Monday, March 26, 2012

Deep in the Woods

On the outskirts of Morningwood, at the end of the dirt road known locally as Moonlight Drive, lay a dark forest. In the middle of this forest stood a dilapidated old house. This house had long been at the centre of local legends involving the supernatural, and it had become a rite of passage amongst the local high school students to make the journey there in the dead of night.
The legends about the place were varied and unspecific. The only common detail was that a witch had once lived in the house, and that her dark deeds had spawned whatever occurrence was being recounted by the teller.
It was this single universal element of the story that gave the house its colloquial moniker: The Witchhouse.
I first became aware of the legends of the Witchhouse as a teenager. I’m not quite sure how I heard about it actually. I just suddenly became aware that there existed an old haunted house deep in the woods.
I decided one night that I should make the journey to the Witchhouse. I enlisted the service of my friend Billy to drive me to the end of Moonlight Drive. I initially wanted him to come to the house with me but he informed me that according to the legend, if more than one person went looking for the house, they wouldn’t find it. I suspected that his adherence to this particular tradition had more to do with his cowardice than any genuine belief, but I told him he could stay in the car.
We drove along Moonlight Drive at about 11.30. The trees on either side plunged the road into shadow, rendering the Moonlight part of the name a misnomer.
We reached the end of the road and Billy stopped the car. I got out and turned on my torch. Before I closed the door, Billy handed me a camera and told me to take a photo of the house when I found it. I told him I would, closed the door, and set off along the path.
It seemed like I’d been walking for hours when I finally reached the house but a quick glance at my watched revealed that no more than 5 minutes had passed. The front door seemed to have been bashed in (no doubt by others on a similar quest to mine). I quickly snapped a shot of the front of the house before entering. The interior of the house was in disrepair. I went into the nearest room. It was empty except for a fireplace. I walked over to the fireplace and shone my torch in it. A fire had been lit in it recently. There were scraps of half burnt papers lying around the hearth. I picked one up and read it. It seemed to be a page from a diary. The only words I could make out were:

17/9/54 – Friday
  Heard the sound of children crying in the night.
  Walked the house and found nothing that co

Suddenly I heard a noise above me. It was very faint but I could just make it out. It was the sound of a child crying. A chill went down my spine as I debated with myself whether or not I should go and investigate.
I found myself at the foot of the stairs without thinking, shining my torch up towards where the sound was coming from. My curiosity, it seemed, had overpowered my fear and before I knew what I was doing I was walking up the stairs.
When I reached the top I looked at the wall and saw graffiti on the wall. It was a chilling poem:

 If you come here
 You will not survive
 The house of the witch
 Will eat you ALIVE

Underneath it was a crudely spray-painted monster. I took a photo of it and began moving towards where I’d heard the sound (it seemed to have stopped as soon as I reached to top of the stairs).
The room from which I assumed it had been coming from was locked. I looked at the lock, it was shiny and looked like it’d been installed quite recently. It was strange that someone would install a new lock in a dilapidated house that had no front door. I knelt down and looked through the keyhole. The room was empty, just like the one downstairs had been. There was nothing that could have accounted for the sound. Suddenly, a dark shape shot past the keyhole. I jumped back and hit the opposite wall. Suddenly, a pool of dark liquid began to form under the door. I reached out and dipped my finger into it. It was blood. I stood up, shot down the stairs, and was outside the door.
In the confusion I’d dropped my torch, so I tore blindly through the trees, luckily managing not to hit any.
Every step I took, a strange voice echoed in my head, repeating the last two lines of the poem I’d seen written on the wall in the upstairs of the house:

“The house of the witch
Will eat you ALIVE
The house of the witch
Will eat you ALIVE
The house of the witch
Will eat you ALIVE”