‘The Unseen’ By The NicheBook

{December 4, 2019. 8:00 pm}

“I am saying it again”, Savannah continued after swallowing her words hard into her throat, “Please reconsider your decision. Are you sure you want to go?”

Riya turned her eyes from the mirror towards Savannah, took her phone out of her pocket, displayed a text wide open on the screen and brought the mobile close enough to Savannah’s face so that she could read the messages.

[Text messages]
[A message received from unknown number at 1:20 am on December 1,2019]

[”Riya,please help me. I am stuck here in the dark. I don’t know how I ended up here.]

[I woke up from sleep and found myself here]

[The internet signals are very weak, but I managed to check the location and….]

[And I think I am in THAT COTTAGE in the woods…]

Savannah lifted her eyes after reading the messages and her mouth open wide in shock.
“How do you know it’s REALLY her?”

“She’s my best friend, has been missing for the last 4 days. I can not leave her for the world. Even IF there’s a CHANCE that this is her, I am opting for it”. Riya said in firm resolute.

“Even if it risks your OWN life?” Savannah asked in agonical tone.

“YES!” Riya answered without thinking even for a second.

“You know Riya”, Savannah continued while looking out of the window , ” THE UNSEEN THINGS ARE THE STRONGEST, and you are going to step into them, yourself? You are going to the woods EVEN after knowing that what unseen inhabits itself there?”

Riya shifted her gaze to the mirror looking straight into her own eyes. Intensifying her gaze into her own eyes, her eyes turned red as if holding a ton of tears behind her eyes.

“Why don’t u answer me now, huh!!!? ” Savannah shouted.

“I can not risk my best friend’s life just because of the fear of risking my own”, Riya continued as in complete hypnosis,”As far as the unseen forces are concerned, we’ll see about that”.

Saying this, Riya left the room and stepped outside of the house leaving Savannah alone to her loud shouts of repeatedly calling Riya to come back.

Episode 2.

{December 4,2019. 8:06 pm}

After Riya left, Savannah started strolling about in the room, drenched in a sea of thoughts.

“Oh my God, Oh my God!” she kept murmuring words to herself.
An idea suddenly struck her mind and she instinctively started pacing towards the door.

“I should tell Riya’s mom that what’s Riya up to”, she thought and hysterically left the house.

{December 4,2019. 8:26 pm}

After running for some good 20 minutes, panting, running short of breath continuously, exhaling and inhaling air; Savannah made it to Riya’s mother house.

-Ting Tong-
The bell door rang. The wooden floor creaking could be heard from outside the door. Savannah could hear footsteps approaching the door.

A gentle looking mid aged woman opened the door with a huge grin on her face.
“Oh Savannah dear”, Riya’s mother uttered,” Is everything alright?” Riya’s mother lead Savannah into the living room. She herself sat on a sofa and Savannah on a chair.

Riya used to live in a separate house, shared with her friend Savannah after she turned 18. And Riya’s parent had a separate house of their own. So Savannah went to Riya’s mother house to make her aware of what her daughter is up to, how she saw Riya’s best friend’s texts and that, Riya left for the woods alone, to rescue her bestfriend.

“Her bestfriend?”, Riya’s mother seemed as in shock. “Aren’t YOU her best friend?”.

“No, she keeps me telling of her childhood friend, now I can’t quite recall her name, her name was quite weird….what was her name…eh……”

“Gortwart”, Riya’s mother said in robotic voice and then she continued,” Savannah dear, Riya never had any friend named Gortwart, it was her imaginary friend that just went beyond the boundaries”.

Silence dominated the room afterwards. Neither Savannah spoke, nor Riya’s mother.

~Unseen things are the strongest and unspoke words speak the loudest and hence, they both were silent, spoke the loudest, with many words in their eyes.

~Episode 3~

{December 4,2019. 8:35pm}

Silence.
Silence.
Silence.

Savannah rolled her eyes and at last broke the silence with her words.
“SERIOUSLY MAN!? , Imaginary?!
I saw Gortwart’s texts with my own eyes. And yeah! I’ve also met her once”.

“The thing is that I did not mean that Gortwart is imaginary. It’s just how we describe HER, sorry, not her, IT. We call it imaginary, because it acquires the face Riya imagines in her mind. And I think that Riya imagines and sees IT as her best friend.” Riya’s mother completed her words with a sigh.

“Then what does it want from Riya?” Savannah pushed her chair close to Riya’s mother sofa, in curiosity.

