abravendeavor Lily Porter

Every year the beast known as The Unseen lures children into his first home and they are never seen again. When their parents go into the forest after them, they become one of the lost ones too. And so, the pattern continues until the day Sadie’s daughter Ivy becomes one of the missing claimed by the forest and the beast within. There is one thing the beast didn’t count on. A mother’s love knows no bounds, and Sadie won’t stop until she saves her daughter.


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#horror #shortstory #monster #ghost #oneshot #scary #mother #forest #contest #faith #beast #spooky #daughter # #theunseenfears
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#The Unseen Fears

#theunseenfears


It was early morning, the sun shining bright and cheerful, as I stood outside the forest. The trees were so numerous, the branches so thick and interwoven, that it appeared to be the darkest of midnights within. I recoiled at the foreboding surrounding the perimeter of the forest, pulsing like a dark cloud around the edges. I took a deep breath, prayed for strength. Ready or not, here I come.

The beast of the forest had claimed many a child over the years, and the ones who went in looking for them. That may be the fate I was facing, too, but it wasn’t about to get her without a fight. I was armed with faith in my heart, a flashlight in my hand, and a gun in the waistband of my jeans. Rumor has it that no physical weapons could stand against the beast; but, those were just rumors. No one made it out of the forest. Not alive, anyway.

As I enter the woods, it feels as if something, some unseen force clings to me. Like a heaviness pulling me along, like wading through muddy waters with the mire sucking your feet in deeper with each step. I mustn’t let it get to me. Not if I’m going to find her.

The trees crowd around me, their branches whipping out with the wind and lashing at my face, my arms, tangling in my hair. I feel a particularly pointed one slice open my cheek, separating the skin around it before pulling away. I reach up and wipe away a trickle of blood. “Nice try,” I whisper and press on.

The woods are not silent. The leaves crunch underneath my boots, the sound echoing in the empty spaces between the trees. The wind whistles and, surprisingly, there are birds singing. It sounds as if there is a brook nearby, the water bubbling noisily. The forest sounds like a pleasant place to be. And maybe it is, until it isn’t.

I stop, hands going to my hips, and take a look at my surroundings. There doesn’t appear to be any indicator of which direction to go. It all looks the same. How am I ever going to find her in here? I turn and look back the way I came, seeing the circle of bright sunshine growing ever dimmer.

Come back. You’ll never find her. Escape while you still can.

I shake my head, dispelling the thoughts that don’t seem like thoughts at all. They don’t sound like my voice, but there’s no one else around.

I look down at the forest floor beneath me and spot gravel beneath the leaves. I scoot some of the leaves off with my foot and realize there is a path hidden there. I move my foot to kick aside some of the leaves around the path, just to make sure it is the only one.

My foot bumps up against something solid and I squat down to inspect it. Bile roses in my throat as I see a tiny face, and then I realize it’s a baby doll. Relief settles in when I see it isn’t hers. I pick up the doll and cradle her in my hands, inhaling the sweet baby powder smell that is somehow still attached to it.

The dolly is badly decayed, dirt and grime marring the face and little dress. I have no idea how long it has been here. Time doesn’t hold much significance in the forest. I lay her back down. I kiss my fingertips and place them on the forehead before burying her in leaves again, hoping that whoever owned her is at peace.

As I sit back onto my heels, the hairs on the back of my neck stand on end. A low sound reverberates from behind me. It’s hard to describe. A cross between the keening wail of a loon and the low, guttural groaning of something other. Out of the corner of my eye I see a dark shape rising from the ground behind me. It is tall, thin, and most definitely not human.

The forest around me has gone deadly silent. No, not just silent. It’s as if all the air has been sucked out of the woods, like I’m stuck inside a vacuum. The air turns frigid and my breath comes out in clouds. My bones feel as if they are frozen in place. Moving my hand to the pistol at my back, I whirl around and aim.

Nothing. There is nothing there. “Get a grip Sadie,” I scold myself. If I’m going to make it, if I’m going to find her, I can’t lose it this soon. She needs me to be strong. She needs me to hang on. I will be what she needs.

