The Coldest Day

March 7, 2017 at 12:00 AM

Bitter cold was nothing new for Northern Alberta, especially not for January, and the cacophony of wind that tore through the woodlands was nothing if not wholly familiar and almost comforting to the one that huddled in the tree line, obliterated from vision by the pitch of night and the swaying arm of evergreen trees. The figure stood there for a time and simply watched, waiting, head canted ever so subtly to the left and listened, staring into the dullness of the dimly illuminated window no more than fifty feet across the crisp layer of hardening snow that stood without a single scar, nothing to mar its pristine surface. Much like other homes throughout the reserve a family was nestled within and the figure could smell the promise of stew and bannock, could feel the sudden violent clench of hunger from the depths of its belly and touched the length of flesh that gurgled so very audibly that it was near impossible to ignore and the being halted peering still through the window to see if they had heard the noise, the ominous growl of need its traitorous body had emitted. Life continued as per normal within those heated walls, a family sitting down to dinner. A family blissfully unaware they were being watched… evaluated.

From the window it appeared as though the house was the same as any other, that the people inside were just like every other family. However there was something different about this family. A sense of dread and impending doom so thick that the Grandmother naturally assumed she could not only smell it in the air but see its lingering webs in the shadows of her home. Six families in the last month, six that were missing with little more than a struggle and vitae born finger painting that had decorated the walls and there was no one on the reserve that wasn’t talking about it. Six families to each bag a deer from the very interior of the forest. So far into the interior that the most experienced of hunters avoided it not to mention the average white man but times were tough and the pickings were slim. With so many out of work it became harder and harder to feed families and those with the proper knowledge and hunting rights were not about to let their own family let alone people of their community starve; such was the Aboriginal way of life. The issue however was not in the hunting so much as what happened within a few moons of the original kill. The deer caught and cleaned and then brought back home to be butchered and divided among those that needed it most. It was the third night after this when those that lived in the home went missing. Elders, parents, children and grandchildren… No one was accounted for and thinking of this caused the old woman to shudder. “Kokum? You okay?” A small voice asked and the woman turned her attention down to the small child standing by the family table and nodded, forcing a smile and patted the girl on the head.

“You go on my girl,” She said, not feeling nearly as confident as she sounded. “Everything is just fine and we have some time before dinner is ready. Go watch your show.” It was with a gapped tooth smile that the girl kissed her grandmother’s hip and fled, braid bouncing in the air behind her and in that moment the grandmother knew true fear. The ominous air felt positively heavy as did the heart that beat in frantic rhythm in her chest. “You’re sure about this?”

“Not in the slightest but what else can we do? Six whole families? What else could it have been?” Her son replied setting plates upon the table as his wife entered behind him with silverware and glasses. The table itself was filled reminding the woman of the last meal allowed to a prisoner before their time in front of The Creator. “You said yourself that something had to be done.”

“I didn’t realize that we’d be keeping the children here instead of sending them to your wife’s family.” In that moment fear sharpened her tone, anger causing her hands to tremble. “They shouldn’t be here.” The wife looked from mother to son, swallowing and set the utensils upon the tabletop.
“We had no choice and you know it.” She began slowly. “It waits for the most bountiful haul of meat it can take in one hunt, what were we supposed to do? Allow another family to disappear? At least we’re prepared. The others certainly weren’t.”
“That’s not the point!”
“It doesn’t matter what the point is, it’s too late.” In that moment her son ended the conversation and went back to the kitchen. It was time to bring food to the table for what could possibly be the last evening they would ever spend together.

In the treeline hungry eyes watched the three converse among themselves, the ever present gurgle of its belly becoming all the more impatient. It didn’t want to wait for the family to eat, the grandmother was plump and the children would be tender, succulent. It moved, taking a half step forward and could taste something bitter in its mouth with a rush of saliva. Vomit threatened to rise up, a sudden reaction the ravenous hunger that pulled at the creature’s very being. Its soul if it could be argued that the beast still had one. For a moment there was a sudden rush of dizziness and its hand rested upon the tree to its left, allowing it the briefest second of respite. A moment to shake away any other thoughts that weren’t related to the hunt and it was hard to focus on anything else. Ordinarily the beast would have allowed them to dine first but tonight would be different, the last family had been sick and the meat worthless. The creature starved and could not think strait, could not consider a thing beyond the next meal presented to it. Tentatively the first step came, foot breaking through the pristine layer of hardened snow with a subtle crunching and it paused for just a moment while cast in the darkness of winters early evening and when nothing else stirred it was followed by another and yet another. It crept closer still, impatient.

They sat at the table, said their thanks and began to eat. The deer was delicious but was hard to swallow for the old woman was not hungry but could not alarm the children whom ate with gusto. “Kokum? Kokum!” Cried the small girl. “You’re not eating.” The child frowned and to set aside her worry the old woman took a larger mouthful of potato that tasted no better than dirt in her mouth and chewed pointedly. The child watched her steadily seemingly now suspicious of her meat and leaned forward to sniff her dinner.

“Eat your supper.” The girl’s mother chided. “There are plenty of people in our community who have nothing to eat tonig…” It was then that first crack sounded, far louder than the sound of a car back firing and the child screamed in terror, grabbed by her grandmother and brought under the table with the command to hide with her younger brothers soon joining her. Two small children and a baby hiding in plain sight while their father jumped from the table and all but flew to the door pausing only to grab the hunting rifle that lay propped up by the frame their grandmother unable to ignore the sound of her own terrified heartbeat in her ears.

The creature had all but sprinted across the snow when the noise came, gunfire – a single shot. In that moment the beast froze and turned sharply, a figure in the darkness with two illuminated and pallid blue eyes that all but glowed in piss poor light. Darkness was the friend of this creature and over cast evenings were favored for this very reason and there while it stood hunched its head lifted and a single wet snuffling sound filled the deafening silence that had followed the shot. Gasoline. It had been so eager to feast that it hadn’t bothered to scent the air around it and had been trapped. In that moment a horrific, beastly roar filled the air before the sound of gasoline catching from a single match could whisper through the interrupted stillness. In that very moment it was as though the temperature dropped further from a considerable cold to something both bitter and angry when the line of fire began to close in in rapid succession. The beast bolted and howled when the circle of flames closed around it, illuminating the beast that stalked with rapid purpose in its trap glaring hatefully at the men that emerged from the woods with their guns and lights. The promising meal was stolen from it and rage tore at its breast, ripping from its throat with anger so great it staggered the men save for one… One that sang, a deeply and throaty sound accompanied by a painted hand drum that seemed to drive the beast back to the very edge of its prison. Rage seemed to give way to fear and this bolstered the men into believing that perhaps their shaman could keep the creature at bay with nothing more than song, the Creator and his magic.

The children were terrified, clinging to one another and sobbing their mother climbing under the table after them to soothe and hold them. Afraid to take them from the house to the safety of the car and a house far, far from this one in which they lived. “Stay here.” The grandmother was soon moving to follow her son though at a much slowed pace. The rear of their house and the field behind it were nothing if not surreal for the shadows dancing from flame and the figure that twisted itself from the man working his medicine. She moved closer to it yet, holding her heart through her breast and willed as best she could for the pace to finally slow when she came around her boy and looked upon the face of the beast. “…The family that disappeared last winter?” She was the only one who spoke while he sang and the others looked to their elder in surprise. “White family,” She spoke as though distracted, looking with pity upon the beast. “Husband, wife, and young boy if I remember correctly. The Sheriff came to borrow some of our people to find them in the woods. All we could find was the car, we said prayers for them.”
“I wonder which of them she ate…” Said one voice.
“Could have been both.” Another chimed in.
“She must have been the reason that party of hunters went missing a few months ago, hungry girl.”
“They’re always hungry.” The old woman was bitter, the men realizing their impropriety in that moment and falling silent as she moved forward and cocked her head to the side. The woman, at one point, had been a dark haired beauty. One that had had her son later in life and had been easily in her mid-thirties with her husband who was still yet older and a son no more than three at the time. “If they were lucky they died before she ate them.” A frown formed upon that wrinkled mouth, deep set ebon eyes meeting the frigid blue of the emaciated bestial version of this woman. Twisted and malnourished, fingernails little more than claws and teeth broken so they could tear meat that much more effectively, gone was the pallor of humanity in her flesh and instead it was replaced with a grey that was reserved usually for mushrooms only. An impressive sight even as it began to lie in the snow, covering its ears and whimpering as best an abomination could it was strange to feel pity for the beast that had killed so many but it too had once been human, had once been loved and for that the old woman could feel pain and look at the creature with tears obscuring her regard.
“…Well I think we need to discuss what to do with it.”
“What do you think we do? We kill it!”
“Yeah, seems like the only way to know for sure that it’s gone.”
“We can’t kill it.” The son interrupted, sighing. “It’s not the flesh we need to fear, that only holds the spirit. You can’t kill the Wendigo, the spirit lives forever and is always hungry. If we kill it then it will go free and torment another.” He looked to his mother, resting a large and calloused hand on her shoulder. “It will go with the others.” It was then the tears fell, the old woman crying openly and turning from the thing before her, turning away from her son, and fled to the safety of the house behind her. The others had fallen silent in that moment, out of respect for their elder and looked to one another.
“Do we even have room for another?”
“Just this one, we need to build another place to house them.”
“Jesus Christ, Frank. We can’t keep them caged. Someone is going to die when they get loose.”
“If they get loose.”
“It doesn’t matter. We’re trying to end the spirit here.” The man, Frank, said sounding as though exhausted and watched his mother enter the house to be with his wife and children. “Damn woman wouldn’t listen when we told them not to go that way. We were just stupid Indians that didn’t know as much as her GPS and now she learned the hard way and we have to clean up her mess.” Headlights could be seen from the front of the house, someone arriving at the house, and feet crunching in the snow while another elder emerged carrying a cast iron collar on a length of iron wood. They would collar the creature and lead her much like cattle. A secondary staff was in his left hand fashioned with a hook that would secure to another loop in order to have two men lead the exceptionally willful and quick beast to where they wanted it to go.
Frank stepped away from the others and tried to block out the sounds of the captured creature being collared and ready for transportation through the woods to the cave where it would be kept from this day forward. The shaman stopped his song instead handing an iPod to the young man who would fit the ear buds into the ear of the creature to listen to songs that had been recorded for this reason exactly. It had happened so many times that now they could stop thinking, could simply go through the motions and for that Frank was grateful remembering the first time he had done exactly this. Back in those days the Shaman stayed and there was comfort to be had in that. “You alright, boy?” He was asked and looked at Paul. Paul had been there for his first and now looked so old.
“I will be, go stay with Mom and Nadine. I’ll be back as soon as I can.” He forced a smile, patted the old man on the shoulder and stepped away to take up the second staff and lock it into place. “Let’s go.” He nodded his partner ahead, taking up the left rear of the beast.

