Horror logo

The Huldufolk

by Amy Black about a month ago in supernatural · updated about a month ago
Report Story

By Amy Black

The Huldufolk
Photo by Henrik L. on Unsplash

The cabin in the woods had been abandoned for years, but one night, a candle burned in the window. I could see it from my bedroom window far in the distance through the trees, this one tiny light flickering in the woods. I knew it had to be coming from” that” cabin, the one everyone feared.

There was nothing else out there, and no one went camping or hiking in those woods. They were too afraid. The Lore in town was as thick and spooky as the sea of trees in Japan, with a record number of deaths and disappearances reported. Even local authorities were frightened whenever they had to search the woods for a missing child or person. Sometimes people or officers go missing when that happens.

My brother and I would play as far as the edge of the trees. We dared each other to stand over the boundary between the field and the forest. He didn’t think I had the guts to because I’m a girl, so I did one day; then he dared me to walk into the woods. I took a few steps and heard a screeching noise. We both ran back home as fast as we could.

All the local kids dared each other until they were older and wiser. Teenagers would dare each other to camp out overnight in the woods. The city outlawed camping due to the number of disappearances.

Ten years ago, geologists and surveyors came out to study the area. Dr. Struthers from the University of Hartford Geology department turned up three months later, lying halfway through the field mumbling incoherently. He was OK otherwise, according to the story in the paper. They couldn’t explain it, and neither could he. The doctor is in a psych ward at a hospital in New Hampshire. Paranormal investigators and experts on extraterrestrials tried to interview, examine and document him and their interactions with him. Still, they can only conjecture and speculate about what happened to him.

I closed my blinds and got ready for bed. It was going to be a record cold night. Frost was already gathering on the window, crackling, and splintering out across the glass, making the light from the cabin in the distance look even more ominous. I wondered if some college students had gone out there to fulfill a fraternity dare, but no one had ever put a light or lit a fire in the cabin before; that would draw too much attention.

I glanced out my window and pondered for a moment before going downstairs to make a late-night snack. There was something off. I just couldn’t put my finger on it. Maybe it was the Nor’easter settling in over the town. By morning we’d be digging ourselves through four feet of snow, and families and businesses would be battling busted water mains caused by the deep freeze. What else would we be fighting? I wondered irrationally and shook off the thought, then proceeded downstairs, trying to ignore the phenomenon in the woods.

For the rest of the night, I struggled to sleep. I’d closed my blinds, but the garish glow of the moon lit up the snow-filled sky with an eerie light and crept into my bedroom. It was worse with all the wind and snow howling outside like a banshee. A calm followed the storm that left the town, the woods, and no doubt the cabin frozen and still.

I awoke at three am for no apparent reason and lay there staring at the ceiling. I watched a tiny insect that had found its way into my home seeking shelter from the storm crawl across the ceiling and disappeared into a far, shadowed corner of the room. I blinked and rolled over, smacking my pillow with frustration, and again gazed at the crackled window. Some snow had settled on the window ledge and piled high on the roof slanting below.

I got up, threw on my robe, and slid my cold feet into my slippers. The soft fibers felt warm and reassuring. I got up and sat on the window seat, then gazed into the distance and wondered if anyone else in the neighborhood could see that little, yellow, flickering light dancing in the woods. I puzzled over the lack of smoke coming from the chimney, only that candle in the window. If I were in a cabin on a night like this, I’d want a fire in the fireplace. That little candle wouldn’t put off enough heat. I mused and half smirked at how silly it was that I couldn’t stop thinking about that unusual light.

There was a knock at my door. I jumped and quickly glanced at the clock, three thirty-five am. I stood up, wrapped my robe tight around me, tied off the belt, and hurried to the door. I peeked through the peephole and saw only the cold, dark blue of the early evening sky and snow canvasing my walkway. The doorbell rang. I stepped back and just stared at the door like it was some horrible, evil thing that might devour me at any moment.

“Who’s there,” I called out, trembling, mainly from the cold, but I’m sure I couldn’t conceal the fear in my voice. There was no answer. I stepped away further, turned, and hurried back up the stairs to grab my phone and sat on the edge of the bed. My hand shook as I struggled to access the security camera app and hit play on the live view.

There was nothing there.

A knock on the door came again. I froze and slowly dialed nine one, one.

