when I looked into the mirror I knew what I had to do, but another part of me had one more task to complete before I could leave this world. 

I wrung out the blood in my shirt in the sink, and dipped my fingers in it, raising them to write four simple words across the mirror, a warning. I could no longer fight the voice in my head telling me to join my friends, there was only one last thing for me to do.

I took the knife in my hands, tears streaming down my face as if my eyes were a broken faucet. My hand shook as I pressed the cool metal against my throat, and in one swift motion, I slashed my throat.

I began to gag, choking on my blood, but eventually, it didn’t hurt anymore, so I lay there on the ground staring at the last four words I would read before I slipped away into the unknown. DON’T EAT THE BERRIES.

Submitted: February 11, 2021

© Copyright 2021 Noelle Bradley. All rights reserved.

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