It seemed like they walked for hours in the frigid cold to the locked gate that sat upon a naturally formed cave. One that was dug clearly into the wall of the mountain and had no exit, hopefully still had no exit as no one could enter to check. A sigil was painted above the cave, a malformed skull of sorts with Cree glyphs painted along with it. She, the creature he corrected himself, recoiled from it as he opened the gate and released his staff from the lock. “Push it in.” It was easier if you didn’t think of them as being human once upon a time. Always easier. He took up the remaining staff with the other man and shoved hard, pushing this poor white woman through the cage door as shrieked and convulsed only to fall to the ground and begin vomiting a foul smelling bile upon the stone. Frank kicked the cell door closed and fashioned the lock into place. The warding would work for only so long before someday failing and when it did be damned if the reservation wasn’t going to have at least some time to evacuate.
“May the Creator ease your pain and forgive your mistake. Hunger does strange things to people.” He whispered, looking at the snow beneath his feet. “I hope it wasn’t your son that made you this way.” A growl was heard, weak from the depths of the cage. Another set of pale eyes staring from the darkness before the now desiccated creature moved forward and hissed lazily at him. A face much like his own if it had been born from a nightmare. “Hi Dad.” Thirty years almost to the day and the monster hadn’t aged a year. Not one year.
“I don’t know how you can manage to come out here every time. It’s like he knows you’re coming and is trying to figure out where he wants to bite first.” The other man – Trevor? – shuddered despite himself.
“Thirty years of starving, why else would it look like that at me? It’s not like he knew me, I was just a baby.” Frank shrugged; maybe this guy wasn’t named Trevor. He couldn’t really bring himself to care to be honest. “Now I’m just dinner. You accept it, deal with it and move on. Eventually they’ll die. Maybe. Who knows?” It was bleak to think about and even worse when he turned to look at his father, the woman now rousing herself and realizing what had happened almost instantly began throwing herself at the cage door with a shriek. Angry, fearful… Nothing that was new to him. “Just like they all do this. It’s like watching old shows; you know what’s going to happen because they never deviate. Never.” A shake of his head and he sighed, stepping back. “You know it shouldn’t bother me at all, I didn’t know the guy but it broke my mother. She still misses him; sometimes she comes to look at his face… I keep telling her not to but she does. Old woman is never going to learn but she says he was the love of her life. If it were Nadine I’d want her to move on, you know?” Frank rambled, he always rambled it was just how he coped with what he saw. With what he volunteered to do.
“Sometimes you just can’t fucking win, am I right or am I right?” He turned away then and saw the darkness on the snow first, brow furrowing in confusion. There was enough light to make sure that they didn’t have these shadows and they shouldn’t have appeared like splatter patterns. “Trev?” His eyes scanned ahead to the fallen man on the ground, his throat having been ripped out so quickly he hadn’t had time for a death rattle and upon his chest? A small figure no bigger than his own son of about two and a half, suddenly he felt sick and acceptance all at once. Frank was trapped; he would never be able to outrun this tiny creature that would likely tire him before he could make it that kilometer home. In this moment he knew he was done, he knew there was nothing he could do and the sound of hungry screams did nothing to lessen the blow behind him.
One cry however was almost… Joyous? Relieved? It was hard to describe as the female threw herself against the cage door to no avail time and time again. “…Well kid, I wish she had loved you enough to eat you.” The immortal wendigo child turned to him, a mouth full of blood and meat dripping from his small and broken maw while he stared at Frank. For a moment it was as though a stalemate began to declare itself and then… It pounced.

Wet slurping filled the cold night; the child ate like he had never eaten before. The meat was good. Healthy. It felt good between his teeth and sliding down his throat. He played with his meal as all children do, beaming at his mother when he turned to show her the puppet he’d made out of his second kills skull before pushing it forward with a soft croon, his mother whistling softly in the night to him. A lullaby that was for him only while trying to push a hand out from between the bars and found that she could not, so close and yet to so far from the son she’d kept alive for this long. The song turned sad and she found herself lying down, face pressed to the stone and her son soon mimicking the pose she held but out in the snow where she could not reach him. His tiny hand reaching for her but paused mere inches from her own and together they lay, singing softly to one another, waiting for the mark above the cave to simply wear with time.

Credit: Krys Rudderham

Abgar’s Story

March 6, 2017 at 12:00 AM

I’m unsure of what to say. All I can say is that I’m scared. Very scared. My hands shake violently as I hastily scribble down a few words onto the coarse wooden tablet. This is my only hope. “In the month of Tammuz, day 25 of the year 569, I, Abgar, son of Abbshamay, ‘navigator,’ have come here, to the country of Nysy; bless the god who has brought us here, and you, the man who reads this tablet, bless me as well and leave the tablet in this place where you find it.” That is what it reads. That’s all I’m able to write. I am so tired. I am so weary. I set the tablet against a mound, careful that it will not fall down, and go on my way, through the pitch blackness of this grand cave. I have been trapped here for days. It started when I left Palmyra, that great oasis city in the Levantine desert. I was to travel to the city of Aksum in Ethiopia to deliver silk textiles. Then I was to sail the vast sea to the lands of Persia and sell similar textiles at the cities of Istakhr, Ekbatana, and Ctesiphon, the Persian capital on the Tigris. From there, I was supposed to return to my homeland by caravan and receive payment. However, once I had left Aksum, the storm god, Baalshamin, wrought a great monsoon wind upon my vessel and ran us aground at the island of Nysy. It is almost uninhabited, but my friends, Elkud and Zabdibel, had decided to seek out locals for shelter. I was to explore the nearby coastal cave to find food. I was not ten cubits inside when I tumbled down a shaft and into the deep bowels of this cave. I was unable to climb back up, and so I was forced to go further into the tunnels. There were no signs of humanity save for inscriptions of a foreign tongue that I could not read. My hopes of returning to the surface quickly vanished into the moist air around me. I tearfully accepted this futility, crawled into a corner, and let sleep embrace me.

I was awoken at some odd hour of the night. The cave was eerily silent, but there was a pungent odor emanating from the depths of the tunnels. It smelled as if someone had boiled a rotten carcass in blood. I rubbed my eyes and stood up. Then, the sound started. A clicking sound, like somebody picking at their nails. I progressed into the darkness. I held my hands in front of me, the darkness concealing whatever lay ahead of me. The sound was louder now, but it seemed to be coming from two different directions. That’s when I reached a fork in the tunnel. The smell had gone away, but the sound had not. In fact, there were two of them now. The same sound was emitted from each side of the fork. I ventured into the one on my right. As I walked, the tunnel seemed to shrink ever so slightly with each step I took. All the while, the sound was getting louder and louder, until I reached a dead end. The sound was clear as day; it was coming from all around. Then, it abruptly stopped. The smell returned, so overbearing I almost fainted. Slowly, I turned around. Immediately, my heart stopped. This thing stood before me. I can’t explain what it was. It was a hunched down, twisted human-like thing. It had grey skin, and piercing yellow eyes. Its hands and feet were contorted and bore sharp white claws, which were curved like scythes. There were no eyes. Its mouth grinned wider than possible, and this grimace revealed scores of small, sharp teeth in rows. The thing opened its mouth even wider and let out an ear-splitting shriek, leaping towards me like a lion.

I awoke in a sweat. Nothing. There were no sounds, nor any ripe-smelling air. Once again, I stood up and looked around. The cave was still dark, but the air had become thicker, like the mist hanging over the Efqa spring on a hot summer day. I took one step, and almost collapsed. The floor of the cave had become… soft. It was like mud, but more dense. It still felt like rock when I touched it with my hands, and yet, it squelched underfoot. The walls of the cave shuddered. Was I dreaming? It simply couldn’t be. The walls were pulsating like veins. I kept walking. Then, the clicking started again. The smell returned as well. I was mortified, too scared to move on for fear of death. I pulled a tablet from beneath my robe, and wrote that note to whoever, or whatever, will find me. It’s too much. I leave the tablet beneath that mound, and as soon as I do, the floor of the cave becomes softer. My feet sink into it and leave deep impressions. The clicking sound stops. Light comes from a side tunnel of the cave, and I move towards it. Suddenly, the floor gives way again and I find myself falling for a second time. I hit the ground hard and the tunnels start spinning. I’m so dazed, I only have the energy to stare upwards at the ceiling. A face appears. The thing is back. It is reaching for me. I start to drift off and it smiles. The world becomes black, my eyelids close, and a thousand tiny pins push into my skin.

Author’s note: Abgar was a real person who lived and died almost 2,000 years ago. He was a native of Palmyra, Syria, who became lost in the Hoq cave on Socotra, a secluded island near Somalia. The tablet and its inscription were found by archaeologists exploring the cave. They followed Abgar’s wishes, and left the tablet where it was found. You can read more about Abgar and Socotra here.

Hidden People

March 4, 2017 at 12:00 AM

It had to be close to 12 now. The silver gleam of the full moon was spilling through the woodland trees, illuminating all it touched. Evan looked at his watch. It was 5 minutes to 12.

Although it was not a necessity, Evan wanted to get there by midnight. For each month that he decided to do this, he planned very carefully. While the moon’s reflected light was growing, he would gather the things they liked, always careful to not pick any metals and plants with vibrations that could harm them. Such items could be to them like sulphuric acid could be to humans. Though if it was to be milk, butter, or of his own body, he would make sure it was fresh. They preferred these things to be fresh.

Some months, he would not come at all. He liked to remind them that he would not rush to appease them; he did not fear them. Though his father had said to him that this is what he must do now that he had moved away from the family home. They would see Evan as independent, so his father’s efforts would not count for him. If Evan abandoned them, things would grow a lot worse for him.

He kept walking through the woodland, not thinking so much as simply just walking and knowing that the correct path was underfoot. Evan had learned that he functioned best when he allowed his senses to take lead – thoughts could be very distracting. His current goal was to get to the burrow in the tree, and that was simply what he would do. As he got closer to the burrow he began to feel more awake; a sign that he was close to it. He heard a sound in the trees, a rustling. He continued walking, without turning to pay it any attention. He had never allowed himself to fear them, Evan felt that he was above that. After all, he saw his surroundings through more than one pair of eyes. In fact, the only reason he could see them was because of this sight.

Evan focused on his own footsteps, his destination, and his goal. He was wearing his hiking boots with the steel toe cap. They were not too keen on the toe cap. Fortunately for them, Evan preferred to keep his feet to himself. So long as he wasn’t provoked, anyway. Walking at night with his hood up, standing at 6’4”, Evan wouldn’t be a silhouette anyone would be glad to see. Though the only people in these woods at such a time were usually the daring, unhinged, or unusual.

The atmosphere seemed to be growing brighter. The moon, the light source, becoming more intense. Though also he could see different colours in the air, brighter colours. He was now in front of the burrow under the blackthorn tree. Evan had formed quite the bond with the tree within the years he’d lived here. The tree was ancient and very enchanting to look at. It was a little distance from the other trees, and always seemed to be in a world of its own. But in the ground in front of it, leading underneath it was a burrow. Generally, it wasn’t very deep, and anyone taking a mere hike wouldn’t think twice about it. But they hadn’t experienced the burrow at a time like this. Considering it now, Evan could see great change. The hole was deep and dark. Although there were orbs of light circling the tree and light cast by the moon, the hole remained entirely black. It was like a black hole, swallowing up anything directed at it and leading to a place nobody knew.

Evan stood a foot from the burrow and slowly knelt in front of it, arm resting upon his bent knee. He watched the burrow and waited for a moment, for them to feel his presence and grow familiar with it once again.

With a calm disposition, Evan looked directly into the blackness. He then pulled his backpack down from his shoulders, unzipped it, and brought out the items. He carefully placed each of them in front of the hole. His father had said that to drop them down would be extremely unwise. They would not take too kindly to it, and would make that very known. Evan then arose and took a few steps back, kneeling back down again and watching the hole. The lights circled around the items curiously, then abruptly moved back. Two small glowing fiery lights formed in the black. Eyes. They stared back at Evan from the hole. Evan didn’t know what it was exactly, though it was the one that most often greeted him here. It felt extremely old, ancient even.