And then my eyes, almost of their own accord, search for the circle of light that had been there not five minutes ago. It’s gone. It is all I can do to keep the panic at bay. It swirls uneasily in my stomach, bubbles in my throat, and begs to be released in a scream. I don’t have xylophobia, the fear of forests, per se. What I do have is cleithrophobia, the fear of being trapped. That is what I am. Trapped. Trapped in here with the beast, with The Unseen.

The sounds of the forest have resumed and I pick up my pace. The air warms and my bones start to thaw. I find the gravel path again and follow it into the deep, dark realm beyond. I don’t put the gun back in my waistband. I know he is close. I can all but feel him near, breathing down my neck with each ruffle of breeze .

The Unseen. No one knows exactly what he looks like, or even what he is. All we know is that four years ago, the first child disappeared into the woods. Ivy was only a toddler at the time and I never wanted to let her out of my sight. People said I was smothering her. I wonder what they say now.

I swept my flashlight across the gloom before me, jumping when a coyote darted off from the corpse of a deer. It’s crashing through the underbrush was cut off by a whine and a yelp. Silence, cold. Then the sound again, the keening and the groaning. He is close, and I run.

In high school, I was the star of our track team. Ten years and two babies had slowed my speed, but I prayed I was faster than him. That’s all I needed. Just enough speed to stay one step ahead. Crashing stomps shook the earth around me and I pumped my legs harder.

I…see…you…”

The voice was raspy, as of someone who smoked two packs a day. Each word was punctuated by a maniacal cackle. I gritted my teeth against the sound and tried to cover my ears, but the gun and flashlight made it hard.

Momma! Momma, help me!

No! No, it wasn’t her! It couldn’t be her. Tears streamed down my face as I ran, freezing to my cheeks in the wake of the cold. Everything in my body screamed to go to her. Ivy, my little butterfly chaser. But, I couldn’t do that. I couldn’t go to her because it wasn’t her. When I came to that understanding, the beast laughed again. He was happy, feeding off of my inner turmoil, thrilling in the chase.

There! Just ahead of me was a grouping of large rocks and what looked like the brook I heard earlier. Could I hide? I chanced a glance behind me and saw that the swaying of the trees did appear to be several yards behind. Making a split second decision I bolted for them.

I leaned over the closest one and flattened myself to the ground behind them. My side touched the water of the brook and I sucked in a breath at the coldness. Ice crystals formed on my clothing. I scooted closer to the rock and waited.

I felt the ground tremble more violently as he neared. The strength of the movement made it seem as if the earth was breathing around me, moving up and down as the force shifted the roots and rocks of the forest. One heavy step was enough to bounce me an inch or two into the air and I fell hard back down on the packed dirt. I bit my jacket to keep from crying out at the pain.

As the trembles began to lighten, I leaned up and peeked over the nearest rock. The rippling water near me so loud that I couldn’t hear the crashing of his steps through the brush any longer. I almost cried when I saw that he had run ahead of where I was hidden. The trees swayed with his movements. A long dark shadow covered the forest floor as he moved through a stray patch of sunlight. I pinched my nose as I inhaled the putrid smell trailing after him. It smelled of death and decay.

When I felt he was far enough away to no longer hear me, though I really wasn’t sure how good his hearing was, I sat up. There was some pain in my side where my ribs had collided with the rocks, but I didn’t think anything was broken. I used the rock in front of me to carefully pull myself up, taking an extra moment crouched down to ensure he wasn’t coming back.

I turned around and inspected the roaring waters. Oh how thirsty I was! I wondered if it would be safe to drink. The coyote had seemed healthy, well, before it became a snack for The Unseen. It had to drink water from somewhere. As I pondered whether to drink or not to drink, my gaze landed on a backpack on the other side of the stream.

Curiosity getting the better of me, I decided to take my chances and cross over. If the backpack belonged to one of the missing kids, I couldn’t exactly just leave it there. There may be some form of identification inside. If, I mean when, Ivy and I make it out of this, I could at least provide closure to one family.

