Let me tell you something that happened to me a few years ago, about a "friend" that I met in the woods, not far from where I used to live...
It all started on a Saturday, late afternoon, or was it in the evening? In any case, it happened on that day. I had run out of the house crying because my overly religious mother had struck me again, telling me that I was a "devil child". I didn't do anything terribly sinful, all I did was ask if I could have a laptop for school. But then again, she had always thought that electronic devices, especially the new ones, were considered as being "tools of Satan", and all because she kept hearing bad things connected to the use of technology. I didn't even own an iPhone because of it.
I had run for as long as I could until I was far enough from the house, yet I continued to cry until my tears ran dry. I was getting sick and tired of living with an unstable Christian fundamentalist mother who was cold and abusive, and a father who was barely at home and too busy to take notice. If I had a choice, I would have left my home in an instance. But as I was a painfully shy thirteen year old girl at that time, that wasn't possible. And to make matters worse, I had no friends to consult all my problems to back then. Even the school counselors weren't all that helpful.
As I continued to walk along the long dusty road, I heard voices up ahead coming closer and closer to where I stood. When I looked up, wiping the old tears from my eyes, I froze in terror. A group of older boys, clearly drunk, came stumbling over to my direction, talking loudly as though they were announcing themselves to the world, oblivious of my presence. Unsure of what to do, I turned back and started back home with as much stealth as possible, trying hard not to make my presence noticed.
"Hey there cutie-pie! Wanna come and hang out with us?"
I froze for a second before I mustered enough courage to turn round to see the boys staring straight at me, as they grinned and eyed me with such distasteful lust. It didn't take long for me to realize what their intentions were. Ignoring their offer, I turned back and continued to walk away with haste.
"Aww, don't leave! We just wanna have a little fun with ya," one of them said as they hurried after me. It only made me walk faster. I guess they realized that I wasn't going to stop, for the group then immediately chased after me.
As I noticed them catching up to me, I knew I wouldn't make it back home in time. So, left with little options, I ran straight into the dark woods, hoping that the trees and the lack of light would slow them down. Unfortunately, it did the same with me.
After I ran blindly through the trees for what seemed like hours, I started to slow down. My eyes at that point started to adjust the darkness, so I was now able to make my way round without bumping into the trees. However, since I have never ventured into the woods before, I knew that it would take some time to find the road that would lead me back home. Even so, I stayed close to this giant Sequoia tree, seeing if any of those boys had followed me. I couldn't hear or see anything. It looked as if my plan had worked and they just gave up and left.
Oh, how wrong I was.
"Ah, there you are! We wondered where you went off to."
I spun quickly to see the same boys standing behind me and had me surrounded, blocking my escape. Regardless, I instantly tried to push past their barrier, only for two of them to grab me tightly and pushed me to the ground. I attempted to scream but a rough hand had quickly covered my mouth, allowing only muffled screams to come out. I then felt hands grab hold of my skirt, pulling them over my face before more hands started to go for my underwear. I struggled as best I could, but they were too strong and had held me down tightly to the ground. The moment I heard the sound of zippers coming down and the rustling of clothes, I knew what was about to take place and closed my eyes tight and hoped it to end soon.
At that moment, something occurred, and it happened so quickly. I couldn't see what was going on, but I felt the hands that had me restrained removed, followed by the boys' screams of terror. I heard slashing sounds, followed by squirts and splashes, which then ended with several objects being dropped to the ground. I lay there for almost a minute or two, then slowly I sat up and arranged my clothes. I then remembered the commotion that occurred earlier, so against my better judgement, I forced myself to look up and see what had occurred. I really wished that I hadn't.
There on the grassy floor, mangled and bloodied, were the lifeless corpses of the boys. It was a horrendous sight to see. They looked as though a lawn mower had run over them, the way that some of the limbs were sliced away from their torso. Yet a couple of their bodies were vertically sliced in half, their organs spilling out from them. Sickened by this grisly scene, I hunched over and vomited on the ground next to the tree until my stomach contents emptied, yet I still continued to retch and heave.
"Are you alright?"
