[Spring Fling] Short Story Contest!

Curly [Admin || 372 posts] on 5/01/2022 11:56 am

Write a short story based on the writing prompt below. Each story will be read and judged by HoFa Admins and a third-party person. Judges will rank stories based on creativity, the accuracy of theme, and writing. Two categories will be awarded based on self-identifying in your entry, novice, and advanced writing styles. 

 

Prompt: Walking outside you are greeted by an unfamiliar sight, the nature around you has overgrown and is in full bloom showcasing a broad color of flowers and plants, some of which seem dangerous. You had somewhere to be today and must now make a plan on how you will adventure through the vast overgrowth. Do you head straightforward in a blaze of glory? Or do you pause for a moment, meticulously plotting where to take every carefully calculated step? Write about your adventure through the overgrowth and where you end up.

 

Rules

    1. Players may enter one story per account.
    2. Stories must be 100% your own without the aid of others. This includes using any other stories, in their entirety, as inspiration. Others offering proofreading services are allowed.
    3. Any edited entries will be disqualified. Be sure all typos, grammatical errors, and the full story is written as you intend it to be posted. 
    4. Entries must be posted by Sunday, May 8th, at 11:59 PM EST/ game time. Winners will be announced Monday the 9th.
    5. All entries must follow HoFa community rules and TOS. Any post that breaks community rules or the TOS will be removed and a minimum 3-day ban given. Entries must include a title, a minimum of two paragraphs, and a designation of novice or advanced. Please see the example below.

Designation: Novice

Title: A Hop, Skip, and Jump Through the Rainbow

     This is my story. It follows all the rules. This is more text so this example makes more sense. This is about to complete paragraph one. Now for paragraph two. You probably should write more than this.

     Horses have four hooves, except those that are tripods. Tri means three. No more, no less. When you count the number is three and three is the number you will count. Once you count to three you will then say “Ni!”. For those of you who read this and understand, you may now return to something completely different.

 

Prize

Winners of both the novice and advanced categories will receive:

  • 1 gene or variant change for a horse they own, INCLUDING Lp Irish Cobs or Tennesse Walkers. 
    • This excludes variation 4 for Lp for the Irish Cob and Tennessee Walker breeds.
    • Genes will be edited to be heterozygous and variants edited to potentially pass on to offspring
  • 1-year bronze upgrade or 6-month gold upgrade.
  • Item package worth 2,500 ingots.

Oaken Fields

Gold

Post Count: 7

RP: 55427

5/01/2022 2:36 pm

Designation: Advanced

I'm running late. My hand pulls the door wide and I stride quickly out. "Wow." The exclamation leaves my mouth as my feet simply forget to step forward. I almost faceplant as I grab at the doorframe for support.

I can't help but stare at every petal, color, leaf and movement. My eyes dart from one to the next like a bee that can't decide which flower has the best pollen. Temporarily paralyzed, I don't realize I've forgotten to breath until speckles start appearing at the corners of my eyes. As I step forth onto an unfamiliar cobblestone path in front of me, I've already forgotten to be afraid or cautious. Nothing about this landscape even remotely looks recognizable. That isn't to say that things don't appear to be what I've seen in the past, what I mean is that I can't fathom where these plants came from or how they evolved and certainly not how they and the overgrown landscape suddenly has appeared right outside my door.

For instance, I reach out to my right and grab the stalk of what really looks like a giant dandelion plant in full tuft, this looks like a dandelion plant. But it's not and it's not the gigantic size that separates the two. I grab a single seed tuft and lift it up and out. The seed, as I have seen elsewhere already, is not actually a seed, but a tiny, four-legged creature. It's kicking and squirming and as I listen in, I hear the barest whistling breath as this little creature screams its defiance. It's tiny and although I can barely make out a dog-like face, I can't see any ears. It appears to have beady, spider-like eyes, which is making my skin crawl a bit, but the all-white, fuzzy-looking body makes me adore the thing.

