Don’t go into the woods© – A Thriller Short Story by Felina Silver Robinson
Deep in the woods 16-year-old Jessica was hiding behind the biggest elm tree she could find. The ground was completely covered with a blanket of thin shear ice due to the recent drop in temperature. Jessica had lost her way when she missed her bus stop and the substitute driver not knowing his own way and nervous about where he was, demanded that Jessica leave the bus so that he could head back the way he came in the hopes of finding his way home. He just didn’t want to have to deal with Jessica any more. Being told not to fight with adults and not feeling comfortable around a stranger, Jessica listened, and vacated the bus. She didn’t realize that it was already getting dark outside and had no idea where she was. Within minutes whatever light left in the day was gone and Jessica was terrified. She heard the ice cracking underfoot with every step she took. But she couldn’t just stand there it was cold outside. All she could do was walk. Twenty minutes later she could see a light glimmering in the distance. She followed the glimmer and as she got closer and closer a terrible odor surrounded her but she couldn’t make it out. Just feet away she saw a small cabin, but after thinking about it she suddenly no longer felt safe with the idea of knocking on the door. Before she could process any alternatives someone or something had knocked her out cold.
Jessica had no idea how long she had been unconscious. She wasn’t tied up, just tossed in a ball on the corner of a cold kitchen floor. The cold stone made her just quickly to her feet. The one thing she knew was that she had to think fast to find a way out of this place or she might end up as the foul odor she had smelled outside. Jessica could hear the faint sound of a saw coming from the basement followed by muffled screams and clawing as if someone or something was trying to make its way in or out. The front door started to shake frantically and just burst open as if struck by the wind of a tornado. Standing before me was a disfigured man draped in a brown torn garment and what looked to be thick tights. He was dripping with blood that didn’t seem to be his own. He held a blood covered sword in one hand and a lit torch in the other. He frantically spoke to me as if trying to warn me of what was to come. The words just wouldn’t formulate to anything Jessica could understand. Eager to protect me I was quickly picked up and thrown across the back of his horse and what an amazing horse it was. As white as snow with a golden mane. Not a drip of his owner’s blood spilled anywhere upon his skin. His eyes were as dark as the night, but not in a scary way. There was a gentleness about him. Come to think of it, although dripping with blood his owner too possessed that same soft quality about him. No words were spoken. We drove for what felt like hours through a bone covered path with a random skull tossed here and there. With each step the horse took the darkness behind us slipped quickly away. No more bones, no more skulls and no more odor.
We came to a halt and there was a sudden sense of warmth and a feeling of safeness. The disfigured man quickly jumped down from his horse and extended his hands to me. Jessica jumped gently into his arms so that he could place her on the ground. She stared into his black eyes that slowly seemed to be changing with every second that passed. Once she was safely on the ground, Jessica reached up on kissed him on the cheek thanking him for saving her. As her kiss sank into his skin the disfigured man began to slowly change. The blood evaporated into thin air. His ragged clothes turned into tan khaki pants and a baby blue polo shirt. His horse turned into a sky blue perfectly kept Chevy mustang. Jessica just couldn’t stop staring. She couldn’t believe that one minute she felt left for dead in the deep, dark woods and now she stood before the man of her dreams. He reached out to place her hands in his and said my name is Jason. Thank you for breaking my curse. Jason went on to tell Jessica that five years ago he too had gotten lost in the woods on a school trip and was left behind. No one ever found him. He told her that if you stand under the biggest elm tree it releases the beast called the “Innidenti” of the woods. If you are ever left to stand by that tree when night falls you will be trapped here inside the curse. It changes your form and turns you into a dead, heartless soul. If you are lucky the curse is all that will happen. If you are not so lucky you’re chopped to pieces and fed to the beast to keep it living, but it only likes the blood of the young. Only a kiss from the one you risked your life to save will return your soul to your body and make you whole again.
Jessica was in shock and grateful at the same time. She was speechless. James just wanted to get them both out of this place before anything else could happen. Jessica was afraid to ask why his sword was dripping with blood. Jason didn’t say that he had killed the Innidenti but was just as eager to leave the wood as she was, but she would forever wonder. They stopped at the 7 eleven as they entered their hometown. They both called their parents and waited to be reunited. As she waited, Jessica began to think that maybe just maybe the “substitute” bus driver intentionally left her right at there at that spot in the woods. Was he maybe the Innidenti who had changed from to capture his prey?