Into the Woods Part Three

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

Part Three


Part Three


"So what does this Queen of the Night look like?" The two of them walked along the edge of the river.


"I've never seen it." Gimlet confessed. "But I heard it's a flower that has white petals that glow under the moonlight and it's suppose to cure any illness. Just follow the river north and we should find it."


Eric looked above, at the hovering treetops, not seeing a speck of sky. "It's impossible to find north without the sky to guide us."


"I agree but I believe we'll find it." Gimlet glanced at Eric's clothes.

It hadn't bothered him before due to the more important matters of escaping, but now the curiosity returned.

Eric's trousers were blue made with a rough fabric similar to coarse cotton but more sturdier. His upper garments were odd. A black long sleeved shirt with a hood. His shoes were even odder. They weren't made of leather like the ones in town but in some smooth white material.

Eric caught Gimlet observing his clothes. He grinned.


"They're called sneakers."


"Sneakers?" The word felt strange in Gimlet's mouth. "Do you use them for sneaking around?"


Eric laughed. "No, they just call it that. Where I come from, everyone wears them."


"How peculiar. Is your village near the forest like mine?"


"Um...I suppose you could say that. It's hard to find so not many people know about it."


"Then how did you end up here?"


"I strayed too far from the path and ended up lost. I think I can find my way back home once we get out of this forest. Something about the forest freaks me out. Like something is watching us, you know." Eric shook, rubbing his arms for warmth. "Is it just me or is it getting colder the more deeper we walk into the forest."


"We must be getting closer north."


Eventually they reached the end of the river. It was connected to a small lake. A waterfall stood silently against the moonlit night.


The sound of falling water rushed up to their ears. Following the narrow path leading to the waterfall, Gimlet saw a shallow cave.

His heart pounding with hope, he almost rushed straight in but Eric roughly grabbed his arm.


Eric silently gestured for Gimlet to look into the cave carefully. Following Eric's advice, Gimlet paused and squinted his eyes.

As his eyes adjusted to the darkness, there was something inside the cave.

A four legged serpent with scales and barbed claws curled up right before the cave entrance.


Gimlet nodded, relieved for Eric's timely warning.


Eric picked up a pebble from the ground. He threw it somewhere a bit off from the cave entrance.

The serpent lifted its long neck at the sound a long forked tongue quickly appearing and disappearing into its mouth. Eric picked another pebble and threw it in the same direction.

Slowly, the serpent walked toward the sound, leaving the entrance open.


Gimlet and Eric quickly ran inside. The cave was deeper than Gimlet initially thought.

Torches along the stone wall illuminated the tunnel. Eventually, the path led to a cavern room filled with all manners of plants and flowers.

In the middle of the room stood a fully grown tree reaching high up to the ceiling.

Pretty white flowers hung from the branches.


"Is this the Queen of the Night?" Eric asked.


"I think so. It grows in dark humid places."


"Nothing more dark and humid than a cave. Grab one and let's get out of here before that thing comes back." Eric replied.


Gimlet picked a few flowers, putting them safely inside a satchel he had kept for this exact purpose.


While Gimlet was busy, Eric looked around the room and spotted a bunch of bushes with bright red berries on it.

His stomach grumbled, reminding him he hadn't eaten for some time. He picked some and popped them into his mouth. A burst of sweet juice filled his mouth.


"Don't eat that!" Looking startled, Gimlet threw the remaining berries off Eric's hand.


"What's the big deal? I felt hungry. It's not poison, is it?" Eric replied worriedly.


"These are called Feel Good berries. How many did you eat?"


"Maybe five or six. What's so bad about eating Feel Good berries?"


"They're aphrodisiacs." Gimlet replied bluntly. "It's a popular drug the apothecary sells in my town. A single berry is known to last an entire day. We need to leave right away and vomit those berries out of your system."


"Oh, I don't think you boys are going anywhere."


A woman appeared at the cave entrance. Her pale skin and long dark hair made a stark contrast to the bright blue silk dress she wore. With red painted lips and clear brown eyes, she smiled at the boys. Gimlet recognized her.