Riya’s mother eyes flashed with a thousand of words. More like, a millions of memories. But she only said, “It just….umm”, -cleared her throat- “wants Riya to go BACK into the cottage in the woods”

“Go BACK? WHAT DO u mean by BACK? Has she gone there before as well?” Savannah’s asked while her mind was thrashing with hundreds of questions.

Riya’s mother was suspiciously quiet.

“That’s it?! Aren’t you her mother? LET HER DIE LIKE THIS? ” Savannah shouted even when she didn’t want to shout. Her hands were shaking and her eyes were straight focused into Riya’s mother eyes seeking for answers.

Riya’s mother was still silent.

“WHAT ARE YOU HIDING?! TELL ME!?”, Savannah bursted out with words of rage and tears streaming out of her eyes. “My friend who is more like a sister to me, Riya, her life….”, she stammered and gulped her bitter words inside her. The harsh truth was eating her all from inside but she did not let it out in the form of words.

“I , I can’t tell you…I…”, -sighs- “Just DON’T LET HER GO into the woods. JUST DON’T. PLEASE save my child”. Saying this, Riya’s mother rushed to her room without even looking back. It seemed as if she were hiding her eyes.

“Don’t let her go …”, Savannah recalled her words. “OH MY GOD! OH MY GOD! But Riya, already left! I gotta go, I gotta go RIGHT NOW!”
And immediately she left the house.

Riya’s mother peeking through the doorknob of her room, saw Savannah left the house.
“Ah I wish”, she took a deep breath. “May my baby girl be safe”.
And a flashback took her back to two years back, to December 1,2017.

~EPISODE 4~

(December 1,2017 4:30pm)
~Into the flashbacks of Riya’s mother.

“Maybe I should apply some rich colour lipstick”, Riya’s mother thought to herself.
Tucking her stray opened hairs beneath her ear she thought,”All this life I’ve lived for others, OH Dear!” she passed a smirk to her reflection in the mirror, then said,”AND now, it’s time for ME to LIVE”.

{December 1, 4:47 pm}

Riya’s mother had been waiting for 5 minutes and was anxiously tapping the table with her fingertips.
“Oh God, where the hell is he??”, she gasped.

A good looking man of her age appeared from the corner of her eye and hugged her from behind.
“Oh darling”, Riya’s mother said with a smile,”where were you?”

The man presented her a bouquet of roses and said,”Was buying this for you my dear, as soon you are going to take divorce from your husband and going to be my wife very soon”.

He presented her the bouquet and she accepted it with a red blush on her cheeks.

“So,….I am going to do it tonight”, the man whispered while bowing down a bit.

The happiness of Riya’s mother faded away.

The man put a hand on her shoulder and squeezed it to give her comfort and said,”Look we HAVE TO get rid of Riya. You know, after we get married, how will she live? That RECKLESS man, you call her father, will that idiot take care of her who doesn’t even know anything else in life, except sleeping”.

Riya’s mother’s expressions were still tensed.
The man continued, “Look don’t think that we are murdering her, we are just sacrificing her to the nature, umm, FOR the nature, for….”, he hesitated and seeked for an escape of explanation and then continued,” for her ….for her own good”.

Riya’s mother blinked her eyes wearily and said in a low voice,” Yeah, sacrificing her. You call this sacrificing? Calling the unknown forces in the woods to feed on her? That’s…”, she broke down her words with a tear rolling down her cheek.

The man said,” Look, my dear”, he gripped her hands in his own and continued,” Those UNKNOWN UNSEEN forces need to feed on a human soul EVERY 2 YEARS. And it’s almost been 1.95 years since the last person got missing in the woods. If not Riya, then another innocent soul who has a beautiful life can be sacrificed, then why not Riya, who is going to rant and cry on her life from now on? She’s saving a life. She will become a saviour! What’s a greater honour for u to be the mother of the saviour”.

Riya’s mother was a coward. She always had been a coward. She was the perfect defintion of STUPID, having absolutely NO OPINION of her own and blindly following what people ordered her. She DID NOT want her child to die. She absolutely was hating the idea.
She never knew that how to step up for herself. She NEVER knew that how to resist the waves and how to stop moving with the flow. She could never differentiate between the good and the bad. She always just did what others said.
She was told that it was THE BEST way to get rid of her daughter and also, was the best death for her daughter. AND,
.and,
.and,
She acquiesced….’

“How will you do it?” Riya’s mother asked with apparently no feelings in her heart.

