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Forgotten Woods

"I won’t die here. I found a way to live.”

By Victor ChavarriaPublished about a year ago Updated about a year ago 10 min read
Top Story - June 2023

It was already night when I arrived. Storm was passed but the soil still showed the unequivocal signs of its strength. The leaves still carried a slim layer of water that reflected the subtle moonlight and bestowed upon the forest an otherworldly quality. There was no wind, everything was still and quiet. I didn’t notice that at first, we’re always busy paying attention to what we can perceive that we forget about what we’re missing. The forest was clearly unnatural, but, weary and irritable as I was, I just cared to be inside the cabin so I ignored every warning that waved in front of me.

I got out of the cart and looked upon my bag for some coin to reward the driver. The chill air got to my bones so my fingers moved slowly and clumsily. The wetness somehow had got into my small bag and everything inside shared the same cold feeling that one would typically associate with a corpse. I found a silver penny after some seconds, but upon turning I realized the cart was already far away on the road, almost hidden behind the fog that sheltered my eyes from the horrors surrounding me.

I put the penny back in my bag and tightened my coat. There was no fence or wall of any type, but a threshold was easily determinable by the way nature had shaped itself. As if some old magic was still haunting the place.

My first step across the entrance was just as any other step. But it felt as if it was the beginning of something, it lasted no more than a second but I was able to savor every instant and every feeling was amplified. When done, I was unable to remember that feeling until much later that night. So, my second step was just a normal step, as any other step could’ve been. And every step was the same from that moment forward, except that each step was getting me closer to my end.

It may sound grim but that’s all of our lives, every second we grow older and the older we grow we go closer to dead. We may never know how close we are until it is too late.

As I write this, I know my death lures very closely on my future and every step could easily be my last. That’s way I write this, for some may come behind me that could write these words and find an explanation to what has happened to me and maybe no one else will have to suffer the inevitability of death lurking on them as I do right now.

The path to the door of the cabin was uneventful. Well, mostly uneventful, an owl hooted at me when I was two steps away from the end of the path. I stopped and turned and saw its white eyes shining and looking at me. I felt no terror at that moment but a warning. I wonder now if at that moment there was still time to turn back and avoid my horrible future.

Finally, I arrived at the door and thought I would be finally free of the ominous aura of the forest, free of the shivering and of course, free of the chill of the open air.

The door was old and would’ve probably fell down with a single push. Still, I pulled the little chain at my neck and at the end of it, a little key danced through my chest, creating new chilling waves that produced goosebumps all through my back. They key, as the door was old, maybe older by the rusty look of the lock. Still, it went in and turned smoothly as if just oiled. A “clack” told my ears that it was time to go in.

At this time is probably overdue that I introduce myself. My name is Samuel Robinson and I’m a writer. I’ve written successful stories like “The night of the thousand stars” and “What lurks behind our dreams”, and many others not as successful. But nothing has even been comparable to the success of my last novel: “The woods”. It’s said to be a masterpiece and a one in a lifetime book. And of course, I am proud, but pride doesn’t overcome ambition.

Horror stories come completely from our minds, the deepest and darkest corners of it. So, in search of a story that will surpass the one that haunted my brain for years I needed to find new fears. I needed to come to the solitude and real darkness of the actual woods. I was sure I would find something darker that what my mind could made on its own here.

I was right.

My life until this point has been relatively easy. No great tragedy and not a major struggle to survive that I could go to for inspiration. Not that I envy those who have it. I was always told my future was bright, my possibilities endless and my potential for being one of the greatest at anything.

Anything.

The problem is, I never knew what anything was. So now, not old enough that I’m settled with my time on this world and not young enough to seek for a new beginning, I wish that being a writer is the answer to that promise. That writing is my anything. That’s why I’m here and that’s the last hope that moves my pen on this final dance over the white paper.