I stopped in the middle of retching and quickly turned round, only to be surprised to see that, crouched down next to me, was a girl. She appeared to have been a few years older than I was, with skin as pale as the moon but with a well toned body, as though she had spent days hiking up mountains and steep hills. Her hair was long and brown like chocolate, yet wild and carefree as a lion's mane, while her clothes looked worn yet still well kept. All in all she would've been quite attractive had it not been for those horrid scars that seem to blemish her perfect skin, and that white mask with a vine design that covered her face. It may have been my imagination, but I could have sworn that her hidden eyes seemed to produce an eerie white and red glow.
The masked girl continued to stare at me, seeming to get impatient. "I said, are you alright?" she asked again, sounding frustrated.
As I stared at her for another minute, I started to cry. Not because I was scared, although I probably should have, but because of the ordeal I had gone through in one day had suddenly caught up to me. Can you honestly blame me? To have been verbally as well as physically abused by my mother, only to nearly get raped by a group of boys and then to find myself surrounded by their mutilated corpses?! Obviously anyone would break down after experiencing something like that!
Overcome with grief and fear, and in desperate need of comfort, I absently flung my arms around the girl and latched onto her, hugging her close as I continued to sob. The girl seemed to tense from this sudden embrace before relaxing herself. It wasn't long before she put her arms around me, patting my back lightly in attempts to comfort me. While it may have seemed like a weak attempt, it was still soothing.
Few minutes later, after I had calmed down, I slowly let go of the girl. It was hard to tell what she was thinking, much less feeling due to the mask that continued to hide her face, but it seemed that she wasn't hostile, despite the massacre that she had caused.
"You feel better now?"
"Y-yes, thank you for asking."
"You're really lucky. Had I not showed, God knows what those guys would've done to you," she said as she looked at the corpses before turning to me. "You really shouldn't be going through these woods by yourself, especially this late in the day. Next time, if you really want to venture out here again, you should go with a friend."
I looked down at the grassy floor, knowing that what I was about to say was not going to be pleasant for me. "I... I don't have any friends."
The girl stared at me, as her mask continued to hide her expressions. And yet, I had a feeling that she was taking pity on my loneliness. It was quite pleasant for me, to see someone take pity on me. Most people would either ignore or take great pleasure in seeing me like this.
About another minute of awkward silence, she spoke again.
"Do you wanna be friends with me then?"
I looked up at her, surprised by her offer. No one had ever asked me that before, and honestly, hearing this offer given to me gave me a mixture of joy and curiosity.
"R-really? You wanna be friends with me?! But... but why? I'm nothing special or anything..."
"You don't have to be special to be friends with someone. You just need to be yourself. Besides, it looks as though you could do with a friend right now." She then stood up and offered me her hand. "So I'll ask again, do you wanna be friends?"
I then looked from her to her hand, all thoughts about the dead boys and the fact that this girl had killed them had gone completely from my mind. With my mind made up, I grasped her hand. "Yes, I do."
She nodded and helped me up to my feet. "Come on, it's getting late. I'd better get you back home before I clean up this mess. If you want, I can meet you outside of the woods tomorrow afternoon." I merely nodded in response to her offer. She then began to lead me away from the massacre.
"Wait! What is your name?" I asked, for I didn't know what to call her.
The girl seemed to pause for a moment, as if pondering about something. For a minute there, I thought that she didn't have a name. But then, she finally told me her name. A name that I would forever remember until the day I die.
"I'm called Nemesis."
For two weeks, after school or during my free times in the weekend, I would go into the woods and meet up with Nemesis, who would often wait beside this tree, just near the outskirts of the woods. And if she wasn't, I would wait instead until she arrived.
It wasn't that hard to find, unless you weren't looking for it. While the tree itself looked like any other trees, up just above eye-level, carved deeply into the tree's bark, was a peculiar design. It was of a pentagram, but it had a circle carved into it followed by an X in the center. Nemesis had carved that into the tree using what she called her "weapon of choice", which was a yo-yo with four blades that were able to retract to her will. That also beared the same symbol. She told me that if she was ever late, I was to wait there until she arrived.
