The Cabin at the End of the Forest


Jayden Barnes, Reporter

This Month in the fiction corner, I’ve decided to let out a little of a story I’ve been working on for quite some time now. This story has some personal connections to me, as it’s been my primary reason for writing. I hope you all enjoy this month’s fiction corner and are excited for what’s to come! 

The air was crisp, giving a tingling sensation on his nose as he continued down the beaten path. His breaths were steady, checking his surroundings to reassure himself that he was heading in the right direction. As Jack’s eyes darted around, he noticed crude drawings carved into the bark and stone of nearby trees and rocks; pictures of small beings, all surrounding a large, thin man. The boy glanced up at the branches of the tall pines that led him, decorated with what seemed to be fairy lights that were all burnt out and a few small signs, too small to decipher what was written on them. Jack shook his head, ignoring the obvious “turn back now” signs and pulled the hood of his jacket up over his dark brown curls, and sped up, it had to be nearby.

“Okay, this has to be the same tree I saw a few minutes ago,” he exclaimed to no one, collapsing against said tree. He slid down the rough bark, sitting down between its twisted roots, and looked up at the barely visible skyline. Am I lost? Jack thought to himself as he closed his eyes, exhausted from the long hike from the city. As he sat there, he felt an ominous presence circle in on him. Jack’s sense of time drifted, as did his consciousness. 

It felt as if he were sitting under the same pine tree for centuries, the world around him slowly decaying into an endless void that was filled with what seemed to be ruins of old worlds. He was beginning to lose himself to this void, allowing it to consume him when a sharp sudden “JACK” woke him. 

His head swiveled as if it were on wheels, trying to find any trace of who called his name. He stood, shaken by what had occurred, yet still attentive. “Jack…” There it was again, only this time it seemed distant and deeper into the woods. Jack grabbed his backpack and ran towards it, dodging webs, branches, and small rocks that scattered the forest floor. Over and over the voice he heard called to him, leading him to an opening in the treeline. 

As he hurtled himself over a fallen rotten log, he stood in awe at the sight before him; an old, desolate cabin.

“Hah.. I can’t believe it! I found it!” He cried out as he fumbled around in his pack. He pulled out a flashlight and a makeshift respirator, equipping it as he flicked his flashlight on, pointing it towards the door. It had been cracked open slightly, as if it were inviting him in, which in return he took, slowly making his way into the overgrown and deteriorating living room. He was surrounded with what seemed to be regular furniture, along with dusty photos and paintings hung on the walls. His mouth stood agape underneath his mask as he walked the halls, unable to truly discover what he had found, as he only had one purpose. 

He climbed the broken stairs, watching every step with caution until he reached the top. There was a sense of long-lost deja vu as if he had somehow been in this cabin before, yet it escaped him just as he entered the main bedroom. The furniture had been left just as it was before it was abandoned, only changed by time. The floorboards creaked and sunk in with each step Jack took, unable to withstand anything but dust. Jack pointed his light towards a dark oak desk that was accompanied by red, moldy curtains. He walked over to it, pulling out the wooden chair that was seated at it and slowly sitting, making sure he wasn’t sitting on anything unholy. 

He set his flashlight up on a nearby stack of old books, leaning it down to the desk surface itself. Jack rummaged throughout the desk drawers until he found it; The book. He placed it down with a hard thud, shaking a portrait that stood solemnly on the windowsill. Jack only gave it a quick glance before turning his attention back to the leather-bound book, turning the title page. 

“The Doll-” He was cut off by the sudden voice he had once heard leading him to this cabin. “JACK!” It screamed once more, sending icy spikes down his back and freezing him in place. He turned his head slowly, looking at the monstrosity that had conjured the scream…

To be continued in the next issue of The Clarion!