The day started like any regular Saturday. Morgan, Sam, and I met up at the end of our street and headed into the forest. We always spent hours in there. Often we played hide and seek or tag. Sometimes we walked around looking for unusual items.
This day we found a path we had never seen. We had been walking for a while. I guessed we were near the heart of the forest. Morgan didn’t want to travel on this path, but Sam and I convinced her. Sam used the possibility of a stream at the end of the trail and enticed her with a swim.
The three of us walked along the path enjoying the sight of the tall green trees and budding flowers. After a short time of walking we came upon a building. I thought it an odd place for a building. It turned out to be a two-story log cabin, rectangular in shape. In addition, the cabin appeared to extend forever from the angle we were standing.
As we approached the cabin, a flash of movement caught my attention, and I ran to the side of the building. There I found Lacey, a girl from our class, who said she followed us into the forest and wanted to play. I considered telling her to turn around and go back to wherever she had come. I decided it might be fun to have someone else to play with us. The two of us joined the others. Morgan appeared upset, and I tried to recall if they were friends.
I still pondered Morgan’s reaction when we entered the cabin. I noticed the dust and cobwebs right away. The state of the room made it obvious the large room hadn’t been in recent use. As we walked the floor creaked under our joint weight. Sam made a joke involving us falling through the floor. None of us were chubby kids, each of us scrawny and short, but he couldn’t resist a joke at my expense.
In the centre there were several tables. On the outsides bookshelves lined the walls. Everything sported an inch thick layer of grime. The four of us split up, each taking a different direction. I wondered over to a bookshelf and ran my finger along the centre shelf admiring the books. Each of them looked ancient, and a giggle of excitement escaped my lips.
As I traced the spines of several large red books, an enormous black spider ran across my hand and startled me so bad I jumped back two feet. I whipped my hand back and forth several times to make sure it wasn’t still on me. Sam made another awful joke involving me being a chicken and Morgan called us to the far side of the room.
The ancient books were memorizing, and I forced myself to look away. When we reached her, we followed her gaze. As we peered out the dirty yellow window, we realized the path resumed beyond the cabin.
Lacey joined us and together we looked around for a door. When we couldn’t find a door we looked harder. Sam noticed a handle on a floorboard when he tripped over it. Sam and I exchanged glances. The two of us grabbed hold and heaved. The door didn’t budge at first. When it gave it slammed open. Afterward a large dust cloud erupted sending us backwards choking and gagging.
After a few minutes the dust settled, and we stopped coughing. Sam and I leaned over for a better view. Sam noticed a ladder leading to a lower level. Morgan protested, but Sam and I were on our way down the ladder.
When we got to the bottom, Sam turned on the flashlight built into his phone and held it up to Morgan. There was a thud as she hit the bottom. I turned around and jumped when I spotted Lacey making her way down the steps. She had been so quiet I had forgotten she had joined us.
Sam shone the light from his phone around the room. This time the walls displayed several weird shaped objects. I recognized a few from the garage where my grandfather kept his hunting tools. There were several guns, swords, and even a crossbow. I could see several skinning blades of different shapes and sizes on one shelf and a small shiver ran up my spine.
As we continued to explore, I noticed a large wood slat elevated in the centre of the room. There were several straps attached to the top, bottom and sides. The lack of light made it hard to be sure, but I thought I sensed fresh blood on it.
Morgan grabbed a hold of my arm, and we looked for a door. The two of us made our way to what we thought should bring us under the window on the upper floor and examined the walls. I ran my fingers along each one with tenderness, sensing every bump and groove.
Several minutes later I found a doorknob. I told Morgan to stand back and gave a quick shove. The door didn’t budge, but I was sure it led outside the cabin. I hollered and told Sam to help me, and together we pushed on the door.
When it didn’t move my heart plummeted. I thought our journey might end here. Sam and I called for Morgan and Lacey and the four of us put our weight against it. The door moved and within seconds we were back in the lush green of the forest. It took only moments for my eyes to adjust to the light but Sam winced as it flooded over him.
The four of us waited a minute for his eyes to adjust before continuing down the path. Morgan was still protesting, and I was about to agree with her. A knot was forming in the depths of my stomach, but Sam took off up the path and left us with no choice but to follow him. Morgan and I remained together, walking slow and steady after Sam, with Lacey trailing behind us.
It didn’t take us long to reach him as he came to a sudden stop. I followed his stare and saw several small buildings forming a semi-circle at the end of the path. Morgan urged us to turn back, but Sam was unstoppable once his curiosity took hold.
The four of us walked towards the buildings. No one knew what to expect when we got there, so we walked forward slow and careful. My heart was pounding, and my palms were sweaty. My legs wobbled, and I feared they might buckle under me and send me crashing to the ground.
As we neared the end of the path, I got a better view of the buildings. In an instant, I realized they weren’t even buildings. They were straw huts covered with mud and grass with metals signs on them that didn’t belong. One sign read of a gas station, one read of a favourite soda, and another of sweet treats.
The dirt path we walked on led right to the centre hut. Several smaller pathways branched off of it leading to the others, but it was obvious the centre one was travelled most. As we came within throwing distance, I noticed that Lacey had pulled out front, as if eager to reach the houses. I asked her if she had been here before and received a death stare as a reply.
