There have been whispers. How anyone who walks through the Mortemate forest has never been seen again. Screams echo through the night sky, reaching the nearby villagers' ears.
Haunting them in their sleep. Urging them to give up, to join them.
Those whispers rattled around Lucy Simmonds head as she gazed upon the gloomy, ominous entrance to the forbidding Mortemate forest. Almost like a sinister warning.
This is stupid, she thought as she trudged through the dense forest. She sighed, thinking about her missing sister. A pang of guilt washed over her.
This is all her fault! She picked up a stone and threw it in frustration, the sound of the stone bouncing on the ground barely reaching her.
How was she going to find her sister in a massive, giant, rumoured to be haunted forest!
She threw up her hands and turned around to head back home in defeat when suddenly the world spun and her vision turned black.
Lucy woke up to find herself in a totally unfamiliar place. She looked up in confusion to stare at the bright, white moon staring back at her.
The darkness of the night wrapped around her as she looked around herself in panic. Where was she! As she walked around she realized she was still in the Mortemate forest.
She shivered, goosebumps crawling over her skin as she wondered how she ended up here. Deciding to explore further she wrapped her arms around herself and bravely moved onwards.
After quite some time of searching with no results, she sat down in defeat.
"Honestly, I don't know what I am even looking for! A random camper just randomly sitting around waiting to help me, She exclaimed sarcastically, this is pointless!"
"Lucy!" Someone gasped behind her in a raspy voice. Whirling around she froze, staring into the deep blue of her sister's eyes.
"Amara?" she asked hesitantly. She looked at her sister in relief when Amara suddenly grasped Lucy, her hands painfully digging into Lucy's shoulders.
"Stay away, it's dangerous. Stay away, this is not a place for humans, Amara warned in an ominous tone, do you understand?"
"What?" Lucy questioned, looking confused into her older twins eyes
"Can you hear me, Amara?" Lucy tried to lift her sister's fingers from their iron grip but couldn't move them an inch. Almost like they were stuck in place.
"Do you understand me?" she questioned again.
"Stay away, it's dangerous. Stay away, this is not a place for humans, Amara repeated, her expression blank and unresponsive, do you understand?"
"Fine I understand" Lucy answered, confused over what is happening
"Then my part is over" Amara smiled in relief, raising her head to the stars. Then her eyes rolled over and she fell to the ground, dead.
Lucy gasped and stumbled back. Terrified she stood frozen for a few seconds before turning on her heels and bolting as a dog let out of its cage.
Pushing stray branches and plants out of her way, she ran in no apparent direction, the wind harshly hitting her face.
Quickly growing tired she slowed down to a walking pace. Every other second, quickly glancing behind her shoulder in fear.
While walking, suddenly, the hair behind her neck flew up and a chill shivered through her spine.
Immediately she stopped and slowly turned in all 4 directions, scanning the dark for any movement. Looking at the still empty darkness she felt embarrassed and quietly continued on her way.
"So screw me, my sister fell dead before me and I am lost in a creepy forest named after the word suicide" Lucy muttered suddenly realizing how dire her situation is.
Trudging through the now suspiciously quiet forest she stopped. By quiet she meant quiet. The earlier chirping of birds and buzzing of insects could not be heard.
The only noise was the squelch of her boots as they collided with the dark, brown mud.
"Strange" She mused, the sound echoing for what seemed like miles.
"Strange indeed" a voice responded. Lucy whirled around and found herself again staring at another human being. It was an old lady. The old lady radiated brightness and kindness.
She felt a sudden feeling to trust her. Too sudden. She felt the sun, rise up as dawn approached, shedding an orange, red light upon the two humans.
Lucy backed away uncertainty, distrustful of any life form in this forest after her previous interaction. She almost expected the old lady to also fall dead on the ground.
"Your late" The old lady scolded, before smiling at her.
"What?" Lucy responded confused, "Who are you"
The old lady took her hand and dragged her inside the cottage, ignoring her questions.
Lucy dug her feet in the ground and tried to stop the lady, but the lady's strength was way stronger than a typical 60-year-old.
Once inside the cottage, the lady ordered her to sit on an old sofa, dust clouds rising around her as she sat. She sneezed, waving her hand in a useless effort to expel the dust.
"Who are you?" She questioned again once facing the lady.
"I am a message from them, will you hear it?" the lady responded in an expressionless voice
"Who is them?" She asked, the sentence from the lady sounding eerily like her sister's last words
"I am a message from them, will you hear it?" the lady repeated, obviously unable to say anything else
"Yes," Lucy responded curiously, knowing that the lady won't speak until delivering this strange message.
"This is not a place for humans. You have been warned but you still continued. We admire your bravery. You shall be rewarded.
Do not step in here again, do not step in here again" The lady recited, in a monotone voice.
Lucy blinked in confusion, watching as the lady quietly removed a beautiful blood red necklace from around her neck. Lucy was sure she was not wearing it before.
She draped it around Lucy's neck before smiling at her in happiness. The first emotion she has shown in front of Lucy.
"You passed, congratulations. Now I am free" she said happily before looking in relief at the ceiling. The action eerily reminded her of Amara' weird death.
Then Lucy again found herself falling into the deep, dark pit of her mind. Waking up to her twin's smiling face, she blinked confusedly.
Looking around her, she realized she was in her bedroom, lying on her soft, comfy bed.
"Hurry up Lucy! Today is the first day of 6th grade.
Aren't you excited?" Amara exclaimed, looking nothing like the bloodshot, creepy twin she found amongst the bushes and trees of Mortemate forest.
It was all a dream, she thought. She grinned in relief, it was all a dream. The words took quite some time to register in her mind.
Repeating those words in her mind again and again to reassure her, she laughed. Shaking her head in disbelief she stood up before glancing down at her neck and froze.
The simple, ruby red necklace the old lady gave her stared back at her, twinkling in the sunlight.