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.

miriamf: I loved this novel. It defies classification as it is at once a romance story and gothic thriller. We meet Sachiko, a young Japanese woman who has lost her British husband and child to the tsunami which struck her village in 2011. Sachiko cannot find them and seeks out a new existence for herse...

Evelyn Alonzo: I was up till three in the morning just so I could finish the story! It just really grabs your attention and you can't stop reading it at all! Lol great job, Nick! Can't wait to read your other stories!

ronaldpolk: I can honestly say that I truly enjoyed this story. Yes there were times I thought to put it down and start another, but some of the characters called me back. The pace was appropriately slow in some places and engaging in others. I related to Steve and Ron, all characters had just the right amou...

latashashetters: I absolutely love this book. I couldn't put it down for a second. From the moment I read the first page I was captivated. I can't wait to see what is next with this novel. There are a few grammar mistakes that need to be looked at and changed. I recommend this book for anyone who is looking for a...

ritafullerton: This book had me hooked at the beginning. I loved the premise of the book. The grammar was a bit off. But the book was overall good. I am not sure if this is the authors first book but I look forward to seeing more from this author.

Ben Gauger: Kudos go to Karissa, author of Elements Of Engagement, an otherwise dark and twisted tale of love and workplace intrigue, very 'Fifty Shades of Grey' to be sure, her writing style being very graphic ad otherwise sexually-charged, hence the 'Fifty Shades of Grey' reference, and as for her use of g...

salma elsamy: it's really awesome , and I really like the whole idea of the story . I also love how simple the vocabularies because English is my second language and the simplicity of the story is great for me . And I will definitely buy it if it's published.

europeanlove: I gotta hand it to you. I love reading. I read books everyday. When the book is good I can read it in probably 13 hours. Your story was amazing. Great prose, very imaginative. Incredible dialogue. I am deeply impressed. Keep it up.

More Recommendations

Jan Imonti: Loved the story, but didn't like the delivery...had to read this on my computer on line. Wasn't able to download it to my kindle. Excellent story, lots of twists and turns. Fairly quick read. Love the versitility of Mitchell's writing. Keep up with the great mysteries.

C J Lawson: Nicely done. Good story with good characters, as well. I was very entertained by the story line, from beginning to end. I would definitely read more of this author's work.

Dina Husseini: I loved this story. It was so great that I did not expect it to be this awesome. I swear to you this deserves more than just 5 stars. Beyond amazing. Kept me wanting more and I felt exactly like Emma felt while reading. Although in the beginning I did not expect anything to happen. Then, when som...

This story wasn't for you ?
Look at our most viral stories!
King's Lament

FreakyPoet: "you made me laugh, made me cry, both are hard to do. I spent most of the night reading your story, captivated. This is why you get full stars from me. Thanks for the great story!"

The Cyneweard

Sara Joy Bailey: "Full of depth and life. The plot was thrilling. The author's style flows naturally and the reader can easily slip into the pages of the story. Very well done."

This story wasn't for you ?
Look at our most viral story!
Spectra - Preview

Ro-Ange Olson: "Loved it and couldn't put it down. I really hope there is a sequel. Well written and the plot really moves forward."