“Nine one, one, what’s your emergency?” the operator’s voice was reassuring to my rattled nerves. Hearing a human voice on the other end made me feel better.

The doorbell rang.

“Hi, um, yeah, there’s something, I mean someone at my door, but I can’t see who it is. It keeps knocking and ringing the doorbell. I can’t imagine who it would be at this hour. I can’t see it on my video camera or through the peephole,” I rambled and stuttered my words nervously as I tried to explain.

“OK, ma’am, calm down, it’s going to be OK. Can I get your name and address, please?” she asked.

“Um, yes, of course, it’s Liv Cranwell,” I muttered. My palms felt sweaty, and I kept squeezing my robe nervously.

The knock on the door came again, more urgently this time. My heart palpitated, and my stomach fluttered. I could feel the adrenaline making me sick.

“And your address please?” the phone crackled, and her voice broke up.

“Hello,” I said. Are you still there?”

There was no answer.

“Hello, Ma’am?” I cried.

“Are you still there?” I heard her respond and I let lose a breath. I hadn’t realized I’d been holding in.

“Yes, I’m still here,” I replied, relieved.

“Your address please?”

“Yes, it’s,” I began, and then I heard the phone click, and the call went dead. I looked at my phone. The battery showed eighty percent, and then the screen went black.

“No, no, no!” I yelled and started to try to restart my phone. I was wondering if the operator had been able to trace my call and get a location while we were talking or not. I prayed she was sending officers to my house to check things out.

The lamplight flickered a few times then the house went dark.

I sat there in the dark for a moment, breathing heavily. I could see my breath as the room became cold too quickly. The ice bit through my robe, seeping into my skin and causing my muscles to stiffen. I stood up and closed my bedroom door, locking it, panicking, and wondering what I would do.

The doorbell rang.

I shook and moved quickly to the window, hoping I might see a parked car or something to identify the intruder. There was nothing, just the ice, the snow, and the light flickering in the cabin window deep within the woods.

I shuffled to my closet and looked for anything that might double as a weapon. An old hiking stick leaned up against the far corner of the wall. I reached in and grabbed it, wondering what the intruder would do if they disarmed me, and then I tried to imagine how I would use it to defend myself. If someone were trying to break in, they would likely already have a weapon like a gun or a knife, and then my stick would be practically useless. I wished at that moment that I’d taken self-defense classes and wished I were a master at the art of stick fighting. I’m unsure if it’s called stick fighting, and I nervously laughed at my ignorance.

I held the stick tight in my hands and moved to hide where I would be behind my bedroom door if someone tried to break it open. At least I might have the element of surprise on my side.

The house was silent for a while now. There was no knock, and the doorbell didn’t ring again. I started to feel kind of bad. What if it was someone in desperate need? It could have been a homeless person or a child just needing help, and here I am, acting like a crazy person. It wasn’t unusual for cell phones to act weird and have problems during a storm like this or for the power to go out.

I moved back to my window and looked out to see if I could see the neighbor’s houses. I could see the house across the street. Its porch light was on. I wondered if they were on the same grid.

“Hmmm,” I muttered and slumped back against the window seat, hoping the police would be here soon. My teeth chattered, but my nerves calmed down with each passing minute. No knock or ring disturbed the silence.

An hour passed, and I lost hope that the police would come. I checked my phone and attempted to start it again, but nothing happened. I mustered up the nerve to unlock my door and check the breaker in the basement. I grimaced. Going into the basement during a power outage was typical in horror movies. I hesitated as I reached to unlock my bedroom door.

“Come on, Liv, you’re being ridiculous,” I mumbled, “stop acting like a child.” I unlocked the door, opened it slowly, clutching the stick in my other hand, and peered cautiously through the door crack. I opened it slowly. The hallway was long and empty.

A spiral Celtic knot symbol from a stained-glass window above the front door shone on the wall at the top of the stairs.

I stepped slowly through the doorway, into the hall, and walked towards the top of the stairs trying not to think of horror movies I’d seen with similar scenes. I peered down, holding the stick like a baseball bat, and descended warily towards the landing.

Over an hour had passed since I called for help. The cops weren’t coming, and the roads were likely closed.

