Horror and Thriller Fiction posted May 9, 2018

This work has reached the exceptional level

The Deadly Forest

by Ava Wilson

The author has placed a warning on this post for violence.
There were several theories about what was happening to the growing number of missing children in Windhaven, Oregon. The total count had just risen to twelve, and police investigations so far had been as fruitless as a sycamore tree. Some of the older, local residents thought they were simply running away from home since they were all teenagers. Others believed there was some sort of cult activity involved since it was approaching Halloween.

Kassandra and Michael Nettle had been keeping up with the news reports due to the fact that several of the missing children had been friends with them for several years. They devised a plan to do a bit of investigating of their own. Admittedly, Kassandra was forced to repeatedly beg her brother to accompany her because Michael did not share his sister's hunger for adventure.

Kassandra and Michael were just your typical ten-fingered and ten-toed sixteen year olds. They both excelled in school and worked part-time. Even though they were twins, they had no similarities other than their charcoal hair and dark green eyes. Kassandra was very outgoing and enjoyed a good thrill; whereas Michael was more reserved and preferred to be alone either deep in his studies or reading a good book. Their parents were both doctors who worked the night shift at the local hospital, and Kassandra and Michael were accustomed to being home alone most evenings.

They had been planning this exploit for over a week and had come to a consensus not to tell anyone. The last thing they wanted was for some of their friends to decide to try and spook them on their search. Both wore all black attire to blend in with the dark canopy of the forest. Kassandra and Michael took one bag with them that contained two flashlights, some bottled water and a video camera. They only planned to search for a few hours while their parents were at work and couldn't think of anything else they would need.

The woods were unusually dark. There was a dense layer of fog blanketing the ground and cloaking the trees, making the moon barely visible. As they quietly made their way through the forest they tried to make as little sound as possible, which proved to be difficult with the leaves and twigs covering the ground. It was unnerving how silent it was with the exception of the squeaky contorting of tall trees in the haunting winds.
Michael suddenly stopped after several minutes of walking. Kassandra turned around to see what his reason was. He was looking behind him and shining his flashlight through an opening in the trees.

Michael turned back to look at Kassandra. "Kass, this is dumb. Let's just go back home. If the police didn't find anything, I seriously doubt we will. Plus, I have a really bad feeling about this, and if mom and dad find out we are out here they are gonna be pissed!"
Kassandra laughed. "Quit being such a pansy! We used to play in these woods when we were little. Nothing bad is going to happen, and we will be home before you know it."
Michael reluctantly agreed, and they pushed forward through the dismal, damp forest.

After several more minutes of walking, they came upon an old wooden cabin tucked behind a large pile of dead tree limbs and debris. There was no door, and the windows had been broken out. It appeared to have been abandoned for a lengthy period of time. As soon as they stepped inside, Michael immediately felt a sense of overwhelming dread.
The room was empty except for an old rocking chair and some old soda bottles that were piled in the corner. Michael stood at the doorway, afraid to go farther inside.

Kassandra tiptoed in and shined her flashlight around looking for any sign of clues. As she walked towards the staircase, she motioned for Michael to follow her, but Michael was frozen in place, shining his flashlight onto the wall. Kassandra walked over to the wall and saw what had frightened her brother. There, written in what they assumed was blood, were the words "LEAVE NOW OR DIE."

"Kassandra, we need to go home!" Michael said as tears started to fill his eyes. "This place is really freaking me out!"

"Oh, Michael, I'm sure someone put that there just to scare people. It was probably a bunch of kids. Let's look around for just a few more minutes."

"I'm not going any farther! I want to go home!" Michael screamed.

"Fine," Kassandra said. "You wait here and I'll go look around. I'll be back in just a few minutes."

Kassandra ascended the creaky, dilapidated staircase while Michael waited nervously at the front doorway. Michael started shining his flashlight in every direction. The longer he stood there the more frightened he became. He could hear his sister's footsteps above him, and he tried to remain calm, knowing she would surely come back down soon.
The footsteps above him started moving faster. He heard his sister release a high-pitched scream. He considered just leaving her and running home to get help, but he knew he had to go help her. He quickly went up the stairs, scared of what he could potentially see when he got up there.

"Kassandra! Are you ok?" he screamed. There was no response, no footsteps, no sound of any kind.

At the top of the stairs was a door that was slightly cracked open. Michael entered the room and slowly shined his flashlight around the room to see if he could see his sister. He became overtaken with horror when he saw several pictures of different children taped to the wall of the room. All of the pictures had an X marked through them, except for the last one. As he approached the wall, he felt his heart start to pound as he saw the last picture. It was him!

He knew he had to find his sister and then get home as quickly as possible. He shined his flashlight around the room and noticed several red drops and streaks on the floor that appeared to be dried blood.

"Kassandra! KASSANDRA we have to go NOW!!" he screamed as he frantically searched the room for her.

On the other side of the room, he could hear something scratching on the wall. He could see a door there, and he ran to it to see if Kassandra was in there. He opened the door. Kassandra was standing there in the middle of a pile of bodies with her back to Michael. They had been murdered so brutally that it would have been impossible to identify them, and he was worried that his sister would never recover from such a horrific sight. He walked up to her and put his arm around her to console her. Kassandra slowly turned to look at her brother. He barely had time to gasp in fear as she placed a knife directly to his throat. He could feel blood rushing out of his neck as he fell to the floor. He looked up at his beloved twin, trying to understand what had just taken place.

Kassandra simply smiled down at him, turned around and started humming an eerie tune as she placed two more pictures on the wall....pictures of their parents.

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© Copyright 2019. Ava Wilson All rights reserved.
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