I found myself shocked by her response. When we reached the fork in the paths, Morgan and I stopped. The knot in my stomach had grown, and my legs refused to go any further. I could tell she felt the same from the grip she had on my arm. Sam was once again making a joke at my expense and started forward toward the centre building.
I tried to call out for him to stop but several figures appeared out of nowhere, one in front of each house. Each figure had on a long and dark, hooded coat. The coats were dirty and ragged, and the hoods came up high enough to hide their faces. The figures closed in around Sam, and I yelled for him to get back.
Out of the corner of my eye, I saw Lacey approaching the form in the centre. I watched as she gave a slight bow before turning back to face us. Sam had retreated, moving slow and steady, and was now standing right beside us.
I called out to Lacey, and she let out and ear shattering scream. The skin melted away from her body. I watched frozen in horror as it left behind a pool of filthy clothes at her feet. What remained of her flesh was grey and decaying, layering over itself until it was hard to tell where her shoulder ended, and her arm began.
Lacey’s blonde hair fell from its roots. Several strands of it got caught in the goo on her skin. The rest of her hair joined the puddle of clothes at her feet. Several patches of maggots appeared forming clusters and dotting her grey skin white.
Lacey’s eyes then sunk into her skull until they were nothing but hollow holes. Her mouth became large encompassing everything from her empty eyes to the top of her neck. Her teeth grew large and grey while a bright green substance oozed from the gaping hole that was her mouth.
Lacey’s nose vanished, melting into her head, and her ears disappeared before my eyes and blended into the rest of the grey mass. Her body grew until she was twice her original height. She towered over us as the trees that surrounded the trail did. Her nails grew long and pointy. She reached out towards us aiming a sharp grey nail in our direction.
The others who appeared from the huts took on the same form and soon they were pointing at us muttering something in a language I couldn’t understand. Fear took hold of me, and I stared in disbelief at was once one of my classmates.
I sensed a tug on my arm and realized Morgan was pulling on me screaming for us to run. I reached out for Sam as the creatures advanced. The three of us backed up slow and careful and then turned and ran faster than I ever imagined possible. I heard a gut wrenching howl, half wailing child, half dying animal, and I pushed my legs to go faster.
We ran back up the path we from which we came. A sharp pain developed on my side, and I forced it from my mind. As we approached the large cabin, I heard a loud crash followed by a scream. Knowing right away it was Sam I forced myself to look back. I saw him lying on the ground, blood oozing from his left leg.
I screamed, directing Morgan to keep running, and doubled back to get him. Just as I was going to reach down and pick him up and large grey mass appeared above him and descended like a rabid dog. Another scream escaped my throat, and I stopped dead in my tracks. For a moment, I felt conflicted between saving myself and saving Sam. I turned and ran, leaving him at the mercy of the monsters.
It took only seconds to catch up to Morgan, and we entered the log cabin together. The two of us headed towards the ladder. Before we could reach it, another grey form came out of nowhere and tackled me. I yelled telling Morgan to go as fast as she could up the ladder as I wrestled with it on the ground.
As we struggled, I remembered the weapons surrounding me. I squirmed backwards and stretched out my left arm, using my right to hold they grey monster at bay. My fingers slipped in the layer of goo on its body, and it seemed to suck my fingers into its flesh. I felt a low-hanging handle and curled my fingers around it. Putting all my might behind it, I sliced upwards upon my attacker, pulling my hand free from its skin.
The grey mass exploded with a deafening screech, leaving me covered in green foul smelling goop. I coughed and choked struggling to get up on my feet in the slippery innards. A tingling sensation took over my hand, and I struggled to see it in the dim light.
I grabbed onto the wood table and pulled myself up from the ground. As I stood, I looked around for Morgan. I saw her huddled at the bottom of the ladder and cursed her for not running while she had the chance. I ran to her, slipping a few times, and forced her up the ladder.
Morgan and I ran through the top level of the cabin. Morgan was blubbering loudly, repeating over and over we should never have taken that path. I batted her hand away multiple times as she tried to grab onto me, out of fear of slipping again and a monster catching me.
Moments later we burst out the door and appeared in the thick green forest. I saw Lacey up ahead, back in her human form and we stopped dead in mid-sprint. I didn’t understand how she had gotten in front of us. My mind raced, and I looked around, desperate to find another path. I realized I still had the sword in my hand and held it in her direction as we advanced.
With a scream so loud I thought my eardrums might burst she slunk into the forest, and the way was clear. The burning on my hand intensified, and I glanced at it to find a red rash had developed. Morgan and I continued to run. Our feet drummed the ground, and the sweat poured from our bodies.
Eventually, we reached the edge of the forest and burst out into the street. We fell over onto the sidewalk and just lay there, holding each other for dear life. After a while, we opened our eyes. My body stiffened as I realized something was wrong. There was no colour. The bright blue sky was a pale grey, and the red brick house across the street was a darker shade of grey. Everything was grey and shades of grey. The brighter the colour should have been the darker the grey shades.
I poked Morgan to rouse her, and we both screamed.
Thank you so much for taking the time out of your undoubtedly busy day to read this!
Don’t forget to subscribe and follow me on twitter @ to stay up to date on all new posts!