"You're that woman at the square! The one who said there was a plant to cure any illness."


"Congratulations on reaching this place, my dears. However, none of you are leaving here." The reptilian creature appeared from behind the woman, making a deep hissing noise.


"Who are you?" Gimlet asked.


The woman chuckled. "Come into my parlor said the spider to the fly." She eyed Eric with an appreciative glance. "It must be my lucky day to have caught two in one go. I'll save you for last."


Eric started to sweat. His face turning flush. His heart pounding furiously against his chest, making it hard to breath.

That was quick. He didn't think the aphrodisiac effect would be this strong. He took several steps back. His voice hoarse and throat dry.


"Oh? Did you eat something you shouldn't have?" The woman smirked. "I raised all the plants here with loving care. You could say they're my children and your corpses will provide nutrients my children need to make them grow healthy and strong."


"Is this how you lure in your victims? By telling them something they want to hear?" Gimlet took out his knife and stood in front of Eric to protect him from the woman's line of sight.


"I didn't lie. The Queen of the Night is real. It can cure any illness but getting it is another thing. You won't live long enough to see it."


"Then the flowers in the tree?"


"Pretty, aren't they? But no they're not the real Queen of the Night. They simply can't compare to the real one."


"Then where is the real one?"


The woman shook a finger. "Sorry but that's a secret. Now be good little boys and become food for my children."


The serpent attacked, making a beeline toward Gimlet. Gimlet pushed Eric out of the way and dodged the attack. The serpent followed and they started a chase around the room.


Eric's entire body burned. His skin itched and pricked every time the air brushed against it. His senses were heightened, over stimulated and trying to suppress them took most of his strength.


He didn't notice the woman had reached in front of him, lifting his chin which was dripping with sweat. Her brown eyes looked into his blue ones.


"You look uncomfortable. Want this big sister to help you? I know how to make you feel better."


With her body so close, Eric smelled something sweet, like the berries he just ate. Unconsciously, his mouth started to salivate. He couldn't properly move his body and his senses were muddled.


All he could do was look at her with glazed eyes.


The woman smiled, pushed Eric flat on the ground and straddled his hips. Her long hair gently brushed against his skin. She leaned down and kissed him on the cheek. He shuddered.


"Don't be afraid. It won't hurt. In fact, it'll feel good very soon."


Long green tentacles appeared from below her dress, wrapping around his legs.


"Just surrender to the sensations and do what men do best." She purred, rubbing her nose against his neck, feeling the thumping of his furious beating heart.


Gimlet saw what was happening and tried to reach Eric however, the serpent would alwaysblock the way. He gritted his teeth and furiously tried to think of a plan. The knife in his hand glinted with sharpness.


Gimlet had never been a hunter but he knew how to fight. And he knew his stamina wouldn't last long before the serpent caught him. He needed to do something.


Then a thought came and passed and he grabbed it with the desperation of a man who wanted to live. He rushed to the nearest bush, cut off the thickest branch and with his flint, made a torch.


Raising the torch high in the air, he yelled.


"Let go of him or I'll burn all your children to the ground."


The woman stopped, narrowing her eyes. "Are you threatening me?"


"You let him go. You let us leave here or else I'll burn this place." Gimlet trembled yet he stood his ground. The serpent waited for the woman's instructions.


"Do you even have the guts to do it?" The woman stood, the green tentacles withdrawing back into her body. She smiled but there was a sharpness in her eyes that hadn't been there before.


"Can you risk the death of your so called children to find out?" Gimlet held the torch over the nearest plant. It could have been his imagination, but it shook under the heat.


The woman let out an inhuman hiss. The serpent dashed and leapt toward him, jaws wide open.

Gimlet let go of the torch and the knife was already in his hand. The serpent jaws locked onto his shoulder, blood poured from under its sharp teeth.

With a furious cry, he stuck his knife into the serpents exposed underbelly again and again. Together, they were locked in a bloody tangled mess. Neither would let go, determined to take each other out.

