I’ve traveled a lot, all over the world actually. There isn’t a city I haven’t been to, and I have set up a rather good shop system in most of them. There was, however, one place I had never been to before. To get there one had to travel the forests, and God only knows how many souls have been lost to it.
Nevertheless, my business was prospering, and I wanted to try and expand some more. Some call me an optimist, because there isn’t much that can lower my spirits. So, being the optimist I am, I figured I would brave the woods, thinking that the profit outweighed the risk here.
I set up my pack, filling it with my merchandise, one of which was exceptionally new, and mysterious to boot, and I just knew it would be a big hit! I set off, the woods starting out very calm, beautiful actually. If one listened carefully, you could almost hear the trees humming a beautiful melody, as if something like that was possible. As strange as it was, sometimes it would be loud, other times just a faint whisper, but I didn’t care. It alone was enough to drive me onward, fake or not. I came to my first split in the road, and opted to go left, and I was startled when I ran into a small boy.
Now this boy couldn’t have been more than 8 or 9, but there was something about him that screamed gloom and misfortune. Not being a person that could pass up someone so sad, I stopped and knelt next to the boy, “Excuse me, are you okay?” The boy looked up, startled, and backed away. “I’m fine mister, please don’t hurt me.” I was taken aback, obviously something bad had happened to this kid, and I felt sympathetic towards him. I suddenly had a great idea, and took my pack off and opened it, showing it to the boy, “hey, if you would like I could give you a gift free of charge? It’s not much, but it may make you happier.”
That was when the boy looked up, a dark look in his eye, an evil grin on his face, and he screamed “Now!” There was a bright flash of light, and I felt something hit my head hard, and I passed out for what must have been hours, because when I had awoken night had fallen and the music I had (or had not) been hearing had faded. All that filled the air now was the howling of the wind mixed with the howling of what must have been a pack of wolves. “My stuff!” I had almost forgotten about my pack in the confusion, and looked over and sighed in relief to see it was still there.
Whatever the kid had wanted, it wasn’t the pack, which I was grateful for because that was the whole reason I had come out to this god forsaken place! I looked over the pack and a cold shiver shot up my back as I saw that the wooden box holding my special item was gone! I flipped it over, dumping the stuff out all over the place, but it wasn’t there. The kid had robbed me, and made off with what had to of been the most important and valuable thing I had owned. I cursed him silently under my breath and placed everything back in my pack, ready to head home.
That was when I heard the scream.
Another boy, sounding roughly the same age, and he was in agony! I quickly moved towards the sound, running as fast as I could. Whoever had made that noise was in trouble. The scream echoed through my head, causing a headache that wouldn’t quit. I forced myself faster, running up a huge log and making a jump to a cliff, barely catching my footing on it.
After what seemed like an eternity of running, and climbing, I made my way to a door. The kid had to be here; even if he had…died I would’ve seen his body somewhere! I took whatever courage I had left, and pushed the door open.
My eyes slowly adjusted to the sudden darkness of the room, which seemed to be filled with some sort of machinery that seemed to work a contraption above.
Then I saw him.
The dark green clothing threw me off because it also blended in with the scenery, but that shape. A roundness that no one from this area could mistake.
What I saw in front of me gave me a sense of clarity, and horror at the same time. The scream made sense. Anyone would let out a scream like that if their body had changed so drastically. I walked up behind him, and failing to find any words of comfort for such a horrid situation, I spoke what may have been the most obvious statement of my life:
“You’ve met with a terrible fate, haven’t you?”