It is said, hope is the last to go. Is not. When everything else goes away we are left with hope and fear. Because without fear, there’s no need for hope. Hope is our last defense against the greatest of fears and what can make a man do the impossible to survive to see a new sun shine on the world. I hope no more that I’ll be alive much longer, but I hope that these words will reach someone else and that my final work will be enough to make my younger self proud.

I wish that you, reading this understand the weight on your hands, far greater than paper with ink. It doesn’t matter how many years have gone by. As long as you’re reading and do so, until the end. I will have hope, hope that I will be able to rest for eternity.

The cabin was small. One whole square room divided but nothing but the old furniture. Just in front of me, as I walked in was a window, or what once was a window. Glass gone it was covered, barely, by old wood, already rotten by years of rain and sun. The floor creaked under me and I was surprised the hollow planks hold my weight without breaking. It was obvious termites had feasted at the cabin but even they had left years ago.

I walked to what looked like a couch covered by an old sheet. I let my bags fall over it and they practically reached the floor, all so rotten and worn out that only the stillness of the place kept it standing.

On what corner there was a desk. Looking greatly misplaced in the cabin. Both the desk and the chair close to it looked hundreds of years newer than everything else. A missing portion of the ceiling let a little gloom from the outside to come and shine directly over the desk in what at that moment looked like a very lucky coincidence. I came to write and I at least had a place to do it.

Before I took my paper and ink out, I used an old handkerchief to dust off the desk. I tried to open the one drawer and it was locked close. A small hold asking for a missing key. I looked everywhere for it but after several minutes came to the conclusion it was not to be found on the cabin.

I opened one of my bags and produced an old cooking knife I brought with me. Even without experience picking the lock proved no challenge. It clicked open and as soon as the lock was released the drawer jumped out of the desk as if alive. I was startled and jumped away cutting myself with the knife as I did so. Dark blood sparkled out of the tip of my finger as a curse spat out of my mouth.

Licking my finger, I paid no further attention to the cut. My curiosity growing larger after the drawer jumping out. I stood up and walked to it and for a second, I felt as if my soul left my body.

There was a skeletal hand inside the drawer.

The bony hand was clutching something that I could not see enough to identify. And again, curiosity was greater every time so I reached for the object trapped between the bony fingers.

As I took it away from it, I was almost sure there was some resistant from the hand. Not the kind of resistance that would come from old bones but as if life was still on them. I disregarded it and checked the object.

It looked like an old pocket watch. All golden and still shiny as if protected from passing of time by the drawer. On the outside of it there was not signs or anything but a small button I assumed was used once to set the time on the clock. Probably useless by then. Opening the lid, I found that it was no regular clock. A black circular emptiness in which a singular golden hand went round. There were no numbers and contrary to how clocks usually work, the hand was not clicking as if controlled by a set of accurately calibrated gears. It flowed smoothly on the blackness. Seemingly oblivious to the speed of seconds or minutes.

On retrospective, the finding of the clock was the beginning of the horrors and probably the event that set everything in motion. As you see, even though, I didn’t know at the time, that clock looking instrument allowed its user to stop time. Even though I didn’t know it at the time. The moment I removed it from the skeletal hand its bones turned to dust. And, after I finished examining it and I once again looked on the desk, it looked like if it had been quickly changed by a different one. It hadn’t of course, time just had stopped for it and the aging was due.

What I didn’t and still don’t understand was the appearance of a letter on top of it. A single sheet of paper with had written text that showed a trembling hand and a rushing mind. It had no title or header and the full content was this:

“Time is short so I won’t explain but if you’re reading this you must believe me. If you want to get out of this place you must not use the clock. But, if you don’t use it, you will more certainly die. I won’t die here. I found a way to live.”

The paper was so damaged that it almost tore in half as soon as I picked it up. Plus, the blood of my injured finger made a new patch on it. But, on the other side I found a further inscription, this one different, on a firmer stroke and even though the paper was old and damaged it was easy to read as if it didn’t belong there:

“TUUS SEQUAX SUM ET UT TALIS TE SEQUAR ET LOCO TUO SUCCEDEBO. O MAGNE, O POTENS, O TERRIBILIS MAXIME ET METUENDUS. HOC SANGUINE MEUM IURAVI.”