Evan nodded once to the eyes, greeting them. They just stared back, staring into him. Evan knew the amount of layers those eyes could see through was inconceivable to man. It was OK for Evan to leave now. He took his backpack, turned around, and walked without looking back.

When Evan got home the apartment was silent. His flatmate Jon was asleep, he could hear him snoring in his room. Evan got undressed and slipped into bed. He would sleep soundly tonight.

A week later.

Evan’s eyes flew open, suddenly awake. They were immediately greeted with darkness, though the moonlight behind his drawn curtains allowed him to make out the silhouettes of the things in the room. His bedside table, his lamp, his mirror, and maybe something else. Though he wasn’t concerned for any of that. All he cared about was the hill in the woods.

Evan immediately pulled his duvet open and swung his legs round to the floor. He had nothing in his mind but that woodland on the hill. He needed to get there. Without a memory of any dream, or any reason for him to do so. He was only in his underwear, so he got up and went over to his wardrobe, taking out his black hoodie and jeans. He was completely focused on each passing moment as he dressed himself. He then left the room, not at all paying any attention to the dark mass in the upper corner of the wall.
Evan made his way to the front door, not bothering at all to turn any lights on. He did not need his sight in any way. For this situation, they were quite useless guides. He then put on his hiking boots and jacket, took his car keys from the kitchen counter, and made his way out to the car. As soon as he was out of the door and in his car, he was on his way.

Once he was coming up to his destination, he began to feel more relaxed. Though his actions were still without usual logic. But that was mostly what he would expect, what with the strangeness surrounding each day. Every day of his life, even in his childhood, had been distant to normal reality. No day had gone by where he had not seen something the human eye was not supposed to see. Evan didn’t know why, but he didn’t have average human perception; that was something he was used to. And still, after being so different from those around him, he managed to get on well with everyone. All through education, and at work, he had been popular, admired, even an object of lust. He didn’t feel lonely or unstable, no matter how distant his world was from everyone else’s. Maybe that was because his family accepted him, maybe it was because he had always received adequate attention from those around him. A day at school, socialising and studying, to a night of being watched by black masses of smoke standing at six feet tall. He could adjust and accept greatly.

Maybe it was just because it was his life. To him it was normal, so there had never been anything to get used to.

He parked on the road beside the bottom of the hill, switched off the engine, and stepped out of his car. He looked up towards the hill on which this part of the woodland resided. The moon was watching over the trees, though she was pale from the blanket of clouds before her. Evan could see patterns of energy emitting from each tree. Though radiating out from amidst the trees was darkness. And that was where Evan had to focus.

Evan began to climb the hill, treading straight through the vegetation. He could feel something watching him from the darkness. It was calling to him, beckoning him up the hill with its energies. It had reached him from his own bed. Each step felt natural, as though he was being led. Though he felt so out of touch with the physicality and solidity of his surroundings. He had experienced things like this before, though this felt much more intense.

Once he was up in the woodlands, amidst the trees, he could see clearly in his head where he had to go. A clearing… He had been there before. It was sloped, populated by blackthorn trees. Though in the centre was an oak tree of great age. The trunk was very wide and rough, and thick moss-coated branches came out of it from the top, growing in every direction. The clearing was quite high up on the hill so he would have to trudge through ivy to get there. The image was still in his head but it didn’t feel like a thought or memory, it felt like he was seeing it as it was.

Evan made his way through the clear path. He passed a few young foxes, gaunt and wary. They were about to run off but the peculiarity emitting from the young man caused them to hesitate, eyeing him with curiosity. Without taking their eyes off him, they slowly retreated into the darkness. The moths fluttered straight past him also, preferring the spaces far from him.

Evan continued to walk, with each step he took the image in his head grew clearer. The sound of the ivy brushing his boots, the rough soil underfoot. Every sensation seemed heightened, though still somewhat distant. He knew immediately once he’d reached the clearing. The moonlight had grown dimmer, blocked off somewhat by the shrouding branches of the oak tree. It was looming down over Evan, watching him. Though darkness was still in the background, its blackness fixated upon him.

Evan stood in the centre, waiting. For what, he didn’t know – he just knew he had to do so. He was calm, disturbingly calm. There was a silhouette to his left side, average height, man-shaped.

Calm.

To his right side there were lights. ‘Jack O’ Lantern’, ‘Will-o-The Wisp’, he recalled the writing in his father’s folklore books. He turned to them, his attention captured. They were bright, but gentle. There were three of them, about the sizes of tennis balls. Two of them were pale red, like dim but pigmented fires, the other was white. Seemingly satisfied that they’d captured his attention, they began to move, weaving in and out of each other, dancing around in indescribable patterns. Evan was beginning to get lost in them, when they abruptly blended into each other and became one. Evan’s eyes began to burn and he began to feel light-headed

He looked away. The lights vanished.

It was then that he noticed the shadow that initially had been one at a distance had now become several. It was moving towards him, seemingly from all sides.

Drowsy.

They were mirroring each other. At first it had seemed like they were sliding human shapes, but as they approached nearer it became more apparent that they were masses more than anything. Shadows, blackness. No matter where he turned he could still see them. He closed his eyes and they were still there.

The light-headed feeling intensified. Evan pressed his hand to his forehead, as if that would somehow still his increasingly spinning head. He could feel them around him, wispy, though intense. Touching him in ways that no solid thing could.

Finally, he felt himself being torn from his body, shooting up into Nyx and being thrown into the blinding brightness of Aether.

Evan’s eyes opened and he found himself in a corridor. He sat up slowly, becoming aware of the pounding in his head and his sudden blurred vision. He slowly looked around him, observing the environment he was in. His vision had grown slightly clearer, but not by much. He could make out more of his surroundings, the corridor was very long and empty, the walls were white, and the floors were grey. The floors seemed to shine and looked like they should have felt cold, yet the sensations of temperature seemed to be non-existent. There were rows of doors on each corridor wall, and there also seemed to be moving shapes between the spaces. His eyes kept attempting to focus on the things around him, but they were failing miserably. Though this place, it still seemed familiar. He had never seen it before, but he felt like he had been here before. He began to rub his eyes.

It was then that he felt it. Something was in front of him, staring straight at him. Evan got to his feet and allowed his eyes to adjust. Directly in front of him stood a human-like shape, like Evan himself it was tall. It was made up of patches of dull and grim colours, the occasional vibrant one. It stretched out its arms, long and thin they were, and its long fingers pressed onto Evan’s eyes. Evan was taken aback, flinching. He felt a strange liquid on the thing’s fingers, greasy and unpleasant. In an involuntary response, Evan tightly closed his eyes. Upon reopening, everything was perfectly clear.

The first thing he noticed was that it appeared like a man in his early-twenties, like Evan was, or a bit younger. His nose was long and thin, his lips were also thin, and deep crimson. The colour stood out in contrast with the milky whiteness of his clear, taut skin. The man’s hair looked soft and shiny, shoulder-length and raven black. But the features that stood out most on his face were the eyes; large and maroon with black vertical slits in the centres. Evan observed the man’s attire. He was dressed in a way that reminded him of an Edwardian or Victorian style of dress. He wore a tailcoat over a white shirt, a black bow tie, braces attached to his trousers, and a bowler hat and shiny shoes. His entire outfit looked new and crisp, the fabrics perfectly smooth.

He, or rather it, appeared in a way that a third dimensional being could understand, and that was simply what it was. Evan remembered his father warning him that they did this, and going on to say that behind the deception was something not even Evan could picture or perceive in any way, shape, or form. The man was not recognisable, though he was also not unfamiliar to Evan. Much like the rest of the environment.

“What is it this time? I’ve been leaving you things, just like my father said to,” Evan said.

“Your father doesn’t have all the answers.” Its voice was low in pitch, and had a somewhat unnerving, unrecognisable accent.

Evan chuckled sarcastically, not taking his eyes off it. “So, have you made a personal name for yourself then?”

“Nareik.”

Backwards words. Evan noticed it immediately. He was no stranger to the games they liked to play, “How interesting. Well then I’m called Nave.”

“Nave,” he repeated, “I may use that sometime.”

Something about the blankness in the man’s response unsettled Evan. There was an uneasiness about the man, the way his mouth remained straight, lips unmoving when he spoke. The way he did not blink, not once. Those eyes – a deep, intense colour – the shade of dark, fresh blood. The slits were focused on Evan, thinning then dilating slightly. Why did they do that?

For a moment, their perception just stayed there in union. Or rather, the creature stared at Evan, observing him. The eyes were doing more than just watching, they were digging. Evan knew they were seeing far more than they appeared to. Those eyes could see through anything, including illusion. “They trick you,” Evan’s father had told his son, “it’s called glamour.” Though his father had also said it could never be perfect. They would never be just like humans, no matter how accurately they attempted to mirror them. His father had been right so far, Evan was seeing it right then. It may have looked like a man, but there was nothing human about those eyes.
Evan cut his thoughts short, not wanting the man to know them anymore.

The eyes just continued to stare back at him. “There is something here for you to see.”

The man began to walk. Not too slow, nor too fast. As they passed each door, Evan got cryptic hints of what may have lurked on the other side. Each door emitted its own sound, and each chill he felt brought with it its own very individual and unique sense of dread. It was all too bewildering.

Nearing the end of the corridor, Evan could see golden light emitting from the right corner. Evan subconsciously began to slow his pace, distancing himself from the man, wary of what was round there. As soon as he became aware of what he was doing, he picked up his pace again. They turned the corner.

Evan could not believe what he was seeing.

They entered a vast room. Inside of it was a sight Evan had never seen before. It was beautiful and enchanting. The walls were covered with art – naked bipedal male and female bodies, with skins in many shades of browns and reds. Sparkling lakes in jade and sapphire shades, flowers with petals in colours Evan had never seen before in his entire life. Nothing like any colour of the known colour spectrum. Right ahead of him was an altar. The wood looked like mahogany, but Evan knew it wasn’t truly that. And around the room stood gold, brass, and silver statues of the gods and mythological creatures of many human cultures. There were also unusual stones and crystals upon the altar. Some of them looked like known stones, though they were not quite the same. Everything seemed to create one big picture. It seemed to portray existence in some sort of complex way. Or maybe they were just mocking humanity and their ways.

Far too filled with awe, Evan had initially not been able to say anything. The environment had been too loud, louder than even his own thoughts. Curiosity brought him a voice, “What is this place?”

The man turned to face him. He looked pleased, “Perception.”

“Whose?”

The man smiled softly. But it looked wrong with his features.

Evan noticed the atmosphere changing around him. The room seemingly melting, the pigment of colour fading out. Evan turned, watching it all disappear before him, marvelling at it. Everything once seemingly solid became liquid, then blurred out to gas and became simply a room, just as plain as the corridor had been.

Evan turned to the man for some sort of familiarity and stability. Though he discovered its appearance had changed along with everything else. It looked like the male appearance, but now female. Raven black hair, though now flowing and long, porcelain white skin, deep crimson lips. Though her eyes, they seemed more human. Still not perfect, however. And the face, it was a face he’d seen many times before. He’d been seeing it in his dreams and nightmares since he was a child.

The clothes were gone. The woman stood naked in front of him, small breasts, thin at the waist. Evan could feel his mind-set begin to alter, his instinct take over. Sense was slipping away, not much seemed to matter anymore. It was their creation of illusion, glamour. And even though it was becoming apparent to him that the whole purpose of this visit had most likely been their idea of a fun game, Evan felt his resolve moving increasingly further away from him.

