1 Three

The walk to my private sanctuary that day seemed longer than usual. Yet the length had remained consistent throughout the past twenty-six years of my going there. Everything seemed ominous on the way through, trees looked as if they had sprouted arms and legs. Creatures would dart out in front of me. The sky seemed darker. I had a sense of fear, lurking in the back of my mind. The walk didn’t fill me with joy and happiness, but despair and desolation. Eyes had grown into the back of my head. I was sure to watch my every step. I was mindful of every twist in the road. Nothing was going to surprise me. It wouldn’t get the chance.

As I drew closer, the clearing was finally in vantage. Nobody had tried to attack or challenge me in anyway, at least not yet. The clearing hadn’t changed; the branches on the sides were still covered in thorns. The giant oak tree in the distance still stood proudly over everything else. I smiled a little as I walked slowly towards the clearing. Yet, my way wasn’t clear as I felt my left boot kicking against something a little further ahead of me! I grabbed my flashlight, shining it directly forward. My pupils were now the size of golf balls. My fists were clenched. Adrenaline was pumping its way through my blood, as I moved the spotlight all over the rocky ground. Then, as I brought the light down to my waistline I saw the remnants of a dead rabbit. Its stomach had been split wide open. Its eyes gouged from its head. The top of its ears sliced clean off. The poor thing had been mutilated! After seeing this, I jumped back in fright. Yet somehow, I managed to keep my wits about me. I looked around quickly, not allowing myself to be distracted for a second, but I was alone, at least for now. I rubbed the back of my neck, trying to calm myself down a little, before walking into the clearing and beyond.

Inside, the sweet smell of wet grass filled my nostrils. It had blended in with the decaying smell of death. I tried to black it out, not letting these forces of evil entangle my childhood memories of innocence. However, my eyes were the ones that deceived me. Just beyond the flora infested opening, a circle of fire burned brightly. The area around me was being razed to the ground. I dropped the flashlight, screaming in rage, but nobody could hear me. I had been deserted out here, forced to watch a part of my life, destroyed in front of my very eyes. This had all been a sick practical joke, but how could they have known? Had they been watching me all of this time? I tried to make sense of it; in contrast with the grief I felt tearing me apart inside. The tears began to free themselves from my eyes. I fell to my knees, placing my head in my hands. I felt as if I was being forced to grow up. I was being forced to leave this childhood World that I had adored so much and for what purpose? Merely to satisfy a five- minute thrill for some punk! Just when I thought I had the answers, they had changed the questions. I couldn’t bare this agony any longer. I pulled myself up, wiping the tears from my eyes. However, as soon as I turned on my heel to leave, I stopped suddenly in my tracks.

There before me stood a man, dressed in a long black cloak that covered everything except his old, weathered hands. Behind him stood four others, all stood in a straight line. Each of them were ready to pounce at a moment’s notice. Although I couldn’t see his face, I could sense he was looking at me. Peering into my very soul, with an icy glare. I felt daggers plunge into my chest. The weight of the World had been cast onto my shoulders as he edged closer. He gingerly placed his hands on my shoulders. I looked up in horror at him, as he suddenly pulled me close and embraced me as a brother! I pulled away emphatically, stumbling to the floor. I remember staring at him with a cold deposition. I’d never looked at somebody so sternly in my whole life.