Thomas Evans was a young boy, no more than nine when his father disappeared. He was short and had short black hair and light brown eyes. He was excited that day when his father told him he would go hunting in the dark forest with him.
"Today will be the day that I kill my first monster, dad!" Thomas said looking up at his father's old bearded face as he loaded his gun and slung it over his shoulder.
His father laughed and ruffled his hair, "We'll see, me boy!" Then he slung his own gun over his shoulder.
They left their cozy little cabin and walked through the village to the edge of the forest. Thomas could hear the villagers whispering amongst themselves as he passed, "What is that man doing?", "Bringing a child along!" and "He's going to get both of them killed."
Thomas ignored them and looked at the dark forest confidently. He and his father entered the forest and immediately everything got darker, as if there was a great storm coming. Thomas's courage was slipping away very quickly. He held up his gun expecting something to jump out of the trees and attack, but his father pushed it aside, "Calm down, son. They aren't this close to the edge of the forest. We have to go a lot deeper for what we are looking for."
They walked forward; Thomas had a very difficult time trying to get through all the undergrowth, but was determined to keep going.
"Father, what is it that we are looking for?" Thomas asked after they had been walking for some time.
"Ah, that is a good question." His father stopped and sat down on a rock. "The villagers call them the Devil's daughters; of course there are many different names for them. It is a creature that has been terrorizing the villagers for thousands of years. I'm not sure what they look like me self, but I've heard they disguise themselves as beautiful maidens and lure villagers deep into this forest. Then they show their true forms and eat you for supper!" He poked Thomas in the belly as he said supper. "No one has had the guts to go in and try to get rid of the creatures, but I'm gonna get rid of every last one of 'em!" He laughed and stood up.
They continued walking for miles through the forest, but after a while, when Thomas began tired he noticed that his dad was up a little further ahead of Thomas then he was comfortable with and Thomas began panicking and running to catch up to his father, but his foot snagged in a tangle of thorny vines on the ground and he fell over.
"Dad!" he cried. "Wait! I'm stuck!" But his dad continued walking forward looking from side to side for he could no longer hear his son. He was listening to a beautiful, sweet tune and was looking for the one to whom the voice belonged.
As Thomas struggled to get free of the vines they cut deeper and deeper into his flesh. Finally he took out a pocket knife his best friend had given him as his father disappeared from site and began cutting at the vines. When he was free he began to stumble forward with tears of both pain and fear trickling down his face and blood flowing quickly down his leg.
He called for his father over and over, but no answer came back. As Thomas walked around clumsily and sobbing he tripped over more vines and was sent rolling down a steep hill, cutting himself up even more.
"Dad!" he screamed at the top of his lungs when he reached the bottom of the hill and stopped rolling. "Dad, please! Come back!"
He looked around but all he could see was a large blue pond in front of him with a small opening in the trees above it to let in some light. To his left there was a large cave and all around him were trees. He had no clue where he was or how to get out. He sat looking across the pond and saw in the water his dads' gun and a pool of red surrounding it.
Thomas walked around the pond and picked up his father's gun. He sat at the edge of the pond and knew that he would never see his father again. Whatever was here surely killed him by now. He sat for a while staring at the gun, he had decided not to move and let whatever attacked his dad come back and get him too. He had no way of getting out, if he walked he would risk going even deeper into the forest and get attacked by things much worse.
Thomas jumped onto his feet and shot his dads gun in the direction of the noise. It hit a tree and he looked around for a sign of someone or something. He looked back at the tree he had shot and saw a young girl step shyly out from behind the tree. He lowered his gun quickly and stared at the girl he almost killed.
She was beautiful in his opinion. She had short dark brown hair, smooth skin, pointed ears, eyes as blue as the sea and soft pink lips. She wore an amazing white sleeveless dress with a thin piece of black metal along the top of it. The dress was long and she would have been stepping on it every time she walked if it weren't cut the way it was. It was split on both sides of the dress from the top of her legs down. She had odd markings, like tattoos, on the left side of her face, her left arm and on the side of both of her legs from her waist down to her knees. She wore a black bracelet and a black choker necklace. No matter how hard he tried, Thomas could not stop thinking of her beauty.
He cleared his throat, "A-are you okay?" he asked nervously. She nodded. He hesitated before asking, "Are you the one who made that noise?" She nodded again, turned and began to walk away, then turned back toward Thomas and gestured for him to follow her and continued on.
Thomas hesitated for a moment remembering what his father had told him, before he was attacked. Maybe this is one of the creatures who attacked him! He thought angrily. But what choice did he have? He was probably going to get eaten by something soon and it might as well be this. So, he followed her ready for whatever would happen next.
