There are these woods on the outskirts of town that seem to glow a bright blood red around Halloween. No one knows quite why, but the town rumor is that one murder takes place in those woods each year around Halloween time. Legend has it the person whose blood it is, is then mixed with dark magic which in effect causes the woods to light up with fright. No one knows who is taken to be killed or why they were chosen. Once that person has vanished the townspeople never remember they existed, to begin with. It is as a spell has been cast on them to forget. The chosen becomes a part of the woods and the world keeps on moving without them.
Around ten years ago, the townspeople noticed that the woods were glowing in this frightful blood-colored way. No one dared enter the woods to see what was happening. Everyone thought if their lives were ok there was no need to find out what was happening in their surrounding woods. Once the local pastor decided to go into the woods and see if he could find out what was happening only to stumble out of them the next day to never speak again. Everyone left him alone after initially asking him what had happened. Each time they would ask he seemed to struggle more and more with speaking. He would try to mime the story of the woods, but no one understood him. He once tried to write it out only to have what he wrote disappear as he was writing it out. Only he knew the horror he faced in those woods.
Rumors floated around town about what happened to him in the woods. The town folk suggested he was attacked viciously and scared to ever speak, but no one has witnessed any marks on him. Then there was talk about a monster roaming the woods. There was talk of dark magic, but no one was ever sure. After this, no one would let their kids explore the woods anymore. Something wicked lived in the darkness of the woods, but no one knew what it was. The town knew enough about magic to keep themselves and their children and that they would have to remain out of the woods to survive.
Each year the glow of the woods grew greater. One year it seemed like a beacon of light summoning them all into it. It also appeared to be growing darker each year. Once a local deer hunter tried to capture whatever animal it was that roamed the woods, but he stumbled out of the woods and collapsed and when they tried to talk to him, they found out he was now mute too. He had his rifle on him unfired and he just walked back into town and kept on walking. No one ever saw him again. They wondered what he saw, they tried to talk to him, but it was like he was in a trance and unreachable. Everyone shivered in fear of what was lurking in the woods that turned grown men into people who could no longer speak. Something or someone took their voice. Fear is strange like that.
As Halloween approached the entire town was getting jittery. They started doubting each other. Wondered if it was perhaps a townsperson who had brought this evil to them. They did not know what was going to happen, but they felt an evil presence watching them. It seemed pairs of eyes were looking out of the woods, shifty eyes, darting back and forth looking them all over. The entire edge of the woods was staring at them, and they trembled with a deep fear that they felt their bones rattle within their bodies. Everyone ran back to their homes, slammed their doors, and locked their homes uptight. They knew they had to stay in their houses to be safe. If the eyes could not see them, they felt better.
And then a stranger arrived who told everyone to come back out and live their lives. He convinced everyone it was safe. Mob mentality was easy to sway. Persuading frightened humans that everything was going to be ok was the work of dark magic, but the town folk listened. They marched off as if it was a normal day in their village, but evil was luring the people out of the homes so the eyes could pick their next victim. No one noticed that the stranger seemed odd, or that no one knew him. They did not pick up on his darkness or his shifty eyes. The magic blinded them from that, that was evil. They were like sheep being led to the slaughter and there was nothing they could do to stop their feet from coming out of hiding.
Eyes were darting all over the town folk, but this time, the town folk were busy with the newcomer. He had them taking walks, had them exploring streams, and wandering around the woods all day. They did not think twice about now entering the woods and exploring. Evil needed them in the woods to choose its next victim. They resided in this magical state until there was an ear-shattering noise in the woods and everyone stopped moving and was clamoring over each other to get out of the woods. Everyone except one person. The lawyer at the end of the road vanished and never emerged. Once again no one noticed that he had vanished completely. The loud noise they all heard was this thunderous noise that came from the woods. It was so loud that everyone instantly covered their ears. The noise was made by dark evil that lived in the woods so that no one heard the heart-curdling screams of the next victim who was taken.
On Halloween night the parents argued about if it was even safe to go out to trick-or-treat, but the kids insisted. The parents relented but tagged along with all their kids. The wood’s eyes were watching, but they never ventured into the light, so the kids felt safe. They never looked at the eyes directly. They gathered candy, they walked around town, and after they were done, they started home and noticed the woods were a brilliant glowing bright red. The trees seem to be bleeding. Each limb shimmered and appeared to be dropping blood drops. Everyone wondered if someone had played a prank, but everyone was trick-or-treating. Who could have done something so evil? No one even knew if it was real blood or not.
After trick-or-treating, the town folk met to discuss the woods. They could not figure out what was in the woods. No one who went into the woods could convey what they had seen or witnessed. No one could tell them what was causing the bright red color to pour out of the woods. They decided to call a town meeting and invite neighboring towns over. They wanted to see what everyone thought, were the woods alive with bleeding trees? Have the people who wandered in only to come out changed? They needed answers and prayed someone in another town could help.
Each town agreed to send an elder to help and as each person showed up, they collectively stood and froze in fear while looking into the dark woods, the red tint, the trees seeming to bleed, they had never seen anything like it. Each elder told the town that they must have done something to bring about the devil himself to live in their woods. They also asked where their town lawyer was and perhaps, he would be able to find something out about what was going on. Maybe it was a legal issue of who owned the lands? Maybe it was people plundering the woods.
Everyone glanced at each other, they told the other town people they did not have a lawyer. The elders spoke and said they had a lawyer named Paul and he lived at the end of their street. No one knew a Paul. Everyone freaked out and started yelling that Paul was murdered and everyone began running back to their own towns. The dark magic was wearing off on them and soon everyone in this town stood in silence. Had Satan taken a man named Paul and somehow, they all do not know who he is? Is that even possible? They were sure the elders would not play a trick on them.
Everyone went home for the night to meet again the next day to discuss Paul. Who was he and where did he go, and why do they not remember him at all? They were starting to feel evil had some play in their memories. Was Satan really in their woods and snatching people? If so, how many had he taken over the years that they do not remember? Everyone was feeling panicked. Had this evilness taken anyone they loved? Were they missing kids? Did he snatch kids? They kept throughout question after question, but no one knew any answers.
Finally, the town elder said this is ridiculous. He went to the forest edge and yelled, “SATAN COME OUT, I REBUKE YOU!” Collectively the town gasped. This man was asking Satan to step out so he could confront him. The ground shook violently. People toppled over. The woods lit up brighter this time and the trees were bleeding blood, everyone could see it as the dark magic was losing its hold on them, even the grass was as bright red as ladybugs and the entire town was frightened to death, but no one moved. Satan appeared before them in the blink of an eye. He bellowed, “Who dares disturb me?” Everyone fell to the ground leaving the elder standing against Satan. Satan honed his eyes on the elder. The elder stood tall and said nothing.
Satan asked again who summoned him and saw the one elder was now standing alone. Satan gave out a booming laugh and instantly was on top of this elder. The elder continued to hold his ground and yelled out Satan I rebuke you again. Satan laughed again, this sinister dark mutilating laugh, but this time all his minions appeared by his side. They all seemed to glow the same red that still dripped off the tree branches. Satan evilly smirked at the elder and silently commanded his minions to rip this man to shreds, then he faded out of sight of the townspeople. The elder’s screams were heard for hours from the woods, but no one helped. No one ever entered the woods again.
Debbie Ealer is a long time seeker of light and artist of words. She enjoys capturing life in small doses with her camera. When she isn't shooting you will find her writing short stories. She enjoys telling life's story through her lens and pen. She is an all around artist who loves the light and seeks it, loves to write and uses both mediums to share her story.