Every time we met, we would then venture further into the woods, into a clearing where a patch of wildflowers grew, with the trees circled around the clearing, leaving a wide open space that allowed the sun to bask its rays of light on the flower petals. It was very beautiful and untainted, almost like a painting. And since nobody ventured here, it became our secret spot.
We didn't do much, most of the times we would just talk. Well... I'd talk while she would listen. I would tell her all about my days at home and school, mostly about all the problems that I've had. It didn't seem to bother her, in fact, she appeared to enjoy my conversations. Though sometimes when we didn't talk, we would either make flower bracelets or just lay side by side among the flowers, enjoying the scenery whilst Nemesis sang a string or nursery rhymes, her favorite being "The Itsy-Bitsy Spider".
I would tell her of all my troubles at school and at home, how my mother would constantly control my life, such as what to wear and what was considered "evil", and how the kids teased me for the way I looked and behaved. Every time she listened, Nemesis would more often than not add her own opinion. She would tell me to ignore what people said about me and that I should become my own independent self, not take orders from others. Well, as some of you could imagine, that was easier said than done.
Funnily enough, I had started to feel braver and more confident of myself. I don't know if it was just being around Nemesis or hearing her advice, but I no longer felt nervous when going to school. It was like I had been a feeble chick huddled inside my shell all my life, only to finally break out of my shell.
Apparently my classmates took notice as well, for they no longer teased me when they passed me by. In fact, a few had even started to talk to me. That didn't mean of course that I wasn't bullied, but I no longer seemed to care about it anymore. I just shrugged them off like a bad cold. Unfortunately, I still had my abusive mother to contend with.
It wasn't long before I started to make friends at school, for the first time in my life. I was so overjoyed that my heart felt like a butterfly that had just burst out of its cocoon. One minute I was a loner and an outcast, next I was part of a group and felt like I belonged! I told Nemesis about my fortune the moment I left school and she was happy for me. But then... she gave me some sad news.
She told me that she had to leave, for there was some business that she had to attend to and would continue to be busy from then on. Therefore, she would no longer be able to spend time with me anymore. I can't tell you how long and hard I stood there crying while holding Nemesis close to me. I felt like my heart was being torn in half. I was about to lose the one person who immediately accepted me as a friend, one who was like an older sister to me. Nemesis tried to comfort me, but she knew that it would take me some time before I would finally accept. Before she left, she had promised that she would come and visit me again, for one last time.
A week came and went and still no sign of her. Still, I kept my hopes up and prayed that she would show up again. Plus with my new friends to hang out with, I wasn't lonely anymore. It wasn't long until another event occurred, one that had made me the happiest girl that I had ever been; I had found love.
About a week ago, a male transfer student by the name of Victor Malloy came to my school. He was a tall, regular-build boy with shoulder-length dark brown hair and beautiful hazel eyes, the kind of guy that would have girls swarming all over him. Almost the minute that lesson ended, girls would suddenly walk up to him and start flirting with him. I never bothered for I didn't think that a guy like him would ever be interested in someone as ordinary as me. But then, after school, he came over to me!
We talked and laughed as we walked out of school. And for the next few days we continued to do the same thing. Then one day, he asked me if I would be his girlfriend! I said "yes" to his proposal without a moment's hesitation, not caring what mother would say to me. Thanks to the confidence that Nemesis had given to me, I wasn't going to let anything get in the way of the happiest moment of my life!
Unfortunately, fate wasn't too kind to me that horrible day. I wish with all my heart that it never happened, yet it did. We had just had our second date, and Victor walked me to my house. Before he left, we shared our first kiss together, which happened to have been my first kiss ever! I was so blinded by love that I didn't realize that my mother had seen us through the window!
So when I went inside, I was instantly greeted by her angry stares, followed by a slap across my face. She spat out abusive words, calling me names such as "whore" and "slut". But it didn't stop there. She thought that I was no longer "pure" but now "tainted with sin" and dragged me by the hair up the stairs to the bathroom door. I struggled and cried out as much as I could, begging her to stop but she continued on, for she was too stubborn and set in her ways. She still kept a tight grip on me as she ran the bath water, despite my desperate pleas. Then, as soon as the bathtub was filled, she suddenly brought me over and forced my head into the water!
