I abruptly sat up in bed, my scream lodged in my throat. As I sat there, I felt paralyzed, thinking of nothing else but the cold, empty, yet haunting eyes staring back at me as they cried for help. I brought my hand up to wipe the tears from my eyes as I flung the covers off of my legs to stand up.
The dim light from the window did a terrible job at illuminating the dark room and it was eerily silent. I walked lightly to the bathroom, being cautious of the creaky wooden floorboards. When I felt my feet hit the cold tile of the bathroom floor, I reached over and flipped on the switch and stared into the vanity mirror. My cobalt blue eyes were red rimmed and puffy from the lack of sleep and the crying.
I reached down and pushed the handle of the faucet, cupping my hands to splash the cold water on my face. I looked down at my body and sighed. I had fallen asleep in my clothes again.
My skinny jeans were snug and my knee length black cardigan sweater hung loosely around my tight fitted pink t-shirt. I walked back into the bedroom, and stood at the end of the bed. Glancing at the clock, I could see that it was two in the morning. I slid my feet into my pink Converse that I had worn earlier to match my shirt and decided against taking my phone. I wouldn't be long, so I had no need for it.
I silently closed the door, hoping that I wouldn't wake anyone else in the house and I took careful steps down the staircase, watching my footing as best as I could, although it was hard to see in the dark. Once I had reached the landing, I sighed a breath of relief and quietly closed the front door behind me as I stepped out.
I made my way over the concrete and into the well-tended garden beside our house. I didn't even bother glancing at the roses that I already knew would be there because there was not enough light. As I looked up in the sky, seeing more stars than I could remember seeing before, I realized that it was a new moon tonight.
I looked back down, trying to focus on my path to the back of the house. I could've just used the back door, but that creaked loud enough to undoubtedly wake someone who was resting inside.
I listened to the padding of my shoes on the pavement and waited to hear the familiar soft crunch of leaves and twigs under my weight and let out a smile of satisfaction when I heard the leaves rustle. I walked several more yards until I knew that I was in the woods behind our property. My father didn't approve of me walking out here all alone, and neither did my siblings, but I enjoyed it nonetheless. It was quiet, and peaceful, and it didn't have the dark and eerie feel of our house that I had just escaped from.
I didn't know how long I had been walking, but I was lost in thought in the peaceful darkness. The memory of my nightmare rang in my head.
I've been having the same recurring dream for weeks. It was always the same thing. I'd open my eyes and see nothing but darkness until I was blinded by a bright light, and that's when I saw it. The monster, tall and towering with gleaming black eyes, blood oozing out of its eyes and the side of it's jaw had no meat, so that anyone could peer into its gaping mouth.
I stood there, paralyzed, and all I could comprehend was my heart pounding. Then, a faceless figure stumbled out of the woods, covered in blood and crying. I tried to scream, but my mouth wouldn't open. The stranger looked up and saw me then started stumbling towards me, pleading for help but I was immobilized, I couldn't do anything. The monster would turn while it stood behind me and it's deep, guttural voice would open to growl out one word. "Abigail."
I always bolted up when I heard my name leave its gruesome mouth. I had no idea why I kept having this dream, but I wanted it to stop. I didn't want to keep thinking or dreaming about the monster or the stranger in blood.
I stopped and broke away from my dark thoughts, not wanting to think about it anymore. I came out here to clear my mind, not try to find meaning behind the strange dream. I closed my eyes and took a deep breath of the chilly, crisp night air, listening to nature around me. I heard the distant hooting of an owl, the rustling of branches, and the soft whispering of the wind.
My eyes shot open when I heard the snap of a twig and my gaze darted around the dark forest. I couldn't see anything, so when I felt as if someone was watching me, I didn't hesitate to run. I wasn't sure if it was my imagination, or there were actually pounding footsteps behind me. I was kind of hoping that it was just my imagination, because I was already on edge.
I kept stumbling but I quickly straighten myself back up and continue running, pushing the low hanging branches out of my way and the brambles were scratching at me through my jeans. I was quickly running out of breath, mentally cursing myself for not exercising and building up stamina. At some point, I tripped on a tree root and fell to my hands and knees, feeling them get scratched and cut up.
I squeezed my eyes closed. This was it. This was where I was going to die. There were so many things I never got to say to some people, and I wished I at least had an hour left to talk to them and let them know what they meant to me.
"Abby? What the hell are you doing out here? Dad's going to kill you," came a familiar voice. I looked up with wide eyes and found a pair of dark blue eyes that matched my own.
"Axel? What are you doing? You scared the crap out of me," I exclaimed, looking around us. I was able to see a little better since my twin brother had his flashlight to illuminate the immediate area.
"I came to see what you were doing so late at night. You shouldn't be out here in these woods alone. It took me forever to find you," he warned, his eyes sweeping the landscape around us, as if he could sense some kind of hidden danger.
"You could've called my name or something, instead of scaring me," I grumbled. He rolled his eyes and held out his hand for me to grab and he pulled me up. We walked back home together, one of us looking around every few seconds. Mostly him though. He seemed to be on guard, as if he was expecting something to jump out at us at any moment. I think my brother is paranoid.
When we finally made it inside, I looked around the dark room. It was large, as well as the rest of our Victorian style house. Everything was dark and grand and expensive looking.
My family was from a long line of money, and we always got the best, expected the best, and acted the best. It's just how we were raised.
I lived with my father all of my life and was raised with my four brothers. I was the only girl in the immediate family. My mother had died while giving birth to me and my brother. I used to have my grandmother who had helped raise me, but she passed away a few months ago.
Axel and I, the twins, were the youngest. Then, there was Levi, Carter, and Kennedy. Kennedy was the oldest and he was the only one who no longer lived with us, but he visited every weekend. Lastly, in our household, is our father Thomas.
I was in a house full of boys and testosterone, but it wasn't all that bad. We all got along pretty well.
Axel pulled me upstairs and flicked on my bedroom lights as he silently closed the door behind him. I sat on my bed and he took a seat on the royal blue chaise, leaning back in the chair.
"Why were you in the woods," he asked. He lifted his hand to push his fingers through his darkened, honey blonde hair that matched mine.
"I went there to clear my mind. I've told you before that I like going in the woods and I'm safe there, but do you listen," I ask rhetorically. I wasn't expecting an answer, but he provided one.
"No. Of course not. The woods are dangerous. You have no clue what's lurking out there," he retorted. I crossed my arms and raised an eyebrow.
"Oh and you do?"
His jaw clenched and he took a deep breath before finally saying, "No. I'm just saying that you- we have no idea what's out there. It could be dangerous. I just don't want my little sister getting hurt."
I scoffed and rolled my eyes.
"I'm only four minutes younger than you," I grumbled. His lips twitched in the corner and he shook his head. I didn't really want to talk about this anymore.
Our property, including the woods, has been owned by generations of Crawford's before me and I'm pretty sure it would've been noted if someone was injured, abducted, or died in those woods. So as far as I'm concerned, the woods are safe. I looked back up when Axel stood from the chair and walked towards the door.
"I'm not going to be there to save you from the woods every time Abby. Now get some rest. We have school in the morning," he instructed.
He closed the door behind him and I could hear his soft, receding footsteps down the corridor. I sighed and switched my light off before going to lay in the bed and I thought of tonight's events.
My whole family was against me going the woods and I wondered why. Couldn't they see that it was like my only solace? It was peaceful and I liked going there to think. But I couldn't shake the feeling that they were keeping something from me, and I intend to find out what it is.