Gently, I put it back, but instead, a gentle breeze suddenly lifts it into the air and blows it away. I stare as it drifts away, feeling a bit of shame and sorrow and then more tufts alight all around me and fly off, pushed away by that same breeze. At least the creature won't be alone on that journey.

As I continue along the cobblestone path, letting my feet carry me and drinking in all the flowers that I could easily describe as 'spring' and 'early summer,' I find myself catching glimpses of a dark, emerald green shape winking back between the stalks and leaves. Feeling a bit like a bug being drawn to honey, I start creeping around and through the plants, pushing aside giant leaves that dwarf my chest and shoving against stalks that barely register my weight.

Is this what a bug feels like? To struggle between grass blades and plant stalks? Looking for the next meal to present itself? Unable to ever go farther than a plant will part for it? Is this why bugs developed either wings or colonies? Or both?

My mind wanders through these thoughts as I push closer to the emerald green thing. Then a stalk bends a little more than the others and dumps me unceremoniously on the ground. I pick myself up and I dust off a bit. Then I look up and realize that emerald green thing, is, in fact, a venus fly trap.

I take a tenative and delicate step backward, but too late and the trap reaches forward and snatches me up. As my body lifts up from the ground and the hard, needle-like thorns close together, I find my thoughts laughing at me. I should've been more cautious. As the laughter dies in my head, I wonder just how I'm going to get out and return to my house. After all, the reason I left today is because I had an appointment. I'm going to be late, I usually am, but today it'll be much more so.

 

--END--



itsjusthayley

Gold

Post Count: 31

RP: 47684

5/01/2022 9:15 pm

DELETE

Edited 1 times

•⭑• My Stable | Breeding Grounds | Sales Pen •⭑•

"no rain, no flowers"



Raine

Platinum

Post Count: 216

RP: 279829

5/02/2022 8:10 am

Designation: Advanced

--My Wish--

I walked slowly down the forest path, breathing in the scent of a new spring. This was the long way to work, but the early rise and the trip was worth it. I had taken this path many times, I knew it like the veins on the back of my hand. In a way, we were friends.

I stopped suddenly when I noticed a small bird resting on a tree branch just above my head. It stared at me with purpose, eyes seeming more intelligent than your average bird. I couldn’t identify what kind of bird it was. It had a gloss to its blue feathers, brighter and more vivid than I would think possible.

We stared at one another for a while, before the bird spread its wings. As it flew it cast shadows that danced. It twittered at me as it flew into the undergrowth, poking its head out at me after a few moments.

Did it want me to follow?

I hesitated for a moment, this was strange. But I was fascinated.

I carefully made my way through the undergrowth. It was thick and reached high, like nature’s own wall hiding away a secret.

Once I had broken through my eyes were caught by more sights I had never before seen. Colorful flowers as large as umbrellas, tendril vines that spun up trees that were so wide they must be ancient.

There was a distinct change in the atmosphere. The air seemed lighter, the aroma of my surroundings was intoxicating.

I followed the bird by instinct as it hopped, turning my head from side to side to try and take in everything. A fantasy world, I wouldn’t be surprised if we came across a towering castle which sung its glory up to the heavens.

The bird disappeared under a massive palm leaf. They cascaded in front of me, seeming to breathe and whisper enchanting words as I slowly began to push my way through them.

“You have come.” A voice boomed in my head. Though it was a kind tone, I was caught so off-guard I nearly fell backwards into the thick leaves.

My heartbeats stopped, then pounded intensely as I focused on what was in front of me, the momentary fear dashed by the sight of a majestic horse.

The horse’s coat seemed iridescent, swirling with colors I couldn’t name. I placed one step forward to approach the animal, then hesitated.

“Do not fear me child.”

The horse? It spoke? No, it’s mouth didn’t move. But in my mind I still heard its telepathic voice.

I took a few more steps forward as the horse bounced its head up and down lightly, like it was beckoning me closer.

