The cabin in the woods had been abandoned for years, but one night, a candle burned in the window….
“Mum, come quick! There’s a light in the window”.
Suki turned the snow globe upside down for the umpteenth time, inspecting it meticulously, as she always did. She loved the fact that each shake made the snow fall and pile up on the little plastic trees and the roof of the cabin inside the glass dome in different ways. If she shook it more to the left, the snow would drift and pile up on the side of the woods, not touching the cabin at all. If she shook it violently upside down and turned it right way up again, a soft, gentle blizzard descended evenly across the whole scene. The scene itself was indeed quite simple; a small cabin in the middle of some woods, but she had noticed that tonight, something was different.
“Okay, okay I’m here! What’s wrong?”, Suki’s mother ran up the stairs from the kitchen where she’d been washing up and stood in Suki’s bedroom doorway, drying her hands on a tea towel.
“Look! There’s a light in the window. It looks like a tiny candle. Look!”, Suki said as she jumped off of her bed and brought the snow globe towards her mother. She thrust it into her hands. Her mother turned the globe around and around, trying to get the right angle to see into the small cabin window. Her eyes squinted as she tired to focus. It was very small and her adult eyes didn’t see anything suspicious.
“Has it not always been on? There must be a switch somewhere on there that you’ve touched. Looks cute like that though doesn’t it? All lit up”, her mother replied as she smiled and handed the globe back to Suki.
“No mum I didn’t touch anything, there’s no switch. Do you think it’s magic? Maybe there’s a fairy in there or something? What do you think?”, Suki asked excitedly.
“I think you’ve got a very good imagination sweetheart. It’s likely a small battery that’s been pushed out of place and you’ve pushed it back again with all that shaking. It’s old you know. Now get to bed little one, it’s late”.
Suki accepted her mothers request to get to bed but she could not sleep. She was too intrigued by the light. She knew it was a candle because the flame danced around and cast light the way a candle in a real window would. She lay on her bed, turned on her side facing her desk, watching the snow globe in the dark.
An hour had past since her mother had tucked her in, kissed her and said goodnight. Her eyes were heavy with tiredness and every now and then she felt her eyelids close completely for a few seconds, but she would not give in to sleep completely. The little candle must surely be almost out of wick, she thought, and she wanted to wait and see what would happen. Would someone light another? Was it just a battery like her mother suggested? As luck would have it, she didn’t have to wait too long to find out.
As she was lying there watching, the little red door of the cabin swung open and a tiny figure appeared in the doorway. Suki sat up in bed and let her feet hang over the side. She was close enough to her desk so she could lean over and look very closely into the globe. It was a little girl. Their eyes met and she waved up at Suki, who, getting a fright, jumped back and away from the globe. For a moment Suki wanted to hide under her covers or call out for her mother, but there was a part of her, like most children, that was very curious. This curiosity is what got her in trouble. If only she had listened to that nudge in her belly, she would’ve left her bedroom, and the snow globe behind and gone to fetch her mother. But alas, that’s not what happened.
Suki returned the wave and gave the little girl in the globe a smile. She thought now for sure that she must be a fairy. How she got in there she did not know but she was desperate to find out.
“Hello, can you hear me?”, asked Suki as she whispered loudly towards the globe. The little girl simply smiled but did not answer nor did she move. Suki knew she had to try something else. She tapped three times on the glass dome of the globe with her forefinger to try and get a reaction. The little girl immediately covered her ears with her hands and crouched down to her knees as if the whole dome would shatter and fall around her. Suki felt bad, she could tell from her reaction that she had frightened the little girl by tapping too loudly. She whispered “sorry” and watched as she stood back up, brushing snow from her knees. She then walked down the steps leading from the door of the cabin to the edge of the glass dome and leant against it with her face, looking up at Suki. She lifted her arm and pointed to the intricate silver base that the dome stood upon. Suki’s eyes followed the little girls movements and she could see she was pointing to a small silver key. Suki had never noticed the key before and thought that somehow it must’ve appeared that night just as the little girl and the candle had. The little girl motioned for Suki to turn it and so naturally, she did. As soon as it clicked to the right, some music started to play. It was ‘Greensleeves’. Suki had heard the tune before coming from the ice cream van that came round the streets on the weekends but never from the snow globe. She had no idea it was a musical one. The little girl seemed excited by the music and her smile grew wider. Just as the chords reached the chorus the glass dome suddenly made a clicking noise and collapsed into the intricate silver base like a car window disappearing into its doorframe. The little figurine girl jumped off of the last step, out of the globe and as her feet touched Suki’s desk, she started to grow.
