The Forest Girl – finale

In the last installment Lisa and Lance sought refuge at Lance’s house after fleeing from Cerridwen’s violent transformation. Then Lisa returned home. What will the two discover when they meet up the following day and return to Cerridwen’s home?

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The next day Lisa called Lance to verify that the night before hadn’t just been some nightmare. Lance assured her that it had been real. Both said they would never be the same again, and both vowed to never tell a soul, not even their parents. Who would believe them anyway? They met at Lance’s later in the day and walked through the beautiful blanket of fresh snow toward Cerridwen’s. The area where the attack had occurred was still disturbed but covered with two inches of fresh snow. No one would ever suspect. They looked at each other and laughed a sigh of relief.

Several minutes later they arrived at the walkway that branched from the main path and led to the Ash’s back deck. Lisa noticed there was something different about the backyard, but wasn’t certain what it was. There was no one around, and the house was dark. They made their way to the front of the house. Each commented that there was the feeling of being watched. In front of the house was a For Sale sign attached to a lop-sided board that had been quickly driven into the ground. Lance noticed there were no footprints in the snow.

“Man, they must have come home and put this sign up as soon as they could. Seems weird,” said Lance, rubbing his chin. As the two returned to the backyard, Lance told Lisa what he had learned about the Ashes.

Lisa stopped in her tracks. “It’s okay now, Leese,” said Lance.

They walked back toward the footpath when Lisa noticed something shining just under a thin layer of snow. “It’s my iPod!” she shouted. “Oh my god, I completely forgot about it.”

“See, everything’s not so bad,” Lance said.

“It’s strange though,” Lisa muttered. “Cerridwen was the last one to have it. She must have dropped it when she was chasing me.”

“You don’t seem convinced.”

“No, I don’t know. It just seems like a freaky place to lose it. Unless …”

“Unless what?” replied Lance.

“Unless this is where she started to turn into… you know.”

“Whoa, now that is freaky.”

They looked around at the backyard once more. “Really does feel like we’re being watched,” Lance remarked.

As they looked up at the clear blue sky and snow-covered trees, they noticed something very odd. “Lance,” started Lisa with a faltering voice, “look at the trees.”

“I know they all have snow on their limbs except …”

Lisa finished Lance’s comment, “Except the three near the area where I found my iPod.”

“Then they’re still here,” Lance whispered. “Let’s just get home and never come this way again. They’ll leave us alone. They don’t want anyone investigating them.”

Lance and Lisa made their way home and never heard of the Ashes or Cerridwen again, though one day the following spring they took the path to the walkway that led to the Ash’s backyard. A new family had moved in and there were children playing on a swing near the spot where Lisa had found her iPod in the snow. Both Lance and Lisa felt a chill when they saw that the three trees were still standing. They wanted to warn the family for the children’s sake, but they couldn’t bring themselves to do it. No one would believe them. Besides, summer break was only a week away, and they would continue with their lives like nothing had ever happened, and convince themselves over and over that such things just can’t exist.

About Til Turner

Til is a writer, artist, and musician living in the Shenandoah Valley. He is an associate professor in the Languages and Literature Division at Northern Virginia Community College and is a graduate of the Vermont College of Fine Art with an MFA in Creative Writing. Til has published poems online, has written a teacher's handbook on ESL writing, and he has recently completed his second novel for young readers. Please feel free to visit his instructional website at www.EnglishIsKillingMe.com.
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