The Black Forest (FF#5)

Prompt: A young woman with a mysterious past, a village at the edge of the Black Forest and your aunt’s goat has disappeared. 

Source: https://www.pexels.com/photo/tall-trees-in-the-forest-998409/

Often, when I’m at the river, gathering water, I see her walking as if her feet don’t touch the ground, her flax dress glows against the dark shadows of the forest on the edge of town. Today, I return to my aunt’s home to find another disaster. This time our beloved goat, Crag, has disappeared. 

Many strange things have been happening: the hay for the pigs has been strewn across the yard, the grain jar toppled over in the middle of the afternoon, and the dead squirrel found on the doorstep. There’s only one explanation: the woman I see walking. 

Ever since I was little, I’ve been told not to enter the forest where she lives. We call it “The Black Forest” because of the dark and dangerous things found in the shadows. Adults whisper about the woman who walks, but always hush when us children are nearby. 

It’s bright and sunny when I leave the edge of town and step into the Forest. Suddenly, the air is  dark and weighty, as if smothered by a blanket. I whip my head when a branch cracks behind me, shattering the deep silence. I am alone. 

Following the twisty path, I come to a clearing with a pile of rocks in the middle, the body of my dead goat splayed across the top, blood running down. At the head of the pile is a stone.“Beware the Witch of the woods.” 

I turn and run, never to enter the forest again. 

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