Eventually, both of them stopped moving and fell on the blood soaked ground.


The woman quickly put out the flames before they spread and angrily glanced at the bloodied forms.


"Serves you right trying to hurt my babies!" She spat and kicked Gimlet. He moaned. Still alive but barely hanging on. She kicked him a few more times, to vent her frustration and calmed down.


"Fortunately, there's still an extra..." She looked back and trailed off.


Through his dim consciousness, Gimlet pried open his heavy blood stained eyes, watching the scene in front of him.


The woman frowned, wondering where the other boy had gone when a fist came flying out of nowhere, hitting her in the face. The force of the impact forced her to fly a few feet from where she stood.


Sensing a new presence, she looked up, ready to kill whoever hit her and widened her eyes with shock.


Shadows danced behind Eric as he looked at her with calm dark eyes. There was something different about him.

Her survival instincts trembled.

She knew this feeling. As a planting who managed to survive this far, she knew a predator when she saw one so why didn't she sense it before?


"Who are you?" She asked warily.


Gimlet couldn’t keep his eyes open anymore. He felt very tired. The last thing he saw was Eric’s smiling at the woman with a hint of sharpness on his face. "Does it matter?"


He blacked out.



When he woke up, he found himself out of the forest and lying on his bed back home. Beside the bed was his satchel and a short note. It read.


”You’re welcome.”


It wasn’t signed but Gimlet knew who wrote it and what they were referring to. He pulled open his satched and saw a different flower than the one he picked in the woods. It had glittering snow white petals, vibrant green stem, and had a sweet smell befitting of the name Queen of the Night.


The door opened and his mother came in. When she saw he was awake, she immediately hugged him.


“You finally woke up! You don’t know how worried I’ve been since you disapppeared last week.”


Gimlet frowned. “What do you mean? I only left the house yesterday.”


She wiped her eyes and blew her nose. “No one has seen you since that night you left the house. Everyone thought you were dead. It was only yesterday when a young man appeared and brought you here.”


Eric? He took them out of the woods? What about the woman?


“Is he still here?”


She shook her head. “No, but he left behind something for you.” She glanced at the bedside table and saw the flower.


“What a pretty flower.”


Gimlet nodded and told her about his journey. He didn't share the identity of the forest spirit. He didn't think bringing it up would help.

He didn't know what happened to Eric either. He could still be in the woods. Or he found a way back home. Who knows.


His mother's illness got better. Gimlet went back to being a blacksmith's apprentice. He eventually forgot what happened that night. Only remembering bits and pieces of it.

Years later, he became a blacksmith. He earned enough for his mother to retire well. In his later years, he would go back to the woods in the daytime and retrace his steps, wondering if it all had been a dream.


He found the skeletal remains of the wooden cabin. Holes in the ceiling and a thick layer of dust covered the floor as he entered inside.

But no old woman or the cauldron. It looked like no one had lived inside for years.


Venturing deeper into the woods, he found the waterfall. It had not changed.


Lighting a torch, he walked behind the waterfall and found the hidden cavern. The faint smell of burnt things filled Gimlet's nose. He raised the torch and saw the aftermath of a battle.

As if something had burnt the entire room with a hot searing fire. All the plants were gone and so was the tree. Incinerated to dust, leaving behind only a shadow of where they once stood.

There was no sign of the woman or the lizard either.


Gimlet took a step forward and felt something hard under his foot. He looked down and a metal glint caught his eye. He bent down and cleared the dust.

Picking up a familiar looking ax, he remembered he lent it to a young man all those years ago.


The handle still felt warm in his hand. It wasn't a dream after all. Gimlet returned to town and hung the ax atop his fireplace.

When someone asked him about it. He would tell them his story and show them the scar on his arm. He'd warn them to stay away from the woods.


Because its never a good idea to go into the woods at night.


The end.





Submitted: September 29, 2020

© Copyright 2021 Myariel Lee. All rights reserved.

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