“We’ll lure her into the forest.” He came an inch closer, lowered his voice even more and continued,”YOU have to bring her to the boundary line. I’ll be waiting by the edge of the woods. All we have to do is to force her to take ONLY ONE STEP into the woods. Then the rest will be taken care of by the woods”.

~By the woods~
~By the woods~
~By the woods~
The silent echoes were seeping into the whereabouts of the wind. Even the walls heard it. They knew that tonight, something BIG was going to happen. The winds knew something THE MAN didn’t know.

He DIDN’T know about the “SPIRIT POWER”.

[Episode 5]
[26/07 10:58 pm] Kaash AF🔥: EPISODE 5.

{December 1, 11:00 pm}

Riya’s mother was focused in driving the car with Riya in the front seat. They were constantly driving closer to the woods.
“Is something wrong, mama?” Riya said while looking at the sweat lurking down from her mother’s face.

“Not___-clears throat- Nothin…Nothing dear. As I told u before, we are just going to have a late mother-daughter hangout time”, Riya’s mother tried to disguise her expressions.
She wanted so bad,to turn the car back but now, it was too late. They were near the edge of the woods.

{December 1, 11:15 pm}

The man was constantly looking at his watch near the edge of the woods. He had two big rods in his hands. One made of steel and the other one of wood.

He saw a car coming from a distance. The car stopped short and Riya and her mother stepped out of it.

Riya was not understanding that what was going on.

“Darling, look I completed my part, now are you happy?” Riya’s mother said while looking at him with affection.

“Not yet”, the man answered with changed tone of voice.

“Darling? Mother,What do u mean?!”. Riya almost shouted.

In a second, she understood that her mother was cheating on his father.
“Shame on you mother!, I hate you. You wanted me to meet this man?? This is the worst hangout ever!!!” saying this, she started sobbing and running in the opposite direction.

The man saw Riya running and tried to chased her but Riya’s mother clenched his hand.
“Darling, will you hurt my daughter with these rods? You didn’t tell me that YOU WERE BRINGING RODS!”, Riya’s mother said while feeling deceived.

The man replied, “You REALLY are an idiot. Aren’t you? Do u REALLY think I would love like an idiot like YOU? Hah”, he started laughing mockingly, then he continued,” The UNKNOWN UNSEEN forces in the woods have a center brain of control”.

“I don’t get what are u saying, I don’t get the purpose of you telling me this”, Riya’s mother was confused.

“My little sister twenty years before, on this VERY day, went to the woods. I don’t know what happened after that, but her spirit is SOMEHOW now controlling the woods. She is the center brain of all the mysterious powers, these woods possess. Now it’s your …..” he was still completing his sentence when Riya’s mother interrupted.

“How do YOU know this?” Riya’s mother said in disbelief.

The man rolled his eyes and unwillingly replied her, “She came to me herself. At first I thought it was her, but it was weird that NO ONE else except me, could see her. Everyone said that it was my imaginary friend.She told me that she needs souls to feed on”, he stopped for a moment.

/story paused/
[[[~~~

]]]
/story continued/

Riya’s mother heard his words and they struck her like a stone in the heart.
“This is then not a NATURE SACRIFICE! You are presenting my daughter as a FOOD!”

“I told u before too, didn’t I?” The man said with plain expressions.

“Yeah, but now I UNDERSTAND what it really means. Oh such an idiot I am. Please dear, don’t let the woods take her away. Stop them from taking her soul. Please. Don’t u love me?” Riya’s mother said while crying and was still trusting that maniac.

The man was not in mood of talking to the woman, who meant nothing to him.
“I don’t love u lady! You know what?! I am the one who has been feeding my sister with different souls since the past twenty years. Now, this time I am feeding her with two souls. One of you and one of your daughter”.

He took his rod out with the intention of hitting her head and throwing her into the woods. He didn’t use to step inside the woods. He just used to throw unconscious people into the woods by himself standing at the edge of the woods.

His rod was just about to hit Riya’s mother head when Riya threw a big stone at the man’s forehead from side. His rods fell from his hands and he grabbed his head with both of his hands, screaming in agony.
She didn’t hear their conversation, so didn’t know that her mother was betraying her. She just saw her mother crying from a distance and nothing seemed right. Also, the rods in the man’s hand were giving her the chills from her spine to down her feet.
She doubted the worst that the man is going to use those rods on her mother.
So, she decided to go back and save her mother. And, she was right. The man WAS using those ferocious rods on her mother.

