I was born after the world ended, not ended as in the world is gone but ended as in what used to be is no longer. I never knew the old world, only tales from the elders who described a world where information was accessible at a touch. A world where metal birds flew in the air and people drove metal boxes on roads. This world that was described to me seemed like a fantasy. Those things do not exist any more, Some say humans were the culprit, others say it was just happenstance. I have no theory on what happened. All I know is the barren dark world that consumes our lives day in and day out. Food is scarce, people are cruel and life is hard. Daily quests into the dark wood to search for foods of any kind claim the lives of many on a daily bases, I am Henry my age is fifteen and this is my life.
I live with my uncle in a tiny shack of the northern woods once called Canada, from what my uncle tells me. These woods were once a beautiful sight filled with life. I never knew my mother or father they both disappeared not long after I was born. I was told by my uncle that they both were very important scientists trying to put the world back together. I have tried to get more info about them from my uncle but to no avail. He always tells me that somethings are best left alone and forgotten. Digging up a mystery can be deadly in this world. All I have left of my mother and father is a microscope and a heart shaped locket. The microscope barely works but with enough light at the right time of day I can use it to see very small things which fascinates me. The locket on the other hand is rusty, golden tinged heart with smaller designs of hearts in the middle of it. many nights I have laid awake trying to open this locket but for some unknown reason it will not budge. My uncle tells me I am chasing fantasies dreaming about what could be in the locket. I think and feel that there is something very important about it. I keep it locked away under my mat in a small box and only ever so often I open the box and stare at the it with my mind running in a million different directions dreaming of what could be inside. Today though I must put aside such things for the moment, Uncle and I are heading to the dark wood, we have run out of supplies and are hoping to find an animal or some berries to help stock up for the coming winter months which are absolutely brutal.
The long lonesome walk across the barren flat land that leads to the darken wood was uneventful, it will take us two whole days to reach the wood. After the first day, off in the distance a hazy dark patch hovers on the horizon and as we get closer the dark wood grows ominously the closer we get. As we approach my uncle stops and sighs as he looks at me "Henry, this is it, this place is full of dangers and traps of all kinds, I need you to be on guard and walk where I walk and do exactly as I say for your safety." Nodding that I understand we proceed cautiously into the cover of the wood that completely blocks out any light the hazy sky can give, and into the dark we traverse.
The wood was eerily quiet, a few groans from the trees can be heard as if our trespassing is an insult to these ancient trees. No wind can be felt but the trees sway any way. The darkness in some parts seemed suffocating, the want to just lie down and let it consume you was almost overwhelming. Seeing the me struggle my uncle placed his hand on my shoulder "Stay brave young Henry, you are not alone." My gut told me for this trip to take the locket and wear it as a good luck charm, grabbing it in my fist, I muster the strength and force my self to keep moving through this writhing darkness. What felt like centuries we continued to walk, my Uncle seemed to be feeling the weight of this place with each foot step. Seemed as if something was pushing us back or trying to urgently persuade us to turn around. We proceeded through the thickness. My uncle threw his arm out to stop me as I felt the hairs on the back of my neck stand up, my heart in my throat I stopped and listened. A sound of breaking twigs in the distance that echoed through these creepy woods could be heard, I looked to my uncle and the fear on his face frightened me more than the sound its self. My uncle was a strong oak of a man who I have never seen be afraid but this, this was down right unnerving to see. In an instant the sound stopped, I glanced around seeing nothing and looked up at my uncle as he looked at me in a very sorrowful glance as the darkness reached out and snatched him. Time stopped as I stood in the same spot breathing hard, heart thumping madly as I realized I was completely alone in the dark.
Trying not to panic I try to pierce through the gloom as I heard a faint scream. My body reacted taking me by surprise as my legs threw me in the direction of my uncles maddening screams. Adrenaline coursing through my body my legs feeling stronger than ever propelled me further and faster than I have ever ran before. Skidding to a stop I see drag marks on the ground. I followed them hesitantly trying to quietly catch my breath I searched for any movement. Following the drag marks on the ground I started to see blood droplets shining in the darkness, as I proceeded more and more blood came into focus until the ground was sopping wet with its thick glaze. Seeing the tracks stop at a giant tree that fell years ago, my heart almost stopped and the blood ran from my face, there was my uncle covered in blood propped up against the stump both legs and an arm missing his rattling breath whispered to me as I ran over almost choking on my tears "Henry!" he gasped as blood poured out his mouth "Listen I do not have long, The locket, its important, more important than you can imagine. It can make the world right again, all you need to do is open it and you will understand." Choking through my tears confused on what he was saying "I cant open it, I never could!" He looked at me with a sly smile on his white blood flecked lips and pulled me close "The secret henry is to not try to force it open, you must be gentle, like the stories of Excalibur I used to tell you when you were younger, you must be gentle and the locket will open." With that final breath my uncle passed right in my arms. Bewildered I glanced around frightened in these dark woods all alone holding my dead uncle, I knew not what to do next. As I sat weeping for my lose and weeping out of fear I heard it again, in the distance, twigs snapping except they seemed hurried.......and heading straight for me. I jump up and put my back to the stump, fumbling the locket with both hands frantically trying to force it open. Frustrated and frightened I cried out. In that moment as the snapping sounds got closer and closer, my mind seemed to clear and settle almost as if I was in a trance like calmness. I reach down and ever so gently with one thumb pick at the side of the locket, with almost no force the locket pops open. A blinding light pierced my eyes, sending shocks through out my body, convulsing in pain and forcing my eyes shut from the light, I felt hands grabbing my arms forcing me down another on my head struggling to keep me still, fighting with all my might I heard voices, strange sounding voices. As they became more clear I eased open my eyes to see a bright blue sky, voices called out calming me, soothing me. I glanced around and realize I am on a hard surface on my back, I see to my left a crumpled mangle of metal, sparkling glass littering the hard ground around me. Trying to get my head to focus I realize there is a group of people around me some crying some excited. The voices clear and I hear one "Thank god Henry, we thought we lost you!" a man in his forties with tears smearing his face smiled at me as he wiped the blood and hair out of my eyes. I glanced around and seen another body on the ground, as my eyes focused I realized, that man was my uncle with that same sly smile on his white face staring at me, as if he knew I would be alright. The man who was looking at me sobbed and said "I am sorry Henry your uncle didn't make it" Looking at him confused I questioned "What happened?" As a beautiful angle of a woman came into view and in an instant I knew it was my mother "Honey you and your uncle were in a bad car wreck, we lost him and almost lost you, Thank God you are awake and ok!" as she hugged me I recall the darken world, the darken wood, and in my tightly clenched fists was the heart shaped locket opened showing my mother and fathers picture.