“I have been watching you, waiting for the right time.” The horse began, dipping its head. Flowers were tangled in its mane, they looked as though they were alive. Getting their sustenance from within the horse. “Only those with pure hearts may meet me.”

“What are you?” I breathed, earning a whinny from the horse that sounded suspiciously like laughter.

“A horse.” The horse responded, eyes glittering as our gazes met. “Though not one you have ever seen and once you leave, will likely never see again.”

I didn’t know what to say, was there anything even to say?

I must’ve had a puzzled look on my face, the horse spoke through my mind again. “Though I cannot tell you how or even why, I am here to grant you one wish.” The horse took a breath. “As long as it causes no harm to others, you may have one thing. Whatever you wish.”

A bump appeared between the horse’s ears, sprouting a winding horn that grew to a foot in length. Glitter cast through the small clearing, floating like fireflies as they surrounded us.

“You’re a unicorn?” I asked, balking in shock.

“That is a name I go by to some, yes.” The horse’s voice had grown louder in my head, ancient and terrible. Part of me wanted to cover my ears, though somewhere in my core I knew it wouldn’t help.

“Now, child, your wish?” It spoke again, eyes seeming to probe into my very soul. Like it knew what I wanted, my greatest desire.

I took a deep breath, clenching my fists and thinking carefully before speaking. “I wish…”

-----



itsjusthayley

Gold

Post Count: 31

RP: 47684

5/02/2022 10:50 am

Designation: Advanced
 
------ Title: The Shortcut ------

 

The sun is out shining brightly, and I can feel the heat of the rays across my face. I just got out of school and started to head home. My mom expects me to be on time for dinner each day. I always take the main drag home, but today I was already running late, so I decided to take the shortcut that the new student talked about during class. I tread carefully down the dirt road as the density of the trees cover the friendly sun, creating a dark and gloomy atmosphere. My heart begins racing and a feeling compells me to continue. I can't stop my feet from walking, it's almost as if they are moving on their own. I turn my head around wanting to go back, but what once was a seemingly ordinary dirt path is now blocked with a thick shield of twisted ivy. I have no choice but to continue into the unknown.

 

Walking cautiously, I keep my eyes peeled for any movement. Vines are hanging down like ropes sent from the sky making it difficult to see. This is not what I expected. The exquisiteness of the bright sunlight couldn't reach the bottom of this forest like place, but somehow life was still able to be sustained. Among the tall lush green plants were bunches of flowers scattered aimlessly, some red and some yellow, but all bunched together like colors on Picasso's palette. Out of the corner of my eye I catch a glimpse of something very different. Turning my head, I'm met with a cluster of piercing blue flowers. Their petals are pulsating every few seconds while the stems sway against the wind. I crouch down towards the unusual flora as it continues giving off its extraordinarily bright and luminous blue glow. Everything becomes deathly silent and I can only focus on the center of the flower. No matter how hard I try, I'm unable to look away. My eyes are permanently fixated on the peculiar specimen. Suddenly, a gust of wind blows the flower out of my sight snapping me out of my daze. I close my eyes making sure not to look at the flower again and try to run, but I immediately fall back down. My head starts getting foggy and I can't concentrate on anything. I lay down on my back, breathing heavily. All I can think about is my mom wondering where I am. The worry she must be feeling not knowing where her daughter is as I begin to cry. I could have taken the path I always did. Why did I go for the shortcut and listen to the new kid in school? Overwhelmed, I close my eyes and eventually drift to sleep. 

 

The smell of fruit permeates my nostrils, waking me up from my slumber. Looking around, I realize that forest was not the same. Now there's no shadows or darkness. Instead, imperial light pokes through the leaves of the canopies making them almost transparent. Following, are more rays of light shimmering in seams of gold kissing the dirt ground. Like the glow you see at heaven’s gate, it chases the shadows and pours itself immensely into the corners where darkness once stalked. It seems like a place now, where no evil could lie. Butterflies hovering above the warm ground, and trees that once haunted me, now sheathed with a copious amount of colorful fruit. I reach out my hand and pick the brightest one I can see. Biting into it, the flavors engulf my mouth tasting sweeter than the ripest watermelon. 