The woman took a sudden step closer to him. There was an impish quality in her expression as she pressed her unclothed form against him. He suddenly felt it then, like he was a part of her somehow. It was as though she wanted him to feel like she wasn’t as foreign as she seemed. He rested his hands upon the body, allowing them to slip down the small of her back, and wander round the curvatures of her exposed hips. It felt soft, like skin. He pressed his nose into her hair – her scent was light and feminine. Instinctively, he pulled her body tighter against his. His flesh was satisfied at its womanhood.

But his mind was not.

Evan’s perspective began to change, and he loosened his grip on her. He felt her energies turn dreadful. As her body lost contact with his, he saw her face again. It was blank, featureless. Just white skin. He felt a pang of fear, and pushed her away, startled. This enraged her, turning her skin grey, scales forming upon it. Her eyes formed once again, though into burning red fires. It was then that a hole stretched open where a mouth should’ve been, and a shrill, piercing sound escaped from it. It was ghastly, unlike anything Evan had heard before. An inhuman sound provoking dread, fear, and terror in their deepest forms.

The wailing formed words, “YOU’RE NOT THEIRS, YOU’RE OURS!”

Evan froze and became dizzy. His head began to spin rapidly, faster and faster. It felt as if the sound was seeping into his pores and filling his entire being. He felt himself being lifted, and suddenly spinning with it. Brightness closed in around him, encasing him, blinding him. He was losing touch of this place; this world. He was being thrown around the spaces between the dimensions of the cosmos. And then he felt nothing.

Evan awoke to the sound of morning birdsong, and trees whispering to each other in the wind. He felt the cool breeze of the morning air on his face. He opened his eyes and found himself lying under the oak tree in the clearing, the forest was still and the air was tranquil. Though he felt a bit rough. He had no idea what time it was, but judging by the dim daylight glow it had to be somewhere around 7 a.m. Evan’s eyes felt itchy and sensitive, he rubbed them as he slowly arose from his spot. It was then, standing up, that he became aware of his pounding head. He groaned, holding a hand up to it. He didn’t want to have to go to work today. He then remembered it was his day off, and felt a sudden gratitude. He began to walk down from the clearing, through the ivy and onto the pathway. Even though he was experiencing pain and discomfort and wanted to get home quickly, he forced himself to take a slow stroll to his car. To fail to do so would result in a stronger headache. Once he’d made it down to the car, he climbed into the vehicle and drove home.

It was 7:08 a.m. and Jon was sitting on the 3-seater chair with a glass of water. When he’d woken up this morning it had become apparent that he was alone in the apartment. This was no concern to him. He’d thought that Evan must have risen earlier than usual and taken a walk. It wouldn’t have surprised him; the guy was rather spontaneous. He hadn’t heard Evan getting ready and leaving the house, but Jon was a heavy sleeper. It was very unusual for him to be awake so early on a weekend. It was possibly because he had such an early night. He had gone to bed at around 8, something about yesterday had drained him. He didn’t know what, all he knew was that he had just wanted to sleep. Now he was awake. He’d brushed his teeth but not bothered with anything else yet. He just wanted to sit for a while.

He heard the front door open and turned to see Evan coming through the door. He looked rough – bloodshot eyes, his usually neatly-styled dark hair was a mess, and his clothes were dirty.

“What the hell happened to you?” Jon asked.

“I have the biggest headache,” Evan replied, ignoring the question.

“Where have you been?”

“The woods.”

Evan allowed himself to drop down beside his friend. Jon got up, took an ice pack out of the freezer, and threw it at Evan. Evan just lay there with his eyes closed. Jon sighed, picked up the ice pack and applied it to Evan’s forehead. Evan let out a sigh of relief.

“What’s wrong with your eyes?”

“They’re too bright.”

“What’s too bright?”

“Who are you, my mother?”

Jon sighed, “Well what am I supposed to do? Stay silent? You just come back here looking like you’ve been dragged around the woods all night. And you’re making no sense.”

Evan didn’t respond. He just stared up at the ceiling blankly. After a while he said, “They want me more than ever now. I think I’m going to find out.”

“Find out what?”

“Why.”

Jon didn’t say anything more about it. Evan coming back in such a condition began to make a bit more sense after that. Evan didn’t need to say anymore, Jon just knew it was something that would only make sense to him. He thought Evan was weird, but he didn’t think he was crazy. Jon thought back to all those times as children, when he had stayed over Evan’s house. Sometimes, when they were sleeping, something would wake Jon during the night. An unsettling feeling, an energy. He could feel it coming from Evan. He would look over and he would be able to make out in the dark an even darker spot, a great pitch black shadow looming over his friend. Watching him sleep. On the rare occasion, he would see Evan lying there talking to it in whispers. Though sometimes he’d be still, just staring at it. Jon remembered growing fearful. Evan had looked dead. He had been so still, and his eyes had been so empty. It was as if the shadow had been death, pulling the life out of him. Sometimes Jon could have sworn it had eyes. Glowing orange eyes. Jon would just close his eyes again, pretending to be asleep, swearing he wouldn’t open them until morning. Sometimes he had hated it when Evan stayed over. Not because of Evan, but because of the nights. He had hated sleeping in the same room as him. The day and evening would be great. Evan’s mother would put cartoons on for them and they’d watch them all evening. Evan would sometimes even teach him how to draw. Drawing was something Evan still loved to do to this day. They’d listen to music and not care about girls, college, or money or anything like that. They were kids and life was simple. But some of those nights caused Jon feelings of dread.

Back then the idea of ever living in a cabin with Evan would have terrified him. But they were grown now, and slept in separate rooms. The weirdest things to happen these days were usually only caused by Evan. Jon wasn’t a child anymore, he was a man. He would never allow anything to scare him like that again. He didn’t want those damn things in his home. He wouldn’t have any of it.

“What are you doing today?” Evan asked him.

Jon was slightly taken aback at Evan’s sudden calmness and change of subject. “Nothing.”

“Let’s just chill then.”

“Here?”

“No. Outside.”

It was 12, noon. The woods were quiet and still. Evan and Jon had been walking for a while, not much conversation had gone on between the two. Once they were at the woodland hill, Jon began to feel a slight difference in his friend. They had been in the woods together before, though this time it was different. There was a distance in Evan, as if his mind was not entirely with them. Evan hadn’t said much about what they were doing, just that they were chilling out. Jon had showered and dressed without questioning him. Why would he need to be concerned? The fact was that for the past few weeks Evan had been acting particularly unusual. Unnerving, even. So, this walk in the woods was causing Jon to feel ever so slightly on edge. Especially considering how strange the air was around Evan recently. Nevertheless, Jon hoped that this walk would be the thing to get some normality back.
Evan led them to the stream, where beside it he lay down looking up through the trees. Jon stood there, staring down at Evan. Evan gestured for him to sit.

Jon sat himself against a rock, watching Evan.

“What?” Evan asked him.

“Nothing.”

“What is with you these days?”

“What is with you?”

It was more of an accusation than a question. Evan turned to Jon and glared at him. When he realised that Jon was just going to stare straight back, Evan shook his head and turned away. He continued to gaze through the tallest branches. There was no brightness or blue, just white and grey. He looked up at the whitest cloud. It looked fluffy and soft, though really it was just countless water and ice droplets formed together. Evan thought about how fascinating it was, really. Looking at clouds, for Evan, was an eye opener. It reminded him that everything was formed to create a solid image in the mind. Nothing was truly as it seemed. Existence was merely a vast picture of illusion nobody would ever understand. Not even himself. What if there was no truth? What if things were completely different through each pair of eyes to exist? Evan was beginning to believe, or realise, more and more that truth was simply what each mind and pair of eyes made it to be. Because what the truth was to one living thing was never the same for another.

“Jon, do you remember when we were younger and used to see people in the clouds?”

For a moment, Jon thought Evan was referring to something unsettling, but then he remembered. Those summer days, lying on the dirt and looking up at the clouds. They would each try to outdo each other in finding a cloud with the most interesting shape. Though they would almost always end up being silly and finding a person they knew in it, or someone of the sort.

Jon smiled at the memory, “Yeah.”

“Well, what if they were really people’s faces?”

“Yeah,” Jon replied sarcastically, chuckling, “Because Uncle Paul is really going to be in the clouds.”

“No, shut up. I mean what if there are things that can appear to us in ways like that?”

“Things…?”

“Things… Sort of like other conscious things.”

Jon thought about the orange-eyed mass of darkness standing over 9-year-old Evan’s death-like body. He inhaled slowly and sharply “Well,” he said, “maybe there is.”

Evan turned to look at him, “Does it disturb you?”

Jon could see Evan searching for any sort of fear or reaction in his eyes. He wished he wouldn’t do that.

“I don’t know,” he lied.

There was silence for a moment. Jon had wanted to leave it there, but then he got curious himself.
“What about you?”

Evan continued to look up through the branches. He looked calm, no hint of fear or uneasiness in his face. He was thinking about his answer. “It should do, really, shouldn’t it? But Dad told me there was no reason to be afraid, especially not for me.”

“What would he mean by that? Why shouldn’t you be afraid?”

Evan let out a dry chuckle, “Well, really, I have no idea.” Evan brought himself up to a sitting position, decidedly having enough of the clouds. He took a pack and lighter out of his pocket and pulled out a cigarette. He inhaled as he lit it up. “My dad is weird though, isn’t he? He studies that sort of thing,” he said on the exhale.

“Why?”

“Not too sure. It’s a hobby, I guess.”

“He gets a good amount of money though, on the books he writes about all that weird shit.”

“Yeah. I’d think so too. He has been doing it since way before I was born.”

They took the moment of silence to occupy themselves once again with their thoughts. The stream by them existed in greens and blues. It was somewhat still where Evan and Jon were, as if waiting for more of the conversation.

After that Evan was pulled from his distance by the sudden urge to urinate. He hadn’t noticed it before, but it must have been there. Evan couldn’t even recall drinking anything in the past few hours. He told Jon where he was going before leaving the stream to release.

Evan found a spot behind a tree, unzipped his trousers and did what he had to do. It was then, when he had finished up, that he became aware of a change in the atmosphere. He felt a feeling like a brief shock of electricity run down his back. It was a familiar feeling, an indication of a foreign world. A world consisting of things no solid human being could ever understand. Their world, where time and solidity was nothing. The mirror that reflected a completely different picture of reality. Evan had often wondered what would happen to a person if they were ever to experience this dimension in its truest form, void of any illusion. His father was convinced it would end in death. Evan thought he was right. After all, how could a person truly experience something that foreign? Something that had never even existed to their own senses, their own eyes. A place where every sensation would be completely different, non-existent to their own reality. An experience like that, it would be worse than horror. It would be unimaginable, indescribable, not one word or human experience would come close.

Something like that, it could only kill a person.

Evan turned around.

It had been only about 5 minutes when Jon heard the sound. It had come from the direction Evan had gone to. It had sounded most peculiar, unlike anything he had ever heard. It had sounded so abnormal that it made a great chill run through his body, made it feel a way that it had never felt. The best comparison Jon could think of was being in a vehicle going over a great bump while a stick of ice went through his body – not something likely to happen. He’d felt the sound, more than heard it. It had been slow and rhythmic. Inhuman, ungodly. And then it had stopped.

Jon had been momentarily stunned, as if the sound had infiltrated his entire being and buried itself inside of him. Though now the panic and anxiety was beginning to set in. He quickly got to his feet.

