Kimberly12 mins 186 12 mins 186
She lived alone. She once had a family of five. Some of them went away and some of them died. Now she was left all alone. She wondered whether it was her turn to meet death. She lived in a shack made of wood, particularly a big one. A fifty-year-old woman who lived in a wooden shack by herself. The people had once been kind to her, but after the death of her only son, she was considered a bad luck charm. She lived in the dark by the woods but there was a gentleman who was kind to her. Every day, he would get stale bread and a cup of tea for her. She would eat them with content. But there was one thing, she feared. What if this young man goes away like her family?
That day she decided to ask him about his whereabouts. It was nearly half-past three in the afternoon and there was a strange rustling of leaves. The air was calm that day. But there was a sense of heavy tension that hung in the air. The old woman was gazing at her family portrait. Coming outside her hut, she saw the man standing a few yards away.
“Mr Hudspith! You’re a bit early,” she exclaimed.
“Sorry Miss. I have to go on an errand which will take a few days. I have to start early which is why I brought a few pieces of bread and a cup of coffee this early.”
“Oh, so you’re leaving……. like my family.”
“No ma’am I’ll be back in a few days.”
Saying this he walked away living the woman all alone. She stood there frozen for a few minutes and then slowly walked back into her den. A bed she didn’t have. All that belonged to her was a picture of a family, a charpoy and a small box. She had owned that box for as long as she could remember. When she was a girl, she would pretend that the box was a treasure chest and she was a pirate sailing through woods. Her family was rich once but owing to her father’s debts, her family’ cherished luxury had all perished. During those days, she had a friend who was her only friend. His name was Crimson Goodwill. He had crimson coloured hair and eyes. He had a lively and playful attitude. She liked to play with him and he would always make up new games for them to play. But as luck would have it, Crimson and she were playing in the woods once, where Crimson was lost and never to be found again. The people had searched for him for days but no one ever found him. It was like he had disappeared. His family after hearing the news had lost all hope and so they moved away. The girl felt very guilty and always blamed herself. As a token of her friendship, she kept the box always close to her and never let it out of her sight.
She wished that this small box could actually give her treasure. That night, it rained heavily. She had a strange dream. She dreamt that she was in the woods and was holding a shovel. She was walking towards a big tree. The tree was massive and had a brown wide trunk covered with mosses. The branches of the tree were swaying wildly in the wind. It was raining and the sky shook with lightning and thunder. The air was stale.
She lifted her shovel in the air and was about to do something when she suddenly woke up. She was breathing heavily and her head reeled. She drifted back into sleep. The next morning she waited for the young man to arrive but he didn’t. It was nearly half-past two when she realised that the man wouldn’t be returning for a few days. She took out the stale bread from the little box and sat down to eat. She was suddenly reminded of her strange dream. She went into the woods with a long stick. She ventured deeper and deeper into the woods until there was a sign which said that the rest of the forest was out of bounds. She looked around but there was no sign of that massive tree. The woods were on the outskirts of the town and covered a large part of the town. There were tall trees with branches so high in the sky that they formed a canopy. Although the trees didn’t block the sunlight, it was always dewy on the forest ground. The trees were several colours. Some were orange, some yellow and occasionally a few had green leaves. The forest ground was covered with dried up leaves which made a strange rustling noise. The silence was so deafening that it would make your ears hurt. Even if there was a storm in the town or somewhere nearby, the air would always be calm in the forest.
On her way back from the woods, she saw a few men who were piling logs onto a big truck. She greeted them with a smile. They didn’t notice her so she started walking again. Out of the corner of her eye, she saw someone creep beside her or should we say something. She turned around but there was no one. That was strange. No one ever went this deep into the forest except for the woodcutters. Wait for a second! There shouldn’t be any woodcutters in the forest. Her town did not allow people to chop or burn trees from the forest. This was against the rules. She ventured back into the woods searching for the men. She came back to the spot where she had last seen the men. They were still there but now they had piled even more logs. She glared at them from behind a massive tree. She went up to one of the men working.
“Hello! Young man. What is y'all doing in the middle of nowhere ?”
“We’re chopping wood for the mayor’s house.” one of the men said glumly.
“Mayor! You say. Isn't Chopping trees in this forest illegal ?”
“It’s not. It was a rule twenty years ago. We’re busy if you’ll excuse us.” he said before sitting inside the truck.
The lady was confused. She went back to her hut. It was almost evening. She sat on her cot and drifted back into leep. The next morning, he was awakened by a loud noise. She woke up startled. She looked around the room. To her surprise, she saw a little child standing in the doorway.
“They’re chopping more trees.” the child said in a strange tone.
The old lady looked outside and saw that the men had chopped many more trees. The forest looked like it was pleading with the woman to help it. The old lady could do nothing but stare. She asked the child who he was to which the boy replied.
“But what are you doing here? I don’t know you.”
“Well, I know you. Practically, I’ve known you a long time. You’re so old.” he said.
Suddenly a strange truth dawned upon her. What if this Crimson was her childhood friend Crimson who had gotten lost in the woods. She was bewildered. After all these years, he was a little boy. She couldn’t recall Crimson’s face properly but was sure that this was her long lost friend. But was he a ghost? She decided not to ask him anything.
“Crimson, do you live somewhere around here ?”
The old woman could feel someone behind her. She turned around to find a little girl running towards them. The little girl was the same age as Crimson. She had long golden hair locks which reached her waist. She had rosy lips and was pretty.
“Crimson! There you are.” the girl said.