A single monarch butterfly strays from the crowd and lands on my hand barely able to move another muscle. I squeeze some juice from the unknown fruit into my hand and watch as the lone soldier like creature crawls over and gracefully takes a few sips. Its antennas perk up eagerly after finishing all the juice in my hand and begins slowly batting its wings once again. Flying off my hand, it continues down the path until it suddenly stops and flies back towards me. Seeming as though it wants me to follow, I get up and trail behind the friendly insect. After a few minutes I came face to face with a shield of twisted ivy. The same shield that entrapped me at the beginning of this ordeal. This time though, sunlight is able to peek through small cracks. Taking a big breath, I push on one of the ivy vines breaking it with ease and eventually make a hole big enough to crawl though.

After reaching the other side, I realize that I'm met with what I walked away from. The school standing out like a sore thumb on top of the hill in front of me. I turn around to see the ivy wall gone and in its place, the same ordinary shortcut path that the new student at school had talked about. Staring for a few moments, my heart begins to pound and a feeling compells me to walk down the dirt path once again. 

The summer breeze stops. A hand places itself on my shoulder. I turn my head slowly and see the new kid from school. He crouches down and sinisterly whispers in my ear,

“you’re already late…what’s one more go?” 

 

------ END ------

•⭑• My Stable | Breeding Grounds | Sales Pen •⭑•

"no rain, no flowers"



Fluffy Horror

Platinum

Post Count: 100

RP: 218665

5/08/2022 11:37 am

DELETE, reposting below, I forgot to give my story a title!

Edited 1 times




Fluffy Horror

Platinum

Post Count: 100

RP: 218665

5/08/2022 8:17 pm

Designation: Advanced

Title: The Forbidden Garden


---


My Grandmother had warned me.


I remember the many hours I spent as a child on her sitting room floor, gazing up at her in awe as her weathered hands wove cloth and her wise tongue wove stories.

 

Her tales had scared and intrigued me in equal measure- tales of the old country, which had never fully been domesticated by human hand, a place of wild green moors and dark forests so old the trees couldn’t remember their own names. You might go for your morning stroll and slip through a crack somewhere, wind up in a strange land, and who knows when you would find your way back- it might be scarcely a moment later, it might be come suppertime, or it might be a hundred years!


“Beware the Fair Folk, child. If you should find yourself wandering their lands, you’d best find your way back out as soon as possible. Be polite, but do not accept any gifts or invitations unless they are given freely. Do not consume the food or drink. Leave nothing behind that you cannot stand to lose, and take nothing with you.”


My mother had never approved. “You’re scaring them, Ma! Enough with your fanciful tales," she would say as she collected us for supper. “They’re not just tales! I got lost myself once, you know.” She would wink at me as mother rolled her eyes, and I believed her.


One day, when I was twelve years old, she passed away. That was ten years ago. I hadn’t thought about her stories much since- at least, not until now.


Not until I got lost.


I’m not quite sure how it happened. I was taking my new puppy (a retriever, young and bright and incorrigible) for a walk by the riverbank, when somehow, his leash snapped, and he was off like a bolt of lightning.


“Baxter! Come!” I called, but it was no use- he had his taste of freedom, and he was determined to enjoy it for as long as it was still his. He charged off the path and down the bank towards the river, vanishing in a patch of briar. Fearful (for it was Spring so the river was flowing fast, and he was so small), I charged after him, heedless of my own safety. I tried to ford the tangled, thorny patch, but it was no use- going through was not an option.


Muttering a few choice words, I dropped to my hands and knees, crawling through the underbrush, following the path my pup had taken.


When I emerged, filthy and covered in scratches, it wasn’t the river I saw.


My mouth opened to call for my wayward hound again, but the sound died in my throat as I took in my surroundings.