Evan!

He began to call Evan’s name. No response. He hurried off in the direction that Evan had went, the direction of that dreadful sound. He stopped immediately when he saw it, a gaping black hole, swirling rapidly. He knew then that the sound had come from that. A devoutly religious person would have thought it to be the portal to hell. Looking at it, he began to feel dizzy. His head began to tingle and spin, his eyes grew heavy, his knees became weak, and he dropped to the ground.

The first thing Evan smelled was mud. The first thing he saw when he opened his eyes was a figure in the darkness of night surrounded by candlelight. Evan was lying a small distance away from them, rather confused, anxious and curious. He remembered what had happened, he had been in the woods with Jon, he had released his bladder and then he’d felt something behind him. He’d turned to look, and… his mind was completely blank. He couldn’t remember anything he had seen after that. Though now, he was lying on the ground in a woodland, watching a young woman on her knees surrounded by a circle of candles and holding an old-looking book. She was wearing a black hooded robe, but her youth and femininity had been given away by her voice and slender hands. She seemed to be chanting something. Around her were orbs of dancing lights, she was calling them. Evan watched on in awe. The woman momentarily paused her chanting and abruptly whipped around. He suddenly felt a twinge of fear, as if he was a child caught doing something he shouldn’t be. He couldn’t see her face too well because of the hood, but for a moment he thought she was looking directly at him. To Evan’s relief, she turned back around and continued her chanting. The words were being spewed under her breath, though Evan could only make out “child” and “mother”. It was then that he felt her desire. Her burning desire to be a mother, a desire that could not be fulfilled. She was barren, and was asking them for help. When she had finished chanting, she got to her feet and undid the robe. The woman was wearing peasant clothing; a dark green bodice and skirt. Right out of the renaissance era. She turned around again, wary of what may be around her. Evan was relieved to realise that she had not been sensing him, but rather she feared being caught. Evan got a good look at her face. He could feel his father’s blood in her. The woman then turned back around and pulled a knife out from a pouch. She then sliced her wrist swiftly and deeply, and held her arm out to allow the blood to fall onto the soft earth below. It was her offering in return.

Evan then saw many different scenes flashing into his head. Families that were generations ahead of the woman. Always tears and pain, women with sickly children. Barren maidens. Babies, deformed, or lying in their mother’s arms – dead. The women were not all his family’s blood. Some of them had just married into the bloodline, married into the curse. Though after leaving things in the woods, their children had come out healthy and strong. The memories began to slow down, reaching normal speed on a familiar face.

It was the devastated face of his mother as she wept over the frail and sickly body of a baby. Evan’s father was holding her as she sobbed, all the while she just repeated that she had given them all that he had said for her to. They had finally cured her barren womb, but each child was still cursed. Evan saw his father’s face. There was something in his eyes that said he had a plan.
Evan suddenly found himself in the nighttime woods again. Though these woods were very familiar. They were the woods he had grown up in, teeming with pure nature, life. Evan’s father was kneeling in front of an oak tree. He kissed the sickly baby’s small head, and placed it down in front of the tree. He then walked away, without looking back.

Evan blinked, and it was daylight. A baby lay there in the same spot, though it was very different. Upon its small chest lay a scrap of some sort of material, happy gurgling noises were coming from the baby’s mouth. Curiosity got the better of him, and before he could stop himself he found himself cautiously walking towards it. He walked until he was staring it right in the face. The baby looked like his mother and father, like the baby before. Though the first thing that came to Evan’s mind was their art, their glamour. They were the masters of illusion; things were never as they seemed. Its brown eyes looked up at him curiously, sparkling and healthy. Its mouth was stretched into a smile full of life. Evan knelt to look at the material, etched into it was faded words. It read:

The other one.

Evan then heard approaching footsteps on the vegetation, he stood up and turned to see his father walking towards the child. Evan swiftly moved out of the way. His father crouched down, looked at the note, and gently scooped up the baby into his arms. It beamed up at him. His father smiled back, and with the child he walked away.

“Brother.”

Evan turned around and there it stood once again. It stood in his favourite form, the dark-haired female. Though Evan could see it in a new light now, it looked more familiar than ever. He no longer saw it as a foreign being, but more as family. After all, that’s whom it was; his sibling, his twin.
It held its hand out to him.

He took it.

Evan could not remember the first time they had made their presence known to him. He only remembered that, growing up, the ‘monsters’ under the bed and in the wardrobe were real. He remembered the first time he had brought it up.

His mother had been tucking him in, though there had been something else on his mind that night. And he knew that if it was not mentioned then and there he would not have been able to sleep soundly. The question would have echoed in his head, spinning around and bouncing off the walls of his skull. She looked down at him with warm eyes the colour of conkers, her long and silky jet black hair brushing his face, comforting him as she embraced him, ready to say good night. Though he hadn’t been.

He asked her what they were.

She told him his father would finish putting him to bed.

She left the room, a few minutes later Evan’s father came in. He told him that there were many stories of them. Nobody knew what they truly looked like, though they looked unlike anything imaginable. Unlike any visible thing on Earth. They could only appear in ways that brains could perceive. In every culture since the beginning of time, there were only beliefs. Nobody truly knew where they came from, just that they were much older than humanity. Evan’s father said that they were the hidden people, in a place close to his own. Hidden by the cosmos from the direct perception of humans.
And then he read to Evan. It was a folklore tale about guardians of the forests.
That night Evan had fallen into a deep and peaceful sleep.

When Jon awoke, he found himself lying on the ground in the woods. It was still daylight though the clouds had dissipated, making room for the sun. He looked around for Evan, and saw him lying still on the ground. His eyes were open, but they looked empty and blank.

Jon felt a horrible feeling in his gut. He approached the body.

“Evan?”

After a few excruciating seconds, Evan turned to face him and said, “Let’s go back home now.”

Jon felt instant relief. So much so, that he wanted to drop down and embrace his friend. Instead he just said, “OK.”

They made their way back, mostly silent. Once home, Evan would carry out his day as usual. Then, once night fell, in those small spaces of darkness between patches of light, in the shadows, they’d still be there watching him like they always did.

And just like any night, Evan would just go to bed and fall asleep.

Credit: CuriousInsect

Windigo Eyes

February 9, 2017 at 12:00 AM

Windigo Eyes

Credit: Vince “Gatekeeper” Bios

The Pixies

January 18, 2017 at 12:00 AM

Chapter 1

What I’m about to tell you will seem unbelievable, inconceivable, and I’m sure downright made up. I can’t help the way that it sounds. I can only tell you what happened, what I remember, and hope that someone finds it within their compassionate soul to believe me. I know that I have to tell someone now because my time is short. I am no longer a spring chicken, nor a middle aged woman, let alone the innocent child I once was. I am now what people call over the hill, elderly, kaput. At 87 years old I am not in denial about my worsening health, loss of memory, or lack of ability to care for myself. I also am no longer in denial about what happened to me when I was just a small girl living in the beautiful forest of Upstate NY.
If you care to hear the story please pull up a chair and put on your listening ears. Bring an open mind and an interest in the unexplainable and I will spin you a tale of small children and pixies. Ahhhhh, I see you doubting already. No matter. You’re already here so you mind as well hear my tale before calling me crazy. However you should be forewarned that this is not a cute little tale of children making friends with cute little winged people. This is a dark and frightening tale of abduction and terror the likes of which most people will never experience. I hope none of you do. It’s why I tell my tale. If I can prevent one person, 1 child, from going through what I went through then I have lived and died for a purpose.
So let’s see here. Where should I begin? It was the end of summer when I was just a small girl of the age of 4. I lived in the woods on a long winding road without a neighbor for miles and miles. It was just my mother and myself. She was a single mother which in those days was unheard of. The towns people always gossiped and stared when we came into town but she was lucky enough to gain employment from a kindly older lady named Mrs. Willow who widowed by her husband had taken over the small motel they had run together. Mrs. Willow in her elder years had hired my mother to do the room cleanings she had done herself for nearly 45 years. She paid her a meager wage of just $1.50 an hour and of course didn’t need her for many hours per week as it was rare to have more then just 1 or 2 guests in a week.
Anyways as for my father. I never got to ask her about him. Someone once told me when I was about 13 or so that he had been a drifter whom my mother had loved deeply but who had left before knowing of her pregnancy and was never seen again. At the age of 4 though my mother was my whole world and I was hers and we had what I would call a wonderful life. That was until THAT day. A chill runs down my spine just thinking about THAT day again. It was the day that I went from being an innocent carefree girl to an adult in a small child’s body.
On THAT day, it was a Saturday evening, my mother and I were playing outside the small little shack we called a home. We were having a tea party on the small stump of an old tree that had fallen in a storm years before we moved in. My mother put a small table cloth over it and we got out my little tea set that I had gotten for Christmas the year before and we sat on the warm soft grass and toasted to another beautiful day together. We smiled and giggled and even though I can’t remember the exact words either of us said I can remember the feeling of being happy. Just purely joyful in the evening sun. I can remember the sun shining through the leaves of the trees and glittering all around. I can remember the smell of my mother’s hair like the lavender perfume she wore. How I miss that smell. How I miss her. Even now, all these years later I miss my mother more than anyone else I’ve met in all my years. I suppose I shall be seeing her again soon enough though.
I digress. THAT day as we sat giggling and having tea time we suddenly heard the ringing of our phone through the back door we had left open. Mother loved to air the house out daily as often as she could and today being warm and lovely she had it swung wide open with a concrete cinder block holding it in place. My mother told me to stay put and she’d be right back. I watched her walk away, up the 3 crooked wood steps, and disappear into the house. Her long lavender scented hair glistening in the sun as she went. It was then that I heard it.
“It” was the faint sound of…….hmmmm how do I explain this? Maybe like a wind chime or a small flute. A soft trickle of music emanating from the woods at the edge of our quaint backyard. It was beautiful. Soothing. It drew me in and without even knowing what I was doing I was getting to my feet and headed towards the woods. The soft music growing slightly louder as I neared the edge but still faint and soooo, hypnotic. I wanted to see what was making that wonderful sound. As I neared the woods there was something else too. Something sparkling here and there when the light from the sun caught it just right. Curiosity drew me closer and closer. I squinted my eyes to try and bring whatever it was into focus but it was small and even though at 4 yrs old my eyes were a far cry better than what they are now I still didn’t see what that glittering thing was until I was just about on top it. Even when I did see it my brain didn’t register what it was right away.
This is where my story may make you question my memory or my sanity, perhaps both. Please bear with me though and allow an old dying woman the peace of knowing she told someone, warned someone, whether you choose to heed those warnings is entirely up to you. Anyways. I leaned down close to the ground and there on the soft bed of fallen leaves was a very small unicorn with a jewel encrusted horn. I know that’s hard to believe. At first I thought it was a toy but then it moved. To be honest it scared the crap out of me and I jumped back in shock. However then 4 yr old me was reaching out to touch it before I even knew I was doing it. I felt like I was in a dream. The world around me hazy and fading into the background. It was like the only thing I could see was this unicorn with it’s amazing horn and all I wanted to do was touch that horn. Just once. If it would let me. But I knew it would. A little voice in my head said go ahead and touch it. It wants you to. So I did.
As soon as my soft skin touched that horn I felt it stab into my flesh. It was the tiniest thing, no bigger then the end of a sewing needle, but it was sharp and it hurt like someone had sliced my finger with a kitchen knife. I started to scream but my voice caught in my throat and I hit the ground twitching and struggling to breathe. I remember laying there on the ground with the world shaking around me, the sun glaring down on me, blinding me, and thinking I was dying. Even at 4 the logical outcome was undeniable. Even then I knew that no air meant no life. I scratched at my throat and slowly, it seemed an eternity, the world around my went black. I thought I was dead. Later on I wished I was.

