The traveler who was soon to be a king followed the stream in the forest to Oakwood. He had been walking for days and needed a good rest.
He skipped along the stream with his large pack, happily singing a tune. It was a very long time until he noticed the forest had gotten darker, and the stream was gone.
He kept walking, now very curious as to where he was. The tree’s got larger and more intimidating, and were lined unnaturally, spread evenly apart. It was a wonder to the unsuspecting traveler.
At this point he knew he was lost, but so what?
The traveler walked through the forest, taken aback by how magnificent it was.
He could have sworn the trees were as high as mountains by now, he didn’t even notice the light slowly fading to darkness, making the forest feel more enclosed.
His mother had warned him when he was a Lil’ explorer to stay away from dark forests. There were reports of demons being spotted by townspeople who entered the woods to pray to Tanos.
The Lil’ explorer could not care less about some petty demons. The traveler still could care less, but his worries did grow when he noticed how dark it had become.
He could only see the tree’s around him, and he felt exposed.
Demons did exist, he had to be careful, his mother was correct about that, and he decided it was not worth it anymore, and time to leave the forest.
He turned around and started to head back from here he came from. The forest was just starting to get slightly bright when he heard a chorus of drumming around him.
“Vikings?” he thought to himself. “No, not out here.” He felt something terrible though, something he had never felt in his life until now.
That was when he saw a massive bolder ahead and the drumming subsided. The bolder was definitely not there before. Something went off in his head.
His eyes adjusted slightly to the darkness, just enough to see the bolder move towards him, and he felt the forest floor shaking. The traveler could not process the situation.
What was it? Why was it moving? He suddenly felt that this could not be real, and he knew he had made a mistake venturing too deep.
He turned around and ran the other way, back into the deeper part of the forest. He heard the thundering footsteps behind him and he knew he was being followed.
Reality washed over the poor traveler and he ran, dropping his heavy pack with his noodles and dumplings that he was so excited to munch upon behind him.
This had never happened to him before, and he never felt in his life that it would. He had always felt on top of the world, now he felt horribly low and insignificant. The thunders quickened.
The traveler now started weeping. Tears ran down his cheeks as he kept on running, and the thundering quickened. “No, no, no” he thought. This wasn’t meant to happen to him.
He was meant to have a nice trip with himself not run for his life through a dark forest. “Please let me be,” he begged to himself. That’s when he saw a door ahead.
It was wide open revealing darkness, right in the middle of the forest floor. It had a small brick building around it. He didn’t think twice and ran inside.
He nearly fell down the long flight of steps and into the darkness beyond, but he had no time to register them as he turned and slammed the door shut.
He leaned against the door, and he scanned his surroundings. The staircase was dank and moist, and he could only see four steps in front of him.
Suddenly he heard the thundering stop outside the door.
He remained against the door, looking down the staircase, wondering where it led, and how long it stretched on, and what was at the bottom, but he didn't wonder long,
because a hard knock against the door startled him and made him cry out. And then silence. He was shaking with fear, he wanted this to end, he wanted to go home and sleep in his nice comfy bed.
“Please,” he cried out, tears streaking down his cheeks. “Let me be.” Silence, then the voice about as normal as normal could get.
“Okay buddy, but by Tanos, you're much better out here with me as oppose to whatever dwells in there. But whatever son.” The traveler was now crying uncontrollably.
"I'll be out here eating this funny creature, you can come out whenever you want."
Then the floor shook again, and the traveler shut his eyes with relief and opened them to see a figure, long and straight, walking up the staircase. It was very far down.
Much further than he darkness should allow him to see, much further, the figure was barely a speck,
but the traveler could still make out with much disbelief that was taking long exaggerated footsteps, then he stopped, still a speck to the traveler,
but it still stared at the petrified traveler, then it raised his arm and waved. Then it ran fast, up the staircase, waving its limbs around.
The traveler could only watch in terror as it advanced, growing and growing. “Please leave me alone,” he cried, and the figure started laughing.
The stranger curtly got up to open the door, but found it was jammed. He heard the footsteps directly behind him now and started screaming with terror as he felt it stop behind him.