“Don’t u DARE use those on my mother!” Riya shouted while raising another stone in her hand.

Riya’s mother could feel the fear in her veins that what, IF in the moment the man told Riya that those rods are NOT ONLY for her. What if he told her that her mother was involved in this. What if…….

And another stone hit the man’s head. He stumbled from the edge and started rolling down towards the boundary of the woods.

Riya’s mother immediately grabbed Riya’s hand, led her into the car. Trembling, breathing fastly and panicking, she started the car. They both were inside the car, leaving the dreadful woods behind.
Riya saw in the backmirror, various terrifying lights emerging from the boundary towards the inside of the woods. And then they heard, the MOST horrifying, horrendous, scary and ODD SCREAM ever….

(The main center brain of the woods had STARTED feeding on the man’s soul. The woods could feed on any soul for two years. After two years, the evil strayer would come out again and lure another person into the woods)

^EPISODE 6^

{December 2,2017. 12:45 am}

The car stopped short in front of Riya’s house.
“Mother”, Riya said while looking directly into her mother’s eyes. “Yes, it’s true that you deceived my father. But, it is also true that you already had have enough punishment.
You got deceived too. And, lost your love.
Mother, I am young enough to understand how that feels. I am….”, Riya was still speaking when she saw her mother’s hands had started trembling.

Riya had extreme compassion for her mother in her eyes. She squeezed her mother’s hands, rose up from her front car seat towards the driver seat to her mother and kissed her on forehead. She then gripped her face from left and right side in both of her hands and said while looking in eye to eye.
“My dear mother!,
You don’t have to be afraid. I won’t tell father. I don’t want to destroy things between you and him. Afterall, it’s only 2 years left in, me being seperated from you and start living in my own apartment. I want this time span to spend the most with you. Mother, I love u. Believe me I do. I asmbeejjeej jennsii………..”,

{December 4, 2019. 10:30 pm}

The memories started glitching.
Riya’s mother started to remember drizzy words. She couldn’t really remember what Riya had said. She could feel as if the world was fading away in front of her own eyes.

“Wuzzz…wuuu….whaaaa….what?”, Riya’s mother barely assembled words to speak. Riya’s extremely mature and understanding response, still used to kill her from inside.
She didn’t deserve this. She had tried to kill such a beautiful flower. A flower, which she herself had blossomed.
She couldn’t tell Riya about what really was intended to happen in the woods. But she wanted to scream it in the loudest of her voice.

But her voice, she felt as if she lost her voice, too.
She felt as if in the center of a cotton candy machine and as if someone was continuously spinning her. All and all over again.

Riya’s mother heart was tired by immense beating. She had faced too much of THE HORRORS OF THE PAST MEMORIES. She wanted to cry, but maybe the storm of tears could not make way from her small pathway of eyes. Her face was dreadly pale.
She felt as if she were dead, but somehow still breathing.

She suddenly remembered that, her daughter had drifted off for the woods.
And, she was doing THIS AGAIN, was being a coward.
She looked around. Her whole room was messy and was stuffed with foul smell. But the smell, it was not from the room, it was from her heart….Her inside’…
She stumbled to her feet and got up with the help of nearby furniture.
“My daughter”, she murmured. “I…I must go….”, saying this she left the room in the form of the most wounded soldier of the battle, who still had his broken spirits up.

{December 4,2019. 11:00 pm}

“Riya! RIYAAA!”, Savannah was shouting with all of her might as if she would shout her throat out. Savannah was running hysterically around the corner of the woods.
She saw a shadow sitting by the edge of the woods, a few steps ahead of her.

She ran towards the shadow and found it to be Riya. She rushed towards her and hugged her tight. She hugged her so hard with closed eyes and being emotional, that she forgot to say anything. She FINALLY had saved her from going down into the woods.

“Savannah?” she heard Riya’s voice.
“Yeah Riya, I got ya. Let’s go home now”.

She was still talking to her with closed eyes and was drenched deep down into the embrace. She had missed her best friend SO much.

“No”, Riya’s voice uttered. “We’ll go save my best friend from Hwenox, the center power of the woods”.

~Hwenox, the center power~ Savannah memorized the name.
Savannah was about to ask something when
Riya’s voice approached her ears from TWO STEPS away.
“Savannah!”

The voice seemed as if coming from ahead.
Savannah opened her eyes and saw RIYA standing in front of her eyes!