He lost the girl a couple of times, but she always came back for him smiling and, sometimes, helping him up when he fell, she usually kept her distance from him though. She didn't talk at all and she moved so easily and gracefully through the forest and Thomas was falling over every five seconds.
After what seemed like ages of walking she finally stopped and turned to him. She walked towards him and he thought, great, this it is! She's going to kill me! He closed his eyes tightly and got ready for it. He felt her hands on his shoulders and then he felt her lips pressed against his. He opened his eyes and she stepped away and pointed in front of him and ran off. He looked where she had pointed and saw light. He ran as fast as he could towards it and burst out of the forest and smelled fresh air and felt the warm sun on his skin.
Thank you, he thought touching his lips as he made his way through the village back to his home. I wonder why she helped me though?
Eight years later, Thomas woke up from another dream about the mysterious girl in the forest. Every now and then he thought he saw her at the edge of the forest, but whenever he went back into the forest he could never find her.
There was a knocking at his door, "Tom! Tom, wake up!"
"I'm up!" He said as he fell out of bed sending beer bottles rolling across the floor. He got up and got dressed. He put his knife in his pocket and opened his door.
"There he is!" Thomas's friend Max came walking in. Max was a chubby boy with blonde hair and dark brown eyes.
"Hey, Max. You know I think the birthday boy has a right to sleep in." Thomas yawned and rubbed his eyes.
"Yeah, well it's noon and everyone's getting ready to celebrate your birthday!"
"Well, it better be quick, because I'm leaving soon."
"You're not seriously thinking of going back into the forest to look for your imaginary girlfriend are you?" Max laughed.
Thomas rinsed off his face and glared at him, "No, this time I'm going back for revenge. And she isn't imaginary." He added quietly.
Max stopped laughing, "You're kidding! You're going to go back there? Back to the place you said they killed your father? Back where those things live!?"
"Yes, and I don't care about the girl anymore, I realize now that she is probably one of them who had helped kill my dad." Thomas thought all along that this was probably the case. But if it was, why had she helped him escape the forest and not killed him as well? Of course, he did still care about her, he's not sure why but something about her made him happier. It was just a disguise, he thought to himself.
"Well, hurry up alright! The faster you get to your party the faster you can leave it and go hunting." Max smiled and left Thomas.
After Thomas had cleaned up his house a bit he left and went to the middle of town where they had everything for his birthday party set up.
"Happy birthday!" Almost everyone in the village was there. Music started playing and cake was cut and everyone had a merry time.
Thomas was the only person who wasn't having any fun, he wanted to leave, and he wanted to get his job done. There were too many people here and he didn't even know most of them. He was just about to leave when he saw someone he couldn't help but think he had seen before. He only saw her face for half a second when he recognized her. She was wearing a ragged old cloak and a hood that covered her face. He tried making his way over to her through the throng of people.
"Hey, darlin'!" One of Thomas's neighbors had walked over to her, "You want some cake? Here have a drink!" He thrust a beer in her hands.
"Um, n-no thank you sir." She tried giving it back.
"Nonsense!" he exclaimed. "Yer' at a party! Have some fun!" And he staggered off giggling about some joke that only he understood.
When Thomas had finally made it over to her she was sniffing the beer, "Um, hey! You're supposed to drink it!" he laughed.
She jumped, but didn't look up at him, "I-I know that!" She took a sip, "I've just never had one before. Um, h-happy birthday."
"Thank you," he replied politely, "so why are you hiding your face?"
"It is my business only!" she said flatly.
He smiled and whispered, "You know, when we first met, I never got your name."
This time she finally looked up at him. She was even more beautiful than when he met her in the forest. Her eyes were an even purer blue and the tattoo on her face appeared to have grown along with her.
"Well, if you know who I am, then you should know why I hide my face. And my name is Andrea."
"I'm Thomas, and no one else would know who you are. You'd just have to keep your tattoos and ears hidden."
She hesitated and took off the hood, she made her hair hang over her ears so it hid them and the tattoo on her face and the light seemed to dance around her. Immediately Thomas felt warmth and a happiness that he hadn't felt in a long time. "I know what you're thinking about doing after the party and I want to help." She looked at him as though worried.
He took her hand, "Come on we shouldn't talk about this here." They walked back to his house and he closed the door. "You would turn against your own kind to help me get revenge?"