Translation: “I am your follower and as such, I will follow you and take your place. Oh great, oh powerful, oh you, the most feared and terrible. This I swear on my blood.” I hope you’ll be able to understand the meaning of it on time. As you may have figured by now, that’s the only way you’ll survive.

After reading this letter terror took me. Even though I have always been kind of skeptic the whole environment since my arrival was screaming of the supernatural. I quickly turned on my heels and ran towards the door. I suddenly had this feeling of being followed but there was nothing behind me. I pushed the door open without even turning the handle. Hinges, door and me all went to the ground on the other side. I stood up and ran straight ahead in search of the road back to civilization. I ran for what felt like an eternity before I realized the path was not there anymore and not even a clue of a road. It was all woods.

I kept running, every instinct telling me to run away. Something was following me. Something was getting closer every time I took a step further away. And I knew that if that would reach me, I would die.

I then remembered the clock I had put in my pocket. Without stopping I took it out and opened its lid, the hand was going round as fast as I was running. Without other option and remembering the warning on the letter I clicked on the only button on it.

The hand stop going around. I felt a sudden calmness and the world around me stopped. That was when I realized it was raining. Or it had been as water drops were staying in place midair all around me. Whatever was following me I could feel no more.

It made me feel very tired though. And upon a closer look on my hand, I realized how wrinkles were starting to appear and I remembered the skeletal hand that owned the clock before me.

I released the clock and everything was in motion again. I also, started running again. I ran on a straight line and somehow reached the cabin through the front door again. I took the key that was hanging on my chest and turned the lock, went in and closed the door behind me. I needed to hide from what was coming but it was too late. It was inside. Behind me. His hand already resting on my shoulder.

I understood everything then. So, I write this with hope that you’ll read it. Hoping that one day in the years to come you’ll reach this lonely cabin in this forgotten wood and read that evil dark oath.

I hope that you, having read about my story, will also find a way to secure your succession so you, one day too, can be free of this oath.

Because, if you have read this far, it is me, who will soon place my hand on your shoulder.

- Samuel R.

psychologicalsupernaturalfiction

About the Creator

Victor Chavarria

I'm a writer not cause I write. I'm a writer cause I'm truly myself when I do.

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  1. Excellent storytelling

    Original narrative & well developed characters

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    The story invoked strong personal emotions

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    Writing reflected the title & theme

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Comments (16)

  • Just Danielabout a year ago

    Congratulations on your top story, it was definitely a thrilling read! I could not stop once I started and after loops and turns, I found satisfaction at the ending. Great job, a job well done!

  • Winnie Asareabout a year ago

    So happy in didn't read it at night...beautiful

  • Kateryna Kovalchukabout a year ago

    Excellent

  • Kelli Sheckler-Amsdenabout a year ago

    Chills, chills and more chills..Great job

  • Jacqueline Leighabout a year ago

    Fascinating read and great work

  • Akram Selemaniabout a year ago

    Nice

  • Jinky Colesio Magsicoabout a year ago

    I enjoyed reading your work.

  • Sameer Ahmedabout a year ago

    nice

  • Sonam chandeabout a year ago

    Nice

  • Babs Iversonabout a year ago

    Fabulously horrific!!!

  • ong chee keongabout a year ago

    Love it this story

  • Captivating and spooky. I love it!

  • Veronica Coldironabout a year ago

    There's such a truth to this situation and such dark foreshadowing! Love this!

  • Real Poeticabout a year ago

    Well-written and suspenseful! The ending is what did it for me though! Incredible horror story. Congrats 🎊

  • C.R. Hughesabout a year ago

    Oh wow. I love the way you describe the setting and feelings of the narrator. It was as if I was right there with them. That last line is so chilling. Well done!

Victor ChavarriaWritten by Victor Chavarria

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