CHAPTER 2

When my eyes opened again everything around me was still dark. I automatically began to scream for my mother. Surely she would hear me and come running. She would turn on the light and brush my tangled hair from my tiny face and rub my cheek. She would tell me to “breathe baby” and follow it up with “shhhhhhhh” as she hugged me to her and that wonderful lavender hair would brush against my cheek and I would be safe. That’s not what happened though. Someone did talk but it wasn’t her. I wasn’t even sure it was a someone. It sounded more like a something and the very sound of it’s voice nearly drove me to the brink of insanity. Something in the dark let out a stern sounding “shhaddduuupppp you whining little crybaby.” The voice didn’t sound human though. It sounded moist. Bubbly, as if there were liquid in the throat of the creature who’d said it. It was a, for lack of a better word, evil sounding voice. I was silent but tears rolled down my little round cheeks and I struggled to see into the darkness.
I reached out with tiny hands into the dark. I reached out cautiously but I reached out. I seemed to be on a bed of leaves and twigs. The leaves were wet and the twigs were hard. Some of them were poking into my little bare legs that stuck out from underneath my pretty yellow sundress mother had made me. It hurt but I was too scared to think about it or even notice. Even as I felt blood trickle down my right leg from where one of them had punctured the skin I didn’t notice. As I leaned a little further into the darkness I touched, something, it was all around me but my hand could slip past it in parts. Suddenly I knew what it was. It was a cage. I was in a cage. Why was I in a cage? I didn’t understand. Cages were for birds or other animals, not little girls. I crawled to the edge and stuck my face up to the bars and realized there was light coming from below me. I struggled to see what it was and then fear swept over me. Not only was I in a cage, I was in a cage about 15 feet from the ground. Just dangling up there in the dark.
I peered down into the faint light below me and that’s when I saw IT. My fear turned into pure terror and I was sure something snapped in my brain. I once again began to scream. This time it’s return screams of “shaddduupppp” didn’t silence me. My screams were not a choice. They weren’t an option or voluntary in any way. It was like something was pulling them out of my stomach by way of my mouth. That thing! OH MY GOD that thing that was down there. It still rocks me to my core to even think about it and I’d rather not. I can’t tell you my story without you understanding though. Fully understanding what I saw, what had me in that cage precariously perched high above the ground.
What I saw below me can best be described as petrified wood that has started to rot and grow moss and mold. Rotted, mossy, moldy, wood that had come to life in a vague shape of something that resembled human form. The dimensions were all wrong though. The arms and legs too long, too thin. The back curved much like my own back does now. Even in the darkness I could see things slithering around it’s body. Living things and I wasn’t sure if they were feeding off of the things growing on this creature or putting it there. Maybe both. When it moved it made sounds that were both dry and cracking yet wet and mushy. It’s back was to me and it looked as though it was preparing something. A meal maybe? The light was coming from under a very large pot with liquid in it. I suddenly became aware of the smell coming from that liquid and it turned my stomach. At the time I didn’t know what that smell was. No 4 yr old would or should. No 4 yr old should ever know what human meat cooking should smell like.
That creature heard me scurrying around in my cage and turned to look up. I wish it hadn’t. The sight of it’s grotesque body and the sound of it’s hideous moist voice were enough for me, but it turned none the less. It turned and I saw the face of evil. The face of evil knew I saw it and sneered showing it’s pointy uneven teeth in a mouth that was much too large. My God that thing had teeth that looked like the rear end of a porcupine. They were long, skinny, and pointy. I knew right away if this thing bit me those teeth would go all the way through my arm like a sharp knife slicing some butter that’s been left out in the sun all afternoon at the family picnic. It’s eyes were nothing more then little slits with glowing yellow coming from the centers. I didn’t see a nose but it’s ears were tall and ended in a point that leaned back away from the face. It also appeared to have something growing out of it’s back. If I were older it may have taken me longer to figure it out but being just a little girl who often fantasized about fairy tale creatures I knew almost instantly what they were. I mean they weren’t like any I’d ever imagined but they were wings nonetheless. They looked like more of that dry wood jutting out from the back in multiple branches. The “branches” were strung together with something that looked like skin. It was stretched and thin with holes in it here and there as if it’d been torn by something and the light shown through them illuminating them in a way that made me quiver. Suddenly the world was going out of focus again and I fell to the bottom of the cage cutting my cheek on a twig as I did.
I’m not sure how long I was passed out for either time. I do know that some time did pass and when I awoke I was being lowered downward. My cage kind of bouncing and swinging as I got lower and lower. Panic hit me and it hit me HARD! That THING down there was lowering me. It was going to eat me up with those sharp, skinny, pointy teeth it had. I began to cry and slid myself back against the far corner of the cage. I had not been to the restroom since earlier that day and while at age 4 it had been a good long time since I had any type of accident I can assure you that when I came to face to face with this monster from the dark my bladder let loose and urine spilled out of my body and down my legs. It ran in a river to the edge of the cage and off onto the floor. I thought the creature was going to be mad but it smiled happily instead. It was loving the fact that it scared the piss right out of my little body. It knew I was frightened and it loved every minute of it.
Once lowered I came face to face with a creature most people never even see in their nightmares. It was like a combination of every horrifying creature created for the big screen all thrown into one beast. It sneered and then from between it’s long skinny teeth what appeared to be a serpent like tongue jutted out and licked it’s lips. This time I was so scared I couldn’t make a sound. My eyes squeezed shut tightly and I prayed I was just dreaming. Inside my mind I screamed for this to please be a dream. When the creature spoke again I knew it wasn’t a dream though and I opened my eyes to face this monster. It said “Time to eat child, you’re far too skinny.”
I slid back from the cage door as the creature removed the lock and pried it open. It had a bowl of something in it’s creepy long fingers and it slip it onto the floor of the cage and then closed the door once more. “Are you going to hurt me?” I asked. Hopeful that the answer was no but knowing that even if this thing said no it would mean yes.
Opening it’s gaping mouth once again into a grin evil enough to drive a sane man mad it said “Eat!” and then I was being raised back up into the ceiling of this dark hole where the creature resided. What ever was in that bowl smelled horrid and as hungry as I was I wasn’t going to touch it. I laid down in my cage and cried myself to sleep. I wanted my mommy. I wanted my bed. I wanted my stuffed bunny Marshmallow who’s fur was tarnished and dirty from the love of a 4 yr old girl who took it everywhere. I wanted to be anywhere but here. Here I would stay for another 2 weeks though.

CHAPTER 3

The days pass slowly when you’re being held hostage by a creature in the dark. 1 day slowly rolled into 2 and by the 3rd day I was so hungry so that I ate the food that the beast gave me. He informed me that his name was Trekin as in “Trekin says EAT NOW!!!” He took me out of the cage to clean it after a couple of days of me using part of it as a bathroom. Even then I knew it was disgusting but I didn’t have a choice. I tried to hold it. I begged him to let me out so I could go. He responded to my cries with screams and guttural noises that I wasn’t sure if it was a language or just noise. I never told anyone about having to go to the bathroom in that cage but if I’m going to give you the full account of my time there then I’m going to go ahead and lay it all on the line.
The 3rd day was also the day that Daisy showed up. I really liked her. I saw Trekin carry her in slumped over his shoulder and imagined I must’ve looked much the same when he brought me in. He popped her into a cage and raised it up near mine. She lay sleeping for what seemed like hours and then slowly began to stir. It was very dark in there but after time your eyes adjust and you can see well enough to make due. I saw when he brought her in that her hair was dark. Either brown or black. She had a plump little body that had been poured into some pink overalls with a white shirt, already dirty from her trip here, under it. Her hair in 2 braids that hung to about the middle of her back. She was wearing a little pink shoe on one foot but must’ve lost the other in transit because her other foot was bare. When she started to stir I tried to quickly calm her. It didn’t work. As soon as she opened her eyes to the darkness and then finally figured out what was happening she had much the same reaction as myself. There were screams and cries and even some begging and pleading to be let go. Trekin paid no attention to any of these except to tell her to shut up.
Once Daisy calmed down and began to accept her new reality I spoke to her again in a whisper. “Hello, are you ok now?” I asked. I knew that neither one of us was ok but I wasn’t sure how else to begin our first conversation in this dark and dank environment. Daisy replied in a weepy voice, tired from screaming and crying that she was for now. We talked for much of the night about our homes, our families, even our toys. I learned that she was 6 and in the 1st grade at her school called Hillside Elementary. She had a teacher named Miss. Buckner who was nice most of the time but sometimes got mad at this one kid named Shawn and would yell loudly at him which scared her. Daisy was shy and sweet and in some ways even more terrified then me. She was older so maybe she had everything figured out before I did. Either way I liked her and I felt so much better having someone to talk to. There were times over the next couple of days where I almost forgot where I was. There were times we even giggled as little girls do.
Happy times were often cut short as we were lowered to face that horrid thing that resided below us so that he could feed us or clean our cages. If he thought we were too happy he would poke those long fingers of his into our arms or legs until he punctured our delicate skin bringing blood to the wounds and tears to our eyes. He loved to torment us, he loved to remind us that this wasn’t summer camp.
6 days into my stay with Trekin I asked him shyly what he was? He looked pleased. “Have you never seen a pixie before child?” That sly smile touching his crooked mouth. I shook my head no and dropped my gaze to the floor of my cage. Looking into the murky eyes of that creature was something I cared not do for long. “I am a wood fairy. My kind has ruled these forests for over a thousand years and will continue to do so for many many more.” I had no doubt he was telling the truth.
“What do you want with us?” I asked
“Dear sweet girl, there is only one use for a child of man……………” He paused dramatically and smiled in a manner even more gruesome then usual. “You’re food!” he said as he threw his head back and began laughing like the lunatic he clearly was.
I wasn’t surprised by this news. I mean part of me hoped not but part of me knew. He was feeding us often and somehow I knew it was to fatten us up. Somehow I knew that this creature had one plan all along and I knew that his plan never involved us going home again. Tears rolled down my face silently as he raised me back up next to Daisy. All the while he was laughing to himself.
It was that day that I decided that Daisy and I needed to escape as soon as possible. Of course poor Daisy would never step foot out of this creature’s den again but I didn’t know that. I also didn’t know that this creature while nothing like the pixies I had imagined in appearance did in fact have magical qualities that would make escape even harder then imagined. It was in fact Daisy’s death that led to my escape. I’ve always felt terrible for the loss of her but at the same time at least her torment ended. Mine still continues all these years later as I wait for the return of that hideous creature named Trekin. I don’t know how I know that he’s coming but I know none the less.

