I lived in a grey house in Middle Of Nowhere, Oregon for the early years of my life; and I say "early years" because the word "childhood" just doesn't seem to roll off my tongue right anymore. You see, between the ages of 12 and 15, I lived there for good reason. It was a nice house, good area, affordable for my parents, and it was relatively tranquil and quiet. It may have seemed good then, but they made a mistake that they were sure to regret for the rest of their lives. The downfall was this: I had no neighbours, no kids that I could be friends with at all, and there was rarely anything interesting around. It's hard for me to remember some small details because it was a while ago now, but luckily, people tend to remember the most traumatic and painful experiences in life. Everything that happened (I call them the "dark days") started when I was 15 and decided to be adventurous and explore the forest path beside the house.
I still remember looking upon the path, immediately looking back to the red front door of the house to make sure my parents weren't watching, and going to venture through the woods. I walked to the edge of the roots and stared into the dark, lifeless soul of the elms before continuing on, and after the courage welled up inside of me, I ran down the rugged path. Running through the forest, it felt like I was running through a patch of cold air the entire time. It was like when there's air conditioning in one room, and you get that sudden blast of cold as soon as you walk into it. There was an ominous fog that seemingly hovered above the ground, and I couldn't shake the feeling that someone was watching me. I slowed to a jog, even slower to a walk, then a halt; I was lost. There was so much fog, I could barely see, and it felt like something was closing in on me, watching me; hunting me. I was panicking and I needed to calm down, so I frantically looked for footsteps, and I remember being so relieved to have found them I could've cried.
I followed them as far as I could until the fog started to clear, and I could find my way out. I reached the edge of the tree line and I could finally see the light of day again, but then I realized something was off. I looked around and couldn't see my house anywhere, but there was another house, and it must've been really old because it was falling apart. The roof was almost bare, the front door was wide open, and the paint was peeling off the walls. I walked around and thought I must've made a wrong turn somewhere on the way, but I couldn't see my house, or anything familiar anywhere. The only thing I could think of at that time was, "What if the footsteps I followed weren't mine?", and, "If they weren't, who's were they?". I couldn't believe what was happening. I contemplated going back through the forest, but I couldn't bring myself to go through it again, so I decided to walk around to the dirt road and go around. Finally after 45 minutes of walking, I saw my house and ran the rest of the way home. How is it possible that I went that far through the forest? It went by so fast... oh well, I decided to be happy that I was safe at home rather than dwelling on what happened.
I walked inside the house and as usual, my parents asked me where I went; I said I went for a walk. I ate dinner and proceeded to go on my computer to surf the internet and listen to music. The internet at that house was horrible, but providing the location, it was understandable. When I was surfing the internet, the internet would completely turn off and on at random times though; it was weird. And also at times, the screen would also flash unusual colours, turn negative, and go black to red randomly. I got tired of the horrible internet, and went to bed while listening to music. I suddenly woke up in a cold sweat in the middle of the night to a pitch black room, with music playing in the background like a surrounding white noise. I got up and turned the music up a bit before I heard something weird outside. I wiped the thick condensation off my window, and looked towards the tree line only to see the trees blowing in the wind, making the hollow noise of a thousand dead symphonies, but nothing else noticeable. I shut my window, went back to bed and tried to go to sleep, but I couldn't get rid of the feeling I was being watched, the same thing I felt in the forest that day. I put my covers over my head and shut the world out, and finally went back to sleep.
I woke up to the sound of feet running across the hardwood floors, and all of the sudden my door swung open and my mom said, "Get up, you have to see this," with the most horrified look on her face. As you can guess, I was very confused at this sudden change of pace, so I slipped on my pyjamas and ran downstairs to where my parents were standing. They were both looking at the door from the outside, with a vigorous intent that made me curious to see what it was. I walked outside through the side door and went around to see that there was a huge, black "X" painted onto the red door. It was still slightly wet, and the paint dripped down the door slightly. My parents looked at me and asked if I'd seen anyone around the house lately, and of course, I hadn't, so I said no. My dad called the nearest painter to get the door painted over, and he came relatively quickly. In half an hour he was there, and in another half hour he was gone. The door was painted over with white, and I guess it was a good change because the red door had never really matched the house before, so I didn't worry about it. I went back inside and played video games for the rest of the day because I had nothing else to do, and as if I was going to go back to the forest. That thought seemed to resonate in my mind though, what happened to that house? Who lived there? How did I not know it was there for the 4 years I lived there? I wanted answers, but it's too far away, and honestly, I was scared of it for some reason. I went to bed that night thinking of the forest and the house because I was strangely intrigued, and I guess after all, what else is there to do around here?
