Everybody knew the woods were haunted.
That’s why Jake was here. Ali had challenged him in front of everyone, including lauryl. There was no way he could back out.
‘Spend one night in Gypsy woods’ he spat his chin held high, defying Jake to look like a pussy in front of everyone. Lauryl stood silent at Ali’s side and Jake nodded.
“I’m not scared of the bogey man Ali, pity you are.” Jake said turning and leaving the group. He hoped the shaking in his knees wasn’t obvious.
Two days later Jake set off on the path that led into the woods. The path soon tailed off into a mossy trail. The silence was deafening and soon all Jake could hear was the occasional snap of branches below his feet and the pounding of his heart.
Lauryl had called him the night before and begged him not to go, that the witch of the woods would take him. But Jake had sighed and explained he had no choice. The bullying had to stop. Maybe this would be the last thing Ali demanded. Lauryl had hung up crying and Jake knew he had blown the chance of every being her boyfriend, like there was ever any chance anyway. She was Ali’s sister after all.
As he walked Jake thought of the stories he had heard about the woods. Missing children, dead animals tied to the trees, strange glowing orbs. Urban legends no doubt. That type of stuff didn’t exist? No sooner had he thought it he heard the crack of wood against wood and he stopped statue like.
The sound echoed like a gunshot and Jake felt the tiny hairs on his neck rise. It had to be the others playing a trick. Turning slowly he realised just how far he had come into the woods. He could no longer see the housing estate, the red roofs were lost to the ceiling of trees.
Jake gazed to where he though the sound was coming from and saw a flash of red, or orange. It was hard to tell with the trees so dense.
This time the sound was to the left and Jake saw a flash of blue, but it was high, six foot in the air. Shaking now Jake looked for the trail he had been following, but the moss had given way to a sandy clearing. Jake could see no trace of which direction he had arrived from.
Not an echo but multiple cracks on the trees around him. Jake backed up as he saw more definite movement before him. A soft glowing shape that emitted a strange melodic beat, like a heartbeat and the sea all woven into one. No not the sea, leaves in branches, or the whistles of birdsong. A strange hypnotic song that Jake was drawn to.
And then the woman stepped from the woods. And Jake screamed. A scream that no one else would ever hear.