The dark clouds slowly tucked away the glowing moon. “How far it is?”, James Albertson asked the horse driver. The old man didn’t respond and again struck his whip harder, one after another. The Wind blowing from the east was still battling with the hooves, jolted the cart all its ways. White whiskers of the coachman floated in the air like it ascends to the sky. Wooden wheels hitched on both sides were rolling like a dreidel, along its axle. James, sitting at the back, was rubbing his cold sweaty hands and checked his bottle for a drink to wet his dry lips and throat, but it was empty. Roars and screams could be heard faraway the woods. The rustling of the leaves on either side of the dirt road pounded his heart a bit more. Sweat trickled down his cheeks, drizzled akin to blood. Within a few minutes, the speed of the cart gradually dropped into a slow pace. Coachman closed his fingers and squeezed the reins backward, halting the horses all of a sudden.
“What happened?“, James looked at the Old man, in a confused manner.
“ Something hit the wheel, sir”, and jumped off the seat, holding a lantern.
The spokes of the right wheel had lost some pieces; slightly detached from the axle. The old man gently brought his lantern a bit closer. Some sort of reddish stain was present on its outer part, not all, a few were fresh, — dribbling to the ground with a sluggish motion in all aspects of its course. A drop made to smeared and smelled.
“Blood!”, he whispered and flashed his light to the wheel track. Something was shining on the ground at a farther distance. Stepped his feet inch by inch, the old man headed to the spot. The more he came nearer, the brighter the glowing thing. Dazzled by its beauty, he picked up the object. It was small, circular with some precious metal attached on one side. The whole thing was gold covered except the precious metal which glows like a shining star.
“Who put this?”, he thought and looked all around for a second. The wind was still roaring like a lion, flickering the light on the lantern. Hoots of the owls gave a chill on his spine. He raised his lantern a bit higher to the deep woods. The light shined the devilish eyes of beasts, amidst the trees. Before bunging into his pocket, he turned around to confirm whether James had seen this or not. The royal hair cut of James could be seen from the back window of the cart, assuring he was still inside.
As he headed back, a screaming sound pierced his ear. It was far inside the forest. Help!, the voice again echoed, beyond the darkness. Growling of wolves were also merged in it, fighting each other for flesh. He hastened his footsteps and rushed to reach the door-side of the cart.
“Sir, we have to go back, I think it is not safe to go any further”, shouted from outside. Footsteps of something approached him from behind. Horses started to make wheezy sounds, slapping their hooves infinite times. Face of the old man sweated as a whole. Hands trembled. Lips twitched. He tried to scream but couldn’t, not a single one.“Please, help me”, a soft voice heard close to the ear. Gulped, he slowly turned around his body.
“Oh my god!”, flinched back and blood drained from his face. “James!”.
James was swaying, holding one of his hand in the bleeding neck. The blood didn’t come to a stop. It was seeping like falls. The old man saw the bite marks in his neck, the depth of which was so intense. James tried to say something to the coachman but the pain made the words to break, uncleared his words. Fighting with his death, he slowly fell down to the ground. But nobody noticed the knob of the door. Meanwhile, It was turning on its own. The creaking sound of the door frozen the old man. He slowly flipped his head. A hand came out of it;devilish, grey,mummified hand. Eyes of the old man reflected the blood stained nails of it, heading like a spear and dragged him to the inside. Door clanged shut. The devilish nails pierced his neck, drilled through veins. Old man screamed like hell as it shook the entire forest. Blood was splashing on the glass window, again and again, blurring its lucidity. Soon, a silence appeared on his breath.
James was still outside, but motionless. Before closing his eyes, he looked at the woods for the last time. A pack of wolves was approaching him. James became their dinner.
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