I was in the most beautiful garden. Row upon row of gigantic flowers, towering as tall as my head, stretched as far as the eye could see. They ran the spectrum, from colours I’d seen in nature to ones I hadn’t, all the way to colours I was sure I’d never seen in my entire life- hues I couldn’t even put a name to. Each petal was perfect, curated, and glistened with morning dew. The light was bright, as though it was high noon, but I couldn’t see the sun in the sky anywhere I looked.


The scents that wafted into my nostrils were delicious, heady and wild and tempting. An urge built inside of me to reach out and touch one of the leaves, like an itch that grew and grew. I slowly extended my hand…


Until the sharp yelp of my dog startled me out of whatever reverie I’d been in. Snatching my hand away as though I’d been burned, I shoved both into my pockets, firmly locking them there as I hurried in the direction I’d heard the sound.


The path twisted and turned, seeming to follow no rhyme or reason, until I felt sick to my stomach, almost as if I’d been spinning in circles. I remembered my Grandmother’s stories- perhaps I had been.


Only the continued yips of little Baxter drew me on, until, at last, I stumbled into a clearing. There he was, curled up in a patch of grass that shouldn’t be that shade of blue, shivering in terror. I automatically scooped him up in my arms, muttering soothing platitudes as he burrowed his way into my jacket. After getting him settled, I at last had the courage to face what had scared him so.

 

I sucked in a breath as my eyes slowly raised, taking in the sight before me.


She was as white as the full moon on new snow, and looked just as delicate. Her mane and tail were soft like clouds, and were woven with flowers of every colour, shape, and size. Her eyes were the strangest thing about her- a shade of vibrant green that I’d never seen on a horse. She was small and finely boned, looking rather like the Arabian I’d seen once at a country fair. Staring at her directly, she was the most beautiful creature I’d ever seen.


I looked away, remembering my manners, and out of the corner of my eye, I could swear I saw the glimmer of a horn on her brow- but only when I didn’t look at her directly.


“I’m sorry! Sorry if he bothered you. We… We’re lost.” I blurted out, risking looking at her again from underneath my lashes. She shook her head slightly, and I could swear that she looked amused.


“We didn’t mean to intrude upon your garden. We’ll just be… Leaving.” I risked, and turned to leave, only to find that we were ringed by flowers, and the path I’d taken had seemingly vanished.


“Not my garden.” A voice like silver bells rung from behind me. “Leaving would be best. You don’t belong here, and you shouldn’t be here when the master of this garden gets back.” She sounded careless and unhurried, and I dared to look at her again.


“Uhm. The path…” The words hung in the air between us as I lamely trailed off, staring at her hooves. Looking into her eyes for too long made my head hurt.


“Yes. You’d best find it.” Her tone of voice told me that she knew my predicament, and was just waiting for me to ask.


“I… We’re lost. Can you please help us get home?”


The flowers waved in the breeze as the time stretched out between us. I realized another reason why this garden unnerved me so- there were no birds.

 

“What will you offer in return?” The question returned, gently, reminding me of my Grandmother’s warnings. Broken from my stupor, I rummaged dumbly through my pockets, hoping, praying that I had something.


I pulled a plastic bag free and stared at the bag of cheese. My dog’s favourite treat, broken off pieces of a block of cheddar were always an easy thing to carry around for bribery. “Do you… Like cheese? You can have this cheese.” It was a stupid, stupid offer, but it was all I had.


She stepped forward, and her hooves made no sound. The grass didn’t even bend under her weight. With shaking hands, I dumped the cheese from the bag into one of my palms, and offered it to her. I jumped as her nose snuffled into my palm, as soft as velvet.


Delicately, the creature lipped up the offering, chewing and swallowing. “Not usually what people offer to trade. But I shall make an exception, this time. Follow me, and do not take your eyes off of my tail.”


With that, she turned, and a path opened before her as she strode confidently off. Gaping for a brief moment, I pulled myself together, and stumbled on her heels, staying as close as I dared.


