The cabin in the woods had been abandoned for years, but one night, a candle burned in the window. As Charlie crept around the cabin, he saw that it was more than a single candle. The room was a fire with many candles burning bright. Yet there was no one inside. Charlie searched the room, straining to see through the filth ridden glass. He could make out at least 12 candles. Arranged in a circle, there were objects littered around and within the circle. "What is going on here?" Charlie observed. He reached up and with his sleeve and began to wipe the grime from the glass. Something odd was going on here. There had been all kinds of stories about the abandoned cabin. Some say it was haunted. Others believe witches use the location for their magic. As far as Charlie knew, he had never seen anyone come in or out of the cabin. Charlie had a bird's eye view of the cabin from his house across the lake. The plot of land had been left years before he was born. His parents said as far as they knew, the cabin never had a resident.
"I heard that the family that lived there only lived there for a short time. Supposedly they were all murdered. Killed by a family friend." That's what his dad had told him. Though he thought that the whole story was a load of horse dung. His mom however had a simpler explanation.
"Nah, an old man used to live there. When he died, the family never claimed the property." Charlie's mom was a practical lady. Not one in believing in ghost stories and such.
Charlie had made some headway with the dirt on the glass. There was now a clearer area so that he might see into the cabin without strain. Yes, the candles were arranged in a circle. Bits of herbs, flowers and moss formed the lines within the circle, a star. To be more accurate, a pentagram. He had learned about them when his English class read about the Salem Witch Trials. They were a sign of evil, witchcraft. Someone was working a spell. Charlie still couldn't see anyone in the room. No movement came from inside the house. Just as he was about to move to a different location, someone came around the corner. He couldn't make out a face for the person was wearing long robes. The face was obscured by a large hood. They knelt at the end of the pentagram, the point of it facing up. The hooded figure never made a sound. Just sat at the pentagram, hands folded, and head bowed. As if praying in a church. Charlie watch with excitement. Wondering what would happen next. It felt like forever until the hooded figure moved. Slowly, the figure unfolded their hands and produced a knife from the sleeve of the robe. Charlie watched as the figure raised the knife to their hand. Slashing through the palm, the blood began to flow. The figure squeezed their blooded hand over a bowl. Charlie could see that there were other things in the bowl. Slowly they mixed the blood with the objects in the bowl. Taking a large, white candle the figure began to smear the blood mix onto the candle. There were symbols drawn on the candle, but through the still grimy glass, he couldn't make out what they were. The cloaked figure placed the now red candle in the center of the pentagram. Charlie could hear the person chanting, but still couldn't make out the words. Part of him wanted to run. He stood still mostly out of fear. If this was a witch, she could turn her magic on him. All he could do was watch. The chanting ceased suddenly. Around him, Charlie could hear the animals and all the noises of the night come to an abrupt stop. Charlie couldn't help but to watch. It felt as if time had frozen in place. Just then the candle flames grew brighter. Then the flames grew as big as a flame thrower all around the cloaked figure. Charlie finally felt like he could move. He ran down the pathway toward his house. He checked left and right to see if he was being followed. Yet it he really couldn't see in all the inky blackness of the forest. He could see the lights from his house as he rounded the bend of the lake. Again, he checked to see if anyone was around him. All he saw was darkness. Running up the steps to the cabin, Charlie checked one more time. His hand on the knob of the front door. Nothing. He hurried into the house slamming the door behind him. His heart racing from the experience.
"What is going on?" His mother's voice rang out from behind him. Charlie turned and saw his mother holding a dish drying it. The look of concern on her face. He was glad it was just his mom. Finding his breath, he answered his mom.
"I thought that a wolf or something was after me."
"Not too many wolves in these parts. Could have been a coyote." His mother's matter of fact tone was a relief. She turned and went back into the kitchen. Supposedly to finish the dishes. Charlie headed up to his room. His heart was now calming. The safety of his bedroom called. He went in and flopped onto his bed. Exhausted from the night's excursions. His mind was still replaying what had happened. More questions played through his mind. Who was the cloaked figure? What was that person doing there? So many questions. Right now, sleep was calling. Blissful, ignorant sleep. As he let sleep take hold, a howling was heard in the distance, then darkness.
Charlie awoke the next morning, still in the clothes he had worn the previous night. He groaned and stretched the sleepiness from his body. He needed that stretch. His body felt like it had been through the ringer. It must have been from all the excitement last night. As the sun lit up his room, the warming rays on his face made him close his eyes. Feeling the heat on his face, he saw a flash of an image from last night. Bolting upright in his bed, still shaken from everything he witnessed last night. Running his hands over his face and through his hair, Charlie tried to shake the images from his mind. He couldn't even remember dreaming anything. All he could think of was the cabin. Trying to put the thoughts out of his mind, he began to slowly move off the bed. Before he could, he looked down at his shoes. They were covered in mud. That shouldn't be a surprise though. He was in the woods last night. Charlie was surprised. One of the final things he remembered about last night before falling asleep was that he had removed his shoes before collapsing onto the bed. Charlie knew that his shoes weren't caked with mud because he removed them with his bare hands. Now they were back on his feet, slathered with mud.