“So far, so good,” I whispered and peeked in the living room. The room was so dark. If someone were in there, I wouldn’t see until it was too late. I quickly moved down the hall towards the kitchen and peered around the doorway. The dining room and kitchen lit up a little bit better with the moonlight shining through the kitchen window and a bay window in the dining area.

Strange shadows also lurked here. I moved more quickly towards the door that led into the basement. It was partly ajar, which didn’t make me feel any better. The old hardwood floor creaked beneath my feet. This house had been about as old as that cabin in the woods had been when I bought it, remodeled it, and decided to keep it instead of selling it.

Its old-world charm and history were too beautiful to give up. I kept and refinished the original one hundred- and twenty-year-old hardwood floors, which remarkably stayed preserved for their age. The grain had a natural flourish that today’s standards couldn’t duplicate. I hadn’t regretted keeping them until now as the boards creaked beneath my feet, giving my presence away to any unwelcome guest.

I thought I saw something move, a dark figure against the wall by the window. I stopped and turned my head slowly. A black silhouette that looked remarkably like the form of a woman swayed there, back and forth, with an odd, uneven rhythm. Her pointed ears peeked through the waves of wind-blown locks curling around her shadow face.

I froze and stared, trying to make sense of the shadow and from which direction it cast. The wind had died down, everything outside was still, and the house was silent. No light illuminated behind me to release my shadow on that wall, and I was standing at the far end of the kitchen so it couldn’t have been my shadow. This form was slender, and its hair long and wavy. My shadow would have been bulky from the robe, and my hair was shoulder length and straight.

It reminded me of a supernatural being I’d read about while taking a folklore class as an elective in college—the Huldufolk. Invisible human-like creatures with elf-like features exist on another plane. Tales of them lived on for centuries, mainly in Iceland. I’d read many folk tales and urban legends for fun, but I never believed any of them could be true.

The stick shook in my hand. Slowly, I stepped backward, trying not to make a sound until my hand found the basement door opening. I had to get the lights back on.

The basement was a separate finished apartment I rented as an Air B&B. I usually kept the upstairs door closed and locked when I had tenants. I hadn’t had any tenants for a couple of months now. It was due to the harsh weather and all the illness in the world. It made me feel more comforted knowing it was finished and not a dark, dank, cemented abyss.

The figure stopped swaying and seemed to turn its head as if looking around the room. I took a silent deep breath and descended step by step into the basement. The breaker box was in the utility closet by the kitchen. I stopped and realized in horror that I kept that door locked so any kids of my tenants couldn’t go in there.

The keys were hanging on a shelf by the front door.

“Crap,” I hissed unceremoniously under my breath. I cupped a hand to my mouth, realizing my fatal error, and waited for a moment looking at the doorway, praying that the shadow figure wouldn’t materialize there. For once, the upstairs was more terrifying than the basement. I tried to will my body to stop shaking and ascended back up to peak around the corner.

The shadow figure was gone.

I stiffened and glanced around the moonlit kitchen and dining room. The adjoining family room was pitch black with the back patio French door shuttered. Not much light could get in there. The shadow figure might have gone in there hoping for the element of surprise. My throat felt dry like there was a lump in it. I tried to swallow without making a noise and walked back into the kitchen.

“This is silly,” I thought.

I had to test a theory and try to stand exactly where I had been standing when I first saw the figure, so I crept back to about the same spot and turned around, but it was still gone.

My blood ran cold and not just from the deep freeze ebbing into my heater-less house.

I couldn’t move but for the fear, I felt in my pounding heart. The moon shone on the empty wall. I wanted to run and get to a neighbor’s house, but it was below zero outside, and if no one answered, I could be dead before I got back.

A shriek from upstairs broke my concentration, followed by what sounded like a slamming door and something smacking into the wall. I didn’t wait to see what caused the sound of footsteps pounding down the stairs.

“Heck no!” I said and accidentally dropped the stick before running for the basement and then down the carpeted stairs. There was no point in trying to lock me in. Whatever it was could unlock the door, so I didn’t waste any time. There was a private entrance that led to the outside. I didn’t look back.

Once outside, I ran up the wet, icy patio steps and tripped, falling in the deepest embankment of snow I’d ever seen, buried in four feet of snow I wanted to scream. Though it was freezing beyond comprehension, my heart burned with fear. I pushed myself out of the barrier and trudged through the deep snow plowing myself forward as fast as possible. I heard the door slam from somewhere behind me.