I followed the swaying silver strands as we walked, turning this way and that. I heard noises, strange sounds, almost like voices all around me, calling me, asking me to stay a while. I did my best to ignore them, focusing on her tail, but the more we walked, the stronger the urge grew to follow those voices. What’s the worst that could happen, if I stayed, just for a short time? The garden was so peaceful, so inviting. Perhaps just a short nap… No. I shook the cobwebs from my mind once more, and our journey resumed.


Just when I thought I could bear it no longer, she stopped. “Here you are. Best be on your way. Don’t look back.” I looked up gratefully to thank her, and my sight landed on a brilliant purple rose. So beautiful…

 


I didn’t realize I’d moved to pluck it until she stepped close, pressing her flank to my side. Suddenly, the flower didn’t look so inviting. I stared at it, free from my reverie, and noticed a detail that I hadn’t seen before. The petals rather resembled a human face, frozen in despair. I felt sick to my stomach.


“Go. Now.” She bade me. I nodded mutely. “Thank you.” I whispered as I wrenched my gaze away from the flower, turning to face the giant briar patch that loomed before me. There was a tunnel, rather like the one I’d followed to get here, only bigger, large enough that I could walk through easily.


I did so, and as she had warned me, I didn’t look back.


The brambles grew tighter and tighter, until I had to drop to my hands and knees and crawl again. Next thing I knew, I was emerging next to the familiar river path. I looked around me frantically. No flowers, and there was the sun, just over the horizon. It was still morning. I sighed with relief.


Unzipping my jacket to peer in at my charge, Baxter looked up at me rather guiltily. “You are one lucky dog.” I breathed. He wriggled and squirmed up to give me kisses. “Okay, enough adventure for one morning. We’re going home.”


As I headed back, I looked over my shoulder once more. There was the path and the river. No flowers, no bramble patch.


I looked skyward and thanked my Grandmother. I would have to visit her grave after work today.


I definitely wasn’t going to bring any flowers.




DeathKnell

Platinum

Post Count: 21

RP: 30982

5/08/2022 11:31 pm

Designation: novice
Title: The Not Horse

 

I stumble, again. I feel every scrape among my body burn, and sweat gently drip down my brow. Where am I? How did this happen? Last I could remember I was out on my usual daily walk. I took the path every single day, it was my routine, I probably could've walked it blindfolded and backwards. But today I tripped. Unfortunately, I tripped along the portion that lines with a bit of a drop down the hillside. I'm pretty confident I lived, and pretty confident this is just some super special pretty place at the bottom of it.

Nobody had gone down it as far as locals said, after all. It's a small town I live in, where everyone knows everyone, and no rock goes unturned, so to speak. The bottom of the hill was just forest. Nothing different. The same forest you've probably explored yourself. Trees. Rocks. Dirt. Bugs. Snakes. The usual. The obvious. Right?

I vaguely recall my fall anyway. It was a stumble, scrapes, dirt, and up I went. Right? I remember seeing a little cave, and there's a story about the cave that nobody could fully confirm was there anyway. Legend has it if you find it and make your way through it, you'll find secrets. But nobody ever went further than that. Bad secrets? Curses? The secret to eternal life? No idea, never really cared enough either. But hey, here we are. I went into it and through it. And then i blacked out because that last step looked like a step into lush grass. I saw flowers blooming well beyond my height. Grass so soft and overgrown I wouldn't have minded if that was the last place I were to lay my head, truthfully. But I took that step, everything went black, and here we are. Again.

Funny how that works. Think you figured it out, realize you didn't. Truly on brand for my kind of lack - or lack thereof. I make my way through some of the foliage. Pushing past velvety leaves the size of my head, flowers so big and so bright that it sparks a gentle worry of bees. Giant bees. Could those be a thing? Probably not, it isn't like I went to another realm. I think. I'm not sure which way is which. But I do take every sight in. I've never seen such vivid colors. Think forest, but everything was made for giants. Human size is the normal size of things down here. I feel like I'm in Honey I Shrunk the Kids. I wander, aimlessly.

