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Beware the Dark!

yellow lights between trees
(photo by Johannes Plenio from

Soft beds of foliage tickled the bottom of my foot as I walked along the deserted path. The fraying seams of my baby blue apron tangled themselves in the protruding branches of the nearby oak trees. The dark coiled wool on my head rose as the wind blew past my face. They stood tall and condensed, like the soldiers I would occasionally see in the neighbouring villages. My small woven basket of various herbs and spices swayed back and forth in my hand. They were for the Mage. This was my routine; go to the dark forest, carefully pick the correct ingredients for the potions, follow the toadstool trail back to the cottage before night falls and repeat all over again. This was my job.

Most female apprentices my age in the village disliked me though. They hated the fact that I was working for the strongest castor in all of Deyva; saying that I am not worthy of being her apprentice or that I only got the role because I am her granddaughter. She has told me not to pay them any mind though. Bless her heart. I knew I was not worthy nor ready for a commitment like this. All of the different spells and concoctions that the villagers needed were too advanced for me. All of too much for me.

“What do I do?” I spoke aloud to myself, I sensed myself getting frustrated.

In the distance, loud rumbles travelled across the sky. I was pulled out of my thoughts when droplets of water hit the apples of my cheeks. I brought my hand to my face and wiped it away. Craning my neck to the heavens above, I noticed the darkness of the floating pillows covering it. Dusk was quickly falling and a storm was on the rise. 

“I should hurry and get back to the cottage.” 

I quickened my pace, clutching the worn out cape my father had given to me. The wind had picked up in speed and the rain felt like a million daggers stabbing at my body. I cursed under my breath as the enchanted lanterns along this path began to glow. The flames in them grew tall as the wind pushed and pulled against it. 

But something was off. 

The usual reds and oranges were now an intense green. They only turned that colour if there were fae around. In all of the 23 years I have been alive, I have never actually met a fae before. But the stories told about them usually scared off any curious souls. They were described as tall, lanky creatures with fangs that protrude so much, that they could barely close their mouths. They have sharp yellow eyes and have claws as thick and strong as steel. Pretty frightening. 

We were told that they would lure people by imitating the voices of their loved ones and lead their prey on a new, diverted path; one that led to their demise. 

My eyes kept shifting, surveying the area surrounding me. Hugging my arms around me to keep warm, my heart began pounding in my chest as suspicious rustling were coming from all directions. The hairs all over my arms stood erect as another strong gust of wind blew past me. 

“Reann, hurry to the cottage!” a voice shrieked in the distance.

Was that grandmother? No that shouldn’t be...I am about a mile or so away from the cottage. But it sounded so real. I thought to myself.


Another loud rumble of thunder vibrated the heavens above. A storm like this has not occurred this violent since the awakening of the supreme mage. In my peripheral, dozens of yellow eyes stared at me with intensity. So many whispers spoken by raspy voices intertwined themselves with the chaos all around me.

“Reann hurry before it’s too late!”

“Grandmother?!” I shouted over the noise of the rain. Why did she sound scared?

“Reann, please!”

The maze that was the dark forest was becoming extremely difficult to navigate. I looked up at the old oak trees at my sides, searching for more lanterns. But there were none. Had I taken the wrong path? The ones that hung from the branches were broken with cold embers in them. The rustling grew louder as I came close to an opening. By now it was already dark and the sky was now illuminated by the lightning that danced within the clouds. 

I brought the sleeve of my cape to my face to clear my vision. Dead ahead, I saw something glowing in the midst of the darkness. It looked like lights. Hope began to swell into my heart as I ventured closer towards it.

The cottage.

There it was, in all its glory withstanding the storm. Its leaning structure stood strong and the lights grew brighter. The familiar mahogany door stood before me. I reached for the handle when a sudden shock of energy ran up my spine. I looked behind me and saw a tall, lanky figure standing hunched at the opening of the gate. In a split second, its head immediately shot up and I met its gaze.

My heart stopped for a moment as soon as I saw the evil in its eyes. A sinister smile slowly began to form, stretching its skin so far back layers of wrinkles covered its face. I shook the door knob so hard, my hands were beginning to throb in pain. I glanced back at the creature but saw nothing. Whipping my head around quickly, I scanned my area while chanting soft repellent spells. 

Finally, after a few attempts, the door opened up. Quickly shutting it behind me, I threw my drenched basket onto the dining table that sat in the middle of the room. I tiredly removed the soaked cape from my shoulders and made my way to the stairwell that descended into the workshop. 


No one answered.

“Grandmother!” I screamed louder, reaching the entrance to her den. Where can she be?

“Grandmother isn’t here right now, child.” a raspy voice hissed. 

I was frozen in my spot. Frightened by the sight before my eyes. There, sitting in the corner of the room, was a large dark figure. Its head faced the ground and its body hunched over. It slowly lifted its gaze to mine, a smile evident on its face. 

“...W-Who are you?” I whispered, my voice and courage non-existent.

“I am your worst nightmare and your only saviour!” it chuckled darkly.

In a flash, it shot up from its seat and lunged at me, sinking its fangs into my arm. I cried out in pain, my consciousness slowly fading away.

“You should have stayed on the right path.” it whispered, it’s mouth extending into a chilling smile. “It’ll all be over soon.” 

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