Juniper could feel her sister watching her from the corner of her eye as she drove down the road.
Refusing to give her sister the same attention, she tapped her bare foot on the glove compartment impatiently. She skimmed through the text their uncle had sent that morning.
“He says Aunt Ellie still hasn’t come back yet.” Juniper’s voice pierced through the silence in the car.
“I’m sure this is nothing to worry about. People get lost in the forest sometimes, it’s not a big deal. She’ll probably be back before too long.”
“She’s been gone since yesterday, Minnie.” She rolled her eyes. “Just because you don’t believe the legends doesn’t mean they’re not true. Where do you think all of the others have gone?”
After their uncle had given them both a frantic call the other day the two sisters agree to drive up to the family cabin together.
Their entire extended family used the cabin year-round to take their well-deserved vacations. Juniper could vaguely remember her mother taking them there a few times when she was younger.
But any memories of her mother tended to be fuzzy. Juniper usually tried her best to forget about the rest of the family.
And it wasn’t like anyone went anywhere near the forest unless they had to anymore.
Even before their mother disappeared most people shied away from the edge of town. Anyone that ventured too far into the forest vanished and was never seen again.
The first few times it happened the police and everyone else in town put all of their time and energy into finding these people. It was a small town, so no one was a stranger.
But when it kept happening the townspeople started to think something else was going on. Officially it was usually declared that the missing people had just run away.
They were typically the kind of people who might have wanted to get away. An angsty teenager, a failing businessman, an overworked single mother, those kinds of people.
But nobody really believed that. The creepy old man that lived just a few houses from our family home started the worst of the rumors.
He said that he thought Viridios, the Roman god of vegetation lived in there.
Supposedly he saw a green man covered in vines roaming through the forest, talking to the people that had gone missing.
There were other legends too, but that was the most popular.