“Do you know this girl ?” the woman asked Crimson.
“Yes. I met her deep in the woods.”
“What’s your name, little girl ?” the old lady asked.
“Ahh...Do you live here little girl ?” the old lady asked.
“Then I must know your father.”
“No. You don’t.”
The little children went into the forest without saying anything. The old lady decided to follow them. The three of them walked in silence. The children ventured deeper and deeper into the forest. They stopped in front of a massive tree abruptly. The old lady looked at the tree and recognised it. It was the same tree from her dream. She kept staring at the tree and didn’t notice that Crimson had disappeared. She walked around the tree and found a silver shovel behind it. She picked up the shovel and began digging. She had dug a small hole when she found a little note lying there. She read the note. It said, “ Clara. When you’re reading this note, I think I’ll be long gone.”
The old lady couldn’t recognise whose writing it was. She turned around to find Kimberly sitting under a tree patiently.
“Can I call you Clara ?” the girl asked..
“Yes, you can. But how do you know my name ?”
“I just know it,” she replied calmly.
There was a strange sweetness in her tone. Her voice quivered in a sweet tone. Her voice sounded like the waves crashing on a beach and like the strange rustling of leaves. “Where’s the boy ?”
“He left. He had to do something important.”
“He didn’t tell me anything.”
“He did. You didn’t respond.”
She took the note in her hand and went back to her hut. Kimberly left the old woman at the hut and then left for home. Clara was very tired. She drifted into sleep. The next morning, she found Crimson sitting inside the hut staring at the photo which the old woman had owned. He was smiling and talking to himself. But the old lady could not make out his words. When he noticed that she was awake, he gave her a glass of water.
“Do you want to go treasure hunting? It’s my favourite game,” he asked her.
Now the old lady was convinced that this was her long lost friend who had returned as a ghost but she wasn’t scared of this ghost because she knew that he would never hurt her.
The old lady and Crimson went into the woods. She had the same old box in her hands.
“Do you know how to play ?” Crimson asked the old lady.
Crimson took the box and told the old lay to close her eyes. He hid the box behind a tree. He told the lady to search for the box. She searched for the box and found it behind a tree nearby. The lady hid the box behind the massive tree and told Crimson to find it. He found it at once. He told her that he was really good at this game. Kimberly suddenly appeared out of nowhere with a wide smile on her pale face. How pretty she looked in a long white gown with her rosy lips and blue twinkling eyes. She was like an angel in disguise. They played for nearly hours. The sun had almost set and Kimberly exclaimed that she had to go home. She bid goodbye and set for home. Crimson said that he had to collect some wood for the fireplace so he went deeper into the woods leaving Clara alone. Clara looked for the woodcutters but found them nowhere. She decided that they must have gone home for the day. She started for home but was unsure where she was. She had never gotten lost before. It was nearly dark. She kept walking and found a sign saying, “Out of bounds”. She could hear a wolf howling and some dogs barking. She was scared. She realised that she had walked in the opposite direction and wondered where Crimson was. She felt like she had walked for hours and was really tired. She was becoming weaker and weaker. She could hear a voice calling out to her. She walked in the direction of the voice.
“Clara. I’m scared and all alone.” the voice said.
She was scared but still followed that voice. From the corner of her eye, he saw someone run behind her. She turned around at the speed of light but there was no one. When she turned around again, she saw a strange boy lurking towards her. She was terrified. She ran for her life and the figure chased her. She kept running. She was panting and sweating. At last, she could see the trees were becoming fewer in number and the forest was coming to an end. She could see her cottage in the dark of the night. She ran into her shack. As she was very scared and tired, she fell asleep. She woke up that morning. She had many horrible thoughts. Crimson must be the same Crimson Goodwill who had gotten lost in the woods and had returned as a ghost. But what about Kimberly. She figured out that Kimberly must be a normal girl who was unaware that Crimson was a ghost. She looked at the photo. She noticed a girl with the same golden hair locks and brown eyes. The girl looked just like Kimberly. At the back of the frame, there was a small note which said, “The Goodwill family- James Goodwill, Elise Goodwill, Rogers Goodwill, Crimson Goodwill and Clara goodwill.”
The old lady was bewildered. All these years, she thought that Crimson was her friend but he was her brother! And she was the girl in the frame. When she was a little girl, she looked just like Kkimberly. The old lady fainted.
She was woken up by Mr Hudspith.
“Mr Hudspith. Where are the children ?”
“What children ?”
“Crimson and Kimberly.”
“Do you know them ?” he asked.
“Yes. They came here every day while you were gone.”
“And why are you looking for them ?” he questioned.
“The boy, Crimson. He’s a ghost. Kimberly isn’t safe.”
“No, he’s not.”
“He’s a ghost. He would come here every day and then suddenly disappear. Forty years ago he had gotten lost in the forest and had died.”
“He’s not a ghost, Mrs Goodwill. He’s my son.”
“I told him to check on you while I was gone.”
“But he would come here without telling me and would disappear suddenly. Just like a ghost. He even went into the woods and chased me in the forest.”
“Ahh...I knew it. He’s playful and loves to scare others. Must be one of his tricks.”
“And what about the strange boy who chased me in the woods ?”
“Again him. This morning, I found him rubbing red paint off his hands and face.”
“That’s settled. My brother Crimson must be dead so there isn’t any ghost. Then the girl must have been playing along with your son. Silly children. At least they were kind to me.”
“What girl ?”
“Miss.Goodwill. There’s no Kimberly.” he replied in an instant.