Chapter 2: Chapter 2

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Status: In Progress  |  Genre: Fantasy  |  House: Booksie Classic

Reads: 57

The forest was dark and cold like a corpse. The trees, once full of hopes and dreams, are now empty husks of bark. Dread and fear crept behind Olivia as she tip-toed. She lost sight of the rabbit ages ago, leaving her in absolute darkness. Not even the light from her flashlight can pierce through the shadows of this forgotten land. 

It was too late to turn back. The trees closed off the exit with their slender hands. She could only move forward and go deeper into the woods. Deeper into the demon’s den of horrors. Olivia's sweaty hands clenched on the flashlight. The very thought made her squeamish. 

How can she let herself be lured in here? Like Alice, she followed the rabbit into the hole, but this isn’t Wonderland. There would be no tea party with Mad Hatter or meeting Cheshire Cat, only despair waited for her at the end. The bugs and animals had already been taken, leaving the girl alone with only her mind. 

 She wanted to prove to her parents that she is capable of being responsible. If she loses the book, not only would they never trust her again, Olivia would not be able to find the rest of the stars. The summer would be boring without it. Her drawings of star maps are not enough to keep her occupied, if only she had a telescope strong enough to see beyond the cosmos.

Olivia felt eyes watch her as she traipsed through the maze. She frantically looked around her but she was alone. She called out. Olivia could feel the vibration in her throat, but the sound was absent to her ears. 

The hairs stood up as her body went cold. Her instincts told her to run. Deeper in the forgotten world, where lost children go. Is she eager to travel forward to the unknown? Olivia has no other choice. She treads carefully over the dead roots and overgrown grass, slowly gaining pace. She steady her hand, afraid that the flashlight could slip out. 

Run.

Run!

She could sense hands trying to grab her. They hid in the shadows like demonic snakes, slithering and biting on her arms and legs. Real or imaginary, she ran as fast as she could through the forbidden woods. Olivia would not let the demon take her, not until she finished her quest.

She saw a light at the end of the tunnel. Olivia sprinted as the claws scratched at her. The pain stings but she persisted. Gathering her courage, she leaped as hands stretched towards her. She landed on her belly, groaning from the pain, and hesitantly got up. The tree’s dead hands had blocked her in, but she doesn't feel the eyes anymore. 

She put the flashlight in her bag. The area around her was vibrant. Tiny wisps floated around her. Beautiful flowers in all different shades covered the ground beneath her. She felt at ease here as if a great weight had been lifted. She sniffed the honey and maple in the air. This is what Olivia expected the woods to be.

She followed the golden wisps to a barren open field. Light streamed between the green leaves of the oak tree and landed on a large boulder. A boy sat with his knees up at the bottom of the rock, his scarlet hood covering his face. Olivia could hear him crying as she crept towards him. The wisps slowly went to him, making his red cloak glow.

She kept her eyes on him. This could be a trick. The demon lured her here and now is trying to lower her guard.  But if this turns out to be someone like her, then perhaps he can help.

“H-hello?” She asked, gaining the courage to speak.

The boy stopped crying. His tired grey eyes stared at her with satisfaction and fear. The wisps that surrounded him clumped together like ice. Olivia couldn’t stop staring at him. He looked human enough, but his red masquerade mask with white and gold lines is too out of place. He also appears to be glowing. The wisps could be doing that, but Olivia doesn’t remember the wisps doing that to her.

“Are you lost?” She asked.

He doesn’t answer. A white wisp that sat on his shoulder began to blink. His lips straightened as he closed his eyes.

This couldn’t be a trick, right? Olivia thought as she waited for him to respond. The stories that have been told about this forest are mostly rumors and fairytales. People who wander in here are never seen again, so how can they tell what truly happens in the woods? She took a deep breath and sat down.

“What’s your name?”

He lowered his head.

“I’m Olivia”

“Why did you tell me your name?” He sounded shocked.

“Because you won’t give me yours?”

He shook his head, “be careful who you give it to. You never know who will take it.”

“Is that what happened to you?”

“Something like that, yes,” He rubbed his mask.

“Why would someone do that?”

“Names are a powerful thing  in this world”

“This world?”

“You’re not the first human to enter the portal, and you won’t be the last. But I gotta say that you're the first human that I met. I never imagined one to look so…”

“Like you?” 

He nodded, still staring at her with curiosity. The white wisp blinked gently.

“You should leave before they realize we met. They don’t want me to have any visitors,” he pointed to the trees, “ it doesn’t matter which route you take, as long as you don’t stay.”

He laid his head on his knees. She could feel the guilt tugging her chest. She can’t leave him like this. They're both alone in this unusual world. Wouldn't it be better to be together?

“Come with me,” Olivia suggested, holding her hand out to him, “you don’t have to be alone.”

“I-I cannot.”

“Have you tried leaving?”

“No,” he frowned. The white wisp blinking in signals.

“Do you want to leave?”

“You ask too many questions,” he took her hand, “that is going to be troublesome.”

Now on his feet, Olivia saw how dirty he looked. His red cloak was torn at the bottom, his brown boots were old and filthy, and his white gloves were rough and damp. He must have been in the forest for a while, lost and alone. If Olivia didn’t find him, would she have suffered the same fate? She held his hand tight. The warmth of it reassures her. 

“Alright then,” she smiled, “Onward we go!”

The golden wisp followed them as they sprinted out of the woods. Birds sang as they made their way towards the finish line, for a moment she forgot her book or her home. All she wanted was to find out more about this boy and the world that had forgotten him.


Submitted: July 27, 2021

© Copyright 2021 C.L.G. All rights reserved.

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