The Boys with the Boxes
Moving into the old cabin my grandfather owned was the worst choice I ever made. With his presence permanently in a hospital, he’d asked for me to maintain the residence. Swayed by the picturesque scenery and tranquil forest right outside, I quickly made arrangements and humored the 70-something-year-old man. Maybe if I’d just waited a few more months, I could’ve avoided the entire thing. What my grandfather hadn’t updated me on was the fact that, in the time that passed since I’d stayed over as a child, the closest town had developed a strange superstition. Sightings of ghosts, particularly seven young boys who’d gone missing within a single week during late July fifty years ago, were now commonplace. Their bodies had never been found despite countless search parties that scoured the nearby woods. Of course, they eventually had to be pronounced legally dead, but I thought those claims were quite disrespectful to the families.
A Bloodborne Disease
Marketplaces were often so dull. Rows and rows of shabby booths, merchants begging for sellers, the stench of sweat. At least it was his father Jay was going with; the old man much preferred the hunting and antique sections. But he couldn't blame his mother, since a family of ten would need an abundance of clothes and food. Wiping sweat from his drenched brow, Jay squinted his eyes to scout out the surrounding tents. Nothing he hadn't already seen before, and he was about to join his father dejectedly when a sharp glimmer caught his eye. Pausing, his attention flew to a booth shrouded in heavy shade. It was nearly completely obstructed by leaves, but eagerly displayed its products regardless. Scuffing his boots on the way down the small dip, Jay realized that jewelry seemed to be the main selling point. Headbands laced with wolf and bear teeth and arrowhead bracelets lined the top of the tent, forcing him to duck simply to approach. His hands rested on the wooden display table. A vaguely-golden heart-shaped locket must have been the cause of the shine. Fingertips ever-so-slowly drifting closer to it, all of his senses seemed to be drowned out. An impressively large, decorated dagger landed in between his pointer and middle fingers. Choking on his own spit in surprise, Jay's head whipped up to face the merchant. At first, he wasn't even certain he was human, not a warthog. But if he were to have said that, he wouldn't be breathing anymore. The man's jaw relaxed, exposing rotting yellow teeth. With a deep chuckle, he leaned back and crossed his arms over his chest, which was clad in an originally-white butcher's apron.