So I messed up and got the word count completely wrong for this writing contest. Here is my re-submission in 1000 words or less. Dumb mistake on my part.
I’m posting this story for a Halloween flash fiction contest orchestrated by Scale it Simple. They were kind enough to invite me to participate and I hope I’ve risen to the challenge. Follow the link above to view other submissions. If you’d like to vote for your favorite submission (hopefully mine), send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. Voting closes on Nov. 4th.
Comments and likes are much obliged.
Please read and enjoy my story entitled, “Into The Yew Wood.”
It was one of those nights on cemetery lane that made you feel electric with energy and somber with thought all at the same time. The air was crisp, dead leaves scattered as they ran underfoot and glided overhead, filling the night with noise. The moon was full and luminous casting an eerie light on the scene below. Halloween was in full swing, the streets were abuzz with hooded figures and lively children enjoying their annual candy hunt.
Hidden from the action at the end of the long lane of perfectly decorated houses stood the towering and dark-windowed number 13 cemetery lane. Behind it, the forest stood lifeless and desolate, a depressing shadow on a lively scene. It was in this very house at this very moment that
Sinister things were afoot. Sam’s feet twitched on cracked black asphalt. His dark eyes sought through the shadows and trees to the house beyond.
“She’s in there. I know it.” His words cut through the chill night. Next to Sam stood Julian, mop of black hair shifted in the wind as he too stared into the dark.
Resolve glinted in Julian’s eyes. “We’ll get her out. There’s nothing they can do to stop us.”
“Remember what the Seer said.” Spoke up Lawrence, pushing horn rimmed glasses up his nose as he clutched at a tattered backpack. “Together the Shadow will fall, Apart it can only grow stronger.”
Where despair had filled Sam’s heart earlier, a strength grew. They were but thirteen years old. Yet as legend would say with generations to come, it would be those three who held back the tide of Hell.
Sam raised his chin. “Then let’s get in there and get Lucy.”
Lucy. Sam’s only thoughts for the past 48 hours had been for her. She had loved him so much, even when he had teased her to the point of tears. Now there was a chance he would never see her again, because of them.
Each boy shouldered their packs. Clutching iron charms, they crossed the street.
Before them Number 13 Cemetery lane leered. Where the star dusted night should have reflected in large glass windows, only an abyss stood.
“They say this house has been haunted for generations. Something to do with the sacrifice of unholy apostates and disobedient children.” Stated Lawrence. His voice taking on a rehearsed note. Julian and Sam looked at each other, then to Lawrence. The boy paused. “What? I did my homework on the place, come on.”
Julian shook his head,”You sure know when to say the right thing, ya know that?”
Trying to not take in the whole house at once the boys walked through the gutter. Loose shingles flapped in the evening air. The house itself was set back away from the street. A tangled mass of bushes and grasses guarding the front porch. Vines clung to porch rails and up onto an uneven balcony. The house looked to be half consumed by the forest.
“Those are yew trees back their. They’re said to be the symbols of death in some cultures.” Lawrence’s voice faltered as he saw the look on his friend’s faces. “. . . It’s probably just myth . . . legend . . . You know.”
“Lawrence.” Cut in Julian.
“Guys.” Said Sam as he stopped walking. Lawrence shot a resentful look at Julian as they focused their attention onto Sam. Only a short wood picket fence stood between them and it now.
Something waited within, they all could feel it.
Fear wormed inside Lawrence’s resolve. His eyes roved over those all-to-blank windows.”Guys are you sure about this? Shouldn’t we wait for the adults?”
Sam gritted his teeth. “We don’t have time, Lucy’s in there and who knows what they’ve already done to her. Besides were you not there when we tried to tell my parents? Do you not remember how they reacted to us?”
Sam tried to control his anger and bitterness, but his emotions were to close to the surface. He saw the hurt on Lawrence’s face, but there wasn’t time to care.
“No I’m going in and if you two can’t handle this I’ll do it myself.” Sam opened the wood gate and stomped up the cracked front walk. Julian looked at Lawrence with measured eyes and then followed Sam through.
Lawrence stood on the sidewalk, exposed to the night. His face burned with guilt. He looked up at the house, gulped and then scampered after his friends.
The three crossed through the dead shrubs, careful to not anything on the naked branches. Julian glanced back and smiled at Lawrence.
“Glad to see you’re making yourself useful at last.”
Nerves getting the best of him, Lawrence snapped back. “Useful? Useful? Next time we have to rescue someone from a Coven, you can do the research in the library with Mrs. Ketcheren. I’ll pack the food.”
Thunder crashed through the empty sky as Lawrence clapped a hand over his mouth. Sam and Julian all but jumped out of their skins at the sound. A peel of weird green light flashed through the house. Windows illuminated, exhibiting antique furniture, bookshelves, lamps and the like. Voices screamed out into the night, scratching their way through worn wood siding.
They had heard their name spoken.
“Run!” Screamed Julian. He grabbed Lawrence by the shoulder and pushed him headlong into the shrubs.
Sam froze, panic clouding his mind. Viridescent radiance washed over his body. For an instant that felt more like a year, a yearning to lay down and sleep took hold of him. Something was coming. It was hunting him, but that didn’t matter. What mattered was that he needed rest.
Sleep. Whistled a soothing voice. Sleeeeeeep.
The voice increased in presence, echoing within his mind.
Put down your weapons, Child.
Sam closed his eyes, feeling his body shift to the ground.
“Sam!” Screamed a faint voice, as if from a dream.
Listen to the silence. Sleep.
“Sam!” The scream grew louder.
Listen to meeeee Samuel. Listen to the Yew Witch.
“SAMUEL!” Screamed Julian as he slapped his friend across the face.
Die . . .