"I am no longer one of them." She said sadly staring at her hands. "The day I had helped you escape the forest my mother had found out that I had helped a human and was furious with me. She banished me from those parts of the woods and disowned me. You see, my mother is the one in charge of all of us, everyone in our parts of the woods do as she says. We are not allowed to show mercy to men and when she found out I had, she said she would never forgive what I had done."
"So," Thomas said feeling a little sorry for her, "it is my fault then that you had to leave."
"No! No!" She said quickly standing up, "It is my fault, for I was not supposed to help you and I did! Do not blame yourself!"
"Okay, so," he thought for a moment and realized that maybe she could help him. "So, why did you help me? And do you know who it was that killed my father?"
She looked up at him anger now in her face, "Yes, I do. It was my mother and my two sisters. The cave you saw when we were little is where I lived and that is where you will find the rest of them. I helped you, because I did not want to live my life as a monster. I just want to be a normal human being." She stood up and took off her cloak and hung it up, "I do not understand why you humans live in the light from this hot sun though! The forest has shade and is much cooler!"
He laughed; she was wearing the same dress as when they met only now it was much larger so it fit her. Her hair had also grown quite a bit, it was now right above her ankles. "Okay, but I haven't been able to find my way back over to the cave. When I was little I ended up there on accident."
"Oh, that's right! You fell!" she giggled.
Someone knocked at the door, "Tom! Open up! He better not have left yet."
Thomas opened the door, "Um, Max. What do you want? I'm getting ready to go."
Max shoved himself through the door and said, "Well, obviously I'm coming with you!" Now Thomas noticed the gun Max had brought with him. He also noticed that now the monster he had let into his house had disapeared.
"Look, it's not safe. Your mom would kill me if I let you come along."
"It'll be fine. I just want to get out of here and help out my pal. But first I have to use the bathroom!" He ran out of the room and Thomas started panicking and looking for his lost monster.
"Ahhhhhh!" He heard two screams from the living room and ran towards them.
Max slammed into him in the hallway, "There's a…in your…she's a…imaginary girl…in your!" He stuttered.
"Get off me!" Thomas pushed Max off and said, "There! That's why you can't come with me! You'll freak out when you see your first monster!"
"Your dad was killed by one of those, those, things!" He yelled shaking. "And I'm sorry, but it's not every day I walk into a bathroom and find a monster hiding behind the door!"
"I'm sorry; I didn't mean to frighten you." Andrea poked her head into view from behind the wall so that he could see her.
Thomas stood up, "Come one, he won't hurt you. By the way who's scream was who's?" He laughed.
Max got up blushing and glaring at Thomas and Andrea came out and held out her hand and said, "It's nice to meet you!" and smiled.
Max shook her hand and said, "Yeah, um, I'm Max."
"Andrea." She said in reply still smiling.
"She's going to help me with this tonight." Thomas said.
"So, you'll take help from her, but not from me?" He said angrily, but still blushing, "Fine then, I see how it is!" He stomped to the door.
Thomas rolled his eyes and a little annoyed said, "Oh, alright, but you better keep up."
"Um," Andrea said, "I think it would be best if we wait until the sun comes up to leave. It will be pitch black in the forest and even darker in the cave and night is when my family will be coming out to feed."
They all agreed that it would be best to wait until morning. That night Andrea slept in Thomas's bed, Max went home and Thomas slept on the couch. He had difficulty falling asleep, he still wasn't sure if he could completely trust Andrea. Eventually though, sleep overcame him.
The next morning Andrea woke Thomas up and they got ready to go. She put on her cloak, but left the hood down and Thomas grabbed his gun. They walked over to Max's house and knocked on the door. It was some time before anyone answered. Finally Max flung open the door and said furiously, "Let's go!" Thomas could hear sobs inside coming from Max's mother.
"Wait! Max, what happened?" Thomas said trying to keep up.
Max stopped suddenly and Thomas ran into him, "She happened!" He pointed at Andrea.
"What?" she said.
"What do you mean? She hasn't done anything wrong!" Thomas yelled and stepped in front of her defensively.
"I'm sorry. It's not her specifically, it's her kind!" He said.
"Max, keep your voice down about it." Thomas whispered, "They'll kill her if they find out. Now what happened?"
Max looked down at his feet, "Two of them came into the village last night and they took my dad."
"We need to hurry!" Andrea said. "It would be best if we were back before dark. The tunnels in the cave go very deep." As they headed for the forest Thomas noticed that everyone on the road had stopped what they were doing to stare at Andrea.