I was already wet from my impromptu hiding place, so I was not careful as I crossed the river. I hope the bubbling of the rushing water would be loud enough to hide my movements from him.

I reach the backpack and carefully, trying to be as silent as possible, unzipped the main compartment. Inside I found a teddy bear and gasped. This is Ivy’s! The eye dangles by a thread from where I have neglected to sew it back on, even though she has asked me numerous times. But, this isn’t Ivy’s backpack?

I have a suspicion, and I don’t want to search any further. Still, I must. If I were her mother, I would want to know. My hand stills as I feel something thin and cool to the touch. I grasp it and pull it out. I stifle a sob with a fist over my mouth. The little heart dangles from the thin, gold charm bracelet. Kristi Rollins. Ivy’s babysitter.

A shadow falls over the path on the other side of the stream and I still. A bunny scrambles into the thicket and the putrid smell of death is back. I push the bracelet in my pocket, tuck the teddy under my arm, and inch back into the trees behind me.

I step on a stick and it cracks under my foot, ringing out like a gunshot. The trees bend as the creature turns toward the sound. I quickly shut off the flashlight. The world becomes dark, lit only by thin rays of sunlight that break through the canopy of trees. My heart feels as if it will beat out of my chest and a bead of sweat drips down my back. I try to remain as still as possible, until something grabs my foot.

I can’t help it. I yelp and I hear his answering roar. The earth begins to shake again as he runs toward me. The tug comes at my foot again and I look down. A small hand, a child’s hand, grasps my ankle from underneath some brush and pulls urgently. I don’t hesitate as I get to my hands and knees. Beneath the brush is an opening in the side of the mountain. A small cave.

I slip inside and the hand covers my mouth. The shaking continues back and forth, as if he is pacing. Small rocks clink down on us with each pass. I nod, acknowledging the need for quiet. The hand reaches for mine and leads me deeper into the cave.

The shaking finally stops and I click the flashlight back on. I close my eyes, hoping to see her and afraid I won’t.

“It’s okay Momma. It’s me,” her little voice whispers and I can’t help but open them then.

“Ivy,” I sob, reaching for her and hugging her so tightly that I’m not sure where she begins and I end.

“We’re safe in here, Momma. They told me so.”

“Who baby, who told you,” I ask, looking around and seeing no one.

“The other kids. If you look real close Momma, if you don’t let the fear win, you can see them too.”

They were shimmery, translucent even, as if here but really not. Ghosts. I did see them. Sara Lyler, Sammie Monroe, Patsy Graves, Kristi Rogers, and so many others.

“They said you can do it, Momma. You can kill him and set them free. You can save me so I don’t have to join them.”

“How baby,” I cried, holding her little hands and silently apologizing for ever letting go to begin with.

Kristi approached me then, placing a hand on my shoulder. She smiled at me and pointed to the gun I had laid on the ground. Then she tapped her forehead and nodded. “No fear.” I understood.

“Is he still there?”

“He always stays there until someone new comes in the woods,” Ivy confirmed. Kristi nodded.

I stood. “Stay here until I come back for you. Understand?”

Ivy began to cry. “Don’t go Momma. He’ll get you.”

“No he won’t. Remember what I told you to do when you’re scared?”

“Pray and hold tight.”

I kissed her cheek and held her teddy out to her. She grabbed him and snuggled him close, squeezing tight.

Hand shaking, I picked up the gun. I climbed from the cave, placing the brush back over the door. The world was silent and still.

“I…see…you…”

I turned and faced him, a smile on my face.

“And I see you. I’m not afraid, and you won’t have her,” I said as I cocked the gun and squeezed the trigger.


8 de Março de 2024 às 04:10 2 Denunciar Insira Seguir história
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IR Inika Roy
Add part 2
April 07, 2024, 15:39

  • Lily Porter Lily Porter
    I will eventually! This was just a one shot for the contest, but I am working on incorporating it into a longer story soon! April 07, 2024, 15:43
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