PARTICIPANT IN A UNRANKED JAM
This Blog is an entry in the completed Blocktoberfest 2022.

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BlocktoberFest - Entity Woods

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BiCrafter752 avatar BiCrafter752
Level 13 : Journeyman Scribe
25
A story for BlocktoberFest! I hope y'all like it :D

"Are you sure about this?" asked Smidge, glancing apprehensively at the towering spruce trees ahead. "It will be just fine, loosen up a little! All those myths are just stories to tell kids so they don't wander about at night." Juniper declared loudly. "C'mon, let's go!" Juniper started running into the woods as the sun set behind them, running through ferns and piles of leaves. Smidge took one last look at the long path from their village behind them, and sighed. This place is freaky, but June is probably right. With that, Smidge began to follow her, and the sun ducked below the horizon. Little did they know, every myth has a seed of truth.

The moon had risen high in the sky, and they had been hiking for hours. The orange-red leaves danced with the wind, impersonating the fires that would rarely sweep through Entity Woods. "We should set up camp, I'm on the verge of nodding off!" announced Juniper with a moan. Within minutes, they had a small campfire and sleeping bags set up in a silent clearing. Smidge beamed at the stars strewn across the sky, her thoughts millions of miles away with the stars. Juniper elbowed her with a laugh, and snatched their slightly burned damper bread off the hot coals. "What is the best story you have heard about this place?" asked Smidge politely. Juniper let out a snort, and proclaimed, "I have heard many stories about these woods, from nearly everyone I knew. But one has always stood best." At first, they began with a whisper.

"Back when the oldest person you know was young, the greatest challenge one could do was live in these woods for a week. This place was infested wild foxes and rabid wolves, and you would hold high esteem among your peers if you could accomplish it. The thing was, it was never pulled off. People would either return before the seven days were up, or they were never seen again. Once the mayor's son many years ago almost did it. He went with a diamond axe and harming arrows, to ensure the wolfs wouldn't take him. He lived in a hole on the side of a mountain, where you can see the entire valley. He would keep a journal, which is how we know everything happened. It was the sixth night, and he was almost able to return home, a hero. He was writing in his journal as he walked, and this is what he wrote. 'These woods are actually quite survivable, I am not quite sure that it's the wolves stopping others from returning. The is something else in these woods, something dark and corrupted, that stalks the moors at night, when the rest off the world is asleep. Tonight, that horrible entity will be put to rest.' After that, we presume that he tried to find the monster. Days later, when a young couple were walking through the woods on a warm summer night, the pair found his diary, coated in a thick layer of blood. The lovebirds returned home with the book, and showed the mayor what was inside. The very next day, the mayor proclaimed that the week-long challenge was to never happen again, and those who attempted it would be exiled. The forest became known as Entity Woods, and the mayor's son was never seen again."

After Juniper finished, Smidge said "Do you think it's real? All that?" Juniper simply answered "At the heart of every tale is a seed of truth. The story likely got more dramatic as it was retold, but that boy had probably once sat in this very spot." A long time passed, the dying flames from their fire dancing in the wind. Suddenly, a sharp, audible cracking sound filled the cold air. Juniper and Smidge whipped around to face the dark trees behind them, seeking the source of the sound. A pair of flickering red eyes appear behind the pair, smoke curling towards them. "Run!" Smidge screamed, and her and Juniper dashed into the night.

That half-hour of running was downright nightmarish. The moon hid behind the faraway clouds, rendering the the entire valley pitch black. The only way Smidge could tell June was behind her was their panting, and the occasional snap of a twig. Wolves howled in the distance, as the horrific creature of smoke and fire slowly sped up, eager to devour their souls. Juniper staggered to a stop, taking in the huge mountain before them. "There's a cave up there, I think we can make it!" Smidge hollered, barrelling ahead. Juniper glanced back, and realised the entity was mere meters away. They threw a dead branch in the creature's direction as hard as they could, and followed Smidge to safety.

"Man, you can see the entire valley from up here!" Said Smidge once they had retreated to the safety of the cave. Suddenly, clear and concise words filled the air. "You aren't supposed to be here." Smidge turned around and saw a man leaning against the stone wall, his face covered with a long cloak. "These woods are dangerous, I'm surprised my grandfather didn't ban the place altogether." Juniper looks up, and realises the gravity of the situation. "Wait, I'm sorry, but your grandfather?" Juniper asked loudly. The man chuckled, and stepped into the light of the moon that was gently shining into the hollow. "Yes, my grandfather. My late father said that he was mayor long ago, and the reason no one now stays here for long, aside from me." Smidge breathed a sigh of relief. "You must know these woods better than anyone else. We don't know how far we went, and we need to get home in the morning. Could you help us get there?" The man murmured "Of course, of course. You need to rest now, especially with who-knows-what stalking this forest." Smidge whispered something under her breath, and leaned against the stone wall, eyes already closed. Juniper relaxed, and slowly drifted off to sleep.

The next thing Juniper knew, they were being roughly shaken awake by Smidge, with a look of terror in her eyes. The moon was still in the sky, had they been asleep for hours or minutes? Before Juniper could ask what was happening, Smidge blurted "The creature, it's here, he's trying to hold it off! We need to get deeper into the cave!" She gave a hefty kick at the woodpile in a corner, falling in a pile of dust to reveal a passageway. Juniper was wide awake, heart pumping with adrenaline, and bolted down the hall. The cave was full of uneven rocks and dripping limestone walls. They could hear the distant footsteps of the monster, clicking and deadly. A sharp turn, an elbow colliding with the wall, blood slowly oozing out of the small small wound. A few footsteps later, the torn edge of their shirt pressed to their arm, Juniper realised it was a dead end. Smidge slowed to a stop beside them, taking in the collapsed tunnel before the two of them. The monsters footsteps drew ever closer, the clicking going louder until it was deafening. Juniper took one look behind, and gasped in horror at the creature before them. A monstrous thing, surrounded by oozing dark red smoke, loomed high and mighty, having to bend slightly to fit in the passage. At it's core, a pair of glowing red eyes gleamed, casting the area in a sickly red glow. A tendril of smoke curled out, and Smidge collapsed to the floor, the life leaving her body. Juniper can only manage a horrified glance at the creature, before it all faded to black.

Image Credit: ar.pinterest.com/pin/493707177891974265/
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