I notice the further I wander, the less my scrapes hurt. The less I sweat. The less I feel lost. I am lost. Oh am I so lost. The entire time through I don't hear a single animal. I don't see a single insect. Just overgrowth. I push through some large leaves, and suddenly see a glimmering pool of water. The water is so clear that after a few moments I have to look away. I swear I saw my entire life through the reflection of the water. Start to finish, in mere seconds. A tingle runs up my spine, dancing it's way to brain. I look up. And boy did I regret looking up from the water and surrounding growth.

The sight froze me. The feeling of dread and regret hit me like someone just punched me in the gut. The beast stood there. It looked like a horse...but not. It had four legs, hooves, fur, similar body type, checks off all the "yeah that's a horse" boxes. But something told me it wasn't. It's black dull coat was patchy...mangy, almost. It's eyes cloudy and almost oozy from what I could see. I hoped with every fiber of my being it's glare in my direction was not it staring me down. That cloudy of an eye couldn't possibly see me, right? It took a broken step toward me. It moved so mechanical. Something was not right. One. Two. Three.

It was in the water now. It's long, matted tail floating behind it like a sad party streamer. The more it moved toward me, the more frozen I felt. I couldn't move. I could just watch. No matter how hard I tried no part of my body would budge. If breathing wasn't so thoughtless and natural, I've a feeling I would've stopped doing even that. The water blackened around the beast. And suddenly in its reflection horrors played out. Every terrible thing I feared, there it was. As if I was watching it on TV. It finally reached me at the waters edge.

It towered over me. It's hot breath felt like it was melting my flesh right off my bones. The smell was terrible, too. It made me wish I was about to melt if I'm being honest. Just to get away from that smell. It's eyes were oozing now that I could see it up close. And through the cloudiness of them I could see it studying me. The tiniest movement in it's eyes struck a lifetime of dread upon my body.

I thought horses were magical? Girls best friend. Every kids dream. What the hell was this, then? The moment felt never ending. I still couldn't move, and at this point I was just waiting for it to happen. I was not going to make it out alive. Absolutely no way. This wasn't a gentle soul. This wasn't anything of this world. Truly, I understood now why everyone said the tales were just tales and to never actually seek the cave, or go to the bottom of the hillside. Someone had to know, right?

Suddenly I'm freezing. My eyes snap open. I thought they were open? I guess not. At least not a moment ago. I'm laying in a familiar place. Above I hear whirring. A helicopter. My nose is bleeding, and upon trying to move I feel aching all over. I run my right hand across my face and look. Blood. My blood.

Flash forward to a week later. I'm still in the hospital. A search party found me. My eyesight is deteriorating by the day. They said I took a fall and they think I hit my head off the rock slab I was near when they found me. Something about it burst blood vessels, but they can't get my eyes to stop oozing, and they don't know why. I tried to tell them about the place I was in. The beautiful, too good to be true place. And that thing. That horse, the not horse horse, rather.

They of course said I obviously hit my head pretty hard, and had me evaluated by a psychologist. Nobody believes me. I guess they think I am just insane. That I'm trying to come up with an answer for my new eye problems to make myself feel less bad about it. But I know what I saw. I know what did this to me. I know.

The funny thing is this is exactly where I was to be one week ago. Though only because I was going to come by the hospital at the end of my walk to pick up some things from an old family friend. She had just passed but I was to come get her journal. Evidently she was very adamant I receive it, read it, and don't let anyone else even as much as look at it on the inside. Ironic, right? I can barely see now. But yeah, let me read it without help. Sure.

She was the one who told me never to enter the cave. I can only assume this is her journal of crazy, old age ramblings. I guess I'll never know. I'm just hoping to get out of here soon. At least, get out alive. She was found in a similar fashion but didn't last more than twelve days. They still don't have an answer, just keep saying old age. But she also had the eye problems, and her last days spent telling crazy stories I've been told are similar to my own now. I can only hope for a better outcome, the following days will tell.