"What the..." Charlie sat aghast. He never had a chance to finish his though.
"Charlie, breakfast." Mom was calling him from the kitchen. He shook off the question in his mind, kicked his shoes off, and went downstairs. Turning the corner, he saw his mom all lit up in the sunlight. Food was already on his plate. She was turning toward the table, a cup of coffee in her hand. "Don't tell me you fell asleep in your clothes again, Charlie."
"Oh yeah, I guess I was really tired last night. Where's dad?"
"Your father already left for work. He had to get to the office early today." His mother replied as she poured him an orange juice. A thought entered his mind about asking his mother about last night. Charlie shook the thought out of his mind as he sipped his orange juice. Diving into his breakfast, he ate like a wild animal. "Oh my god, this taste amazing." Charlie thought as he ravaged his food. It was just bacon, eggs and toast. Nothing really amazing about it, but his taste buds were dancing. It was like he was tasting things for the first time. Then he began to think that it was only the proteins that were tasting remarkable. The eggs and bacon were divine. Though the orange juice and toast tasted rather dull. It was a fleeting thought. Charlie continued to dig in and finish his breakfast. Pleasantly stuffed, his thoughts were only ones of satisfaction. He didn't even hear his mom talking to him.
"Charlie! Did you hear me?" She snapped her fingers in front of his face. Dazed a bit he finally answered his mom.
"Sorry mom, I drifted a bit. What did you say?
"I said, did you go out again last night?"
"No why?" Charlie suddenly felt nervous. His shoes. They were covered in mud.
"Oh, I thought I heard the door last night. Your father was already asleep, and I was reading a book."
"Could have been a neighbor?" Charlie's voice always cracked a bit when he lied. He knew his mother could tell that he wasn't being all that truthful. He wasn't exactly lying though. He didn't have a clue if he had left the house at all during the night. Still his mother didn't question him any further. Just nodded and started cleaning up the table. Charlie gave her a quick kiss before heading back up to his room. Summer had just started but the weather felt like Spring. The lake always kept the area from the sweltering heat of summer. It's the whole reason why his parents decided to live here. Although the bugs could get on one's nerves at times. It was still an ideal place. The day went by lazily. Charlie spent some time down by the lake. Hanging his legs off the pier into the cool water as he read a book. As the night began to settle in, Charlie's dad came home from work. Charlie had just started walking back to the house when he saw his dad's car pull up. Noticing him on the pier, his dad waved and called a hello to him. Charlie ran to meet up with his dad before entering the house.
"Hey dad, how was work?" Charlie asked as his father put down his briefcase to embrace him.
"Ugh, boring. I wish I was here today." His dad sighed as Charlie bent down to get the briefcase. They made their way into the house. The smell of dinner permeated the air. It would still be a little bit before dinner would be served. Not much happened for the rest of the night. Charlie relaxed in his room playing video games and reading. His eyes were starting to get weary from reading. Putting the book aside, he caught a glimpse of something outside his window. There was a light in the abandoned cabin again. Tonight, he was staying his butt home. Charlie was not about to get involved with that again.
The next morning Charlie arose like he did the night before. Still dressed in his clothes from the day before. Feeling like a Mack truck hit him. Again, he shook off the sleepiness. He looked around his room and saw nothing out of place. A sense of relief passed through him. This morning he didn't have anything unusual happen. That was until he looked at his feet. They were bare and muddied. Though not as bad as his sneakers had been the day before. Panic began to sink in. What the hell was happening? No dirt in his whole room. Just on his feet. Charlie scrambled out of the bed. Grabbing new clothes as he headed out his door to the shower. He could hear his parent's downstairs. Charlie quickly jumped in the shower. Not waiting for the shower to even warm. The cold water made goosebumps on his skin. He sat down on the edge of the shower and scrubbed his soiled feet. He made sure the tub was rinsed thoroughly. His mom would be pissed if she found mud in her shower. After he dressed, he headed down to the kitchen for breakfast. Everything else that day was normal. Nothing out of the ordinary happened. Another lazy summer day. The evening went on the same as the previous night. Again, Charlie ended his day like he did previously. Though with a slight change. He researched local history of the area. Charlie wanted to know who lived in that cabin. As he combed through the history of the lake region, he realized there were odd things that had been happening in the area for some time. Every article that Charlie read was about mysterious deaths here in there around the lake. Mostly animal deaths. As Charlie searched back further, he found there was only one human death. It was in the early 1800s. A man died mysteriously in his cabin. The article said that it was a heart attack. What made it strange was that the man was only in his 40s. The coroner said that the man's heart was perfectly healthy with no blockages anywhere. Charlie thought to himself, "Well mom was mostly right." She was also right about the family never claiming the land. Since there was no family. The man was a loner, and the family never could be located. The lot has been for sale since. Which struck Charlie as odd as well. The cabin had been abandoned since the early 1800s. Such a prime location. Charlie figure that people were scared away by the ghost of the man who lived there. In a way his dad was also right. His curiosity sated for now. Charlie turned to go to bed. He looked out his window at the abandoned cabin. No light tonight. That was a relief. He changed for bed and drifted again into tranquil darkness.
