Chapter : 1 The House
Deep within an ancient forest, a house sleeps. Yes that’s right, sleeps.
It was alive somehow, with thoughts and desires of its own, although who really knows what goes on in the mind of a house. How did an inanimate object come to think and breathe? Well, perhaps it was enmagicked by an enchantress or it may have once been a different kind of creature altogether.
But that’s not the story we’re here to tell.
Besides, you’d be surprised at the strange things that lurk and sleep in ancient forests.
As it was, the house slept in the midst of a clearing where it had been apparently abandoned long ago.
(Well, I think it had been abandoned for a long time, not really sure to be honest... Hey reader, hold on a sec while I check my notes real quick… Okay yeah, I was right, it had been a long, long, time.)
Back to the story.
If you wanted to know its age, you’d have to track down the builder, or some long lost owner, because even the house didn’t know. But you could tell it was old from the state of the graying bricks, crumbling around the edges, and with years of forest living caked into the crevices of the fading red.
(Actually, I do know the answer to how old it was. But I'm not telling you. Yet.)
Whatever its age, the house was remarkably sturdy for having been vacant for so long.
Perhaps some magic was afoot, after all.
The tall chimney rose like a turret from the black shingled roof, that, though weathered, still protected the interior from the elements. Not a window was broken, although spiders abounded in the corners, and the glass was so dirty from years of neglect that you couldn’t see through the glass into what was inside. But if you walked into the clearing, what you’d notice before all of these things would be the wooden base, which was clearly visible as you looked upward.
You see, the house was propped up on enormous wooden stilts, like structures that are built too close to water. But there was no water here. Oh, except the pond, that is. It peeked out shyly from beneath the shadow of the house, itself old, and surrounded by willow trees.
But nobody walked there to sneak past the trees and look up at the wooden underbelly of the house.
The clearing was visited only by the occasional squirrel or rabbit, and they weren’t too interested in the house. But if you did go there, and looked past the stilts, past the willows, and into the house’s face, you’d see a small circular window. It peered out above the wooden porch like a single eye, ever vigilant into the state of the forest.
(Except of course we know that wasn’t true, because the house was dead asleep, as it had been for quite some time.)
On this particular day, heavy snowflakes fluttered through the air as sleepily as the house’s silent snores.
(Hold up, what?! Nobody ever told me about the house snoring!!)
Okay, so the house snored as it slept. Almost silently, just a quiet rumble in the wooden foundation. But the rumbles couldn’t be heard through the wind and snow, so actually, it was totally silent after all.
It wasn’t long before everything was covered in a film of gauzy white, like a Christmas card, except for this was mid-February. Not that the house knew the date, it didn’t bother to keep track of things like that.
This day, however, something seemed to move differently in the forest. The house could feel it, interrupting its slumber: a disturbing shift, still a long way off, but moving closer.
The trees whispered to one another, sending messages in the wind. They caused flurries in the falling snowflakes, and slipped between the shingles of the house like a melody finds a listening ear.
(But what was the message, I hear you asking!? Well to be honest, I have no idea either, it's not in my notes, so it must not be important. Right?? Right!!?? Right!!!!?????
….Oh wait, I get it now. Nevermind, it’s kind of obvious what the message is.)
It began to storm in earnest now, and despite itself, the house listened to the changes in the forest. It leaned ever so slightly into the wind, its stilts groaning under the shifting weight, feeling the footsteps traveling ever closer.
A feral growl joined in rhythm to the thudding steps, rumbling in echos that bounced from tree to tree, calling the house to pay attention.
It shook to and fro on its wooden stilts, like a petulant child whose mother has come in to say, “time to wake up!” But now it was waking for the first time in… what, years? Decades? Centuries?
(Okay, that last guess might be a bit dramatic. All I know is, the house woke up for the first time in a long time, to the calls of the forest as some kind of hunter chased down its prey.)
No, the house thought, Not hunter… Predator
Did you enjoy my ongoing story so far? Please let me know what you think by leaving a review! Thanks, ValamaxWrite a Review