Today I have the first in a two parter that I wrote for Halloween. It originally started as a flash fiction piece but has evolved into much more.
The heart of Autumn surrounded us now. The leaves rustled in the bitter breeze that stings my cheeks and makes my eyes water.
I thought agreeing to this trip would be a good thing, I’d imagined a cosy cabin, log fires, long walks and early nights. Well, I couldn’t have been more wrong.
First there was no heating save for the log fire, which also was the only source for heating water, the cabin was old and dusty and looked like it had been picked up from some cheesy Halloween film and put in the middle of this forest. I’m glad I wasn’t here alone otherwise I’d have turned and left by now.
There was however, a beautiful lake which on a night like this shone with a moonlit glow. It looked incredible, inviting.
I’m sure I could see things moving underneath it’s surface but it was clear the atmospheric effect of this cabin was playing tricks with my mind.
I could hear the others playing Monopoly in the main room. Louis loudly declaring how much he was kicking everyone’s arse on the property front, Sarah laughing because despite him owning everything he was broke and she wasn’t and then Ryan who just laughed at them both. My Ryan, the diplomatic one, never caused a scene, always the voice of reason and the one I was head over heels in love with.
Ryan and I had been together now for almost 2 years. We had met through random chance at a college fair when we were in our last year of school. This week was my 18th birthday and this trip was meant for me. Ryan knew I didn’t do massive parties or huge celebrations. Coming to a quiet romantic cabin with our best friends was the perfect gift.
At least it should have been. Leaving Louis to find and book a place may not have been the wisest of ideas. His version of comfort was quite different from mine. Despite this place though I was having a nice time, I just didn’t relish showering in the luke warm water or waking up to know I needed to de-frost the kettle before I could have a morning cuppa.
We were booked for a week and this was our 3rd night. I had to admit though this place was growing on me. It was my birthday tomorrow and we were going to have a barbeque if it wasn’t raining. The last few days had been sunny but cold, perfect walking weather. Louis and Sarah decided a barbeque would be a great idea, I have to say it did sound nice.
I excused myself and went up to bed. I wanted an early night so I could get up for a jog in the morning before everyone else awoke. Running through the surrounding forest with just the birds for company was relaxing. I could happily do this everyday rather than at home where I had to navigate roads and cars on my morning route. Living in the middle of a big city meant we didn’t have places so full of nature like out here.
I felt the alarm vibrating under my pillow, I must have slept great because I don’t remember anything from when I got into bed until now. I reached for my thick dressing gown while attempting to stay hidden under the cover. I grabbed it and quickly whipped it on, then slide my feet into my furry slippers.
I snuck out of the room and made my way to the main living room. Now that we had started to make our presence felt I could definitely see the charm in it. The kitchenette stood off the the left, a simple row of cupboards, cooking stove, fridge and other essentials. To the right a massive open fireplace and an arrangement if mismatched chairs, a sofa and some bean bags. There was a gorgeous real wood coffee table that had two tree trunk legs. To either side of the fireplace was wood stacked up to the ceiling as well as smaller piles scattered around the room, Windows sat next to the tall wood piles. The floor was made from wooden floorboards with thick worn rugs in random colours scattered about. In the centre of the back wall was a huge door and coat rack. I could see the moonlight just hitting the trees. It was still pitch black outside.
I walked over to the fire and added more logs, stoking it to bring up the flames. Thankfully the room wasn’t as cold since the embers had burnt through the night. I filled the kettle and switched it on, grabbing one of the mugs and popping in a teabag and some sugar. I walked over to the one of the windows near the fireplace. This view looked directly over the lake, it looked even more stunning than the night before.
I heard the kettle click off and went to make my drink. I shoved on some wellies, put my thick coat over my dressing gown, grabbed my mug and headed towards the lake. I sat on the bench that sat near the waters edge. Despite been dark the moon let off enough light that I could see easily.
I was sat contemplating the day ahead. Finally 18 years old. Old enough to drink and vote. A proper adult now. Due to start university in a weeks time. Life was good.
It was then I heard the whispers. At first I thought it was just me. I’d have put it down to the wind but there wasn’t even a small breeze this morning. It was still and silent. The whispering seemed to get louder, more frequent. I couldn’t make out any words. I looked around me but I couldn’t see anyone. I then got up and started to walk around the lake, staying in the light. I could hear the whispers getting louder now and tried to follow the sound, it led into the woods. I hesitated following, I mean I was still in my pj’s, who knows what else is out here. But still, I followed.
I came to a small clearing surrounded by the most beautiful wildflowers, the moon shone down into the centre. Everything seemed to sparkle.
The whispering had stopped now. There was no sound not even a bird.
“Hello Juliet” a voice said. I turned around, nothing was there. I couldn’t see anyone. Shadows hiding from the moonlight concealing what lurked in the darkness.
“Don’t be afraid Juliet, we’ve waited a long time for you” the voice spoke.
“Who are you? Where are you?” I replied, my voice shook with nerves. My heart was beating so fast I thought it would jump out of my chest. My hands had gone clammy. I was more than half tempted to to run back to the cabin but something compelled me to stay.
“Juliet, we are the people of the forest. You will see us when your eyes allow us to be seen” the voice said.
“What do you mean? My eyes allow you to be seen? What are you ?” I replied.
“Everything will be revealed in time Juliet. The question you should ask is not who are we, but who are you” the menacing voice replied.
“What do you mean? I’m a human of course. What else could I be?” I had no idea what was going on, were the guys playing a trick on me? Not exactly the way I wanted to start my birthday.
“You my dear child are not pure human, there are things in this world that have been kept from you. But now as you celebrate the day of your birth old magic will pump through your veins. When you are ready to know everything come back to this spot. We will be here waiting. You are not ready yet, don’t fight it when you feel it” the voice faded as it finished it’s words, I knew that whatever it was had gone.
I went back inside confused, sitting on the sofa in front of the fire my body started to warm up. What on earth did it all mean. I’ve never felt normal, at least not in the way that people seemed to look. My father has always kept secrets about my mother, my heritage and what happened to her. Did this have something to do with her?
I jumped as Ryan put his arms around my shoulders, I hadn’t even heard him come out of the bedroom. “Good Morning birthday girl. Happy birthday” he said, kissing my cheek.
To be continued…..
Emma-Louise Smith x
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