The Haunted Cottage #1

There is a place somewhere on earth, in the farthermost reaches of a labyrinth of trees. An ancient cottage, old as the forest itself, and possessed by creatures of old – spiteful creatures that were forsaken by man. It is said that once the door slams shut behind you, it is all over. Destined to join the trapped souls inside and never to see the light of day again.

Inside the cottage, a woman moves closer to the door. Underneath her feet creaks the old floorboards, and maybe it’s her frightened mind playing tricks on her, but it feels as if the “creaks” are waves of laughter. Shivers start to run down her spine, and her mind is brought back to the monster delving deep inside the cottage. She bites her lip roughly in bold determination, causing blood to run down her jaw and drop gently onto the floor. The woman did not notice it, but as soon as her eyes had passed over the stain of blood, it vanished into the mouth of the beast. She finally reaches the door and allows a sigh of relief to escape her bloodied mouth, before putting her hand onto the handle. Then suddenly she feels a warm breath tickle her neck, and she manages but a scream before being dragged back into the darkness.

The sound of rain splattering the roof mingles with that of the woman’s scream – giving rise to a twisted cacophony as the pain in her voice is coated by the rhythmic tapping of heavy rainfall.

Meanwhile, a young man wanders the muddy road. His legs are at the point of caving in, and his stomach growls at him angrily. It is with mere force of will that he manages to stay on his feet. The young man tries to focus on his surroundings instead of on his drained body. “Drip” says the rain, and “Aaah” says a… woman’s voice? He fixes his ears to the sound of the horrendous discord. Could it be the wind perchance? Again that sound, and louder this time. He moves off-path and into the woods. “AAAAAH” No doubts this time. He moves into a sprint, ignoring his state of exertion, and ignoring even the branches as they slap his face violently. He arrives in front of a wooden structure – panting heavily and his mind alert, but there is no screaming anymore. It is almost quiet. Even the heavy rainfall has subsided to a quiet drizzle. He lets his hands rest on his knees, catching his breath and collecting his thoughts. This eerie serenity speaks of danger… His eyes drift to the wooden cottage – the answer to his worries should be inside. Still, it baffles him how someone could live inside that ancient thing. The cottage seems to be made of solid oak, but even oak does not last forever, and it seems to him that the cottage has stood here for forever… it seems almost part of the forest. The young man clenches his fists and moves to knock on the door whilst pressing down the gulp in his throat. The door is slick with water, and he moves his hand across the creases in the door before, at last, tapping the door gently with his fist.

To be continued…

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