He shut his eyes and waited for the inevitable. “Hey buddy? What are you doing here?” he heard it ask, and he was struck by how casual the question seemed.
He turned around to see a lanky boy sporting a black Gothic tuxedo with a long bow tie, and a wide grin with messy black hair to top it off.
The traveler was a little underwhelmed, yet still terrified. “I was l-l-l-lost.” He cried. “Please don’t kill me.” The boy tilted back his head and laughed. “Maybe,” he shrieked. “Maybe.
But first you gotta answer me this here question. What is your name?”
“B-b-b-Ben.” Stuttered the traveler. “Well Ben, I am Gringrin, lord fear and of this here area and you are trespassing now.” The voice sounded a lot older than he appeared to be.
“Also, if you couldn’t guess, my name is Gringrin because I nearly always grin, unless I’m about to do something drastic that is.” He smiled more. Ben let out a soft plea. “I’m s-s-s-sorry for- “
“Shut up,” Gringrin interjected, no longer smiling. He stared at Ben, intently, studying him. “Ben, I’m gonna need you to do something’’ for me.” Ben nodded.
Then Gringrin smiled again and whispered. “Run.”
The door flew open behind Ben and mania spread across Gringrin’s face. He started shrieking with laughter and Ben bounded out through the door.
He looked back, tears returning to his face and Gringrin was now shrieking. Then he bounded out after Ben, returning to his long-exaggerated steps. Ben kept on stumbling along and crying.
He bundled past the massive figure, which sat beside a tree and tore a massive chunk from some unknown animal. “Run boy run” he said, and Ben did, as Gringrin followed behind, shrieking.
And as poor Ben ran through the forest the drumming started up again, only this time he could see it was Vikings, all lined on the side of the massive path, all with Hallow eyes.
And Ben ran for all he was worth.
Ben ran for miles, occasionally looking back at his pursuer, but soon stopped when he realized it only hindered him. All the while Gringrin was flailing his arms and legs around, again.
When he finally broke through the darkness, and finally crossed the stream, he looked back and saw Gringrin leaning against a tree trunk, hands on his hips and grinning,
the mania now depleted from his face. “No, no, no, no, no, no.” said Gringrin, now taking on a Spanish accent. “Me not pass this point señorita, me cannot travel without shadows.
Congratulations on getting away by the way, you have made way with your life, for now.” Then he waved and flashed Ben a smile.
Ben stood, transfixed, so Gringrin started taking more long exaggerated steps and Ben ran away, Gringrin’s laughs echoing behind him.
Ben ran into Oakwood in hysterics and started shouting and screaming. He attracted a crowd around him. He told his story.
The guards were called, and he was given a free night in the Oakwood Inn.
He was questioned in the inn by many patrons and villagers, desperate to know what had happened, but he only stared blankly out the window. "They are coming," he managed to eventually utter.
"The shadows are out and they are coming, because I led them here." He was furiously questioned, but he gave no answers.
Out of frustration Blake, the local Blacksmith, pushed Ben's chair over, and Ben felt himself fall, then his head hitting the soft pillow in his temporary bed.
He lay there for a while, staring out the window, until he eventually went to sleep, soon to be awoken to screams.
He ran outside just in time to see the massive shape he had seen before in the forest now in full form, smashing through a house.
“We have captured a settlement brother,” he boomed, smashing a guard off his horse with his club. Ben turned and ran, but bumped into someone or something.
It turned around and screamed into his face, its eyes hallow and mouth a gaping black hole. He screamed in terror and pushed past it, following a long stream of escapee’s.
He heard Gringrin shouting after them. “Au revoir miladies and gentlemen.” He bows. “Hope you enjoyed the performance. My name is Gringrin." He paused, then smiled wider. "Visit me sometime.
I reside in Creepytown, and it is wonderful there."
“It sure is, good one brother.
” Roared the massive figure, tearing the guards head from his shoulder, and Ben and the villagers turned and fled, the sound of ungodly shrieks mixed with Gringrin's laughter following,
and the faint sound of carnival music.