CHAPTER 4

After being raised back up I whispered to Daisy that we were going to have to get out of there. She agreed and we started hatching a plan. It was simple and not very well thought out at all. We were just young girls ages 4 and 6 if you recall. Our plan was simply to wait to have our cages cleaned again and then to make a run for it. One of us, whoever he cleaned first, would push past Trekin and grab the huge spoon he stirred his pot with and hit him in the head with it as hard as she could. Then that girl would open the other cage and we would both run as far and as fast as our legs would carry us. It was simple. It was foolish. As if it would be that easy. Our young ages blinded us to the reality. Of course reality is a fleeting thing for small children locked in cages in the den of a wood pixie anyways. Irony was definitely laughing at us throughout this ordeal.
On the 8th day in Trekin’s possession our chance to escape came. It was Daisy he let out first and she did as we had planned up high in our perch above his elongated head. He unlocked her cage and she made a mad dash pushing into her door and knocking him off balance as she sprawled out past him on the dirt floor of his abode. She quick jumped to her feet and grabbed the large spoon and swung it hard as she could smashing Trekin right in his mouth full of pointy sharp teeth. I saw him grimace in pain and part of me relished it even in that small moment of time which was most likely no more then a microsecond. I yelled for Daisy to hurry and let me out as I shook the bars ferociously.
Trekin wasn’t knocked unconscious as we had planned though. While being knocked down had shocked him and being hit had hurt him it wasn’t long before he recovered and was on his feet headed straight for Daisy with his long fingers reaching out for her. I saw panic in her face and an apologetic look as she turned away from me and ran for the door. She was leaving me. She was going to run and leave me here to be eaten by this creature. I understood though. In that small flash of time I knew I would have done the same.
Daisy reached the door of the den and swung it open throwing herself through it as fast as her pudgy little legs would permit. That’s when it happened. That’s when I realized that leaving this place was going to be even more of a challenge then I had previously thought. Daisy’s body hit the doorway and not just bounced back but was thrown backwards with the force of a mac truck hitting her. She flew through the air and hit the far wall of the dome shaped room. What I’m going to tell you next is graphic but I see no point in making this out ot be anything other then the full account of what I saw and heard during my stay with Trekin the wood pixie. Daisy hit that wall with such force that I could literally hear the bones in her little body break into pieces inside of her. The back of her skull flattened against the wall and as she bounced off and hit the floor face first she left behind what could only be blood and brain matter with chunks of skull that actually stuck into the wall. I let out a scream and fell backwards in my own cage. My only friend in this hellish place was dead. I know this sounds awful but I didn’t know what upset me more. The loss of her, the realization that I was alone with Trekin, or the realization that my own death was next. Either way I lay there in the bottom of my cage crying uncontrollably.
Trekin had walked over to where Daisy lay in a pile of broken flesh and bone and was hovering above her. I heard him laugh maniacally and then even through my own sobbing I heard him say something that caught my attention. “Silly child of man,” he said. “You can’t leave this enchanted space without the key.”
I opened my eyes and looked at him and saw that he was holding out a rope from his neck. He was holding it out over her body and laughing. On the end of the rope I saw a small charm. It wasn’t a key at all though. It was……….MY GOD!!! it was a tiny little unicorn. I had seen that tiny creature before. The last time was the day I was brought here and it was alive. This time it was more like a little glass figurine but it was the same creature. I was sure of it. Trekin picked up what was left of my new friend and carried her into the next room. I sat there debating in my mind how I could get that necklace from around Trekin’s neck and escape this awful hole that he called enchanted. The events of the day had worn on me though and I fell asleep leaning against the bars of my cage.
When I awoke again I peered down into the faint light below me to see Trekin coming back into the only room I had known for days now. He had a tray in his hands and on the tray was pieces of meat and blood. He tipped the tray up and they slid into the boiling pot below me splashing some of the hot liquid inside onto the floor. It was then that true terror touched my soul yet again. It was then that I realized that was bow cooking my friend Daisy. It was then that I realized that the food I had been eating since the 3rd day of my capture was whatever child had sat in this cage before me. The world got all wobbly and I felt everything in my stomach lurch up into my throat. It spewed from my mouth violently and then the world went dark as I fell face first into my own freshly spewed vomit. Not a pretty picture I know. One I wish wasn’t locked into my memory but that’s what happened.
Some time later I opened my eyes to my cage being opened and I jumped backwards so hard I hit my head on the bars of the cage and saw stars. Trekin was peering in at me with his teeth showing in a snarl and saying something about I’d better not try anything or I’d be joining my friend sooner then later. His long wood like fingers grabbed a hold of my tiny wrist and he dragged me out of my cage in one movement and threw me to the floor. He towered over me and then grabbed a large bowl and to my shock dumped cold water right on top of me. “Dirty, filthy, creatures, children of men are.” he said shaking his head. Still you could see the enjoyment he got out of dumping that cold water on top of me while I was still dazed and confused from the events of the day. One side of his face lifted in an Elvis like sneer and he dumped a second pot into my cage rinsing away my vomit, urine, and feces. He grabbed another pot and dumped in some new leaves and twigs and then grabbed my drenched body and lifted it back into the cage. He peered at me through the open door for a moment. I thought he was going to say something but then he shut the door and locked it once again. He didn’t raise me up though. He left me hanging just a few feet from the ground and started to fill a bowl from the large pot in the center of the room that he had generously fed me from all along. I instantly started shaking my head and crying. He re-opened the cage door and slid the bowl in. “Your friend is sweet as pie.” He said laughing as he started pulling the rope that rose my cage into the air.
Once raised I looked at the bowl and I cried. I told Daisy I was so sorry. I knew then that I would go hungry either until I finally died, Trekin finally killed me, or until I escaped this place. I was hopeful for an escape. My little brain just couldn’t think of how to do it though. No matter how much I tried I couldn’t figure out how I would ever be able to get down, get the “key”, and escape without being killed. 4 more days passed and with each day I grew weaker from lack of food. The weaker I got the less hope I had. I was now on my 12th day here in this hell and I was now hoping more for death then anything. I just lay in the bottom of the cage. Not moving, not speaking. I didn’t cry. I didn’t do anything. Honestly I think that was also a big part of being able to escape. Trekin grew concerned. Not because I was weak but because I was getting thinner and thinner. “You’re no good to me without some meat on your bones!” he said. He was clearly angry. He lowered my cage and stared at me. He must have been thinking of ways to get me to eat or deciding if he should just kill me now before I could lose more weight but he said nothing. Just stared. He stared for what seemed an eternity but I was lost to my own little world, slowly dying as I lay there in the bottom of my cage.
Trekin didn’t bother to lift me back up. When he went to the other room for the night he left me down low. I’m not sure if he didn’t feel I was strong enough to be a problem or if he just plain forgot. As I entered into day 13 I sat up slowly and looked around the room I was in. Escape hadn’t crossed my mind just yet. At first I was merely looking to see if there was any food near enough to me to reach and eat. Across the room on a small table I saw something that looked like bread. My stomach growled and I touched the lock on my cage door as if it would just pop open because I wanted it to. It didn’t. I reached my arm through the cage and tried to grab the edge of the pot in the center of the room. My fingertips were about 2 inches shy of reaching it and so I stretched and leaned. It was then that I realized my entire arm was now out of the cage and half of my head. I realized that if might be possible to slip my entire head out of the bars of the cage. I pushed and pain hit me instantly as my ears bent up tight against my head and one of them scraped against the rough metal of the bar and ripped open. Blood came pouring down my neck and onto my shoulder. It wasn’t enough to stop me from pushing though. The pain in my ear was nothing compared to the pain in my stomach and I pushed with barely a sound as my head popped out of the bars of the cage. Of course now here I was with my head and an arm hanging out of my cage about 3 feet from the ground and not sure what to do next. I was sure the rest of my withered body would slide through as well but what if Trekin caught me?
Fear made my heart pound against my tiny rib cage almost hard enough to physically see it. I decided I’d rather die fighting then laying in that cage. I don’t know why I decided it. I don’t know where that strength was for the days before this moment but I was suddenly filled with the desire to live. Pushing through the bars was easier then I imagined it would be. After 4 days of not eating my tiny body was little more then some skin and bones. Had I been in the air this would have been pointless but this close to the ground it was an easy task. Of course going head first was difficult as I had to lean downward and fall to the ground head first as well. As I left the cage it swung back away from me ever so slightly and when it swung back it hit me right in the side of my head just as I was setting myself upright. The metal created a gash that instantly began to bleed about an inch long and I grabbed my head and cried out before I could stop myself. I stood there like a deer in the headlights quite sure that Trekin was going to come running and and destroy me with one hit from those pointy wooden claws of his. Everything remained quiet and nothing stirred though.
I walked over and grabbed the bread like stuff from the little table and began shoving it into my mouth. It was the most delicious thing I had ever eaten in my life. It wasn’t bread. It was better then bread. It was moist and sweet and after just a few bites I was already feeling full. I kept eating though until my little belly protruded. When I was done I looked around the room once again. Something in my brain said I should climb my butt back into that cage and live to fight another day. Something else in me was screaming though. It was screaming to me to find a weapon. To look for Trekin. To take that necklace. Finally to ESCAPE this place. I listened to the 2nd voice. After all, that one was much louder.

