Get Free Copy

100 free copies left

This novel is limited to 100 free copies due to its part in Inkitt’s Novel Contest.

0
Free copy left
You can read our best books
PhoebeGreggor would love your feedback! Got a few minutes to write a review?
Write a Review

The Forest

By PhoebeGreggor All Rights Reserved ©

Thriller / Horror

Untitled Chapter

Madeleine’s footfall thumped along the crisp leaves and soft mud, her heavy breathing becoming flawed and ragged. A sudden pain, shooting through her foot made her stumble until she slowed to a walk and leant against a tree. As she looked down to check on her foot, her lack of shoes became far more regrettable than her nakedness: blood trickled down in a thick stream from the sole of her foot. She picked the large thorn from her flesh but the neigh of a horse and thundering hooves made her forget about the pain as she started to run again.

Madeleine had started her morning, crawling out of a cramped metal box: the autumn weather had cooled the metal down until it was almost unbearable to touch with naked skin. She scampered out, almost tripping over her feet as she covered her nude form with her hands. That’s when the hunting horn sound: she watched the flock of startled birds swarm overhead. She wished for wings, she wished to fly. Those wishes only grew as the sound of horses erupted, at least a couple of miles away, and a young man with beady eyes and a leering grin who sat in a tree with a horn shouted gleefully “Run girlie run!”

Madeleine was beyond exhausted by the time the sun had reached the very top of the sky, however its light was blocked out by the dark, full trees that made the endless forest so cramped. However, the trees and foliage were all of a sudden not so intimidating: they were smaller and revealed a barely trodden pathway. Madeleine followed it down until the sky became bright and more exposed, revealing a grassy area devoid of any trees. Yet her hope was shattered when the bright blue sky exposed a sheer cliff drop. Tiny bumps of land littered the horizon; but no boats, no signs of life apart from the seagulls that taunted her with their freedom. She collapsed to her knees, her stomach threatening to vomit whereas her lungs felt on the brink of collapsing.

She thought about the warnings and rumours of the mysterious marquis who owned the land that numerous villages had settled on. The disappearing women, the strange island off the coast that’s was punishable by death for trespassing on, the stories of the heads of missing women appearing in their villages.

She knew it was hopeless, her death was imminent: whether from starvation, exhaustion, dehydration, or whatever awful torture her capturer had planned for her. Nevertheless, she found herself standing back up on trembling legs, taking step after step back into the forest until she was running once more. The horses were even closer, she could now hear the voices of men too. Madeleine continued to push herself: the scratches of holly and brambles, and the harsh roots that webbed across the ground were ignored by her adrenaline-filled body. The horses stopped but those noises were replaced by screams that made Madeleine stop in her tracks. She carefully made her way towards the scream, concentrating on the loud conversation between the male voices and the whimpering of one alone female voice. She reached a wide tree and watched silently from behind it. A girl no older than 15 stood quivering in front of a tall, broad man, she tried to hold her head high and show no fear, but the regally dressed man cast an icy shadow over her demeanour. She went to take a step back, but the marquis caught her arm in a tight grasp. She started to whimper as he ran his other hand over her breast and down her stomach. He moved her around, studying her like cattle at auction. He clicked his fingers and a servant presented him with a ceremonial sword: decorated garishly with rubies. The marquis studied the blood stained blade before suddenly pushing the girl down onto the ground, her cry echoed throughout the forest. The marquis straightened out the girl until she was resting on all fours like a dog. He circled her menacingly, his eyes taking in every aspect of his prey. He stopped to the side of her neck, bringing the sword up and grinning as it came hurtling down. Madeleine wasn’t quick enough to turn away and had to bring a hand to her mouth to stop her sobbing out loud. The laughter spread like the blood flowed and prompted Madeline into moving again.

The tears dried on her cheeks, yet the aching pains in her stomach and legs constantly reminded her where she was. The sounds of horses started up again, their erratic galloping in time with her heartbeat.  She ran, unable to even beg to God, focusing purely on where her feet landed and if she could push herself to move faster. The ground became increasingly muddy and wet, yet a hidden root that was hidden under a blanket of decomposing leaves caused her to trip. Madeleine shrieked as her body hit the floor heavily, sharp stones grazed her skins yet the forest around her became silent, until a call was heard “That way!”

