Stowed Away in the Woods


Illustration by Jayden Barnes

Jayden Barnes, Reporter

This is the second installment of the last story from the Fiction Section! I highly recommend that you read that story first, although this section still has its own story of its own! I hope you enjoy this section, maybe even wanting more from this small universe I’ve created!

… As he turned around, Jack gasped as he saw the soft, cloth hand grasp the box that was in the center of the room. The hand gripped tightly to the cedar planks, raising its body up and standing tall above the floor. Jack’s mouth slowly closed, as he breathed a sigh of relief for what was in front of him.

Not only was this creature not a monstrosity, but it was also actually quite cute; a small, child-sized rag-doll that had curly, dark brown hair. Its eyes looked human in shape, yet had button pupils along with stitching down the center of its face. It looked at Jack with curiosity, as if he couldn’t believe it was really him. He hopped off the box, slowly walking towards Jack and raising his hand out. 

“Don’t worry Jack, I won’t hurt you,” The doll spoke softly with a reassuring smile. Jack’s body forced him to slowly walk back into the table, yet he calmed down from this comment, his breathing slowing. His hand lowered, touching the soft cloth that was the doll’s hand. His body instantly warmed up, feeling this soft, surprisingly warm hand out in the middle of a freezing forest.

“What are you..?” Jack questioned as he knelt down to get eye level with the being. It laughed and looked at Jack gleefully.

“Well, I’m a living doll, that seemed obvious! My name is Knot, and I was actually your father’s, same as this cabin!” He stated proudly.

Jack’s expression went blank as his heart sped up. My dad? He thought, but I thought my dad left when I was little, how is this cabin his? He felt his legs get weak as his breathing increased rapidly, causing his vision to blur. 

“I-I have to get out of here, this isn’t happening,” Jack mumbled as he crawled his way towards the stairs leading to the ground level. He took his first steps down cautiously, yet he felt his consciousness slowly fade as his vision went to blank.

“Jac-… Jack! Wake up!”

His vision came back to him as he slowly sat up, rubbing the immediate pain from his head. He was greeted with the doll from before, looking concerned and picking up Jack’s backpack.

“You fell down those stairs rough, I can’t believe you’re awake already!” Knot exclaimed in relief. “I’m sorry for putting all those revelations on you, I should’ve started out smaller…”

Jack smiled as he took his backpack from Knot. He stood slowly, recalibrating his balance. 

“No, you’re good, don’t worry about that. I’ve just never known my father, I guess the fact I was standing in his cabin without even knowing sorta knocked out my thought process haha,” Jack said, smiling at Knot. He looked around him, realizing he was outside the cabin. Huh, I guess Knot dragged me out here all by himself. 

Jack knelt, gesturing for the doll to get up on his backpack. Knot happily obliged, making a comfy rest out of the pack and peaking over Jack’s shoulder.

“Where are we going?” Knot asked politely. Jack looked at him and smiled, looking up at the full broken moon in the sky.

“Home. You’re gonna tell me all about my father, mmk? I need to know why he disappeared, and why there’s some weird doll being he made.” Jack stated calmly, noticing the frosty air coming from his mouth. He stepped over the broken logs from the cabin and began his trek home. It was dark, but now at least he had a companion, as well as a guide to the answers he had missed for his whole life.