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Shristuti Srirapu

Abstract Horror Action

4.5  

Shristuti Srirapu

Abstract Horror Action

The Stone Army

The Stone Army

5 mins
336


It seemed like nothing at first. Just a faint humming in the midst of the bird calls. A flash of blue was all she could see. The forest seemed to push her forward, twisted branches coaxing her farther away from safety, whispering and murmuring at her to run behind the will-o’-the-wisp.

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 Tanya and her family were in Scotland. The wind whistled through the frigid air and they sat close to the fire, bundled in blankets. Dusk had begun to fall and the other campers had already gone back inside the scattered tents. Dinner wouldn’t be until much later and everyone was either reading or quietly talking. Tanya’s brother was sleeping and her parents were rambling about tourism. Bored, she ran into the unwelcoming forest, excited but scared. 

The forest was too quiet. Too still, too picturesque, too unearthly. Other than the occasional bird call, it was dead. The trees were all the same, the same spindly branches and perfect leaves that fell every so often and crunched beneath her feet. The place seemed fake. Still, she slowly tiptoed through the dark forest, weaving through trees and leaping over roots. And that’s when she saw it. She thought it only existed it Scottish folklore, but she knew that this was what all the legends spoke about. 


It seemed like nothing at first. Just a faint humming in the midst of the bird calls. A flash of blue was all she could see. The forest seemed to push her forward, twisted branches coaxing her farther away from safety, whispering and murmuring at her to run behind the will-o’-the-wisp. It was tiny. But it was there. Or maybe it wasn’t. But Tanya was sure she could see a tiny blue flickering thing in the darkness of the woods. Maybe it was something else, an unearthly being, or just a mirage. She took one tentative step forward journeyed in a quest to see where it led her. An adventure was waiting for her in the shadows and it would show her the way.


Her eyes glossed over, moving in a phantom-like trance, following the will-o’-the-wisp through the forest, the trees looming over her, casting shadows over the broken floor. The wind howled longingly, whirling, and running. She didn’t notice that the birds had stopped singing, and black ravens were now swooping over her head. “Don’t go…” they warned. The forest became dense and darker, and the briars scratched Tanya. But the will-o’-the wisp glided seamlessly away from her grasp. 


Tanya was now deep inside the forest. The will-o’-the-wisp was slowing down, almost in her reach but not quite. It flickered and floated for a moment before finally disappearing. Tanya was disoriented for a moment but finally saw where she was. She was in the middle of 12 stone pillars, which were placed around her to form a rather crooked circle. The forest retreated away from the circle forming a secluded clearing. Tanya was now far away from the campsite, or any place outside the forest. For the first time since she had decided to run into the forest, she was scared. 

She had no idea where she was. It was dark outside and the forest was still deathly silent around her. She wondered what the mystical blue creature had to do with this place. She looked around at the emptiness that surrounded her. Tanya did not know what she was going to do, or how she was going to get away from this place. Panic overflooded her mind and she spun around in fear not knowing what was happening. She tripped, fell, and landed on the cold earthen surface. Suddenly, she heard something. It was a pop followed by hissing, the kind made by smoke. 


She looked up from the ground to see what happened. A couple of yards in front of her stood a woman. She was short and old, but she had an aura that was frightening and cold. Her face was wrinkled, solemn and unsmiling. She had masses of greying hair that frayed around her face in a frazzled mess and piercing jet-black eyes. She was dressing in dirty rags and carried an old wooden stick. 

She hobbled around Tanya examining her and muttering. “So, we’ve found another. Yes, she will do nicely.” Her garbled speech was barely comprehensible. “Back straight, shoulders back, hands by the side.” Tanya unwillingly shifted in position. “There. Now hold still” The old lady kept whispering and talking to herself. After she was done she took her stick and lightly poked Tanya in the back. And almost immediately, Tanya felt the strangest feeling.


From the moment the wood had touched her back, her skin immediately felt dry and cracked. The feeling started spreading like thin veins all over her body. She tried to move, tried to touch her back and see what was happening to her, but it was like she was paralyzed. She felt faint, and she noticed that her arms were losing color. She was being to lose all mobility, and she found it harder to breathe. Her skin was enveloped in a sea of light grey and her hair was hardening into a hard sheet. As quickly as the sensation had started, it was over, and Tanya couldn’t feel or move anything at all. It was like she was a statue made of stone


The old lady magicked Tanya and herself back to her home. She lived, ironically, in a stone cottage with a small red door. The door flew open and the old lady limped inside with the help of her wooden stick. The place was dusty and messy, with dirty dishes and books laid out and scattered. A was a small black cat the pawed at her feet, but the old lady had other plans. She hiked up the stairs and flew Tanya upstairs with her. They were standing in front of a door. The lady fished for the keys, which she jammed into a tiny hole before finally opening the door.


Inside were miles and miles of grey statues. People frozen into paralysis with shocked or panicked looks etched on the faces stood in line one after another. They all stood straight with a soldier like stance. The entire room was jampacked with statues. There was an empty spot in the middle of the room. The old lady stood Tanya in that spot. Tanya was the last piece in a perfect stone army.


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