It wasn't too much of a shock that I woke up around 3 a.m. again that early morning, and couldn't go back to sleep. This time, my music was off, and the only audible noises were the hearkened cries of the woods. They seemed to be louder than ever, and my ears couldn't shut out their noises despite my efforts. I got up and looked outside to a big wind storm knocking the most dead and decayed trees over, but leaving the strongest to make their hollow, whistling cries. I got the feeling I was being watched again, so I looked around the tree line and my eyes were drawn to the very edge of the tree line, near my house, where I saw someone (possibly a girl?) staring up at my window, looking right into my eyes. I looked closer and saw it was a young girl with black hair, wearing a small white dress with blue eyes that seemed to glow in the moonlight, and she was just standing there; not even affected by the wind. I sprinted downstairs, threw the door open, and ran outside towards where I saw her, but she wasn't there. I looked around at all edges of the tree line and I saw her, she was more vulnerable than before, yet she still stood there, just staring at me. When I started to awkwardly walk towards her, she turned around and ran into the forest; I decided to chase her. The forest was way darker than I expected, and it was even scarier than before, but I wanted answers, and she was too suspicious.
She ran through the trees so fast, it was hard for me to catch her, and the way she treaded the path made it seem like she knew it very well. She weaved between trees and dodged the branches that slowed me down, making it even harder to catch her, and behind me I could hear trees falling, but that couldn't slow me down. I fell over a big tree branch, and before I could regain to my feet, we were at the clearing. I looked towards the middle and saw the girl walking to the old house that was eerily illuminated in the moonlight. Before she got there, she turned around and said softly "Lorne, I have something to show you..." Her voice was very frail, and it seemed to echo and resonate throughout the entire forest. "How do you know my name?!" I yelled, but of course, she didn't answer. I knew I shouldn't have gone this far, but there was something about her that made me curious about what she was doing here.
She lead me into the house, and there was this really weird feeling about it... like there was someone else there, or she had been watching me again. I walked around the creaky, old house searching for a clue as to where the girl was, and I can still remember how weird the air felt. It was freezing, but room temperature at the same time. I was sweating, but I had goosebumps and I was shivering at the same time. There were old, ragged child's dolls scattered on the floor, and a small book in the middle of the floor. I picked it up right as I caught sight of the girl walking downstairs towards the basement. I ran after her, but as I stepped down the stairs, all I can remember is me falling through, and then nothing.
I woke up to daylight the next morning in the middle of the field, still with the little black book in my hands, but no recollection of what happened. I got up, still dazed and confused, and looked around to see that the field was completely empty; even the house was gone. Despite how confused I was, I was more scared and I decided to go back home the same way I went before. I eventually got back to the house, and I felt so relieved; until I saw it. I walked to the front of the house to see that the new white front door was painted red again. I went inside and walked upstairs to ask my parents if they already re-painted it, but they were as confused as I was. They also asked me where I went, and I told them I must've been sleepwalking because I woke up outside. When they went to investigate the door, I went to the bathroom to have a shower. When I went to take my shirt off in the bathroom, I noticed that it was mostly covered in a dark red substance. I figured it was blood, but I felt that it was still wet, and it was definitely paint; I quickly looked in the mirror to see that there was paint on my face too. I remember thinking so many questions, and being so confused about what happened that I just fell to the floor and cried.
I regained composure and decided to pretend nothing happened, that the day before would just wash away like the water in the shower. The rest of the day, I sat on my bed and tried to contemplate what happened the night before, then I remembered the book. Where was it? Did I leave it on the field? I frantically searched my room, and I found it in the back pocket of my jeans, just as I remembered it. I opened it up to the first page where there was a name written in black ink, from what I could tell, it said "Lorna Brookheart" and found a strange familiarity that we had such similar names. I flipped through the pages, and there was nothing but random letters and scribbles. Some pages there were random words and pictures, but nothing I could make sense of until the last page.
The last page had a drawing of a red door with a giant black "X" painted on it and underneath the picture, she wrote "He came to my house last night. I'm next, and it's too late to stop him." I dropped the book to the floor in a state of shock, and just sat back on my bed and thought about everything that's happened. Was that house even real? I decided I would go ask my parents about it, to tell if I'm going crazy or not. I walked to the front of the house to find them outside, and I came out with it. I asked, "Is there any other houses or clearings near here?" and they looked at me quizzically before telling me that there isn't. At this point, I realized I must be going crazy. There's no way I just imagined this place. I decided to walk the way around the forest and look for the clearing, but to my dismay, after walking for an hour and a half; there was not one clearing. Nothing. I got back home by night time, and I just sat in my room for the rest of the night pondering the possibilities of what happened. I couldn't think of anything reasonably possible other than, "I'm going insane." I went to sleep that night knowing that I would surely wake up in the middle of the night to something strange happening, and I was scared for what (or who) would come.