CHAPTER 5

I slowly and quietly crept into the next room. Trekin was not there. It was a small room with tables and cabinets on one side. This was the room where he prepared the meat for his stews. There was also a hole in the floor to one side of the table. I peered in and the smell came up and hit me in the face like a baseball being pitched by a professional pitcher. I knew right away that this hole was where he threw the parts he couldn’t use. I almost lost the new food I had in my belly but managed to keep it down. I rose from my knees and started to quietly open drawers looking for a weapon of sorts. On the 3rd drawer I found a knife. It wasn’t very large but it was sharp and it fit in my tiny hand nicely. I grabbed it and walked very slowly, one step at a time, to the next dark room. Although it wasn’t a room. It was a hallway. I was so glad the floors were made of dirt. No squeaky wood boards like in my house. Down the hallway there were 2 doors. Both closed. It was clear that Trekin was behind one of them. I was terrified that he was just standing there in the darkness of one of the rooms waiting to pounce. Suddenly I was sure he left me down on purpose. I was sure this was all part of his game. He knew I couldn’t escape the house so he was playing with me before killing me. Maybe fear makes little girls taste better. I almost turned around and ran for the cage. I didn’t though. I continued down the hall and turned the first knob slowly.
The room behind that first door was dark and smelled of mold and mildew. I knew immediately it was some sort of bathroom. I could hear drips of water coming from some source within the room. Most likely some sort of sink or shower. I suddenly wondered if Trekin really showered and also if he pooped. Silly thought I know. I even giggled a bit when I thought of him sitting on a toilet in that dank smelling room. I clasped my own mouth so I wouldn’t laugh out loud and continued on to the next door. I stood outside of it contemplating what I was going to do when I opened it. I couldn’t for the life of me think even a minute ahead of my own actions. Finally I just reached out and touched the knob. It was made of metal like my cage but smooth. My hand almost slipped right off of it but finally caught hold and I turned it slowly and pushed.
This door seemed heavier then the last and as I pushed it open a faint light hit me. Trekin it seemed slept with the lights on. Another thought that almost brought a laughing fit to my lips. I scolded myself inside my own head. There was nothing funny about this situation. Had I lost my mind? Although I suppose in some ways I had lost parts of it I told myself it was just because I was so scared. I opened the door just enough to slip into the room that Trekin used as his bedroom. It wasn’t like a human bedroom. There was no bed, no pictures, no decorations. It was simply an empty room with a large branch from a tree of some sort reaching from one side to the other. It stuck into the walls on either side and Trekin was hanging from it. He was upside down and his grotesque toes were wrapped around the branch holding him there like a bat. His arms folded across his chest. He was snoring. This horrible, guttural, sound that made me cringe and took away any feelings of wanting to giggle immediately.
I walked over to him hanging there by his feet. I walked slowly but I walked. One foot in front of the other I walked until I was close enough to see those little bugs and wiggly things living on, or in, his body. I wondered what would happen if I stabbed him with the tiny knife I held in my hand. I decided that it wouldn’t do much to this creature made mostly of wood and decided against it immediately. I instead leaned in close and searched his neck with my eyes. There it was! The necklace with the unicorn pendant. I reached in and just as I was about to touch it Trekin moved. I thought it was over. I thought after all this he had woken up and saw me reaching for it and any second those teeth would be cutting into my arm probably tearing it off of my body in the process. My eyes closed tight waiting for the pain. Nothing happened though. I re-opened my eyes and realized that he was still sleeping. I let the breath I had been holding in escape my mouth very slowly and sucked in a fresh batch before proceeding. My tiny fingers wrapped around the necklace and I reached out with the knife in my other hand and sliced the rope holding it together around Trekin’s neck. I backed up slowly all the way to the door in disbelief. I had it. The “key” as he had said. When my back hit the open door I turned and left the room as silently as I had come in. Back down the the hallway, through the prep room and back into the main living area where I had been kept.
I walked slowly to the main door realizing now that I had no idea how the “key” worked. What if I opened the door and went through only to be thrown into the wall like Daisy. A memory of her skull flattening against the wall popped into my head and I shuddered. I took a deep breath, held the pendant in my hand and opened the large door to the outside world. Shock hit me almost instantly. The sun was shining out there and it was glorious but something wasn’t right. Everything was much too large. Trees jutted up into the blue sky that looked to be a thousand feet tall. The leaves that had blown up next to the door of my captors residence were taller then me. A bird flew by overhead. Just a simple blue jay but it was the size of a minivan at least. I gasped. Then I heard something behind me. Trekin was awake and coming down the hall. No time to wait. I reached out and stuck my hand holding the pendant out of the doorway. It went with ease and grew instantly. There I was a tiny girl on one side of the door and a giant hand on the other. Footsteps were growing louder and I flung the rest of my body out of the doorway instantly growing back to my original size. I stumbled and fell to my knees. I looked back to see a very small door opened in the base of a large old oak tree. I quick shut it tight and held my hand against it while looking for a rock to put against it. Just as I spotted the perfect one I heard a ghastly howl from behind that tiny door. Trekin had discovered my escape. He sounded furious. I grabbed a rock, stuck it against the door and ran. I ran as ast as my legs could carry me. I wasn’t sure where I was or where I was going but I ran.
After what seemed an eternity of running, just as my tiny legs started to give out, I came across a small dirt road. I fell to the ground as I got to it and just laid there sprawled out and gasping. I heard something coming closer and I knew in my heart it was Trekin. He had pushed that rock aside, escaped his home, grown to enormous size, and tracked me down to the side of this little road. I was too scared to even move as the noise drew closer. I closed my eyes tight and hoped maybe he wouldn’t see me. Maybe he would run right past me but then I heard a voice. “Oh my god, it’s a little girl.” It was a man’s voice, not a monsters. “Quick Ilene get a blanket and come quick, she’s still breathing.” A Pause and then “Sweety? Sweety? Are you ok? What happened?”
I couldn’t talk though. Tears were running down my face by the gallon as this stranger and his wife Ilene wrapped me in a blanket and put me in their car. Ilene hugged me to her as her husband rushed us to the nearest hospital. It was there that the questions began. There that the strange stares, whispered disbelief, and judgement started. It was also there that I finally got to hug my mother again. It was there that I got to bury my dirty, tear soaked face into her wonderful lavender smelling hair. My mother was always a proud woman. Well put together, well groomed, and one of those never let them see you cry types. When I saw her again after my 2 weeks in the woods she had changed though. Her hair a mess, she had lost weight, her clothes disheveled, and her face covered in tears to match my own. “Where have you been baby?” was all she could muster in those first moments.
Days passed and my mother never left my side. I was cleaned up, my wounds dressed, and rehydrated. The staff sent a psychologist to talk to me when my story of where I had been didn’t change for the police. They were convinced that I had created this story of an evil pixie to cover up the weeks of abuse I must have suffered at the hands of whatever man had kidnapped me. They were grateful that I hadn’t been violated physically, and couldn’t understand how they had missed this man’s residence in all the searches they had done of the woods. They were going to continue to search though and they assured my mother they would find the monster responsible. The doctors eventually had no choice but to send me home with my mother and hope that someday my memory would return so they could know what the man looked like and maybe more about his home. They said it was perfectly normal for me to make up stories and not to worry but I could tell my mother was worried. Not because she thought I was crazy. She was worried because she knew me and she was worried I was telling the truth.
About a week after I returned home a police officer named Dan Peters stopped by our little home in the woods. He asked my mother if he could speak to her in private. My mother asked me to go to my room and wait there for a moment. I didn’t like being away from her and had in fact slept in her bed every night since I had been home but I did as I was asked. I left my door open and stood near it though. Ready to run back to her should anything happen. From my doorway I could hear them talking in hushed tones. I heard something about Daisy. I could hear my mother say what a shame it was and how badly she felt for the family. I could hear her saying that she would talk to me and let him know. Then I heard our creaky front door close and my mother’s footsteps coming toward my room. She smiled as she entered into my field of vision but her smile was no longer the same as it had been. My absence had not only changed me, it had changed her.
“I need to ask you something baby girl.” An undertone of seriousness. Maybe sadness. “The little girl Daisy you said you met while you were away………you said she………was killed right?” I could tell this topic wasn’t something she wanted to discuss but the officer had asked her to question me and she had little choice because she wanted to find this man who had stolen her daughter from her. I nodded. She asked me if I could describe her? Of course I could. Daisy had been my best friend, my only friend in that disgusting little hole, and I remembered her vividly. The doctors and police had thought I made her up too. Like a sort of imaginary friend as it were. It wasn’t until weeks later that they realized a little girl named Daisy had been reported missing in the next town over and put 2 and 2 together. Daisy’s family wanted desperately to find her of course and their only hope was a little girl who claimed pixies had done it and their little girl was dead. My mother questioned me off and on for days. She explained how important the truth was. She told me how much it would help if I could just remember even 1 thing about the man who had taken me. That even if Daisy was in fact dead finding her body would be tremendously helpful for her family and would provide closure for them. I told her over and over that I was telling the truth. Finally my mother called the police officer and told him that I still had no memory of the man or the home. I heard her apologize and tell him she would call if anything changed. It never did.
Years passed and mother and I moved to Georgia to be closer to her sister Annie. She said she could use my mother’s help with her 4 children but I knew it was more like my mother could use her help. Our bills were behind and since Mrs. Willow had passed work for my mother had been scarce. We were still the talk of the town and I was always known as the strange little girl who had lost touch with reality. I was teased by children and pitied by adults. A change was just what we needed according to my mother. So we moved. We decided there would be no more talk of the past. Everything was fresh and new from that moment on. I had agreed and never spoke another word to her about my time with Trekin. He was never far from my thoughts though. Even though I was now 9 years old I still feared that creature coming for me. I stayed close to people and even after the move slept in the same room as my mother until I was nearly 13 yrs old. I was terrified to be alone. I was right to be.
At age 13 I saw Trekin again. I saw him briefly but I saw him. I was outside in the yard with my little cousin Abby. She was running through the sprinkler and squealing with joy. Every time the cold water touched her it bounced off of her and the sun hit it making it glitter like silver. Back and forth she went and I sat under the tree nearby and watched giggling. I envied her youth. Her innocence. It was something i had lost at age 4 and though I was still just a young girl of 13 my eyes told a different story. My eyes were those of an old lady who had seen much and lived long. Then something else caught my eye. There was something by the tree off to the side of the property. At first I thought it was just the tree but then it moved. My heart skipped a beat and my breath caught in my throat. The smile left my face along with all the color. The thing next to the tree sneered. I saw an enlarged mouth filled with long, sharp, pointy teeth and yellow eyes glowing through small slits in the wooden face. It was HIM. I screamed and passed out.
I could hear someone calling my name and I was sure it was Trekin. I started punching, hitting, thrashing about before I even opened my eyes and I heard “Owwwwww, she hit me.” I stopped and looked around to see my Aunt standing there holding her bloody lip and the rest of the family staring at me like I was a mad woman. I started to apologize immediately but then fear caught me again and I pushed everyone out of my field of vision. I looked at the tree across the yard but Trekin was gone. When everyone asked me what was wrong I apologized again and said it must’ve been the heat was too much for me. My mother helped me into the house and got me some ice water asking if I needed a doctor? I told her no, that I’d be fine but I’ll tell you, I was shaken to my core. Trekin had escaped. Not only that, he had found me. I saw him again a week later and a month after that. He never came close but he always popped up when I least expected it and sneered at me in that sly little smile that said I would pay for escaping.
I started to research pixies. Turns out there were others who had been abducted and escaped their grasp as well. Not many. None currently living. There were a few accounts of their stories in books though. Most of them were pretty similar to mine. One little boy named Jonathan had escaped and then much like myself began seeing his captor later on down the line when he was older. He said for years she, yes a girl pixie although similar in appearance to Trekin, had just popped in almost as if to say hello. He said he had finally come to the conclusion that she could not capture him again. Something about the magic only worked on the mind of children who believed in magic. Once you had matured or lost your innocence the hypnotic music could no longer be heard by your ears and whatever pendant they had used as their key no longer came to life to lure you in. I had brought Trekin’s key with me when I escaped but the police had put it in evidence. Weeks later it had disappeared and was never seen again. I knew he had retrieved it.
As I’ve gotten older though and my mind has grown dimmer, more like that of a child at times, I have sworn I could hear a faint music in the distance. During these episodes I’ve been told I just get up and head off towards the woods as if in a daze. I often awake to one of the nurses here at Wildwood Nursing and Rehabilitation Center shaking me gently and calling my name. It terrifies me because I know that even though Trekin could not get revenge on me all these years ago I have now come full circle back to the innocent mind of a child at times and I know he is just biding his time and waiting for me. I have tried to tell the nurses to please watch me closely. To please not let me go into the woods. I have begged them to please keep me safe from the pixies. They always smile at me and tell me to calm down and not to worry. I worry though. I worry every moment that my thoughts are lucid. I look over to the woods and I see Trekin sometimes. Standing there by the trees and smirking. He hasn’t changed a bit even though I have aged decade after decade.
I fear I shall be gone soon but I wanted someone to know my story. I wanted someone to know that I did not wander off and disappear into the woods. I want someone to know that when I am gone, it is because I have heard that hypnotic music and once again seen that magical little unicorn with the jewel encrusted horn. I want someone to know that I have reached out even though I was scared and touched that horn and that I was then shrunk down and dragged into a doorway. A small doorway in the base of a giant tree. Once there I want someone to know that Trekin will be waiting for me to awaken so that he can torment me before finally lunging at me and sinking those horrible teeth deep into my throat. The last thing I will see is the ceiling of that little dark dome as the blood leaks from my body and I die the death I should have died many moons ago. I know in my heart of hearts that Trekin will look at me laying there on his dirt floor and he will smile that horrendous, crooked, jagged, smile and enjoy his sweet revenge. No one ever truly escapes a pixie. I know that now. No one ever really escapes true evil.
Wait! What’s that I hear? Do you hear it? It’s music. Sweet, melodic music. Like an angel playing a small flute. It’s beautiful. I wonder what it is. I’ll continue this when I return from seeing where it’s coming from. It sounds like it may be coming from that tree over there……………

THE END

Credit: Dawn Marks

Creepypasta

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