“Leave me alone!” I screamed as I ran, trying not to look back. I tried to run around the corner of the house, and only half glanced at my car buried in snow when I got to the driveway. For a split second, I wondered if I could lock myself inside it, but I didn’t have my car keys, and I’d locked it. The snow impeded my progress. I felt like I did when I was trying to run away from something terrifying in a nightmare. My legs felt like led, and even the air around me felt thick.

Every window of my neighbor’s house was dark except for the occasional porch light across the street. My side of the road was utterly dark, including the streetlight. I’d been right about the grid. That didn’t matter now, though. I tried to make it to my neighbor’s house across the street. I didn’t want to bring this thing to their door, but I had to try to escape. I had only talked to them a few times in passing. They were a young newlywed couple with no kids yet. So at least there was that. I hurried up their steps and noticed the security camera on their front porch. Well, at least if I disappeared, maybe they’d have something to go on.

I rang the doorbell and pounded on the door yelling for someone to help me, then turned around when I heard a scratching sound on the steps. The shadow of the female-shaped figure was quivering and wavering unsteadily, her hair billowing wildly. I looked at it and tried to scream, but something muffled my mouth from behind me. I felt a sharp prick in the back of my neck then everything went fuzzy and dark.

***

When I woke up, I found myself in a warm wooded room. The air felt like static and had a strange mirage effect. I reached my hand out to touch the air that rippled like water. My hand shook, and I couldn’t stop shivering.

“She’s awake,” I heard a raspy voice hiss. I moved my head from side to side, trying to see who said that, but all I could see were shadows of people on the walls and a crack in the air, the frosted window shimmering with light like fire.

“It hadn’t been a candle,” I thought absentmindedly, “what is that?”

One of the shadow figures walked through the crack in the air as though it was just another door in the cabin. I noticed it had pointed ears like an elvish creature, like the creature that had attacked me in my home.

“Who will go this time?” I heard one ask.

I tried to move my arms and sit up, but ropes held my wrists and ankles fast to the bed posts.

I tried to speak, but it felt like a weight was pressing down my mouth. I couldn’t see the cause for why I couldn’t open it. Panic grew in my mind as I looked from one being to the next. I yanked and pulled with all my strength on the restraints, but they wouldn’t budge.

The being that emerged through the ripple whispered to the group of beings that had gathered around the bed. They all nodded and shuffled out of the way as the woman who subdued me stepped forward. They hugged her and stepped back as she walked up and peered at me. Within moments I felt a strange pulling sensation and again tried to scream as I sank back into the darkness.

When I opened my eyes again, I was standing in the cabin room looking at a woman lying on the bed, but it wasn’t me. It was my body and my clothes but not my face. Her hair was red, and her eyes an impossible emerald green. The point on her ears was gone. Everything about her looked human.

The others untied her and said goodbye before walking back through the crack in the air. They glanced at me as they passed by but said nothing. I tried to grab one of them, but my hand went through it as if it weren’t there, or I wasn’t there. I couldn’t be sure.

I looked down at my hands and body. I was shimmering and transparent. I tried to speak to them and ask what they had done to me, but I didn’t think they could hear me, only see me. It was as though they were on one plain of existence, I on another, and the woman who had stolen my earthly body in another where all earthly beings dwelled.

They all walked through the crack until the last shadow figure was gone. I started to walk towards the gap, but it closed and sealed itself off until it disappeared as if it had never existed. I began to follow the woman who had already left the cabin and was walking through the frozen woods, but I felt a hand on my shoulder and turned around, surprised that I was still able to feel startled. Behind me were the spirits of dozens of other lost souls—the souls of the people who had disappeared in these woods.

The End

supernatural

About the author

Amy Black

Amy Black is a published American gothic poet and author specializing in speculative YA and adult fiction, inspirational children's stories and poetry.

You can find more of her works at;

https://www.facebook.com/amyblackfiction

Reader insights

Be the first to share your insights about this piece.

How does it work?

Add your insights

Comments (1)

Sign in to comment
  • Ron Bennettabout a month ago

    Like the spooky descriptions

Find us on social media

Miscellaneous links

  • Explore
  • Contact
  • Privacy Policy
  • Terms of Use
  • Support

© 2022 Creatd, Inc. All Rights Reserved.