To my surprise, I woke up, and from what I could recall, I didn't wake up at all in between. I was ecstatic because I knew it was over, and I was okay; nothing happened. I looked outside my bedroom window, and there was nothing unusual for once! I went on my computer to see what time it was, figuring it was morning, but it was 6:00 p.m. Now the confusion came back. "How is it that I had slept all day? Something's wrong here." I walked around the house but I couldn't find my parents anywhere, so I went outside to look for them. I ran around to the backyard where I used to play soccer, the side, then the front to see something unnervingly familiar.
Once again, the black "X" was painted on the red door, and I couldn't help but feel that that was why my parents weren't home… that, and the fact that their car was still in the driveway. I had lost all hope as to where my loved ones were, so I decided to walk through the forest, and for once, I wasn't scared. I felt strangely desensitized and emotionless as I walked through the ominously dense forest, I knew I was being watched but I wasn't scared at all. I walked for a while, and I was shocked to see the house in the middle of the field again, but it wasn't in a field anymore; it was the middle of the forest. I was frozen for a second, but I ran to it as soon as I snapped out of it. It was like I was drawn to it for some reason, and I couldn't stay away from it. When I approached the house, there was something different about it. The door wasn't red anymore, and there was a giant tree growing through the middle of the house growing through the roof. I walked to the porch and started to remember that night: me falling through the stairs and getting knocked unconscious, walking back home and painting the door red, walking back to the field where I would fall asleep. I went to step inside, but before I could, the girl came and reached for my hand. She looked as creepy as she did that night, her eyes sunken into her skull, and she was completely pale; but I still grabbed her hand. She told me her name was Lorna and that she has something for me again. She lead me up the stairs to an attic with a big stained glass window, and walked over to the master closet. I got nervous for the first time since the night before when she went to open it... and it was for good reason; I know now, after she opened the door.
My mom and dad spilled out of the stained wood one-by-one, piece-by-piece and I immediately had flashbacks of waking up in the middle of the night. I remembered waking up, grabbing the fire axe and slowly walking into my parents room while they were sleeping. I must've been sleeping too because I don't remember it, but I was too quick. They didn't hear me coming, but before I knew it, they were screaming helplessly as I buried the sharp axe into their delicate throats. Blood sprayed everywhere, on the bed, the ceiling, my clothes, blood pooled around their bodies as I cut them into pieces. I remember the terror in their eyes as I dug the axe into their soaking wet flesh and cut through hard bones, until the terror was gone when their bodies went limp with lifelessness. I clearly remember folding up the blanket with them in it, and bringing it through the forest during the massive wind storm. I could feel the blood dripping through the blankets and the trees reached towards me as if they were congratulating me, helping me carry out this dreadful yet beautiful task; and as the wind blew through the woods, it felt like they were cheering their eerily familiar cry.
This time, I knew it was for me. I brought them back into this house where their final resting place would be, and then went back to paint the "X" on the door. I remember the night in the field when I was unconscious, there were people whispering to me. They were whispering to tell me to do things; things I had no intention in doing, but I knew I had to do. I'm sitting there staring at my parents' bodies, still dripping blood, and I don't feel a single thing. I ask her why she made me do it, and she said, "I didn't, you did it on your own", and that's when I thought about the diary. I asked her if her name was Lorna, and she said yes. I asked what she meant in her diary, why the last page said she was next and that she was too late, but she didn't say anything. She got up and said, "Now it's time for me to go," and I sat over beside my parents and just looked at them. I sat beside their decaying, foul guts and I didn't feel any emotion. I knew this wasn't over, but when I walked outside the house to look for Lorna, she was gone without a trace; and the only sign of life - or death, rather - was a trail of my parents' blood leading to the house from the wretched path that brought me here.
Now I sit here beside the decaying, bloody remains of dismembered people I used to love, and as I scrawl these words into the tattered pages of the tiny black diary that Lorna left me with; I know why I'm here. These are the Chronicles Of Woe, and this is my story. Everything I've done was for a reason. I was next, and I couldn't stop what happened. She led me into her trap, and she cursed me and the forest. I'm stuck here now, and I know I can't leave, but I will. I will find a way to destroy this curse, and I will protect these woods until I can be set free. You see, as the water of life drops from the dead branches of time, and as it shatters to dust on the ground, I realize I must wait forever for these flowers to bloom.
I've waited for years for her to come back, but she's gone, and so is everything I loved; she took them away from me for her own desires. Now, I must wait for the flowers to consume the dead lifestream, but the flowers will never bloom, for they were cursed by the one that brought me here. I have to wait for them to bloom, they must bloom... I would've shown you the world how it was through my eyes, but it didn't work that way. Now, I'll spend the rest of my days laughing and singing songs to the birds and trees; and these days will never end. In here, night swallows the sun, and all life has faded away now that I'm locked away in the heart of these cursed woods. Once you are here, you can't leave.