The next morning, Charlie did not awake to blissful sunlight. It was rainy and dreary. Also, he could hear voices downstairs that were not only his parents. He sat up straight in bed. Charlie began to scan the room and himself. Nothing was out of the ordinary. A fright came over. What about his feet? Slowly he removed the blanket off his legs. Panic was over. Nothing on his feet or legs. Getting up from the bed, Charlie looked in the mirror. Nothing on the rest of him either. A sigh of relief. He began to get dressed. As he made his way down the stairs, he saw his mom escorting the sheriff out the door. Puzzled, Charlie approached his mom as she turned from closing the door.
"What was that about?" The concern etched on his face.
"Oh nothing. They found some dead deer in the area and wondering if we had been out hunting. It's not legal to hunt deer since it's not deer season."
"Must be a lot of deer for the sheriff to be stopping by."
"Sheriff only comes when it looks as if an animal didn't kill them."
"So, he thinks someone killed the deer?" Charlie was way more curious now. Hunters usually use bows and arrows. Very rarely do the use shotguns. Especially if they want to eat the deer meat. It's a pain digging all the pellets from deer hide.
"Yes, he thinks a human did it. The deer were killed with some sort of knife."
"How the hell would someone get that close to a deer without it running away?"
"Oh, I'm sure there are ways. Though one doesn't come to mind." His mom was always straight to the point. They both ended the conversation there and made their way into the kitchen for breakfast.
Over the next month, nothing weird happened. It was just like every other summer by the lake. It was late July now. The weather was getting warmer, and the bugs nastier. Charlie's mom closed up the windows and put the air conditioning on. Mostly so she didn't have to deal with the bugs. Late one night Charlie was in his room doing God knows what. When he saw the light in the cabin again. A month had passed since he saw the light on. He was determined to find out who was in there. Charlie crept down the stairs and out the door. Making sure he didn't make a sound. He had a small flashlight on him so he could see his way around the path. The light wasn't needed all that much since the moon was out. Full and bright shining through the dense forest. As he approached the cabin, he turned off the flashlight. Coming up to the side that had the window he had looked through last time. He could see that the dirt was still cleaned off on the glass. Again, peering into the window, he saw the candles arranged in the way he saw them last time. The hooded figure came from the back of the cabin this time. The ritual from last time was repeated. Though this time Charlie was going to stay till the end. The flames shot up as they did the first time. Only this time, Charlie stayed put. As the candle flames decreased, the figure stood and removed the robe. Charlie couldn't believe what he saw. It was his mother. She stood in a long white dress. He hair unkept down her back. She began to dance about the room in an odd way. Like you would see witches' dance around a fire in the movies. What the hell was she doing? Charlie stood in shock. He was so enrapt by what his mother was doing that he didn't see a large animal come his way. Charlie began to hear a rustling to the left of him. He turned his head slowly to his left as the large animal crept closer. At first, Charlie thought it was a bear. Though this animal did not move like a bear. Charlie was frozen in place. He couldn't move. Panic set in. "Oh my god, what do I do?" The animal came into the moon light and that's when Charlie's terror hit an all-time high. It was a large wolf like beast. The jaws were caked with blood. He could see a deer carcass at the thing's feet. The eyes were bright yellow. The nose crinkled as it sniffed the air. Charlie couldn't scream or run all he could do was stare. The wolf creature rose up onto its hind legs an let out the most ferocious howl. All Charlie do was watched as the wolf lowered itself down and charged right at him ready to pounce. As the wolf came down on him, the full weight of it hit him like a semi. Just as the wolf growled in his face. That's when Charlie awoke. Was it all a dream? The whole thing? Charlie could hear his mom calling him for breakfast. Relief set in when he realized he was only dreaming. Slowly, he took the blanket off the bed. Running his hands over his face and through his hair. He noticed there was a weird smell to them. Charlie opened his eyes and saw blood. All over the bed and on him. Charlie screamed as he realized that there was a dead deer dismembered at the foot of his bed.
About the author
I've been writing for a number of years now. I have a published book through Page Publishing and I am currently working on several books. Looking to expand my brand. As well as make some new writer friends.