Shocked and terrified, I frantically tried to pry my mother's hands off of my head, but her fingers had coiled firmly into my hair so that they acted like a vice. So no matter how hard I struggled, her grip just got tighter and tighter. It wasn't long before I was running out of air, and my strength was beginning to leave me.
By this point, everything became just a blur. I remembered being pulled out of the water, then the faint feeling of being laid down on the floor. I had assumed that mother had decided that my punishment was over and would just leave me be. But then, I saw a figure. I was losing consciousness at the time so I couldn't see who it was, only that this figure was taller and had a slightly larger build than my mother, with long wild hair that seemed very much alive. It stood over me as I could hear my mother's cries of abuse, staring down before it turned towards my mother's direction. At that point, I heard mother whimpering, before screaming in absolute terror. The last thing that I remembered, before I blacked out, was hearing someone singing... "The Itsy-Bitsy Spider".
When I came to, I found myself in the local hospital, with an IV in my arm and a breathing mask over my face. My dad was sitting beside me before he noticed me awake, bending over the bed with worried yet caring eyes and asked how I was feeling. He looked as if he hadn't slept for a while.
He told me that the police had found me on the floor at home, apparently I had nearly drowned at some point before they got there and that I had been unconscious for a few days. When I asked him where mother was, his face turned grim. He then told me that she was found in the house, dead. He wouldn't say more, only that someone had snuck into our home and drowned her in the bathtub before attempting to drown me, and how I was lucky that the police had showed up on time.
I knew that part wasn't true. I wanted to tell my dad that it was mother who attempted to drown me, but then I would be left to try and explain everything that had occurred. And honestly, I didn't think it was necessary, especially since they still had to look for a killer.
Later, the police came by to ask me some questions about the incident. I told them that I couldn't recall much of what had happened, only that I remembered choking in water and a blurry figure standing over me as I blacked out.
Assuming that I was still traumatized by this whole ordeal that I couldn't recollect, the police decided to not ask me any further. When I asked about my mother's death, they refused to tell me. I think it was because I was still too young to be given anything in detail. It would only be later when I would know more about the incident.
My friends from school came over to visit me a couple of times to check up on me, my boyfriend almost every day, which was sweet. I never did see Nemesis during my time there. Oh well, just as well really, I thought. Her mask would've caught everyone's attention if she did show up. Cards and flowers were sent over as well, each saying "get well" or "hope you're feeling better soon".
Dad often came by to check up on me. He told me that due to the incident, we would be moving out of the house and book a room at a hotel until he could find a place away from the old neighborhood. I was glad that we were moving out of that house filled with nothing but bad memories, but I was sad that we would no longer be near the woods again, for it meant that I wouldn't get the chance to see my old friend for the last time.
Then, on the day before I was released, a card was sent to me. It looked like any other card, with cute little critters and flowers on the front with "get well soon" on it. But when I looked inside, what I saw gave me chills.
On the left side, was a detailed sketch of a dead woman in the bathtub, with her head and body submerged in the water, her mouth stuffed with crosses and other religious items. The eyes were wide and filled with horror as they stared up into my own, unable to tear myself away from this drawing. It didn't take me too long to realize that the woman who was in the drawing, was my mother! Was this how she was found when the police came into the house? If so then why would someone send me this? Was there more to it?
As I sweated with fear and disgust of seeing this, I forced myself to look away and see what was on the other half of the card. As I looked, there written in red, was the nursery rhyme "The Itsy-Bitsy Spider". There was nothing wrong with it, just a sweet little children's nursery rhyme, or so I thought. As I read it slowly and carefully, I noticed that the last two lines of the rhyme were altered...
The itsy-bitsy spider,
Climbed up the water-spout,
Down came the rain,
And washed the spider out,
Out came the sun,
And dried up all the rain,
But the itsy-bitsy spider,
Could not climb up again.
As I finished reading the little poem, I then noticed a message written down at the bottom. And to this day, those words continue to haunt me... and will remain that way forevermore.
I've taken care of your little problem. Now that good for nothing bitch won't harm you anymore. I know that you are scared and wished that it was all a dream, but don't worry for I am still your friend and will remain so...
... just don't be like your mother, or you too will share the same fate as she.