Suki thrust herself backwards in fear and found herself against the wall, sitting on her bed. The little girl in the globe was intriguing whilst tiny and behind glass but it was absolutely terrifying watching her escape and grow life size, right there in her bedroom. The little girl jumped off of Suki’s desk and stretched her neck and back. It made creaking noises like bones and muscles extending. Suki could see, now that she was full size, that she wasn’t a little girl at all. It was a creature with almond shaped eyes, violet in colour, and pointed ears, nose and chin. Suki had seen pictures in fairytale books like this creature and she knew at once it was a changeling. Suki whimpered in the dark and planned in her head an escape to her mother downstairs. She knew what changelings did. They swapped human children and gave them to the fairy king or queen to be their slaves whilst the changeling took the place of the child, tricking the parents with a charm. The changeling straightend up and looked towards Suki. Her mouth opened in a wide smile exposing her sharp, needle like teeth. There were hundreds of them squashed into her mouth. Her violet eyes widened at the sight of Suki and she lunged towards her. She grabbed hold of her ankle as Suki slid underneath her body and dived towards the bedroom door. The changeling screeched in annoyance and turned to face Suki.
“Come here child. Do not fight me, you will not win”, said the changeling as she outstretched her arms to grab Suki once more. Suki rolled on the floor to her left and managed to escape her grip.
“I said come here! You must take my place in the globe”, she said as her voice thickened with anger. Suki rolled again to the right this time but the changeling grabbed her by the arm and dragged her up. She stood over Suki and laughed loudly.
“Insolent child. Stand still so I can curse you! You shall suffer a new fate. Instead of I damned to this snow globe for eternity, it shall be you! My fairy queen is waiting. You will be confined to the globe until you can escape like I have”. Suki kicked and screamed but it made no difference. The changeling overpowered her and uttered the curse. On the final word, Suki felt herself shrinking down to the size of a tiny figure and without being able to stop her, the changeling picked her up and put her on the top step near the cabin door. She turned the key on the base and the glass dome shot up and surrounded the cabin and woods again like nothing had ever happened. The only thing different was now Suki was inside the snow globe and the changeling was inside her bedroom.
Suki couldn’t believe what happened. She hit her tiny fist against the glass globe with all her might but it didn’t do anything. She watched the changeling stand above her, looking like a giant from this new perspective. She tried to calm herself down by looking around her new surroundings. The snow under her feet was cold and wet - it was real. She looked towards the trees and through the woods she could see that a whole world existed here. Things sounded different inside the globe, she could hear everything from outside but it was somehow muffled and amplified at the same time. She suddenly became unbalanced and her feet stumbled trying to steady herself. She looked up and saw the changelings large hands grab the snow globe and she began to shake it violently.
“How do you like it?”, said the changeling as she shook the globe and watched as Suki ran inside the cabin.
“Make yourself at home child but mind the candle, there’s only three. If you light one, you’ll catch the attention of another child and you can plan your escape just as I did, swap yourself for her”. Suki listened but knew she could never do this to someone else. She felt the changeling put the globe back on the desk and she looked around the cabin. It was comfortable enough, couches, a small kitchen and a bedroom, even a fire. She saw the candle in the window and walked towards it and blew it out, hoping somehow to rectify the situation. She had to get her mothers attention and if she blew the candle out her mother may notice and pick up the globe and recognise her before the changeling could charm her. That was her only hope now. So she waited.
Suki watched as the changeling got into her bed and pulled the covers around her head. She was getting into the position to overcome her mother. Suki could hear distant footsteps on the stairs and watched as her bedroom door opened. A stream of light splayed across the carpet and lit up a corner of the room. Her mothers silhouette in the doorway was so welcoming to Suki and she wanted so much to yell out to her and grab her attention to warn her. But it didn’t happen that way.
Suki’s mother did indeed notice that the light in the the snow globe had gone out but she simply thought the batteries had died and didn’t think to look at it again. Instead she went to check on her sleeping daughter. She approached the bed and bent low to kiss her child goodnight. What she didn’t know of course was that it was not her beloved Suki tucked up in bed, it was a devilish changeling waiting to charm her. As her mothers hand touched the blanket covering the changelings face, the changeling sprung up at once and faced Suki’s mother. The look of horror and fright scrolled upon her mother’s face was damaging to poor Suki and as the charm did not work, the changeling got violent. It’s razor sharp, needle like teeth gnawed on her mothers face and arms as she tried to flee, blood splattered everywhere and screams of terror filled the room. She was in shock and unable to move. The changeling stood over her and placed her thin fingers around her mothers neck and squeezed tightly. Suki swore she caught her mothers eye as the changeling finished the job and killed her right before her eyes. Suki’s heart shriveled up and she felt the deepest sorrow she had ever felt. All alone, stuck inside the snow globe when just hours ago she was home like normal with her mother. All hope was gone. She would never get out. She would be stuck in the globe for eternity.
Rumour has it that the snow globe is still out there somewhere. Maybe in someone’s garage, or attic or at a thrift store. If ever you come across a little globe with a cabin in the woods inside do not shake it. Do not even pick it up. And if a candle appears in the window one night, run as fast as you can to your mothers arms and dispose of the globe immediately. For there is a little girl inside desperate to come out and feel the loving arms of a mother again.
About the author
Excellent work. Looking forward to reading more!
Original narrative & well developed characters
Compelling and original writing
Creative use of language & vocab
Easy to read and follow
Well-structured & engaging content
Heartfelt and relatable
The story invoked strong personal emotions