With Andrea leading them it was almost no time at all before they were at the entrance to the cave. It smelled of rotting corpses and blood and the stench made Thomas's eyes water. Thomas and Max were a little skeptical about going in at first but they knew they had to in order to make sure no one else got hurt in the village by the monsters. The tunnels were dark and it was almost impossible to see anything, Max and Thomas stumbled along behind Andrea with their guns ready.
"Yuck! The walls are all slimy!" Max said.
Andrea told him to be quiet, "If my mother hears you, we will all be in trouble." She whispered. But it was too late, there were voices echoing through the tunnels and they were getting closer. "Run!" Andrea yelled.
The three of them started running as fast as they could, trying to escape the voices following them quickly in the tunnels. They made it out into the clearing and at the edge of the lake Thomas stopped and waited for the creatures to walk out of the cave for them. He pointed his gun at the entrance and something shot out of the cave lightning fast and flew up into the air and out of sight into the trees. Thomas stepped back a little bit and then two more came out.
They were awfully hideous and smelly creatures with large bat-like wings and long thin fingers with sharp claws. They had long toes and claws on their feet and their mouths opened from ear to pointed ear and were full of long, razor-sharp, blood stained teeth. They each had long grey stringy hair and blood red eyes with black pupils and no whites. They still had the same markings on their face, arm, and legs, and wore the same dresses as Andrea only theirs were all torn up and brown at the bottom. They also had long thick sharp arrow tipped tails.
The first one that came out knocked Thomas's gun aside and pushed him down, he held onto her neck to push her away as she dug her claws into his shoulder and tried to eat his face. He felt the ground around him for something he could use against her and found a fist sized rock. He picked it up and hit her in the head with it, cracking her skull and sending blood flying all over his face. She fell, dead, on the ground. The one in the trees gave a high pitched scream and came down from the trees with her clawed feet stretched out to impale her prey. Thomas ran to his gun, but before he could get it, Max shot the creature in the arm and she swerved away from them and back into the trees screaming, "Fowl beastss! How dare they come here!"
Thomas picked up his gun and was knocked over by another one of the monster and he felt her sink her jaws into his arm. Then another one came to him, but instead of pouncing on him to help its sister it knocked her off of him and sunk its own jaws into her neck. He figured that was Andrea and left her to take care of that one. Two more came out of the cave and the one in the trees came out again to attack the one who shot her, but this time while she was going after Max, Thomas shot her in the head and she crashed into another of the monsters and they both fell to the ground. Max shot the one under the dead one as she scratched at the ground trying to get out from under her sister. Andrea flew past Thomas's face and attacked the last one. Then everything went quiet.
"Is that it?" asked Max.
"No, my mother must still be in there." Andrea said after she had changed back into her beautiful disguise.
Thomas looked at the caves entrance and saw a woman with long blonde hair that flowed in the wind when there was no wind. She had bright green eyes and wore a blue dress of the same style as Andrea's. She had a face that resembled Andrea's, but twice the beauty. Thomas and Max stood where they were, not moving, transfixed. There seemed to be a sweet music all around her, as she stepped out of the cave she sang in a very peculiar language that they had never heard before. She held out her hand towards Thomas and he began walking forward slowly with his hand outstretched to take hers.
"Thomas, no!" He heard someone yell.
"Silensse child!" Said the beautiful woman in front of him in a raspy, hideous voice. He remembered for a split moment the sound of the other creature talking and broke out of his trance, he looked back and saw Andrea holding Max back and he turned back around in time to see Andreas mother changing into the terrifying creature. Thomas tried to step back and aim his gun at her, but he tripped over a vine and fell into the pond. He had lost his gun and Andrea's mother was on top of him trying to drown him. He struggled trying to get her off of him so he could get air, then he stuck his hand his pocket, pulled out his knife and stuck it in her stomach, he could hear her scream as clearly under the water as above it. He took his head out of the water and punched her in the face, knocking her over, then Max shot her and she lay still on the ground as her blood trickled into the pond turning it red.
Andrea ran to Thomas and threw her arms around his shoulders, "Thank goodness you're okay!"
They all walked back home together quickly, because it was already getting dark and they still did not want to be in the woods even though those creatures gone. When the village had heard about what they had done they threw a big party and everyone in the village was invited. Children ran around and danced and people were at their happiest in years.
"Now, you're the only one left." Whispered Thomas in Andrea's ear, "At least, around here you are." She looked up at him.
"But, what will we do if someone finds out that I am one of them?"
He took her hand and said, "Then, we will leave! Together! We can move on to one of the neighboring villages. It won't matter though; no one will be looking for them now that they think they're all gone." They kissed and celebrated happily with the whole village all night.