To Walk The Paths Of Death

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Chapter One - Stories Told

“Slowly she stepped into the night and began to walk, where she never found her way,” the children’s mother had said, finishing the story of Anita Stone.

“Why would she go out there in the woods if her father had said to never do so?” the young child named Maida said. Maida could not have been over the age of twelve. She had wavy golden hair, just like her mother, with a face that was petite and round, giving her a doll-like face. She was a brave and daring child, just as Anita was in the story.

“She went out into the woods because she wanted to venture out, just as mother said.” Maida’s older brother Cedric said. “You like to explore ... don’t you Maida.“. Cedric, like Maida, also had golden hair and was likely the age of fourteen. He had a strong cheekbone structure, giving his face a stern look. Although he was given a stern face, he was still a sweet boy who was kind to both his mother and sister.

“Yes I do, but I will never dare to step foot into the Black Forest.” she replied.

“Now children, just as Anita’s father had said, never go into the Black Forest. No matter how much it tempts you.” the mother had spoken.

“Yes, mother.” both the children said in unison.

“C’mon Maida, we don’t want to be late for dinner.” Cedric had said.

“I am moving as fast as I can Cedric. I have smaller legs you know!” the feisty girl had harshly spoken.

Cedric slowed his pace to wait for Maida. “Thank you.” Maida said. Cedric just nodded, indicating your welcome.

“Cedric! Maida! Dinner is ready!” their mother yelled across the large field filled with grass and wheat.

The children made their way across the field, getting closer and closer to their home in the village of Bremen. Bremen was a small village on the outskirts of the Black Forest. Several mountains stood on the horizon. Some streams and creeks ran throughout the town, along with the occasional willow tree.

The houses that stood atop the plains that stretched for many miles, were made of wood and stone. Stone rocks being used as the foundation, the dark stained wood being the walls that shielded the inside from the out. Cobblestone paths layered the town’s few aisles, intertwining throughout the town. Moss peeked between the cobblestones as if to reach for the sun. Not that it was a hard task. Though Bremen was oftentimes cold and draugy, the town throughout the summer brightened in both light and temperature.

The town’s several inns made it so that the regular drunk was always roaming the street, usually singing some folk song, or drinking ale to add to their stupor. Nevertheless, even the drunks of the town were happy as can be, though that is most likely because they were always drunk. But then again, who is to take away a man’s ale.

Bremen was a town of mostly agriculture. Farms and such surrounding the beautiful area, crops reaching to the rear of homes and shops. Often, the farmlands were filled with barley, wheat, rye, and the occasional root-crop.

The story of Bremen says a farmer first settled the land where Bremen now sits. A man named Edmund. However, he housed a home for the many so-called beasts, that society had banished from all the other towns surrounding. The beasts scared the neighboring villages and towns, causing them to gripe towards the Holy Roman Empire, which ruled over the lands. The empire slaughtered most of the beasts, the rest scattering into the woodlands. Ever since, Bremen has been ruled upon by the Holy Romans, and many believe they will be ruled upon forevermore.

The children had walked through the doorway of their home, their noses met with a heavenly scent: the marvelous dinner their mother had cooked for them. Cedric gazed upon the table as we talked to his seat at the end of the wooden table. He sat down, still marveling at the broad selection of various foods: sourdough bread, a sort of mushroom and beef stew, potatoes, and the classic apple fritters.

Both the children sat down and began to eat the food their mother had prepared for them. Cedric starting his meal with the beef stew that was set in front of him. Maida beginning her meal with the apple fritter her mother had given them. Maida always had a sweet tooth, whereas Cedric always had a craving for the meaty substance of the meal.

Day turned to night and the children made their way to their beds after dinner. They lied down and began to fall asleep. Once Maida shut her eyes, Cedric awoke her to speak of the forest.

“Maida? Do you really believe what mother said is true?” Cedric asked. Looking across the room towards Maida, staring at her, awaiting an answer.

After several moments of silence, Maida answered, “What do you mean?” she spoke.

“The story of Anita Stone and the Black Forest. Do you think it is true?” he asked once more. This time sitting up, so that his back lie against the wall behind him, acting as a sort of stand.

“I’m not sure. No matter the story, I would never step foot in the forest anyway. It is cold . . . and dark” she said. Though Maida said she would never step foot into the old forsaken forest, Maida knew within her soul that she almost wanted to. Though she would never speak of that, she sure did think it.

“C’mon Maida, don’t you want to know what is inside the forest and if the folktales are really true?” Cedric replied. Trying his best to convince his youngling sister to venture with him.

“Fine, but I want to talk to the horsekeeper outside of the village. You know him, Roderick.” Maida said, knowing that Roderick should know the most about the forest, seeing that some say he grew up there.

“So if we go talk to him about the forest, you will consider coming to explore the forest with me?” he questioned.


“Alright then.”

After the short, but rather involved conversation, the children lied down and fell asleep.

The children awoke the next morn and quickly dressed themselves for the day. They left their home before their mother was awake to notice. Silently, they snuck through the doorway of the abode and set off to find the horsekeeper.

“Let’s go, Maida!” Cedric yelled with laughter, whilst pulling her arm as if to pull her faster to their destination.

Both the children ran through the fields towards the edge of town to meet the horsekeeper, pushing the rather tall barley and wheat aside to make room for them to run. It was a cold, draugy day, filled with gray clouds covering the sky. The occasional fog drifting through the air, along with the slight, but evergoing sprinkle of rain. Though the children were relieved that the rain finally came to their homely town, they wet droplets of water falling upon the soil below them made quite the difficult trek across the fields. Cedric was used to running fast between the crops, pushing them aside, however, now that the rain began to pour, Cedric’s speed decreased, thus slowing Maida’s pace as well.

The children, now soaked from the wet crops brushing against their clothes, approached the horsekeeper, noticing he was asleep. The old man awoke when they neared him, awaking in an almost drunken stupor. However, it was nothing of the sort, he was perfectly sober: “perhaps he is just old” Cedric thought.

“Children? No child should be this far from town, go back at once or I will tell your mother.” the stubborn old horsekeeper said.

“Relax Roderick, we are just here to ask some questions about the forest.” Cedric said, in hopes to persuade Roderick into letting them stay. Cedric grabbed hold of Maida’s tunic, pulling them closer to the rather small campfire Roderick had prepared, in efforts to both warm himself and Maida, but to also dry their newly wet clothes.

“If you children dare step in that forest you will never be seen again!” the old man exclaimed, in hopes of frightening the children.

“What can you tell us about the forest, why does everyone speak so badly of it?” Cedric questioned, ignoring Roderick’s short rant.

Huffing, the old man stood up and began to walk closer to the forest, staring off into the abyss.

“Nobody really knows for sure, but some say that ...” Cedric interrupted the old man.

“... ghouls haunt the forest and roam the woods during the night?” Cedric spoke.

“No, some say that monsters roam the woods. And not only at night.” Roderick said as if to make a point.

“Those are just folktales Roderick, I don’t believe there is anything wrong with the forest. You just don’t like it, that’s all.” Cedric said.

“Children, I am telling you to not step foot in there or there will be severe consequences.” the old man warned.

“And how would you know?” Cedric questioned, nearly taunting the older man’s warnings.

The older man just stared at the children, now wishing the best for them.

“Let’s go, Maida.” Cedric said while softly pushing her towards the woods.

“Are you sure this is a good idea?” she spoke.

“Positive, we just need to show them that there is nothing wrong with this forest and that it is nothing but rumors.”

“Okay...” she said with a slightly worried tone.

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