Madeleine scrambled back up to her feet, screaming through a closed mouth in fear and pain. Even through the dense forest, there was no way she could out-run horses. She ran and ran, not allowing despair to flood over her or her body to give up. Sweat mingled with the thin trails of blood that littered her body, but the smell of horses was overwhelming to her. Something hard hit her in the back, and she tumbled like a stone. The pain in her spine bloomed as she rolled onto her side, weeping softly at her fate. She caught her breath, but struggled to move, until an arm wrenched her up onto her feet. The pain in her back screamed, but Madeleine simply grit her teeth as her eyes filled with tears, blurring her surroundings.

Madeleine thought of the other girl, and tried to stand tall too. Out of her bleary eyes she recognised that ruby-encrusted sword, being swung carelessly from the hands of a tall man. Hands covered her body, groping and grabbing, yet her skin felt dulled and tired. She struggled frequently, trying to free herself from the greasy, slimy hands of her captors. The adrenaline was wearing off, leaving Madeleine weary and hopeless. Her struggling was becoming less and less common, until an exasperated sigh was heard from above her and hands shoved her back on the floor. Her vision was filled with orange and brown swirls, each leaf being dotted with wet tears that fell carelessly from her face. Her last sight were those wet dots mixing with red.

Write a Review Did you enjoy my story? Please let me know what you think by leaving a review! Thanks, PhoebeGreggor
Continue Reading
Further Recommendations

harry142018: This story was gripping and very professionally written. With lots of twists and slight of hand tricks, the author deceives the reader until finally showing their cards at the end. With several subplots all intertwining to create the main plot, this really is an interesting and engaging read.

Alex Reltin: This is a great story! I love how well you go into detail and emotions of Capri, and Mel. You have amazing dialogue and overall it's just a thrill to read!The only critique I could find is that some of the paragraphs should be separated. For example:-"If Nia would have just let me take the car an...

Cat32: I enjoyed the good versus evil aspect of this novel, especially as the protagonist has to discover how to access that good to save his family. I sat down to begin reading this story, and only put it down long enough to eat with the family! the book does an excellent job of building the suspense, ...

Shadows: 50 seconds into this story, I already loved it. I could not put it down, it was such a page-turner. I would rate it infinity stars if I could.

christylynnr5: This was beyond amazing! Its plot was so unique! It was a beautiful romance story with a mystery twist! I can't believe it ended the way it did!!!! There HAS to be a second book!! This needs to be published and made into a series!

kim: This is great! Maybe it could just be a little more specific. One of the keys to great writing is describing things in detail. I think you're off to a great start. I wish you much luck.

Bri Hoffer: I couldn't put it down!! The characters are all incredibly likable, and it's so descriptive you can see, smell, and feel thier surroundings. Great story, and very well written. I cannot wait for follow up stories. there were a few grammatical errors, but nothing that I could move right over.

BFIrving: A first rate story and well crafted, the blend of horror and action worked very well indeed and had me turning page after page. When not actually reading it, I found myself thinking about it which is always a good sign.There are quite a few grammatical and spell-checker errors but nothing anothe...

Catherine Kopf: This novel has an interesting perspective on a broken mind that obviously the author took a lot of time into creating. The main protagonist is very fleshed out and complex, allowing the readers to root for and feel empathy towards him. There is enough in there to really give the reader an emotion...

More Recommendations

Aloehas: When I first started this book, I could not put it down. The author gets you attached to these characters and takes you on an emotional rollercoaster throughout the story, and it's just amazing. I'm looking forward to what else she can do.

Shifa Gohar: this book is my first on inkitt and I love it thoroughly...but i guess this is not the end. The characters were amazing the plot too. At times it scared me more than a horror movie would. Love the plot something i had not read in a while.

Spring: I normally don't read fiction novels, but I absolutely enjoyed reading Silent Shadows! The style is quite different from the previous fiction novels I've attempted to read. Great job!

cuzley: I enjoyed this read, the romance and the "who done it" worked well together, I would recommend this story to both romance and mystery readers .

Megan Loan: I've never before had the pleasure to read something so unique. It was so captivating, and so unexpected. I was surprised by the protagonist and the idea of a pizza shop becoming a post apocalyptic delivery system. Good plot and amazing story telling. There could have been many places for the st...

Emperor2000: I joined Inkitt and downloaded this book following a friend who has been on here sometime recommending it. After they spoke about it a bit, I thought why not give it a go. Initially I only expected to read a few chapters, as I have little time to spend reading (not as much as I like). However I c...