Maybe one of the nurses will be kind enough to read the journal to me, after all, she had one write the journal for her in the final days. Funny enough, the nurse quit the day after Marnie's passing. Just said the job was too much, she needed something different. She left town, too. Nobody's heard from her or knows where she went. Something is going on, I don't know what. I hope I have the time to figure it out.

If you're reading this, I'm sorry. It's on you now to take the adventure and warn others. Maybe you'll be strong enough to face the beast without being harmed. It has answers, you know. All the answers. Good and bad. You cannot have one without the other. I promise the sights you see before the encounter are worth it anyway. The vivid flowers the size of a man, the grass so tall but soft no blanket could ever compare. It's worth it even if you meet a similar fate. It's all so worth it.         - x



ERA

Moderator

Post Count: 49

RP: 198161

5/08/2022 11:56 pm

Novice

 

“Don’t Stray From the Path”

 

I was always warned to not stray from the meticulously maintained path that went through the ancient oak trees that led into our small coastal town, especially at night. There were several signs warning people, post every 10 trees or so. There were many tales of people who failed to follow the one simple rule, and many were never seen again, and those who were?  Well, they never spoke again. The light had seemed to disappear from their once bright, and friendly eyes. Whenever I pass someone who has returned, all I see is a blank, distracted haze, almost as if they are in a trance. Tales of dark, terrifying things in the woods had been passed down from generation to generation, families doing everything they could to keep their loved ones from venturing into the unknown. The light had seemed to disappear from their once bright, and friendly eyes. Whenever I pass someone who has returned, all I see is a blank, distracted haze, almost as if they are in a trance.

 

However, I was always the defiant one. Blaze my own path if you will, and one day I did just that. The regular path always seemed to be the long way into town, and frankly, who doesn’t love a shortcut? I waited until the early morning hours, the sun just beginning to crest the horizon, illuminating the dense fog that hung low in the trees. With my flashlight handy, I began my adventure. The branches were thick, the vines weaving in and out of the dense, overgrown branches, doing everything in their power to stop me. I trudged on, mumbling under my breath as a particularly sharp branch snagged my favorite sweatshirt, tearing a small piece of cloth, leaving it to hang as some sort of ominous warning to others who might dare to follow. 

 

After what seemed like hours walking in circles (or had it been merely minutes? Time didn’t seem to feel real anymore), the thick overgrowth seemed to gradually become thinner and thinner, and these strange flowers began to appear. In all my years walking the path, I had never seen such strange blooms. Their color was indescribable, a mixture of crimson, indigo, and burgundy. And their smell? The most sweet, enticing scent I have ever smelt. In the distance, I could hear the faint sound of what I believed to be running water, which HAD to mean I was near the river that fed into the ocean. Oh boy, was I wrong..

 

Having been lost in my thoughts, I hadn’t seen the mangled root of a tree in front of me, and silly ol clumsy me tripped right over. Everything went black. 

 

I was awoken by the tickling sensation of something soft brushing against my face - I had tried to brush it off in my dazed state, but it was persistent. Finally being able to open my eyes, I was greeted by the strangest looking horse I had ever seen. It’s hide was the most stunning shade of yellow that melted into a deep forest green at its knees, and several intricate vines were draped and twisted in it’s long, flowing mane. It seemed stunned that I had awoken, and jerked its head backwards, causing me to jump as well. 

 

I nervously glanced around, and soon saw I was in a meadow full of plants and flowers, nothing like  I had ever seen before. The colors, smells, sights, simply indescribable. I looked back at the mysterious horse, and it lowered its great head, almost in a greeting. Then suddenly - it spoke. “I’ve been waiting for you.”

 

Its been 40 years now, and nobody has seen the girl since she ventured into the woods. Several search parties turned up nothing. And this kids, is why we dont stray from the path.

 

 


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