A thrilling cold wave of fear, merged every pore of her body into goosebumps. She felt shrilling chill of horror spreading from her back of the neck to her foot thumb.

She slowly dragged her head from the embrace and saw the face. It was Riya, TOO.

She immediately stood back and shouted,”Who are you! Who are you!, what’s whaaa”, she grabbed her head in disbelief. She couldn’t believe her eyes. “Whos…WHOSE REAL!” Savannah stood as in center of a vacuum.

The standing Riya saw the sitting Riya and shouted, “OH MY GOD! Savannah! You found my best friend!”

Savannah could feel her head glitch but as soon as the glitch faded away, she understood that WHAT that thing was.

The standing Riya approached Savannah, with her back to the sitting Riya, and took Savannah’s hands in her own to thank her. Riya looked into the eyes of Savannah with deep affection. Riya’s heart was melting with the warmth of gratitude, but Savannah stood cold and frozen like a statue. Her eyes were wide open. Riya saw Savannah moving her lips but Riya couldn’t hear anything. Riya moved her ears close to Savannah’s lips to clearly hear what she was saying, and she heard,
“RUN. NOWW!”

Riya couldn’t understand. Savannah instantly started running alongwith hands of Riya in her own. Riya was running in Savannah’s pace. Riya turned back to see her best friend who was smiling at them and was walking weirdly and slowly towards them.
Riya screeched her feet against the ground to force Savannah to a stop.

“I won’t go! I have to save my best friend. She’s in trouble !” Riya said.

Savannah was looking at the creature approaching towards her, whose Riya LIKE face was NOW kind of disassembled and melting down revealing some other face, she couldn’t even interpret as a “face”.

“WHAT THE HELL IS THIS!” Savannah was unsure of how to make up that thing in her mind. She blurted out her words,”Look Riya, we don’t REALLY have time for this. For now, what I tell you, that, she’s EVERYTHING ELSE other then your best friend. But we NEED to go, RIGHT NOW!”

Savannah started to run with Riya behind her. She ran , ran, ran, ran and ran; as far away as she could. She just wanted to save Riya from the woods. She didn’t know anything at all, except that going into the woods was absolutely NOT a good idea. And, Hwenox was the name of the center power of the woods and that evil strayer can acquire the shape we desire it to….. her thought was yet incomplete when her mind struck with an idea.
She stopped and want to present her idea to Riya.
She turned towards Riya, to see….,
.
.
.

ABSOLUTELY NO ONE behind her, other than the deadly odd silence, of the woods on right and left of the road, where she was standing.

¤Episode 7¤
THE LAST EPISODE.
{This episode contains information overload of the story. So read critically and slowly}
[Disclaimer: This episode’s content may be disturbing to some readers. Reader’s discretion is advised.]

{December 5,2019. 1:35 am}

“OH

MY

G O D….!”, Savannah said while her hands covered her mouth in absolute shock.

She didn’t even want to think…
“No….NO…!”

But thoughts make their way somehow. If resisted, they barge into the mind.
~The evil strayer had been successful in taking Riya towards the woods and GOD knows what~~~
She jerked her head hard, as if the jerk would make the thought go away.

“I should go right away into the woods and find Riya…”, she was unsure of her own words. Where THE HELL would she find Riya in SUCH dense woods.

^The cottage of the woods^
She heard it as if someone whispered them slightly into her ears.

“RIGHT!”. She started making her way towards the cottage.

She stood on the edge of the woods. She has always heard that only one step into the woods was enough for the unseen forces to take over on you.She glanced down right where the woods were starting. She raised her right feet and slowly moved it towards the boundary line.

~JUST one step into the woods, and,GAME OVER~

The words were constantly echoing in her mind. She could feel her sweat trickle down from her whiskerlines. She was sweating cold sweat.

~Just~

She moved her leg a bit higher.

~One~

Her limbs were all over trembling with fear.

~Step~

She felt as if opening a gate to another dimension.

~Into~

ALL she wanted was to save her best friend’s life.

~the~

She had stopped thinking consciously.

~woods~

She could feel her sweat trickle down from her whiskerlines.

~and~

Her leg was just an inch away from the ground. She felt heart dreading radiations emitting from the ground.

~GAME OVER~

She had finally stepped inside the woods.

Just within an instant of seconds she could hear a shrill frequency sound arising from the pit of the woods where the cottage was.

She started running towards the desolated cottage. She could hear the sound of the dried leaves crunching continuously beneath her running feet.
The woods seemed spinning to her. No matter how much she ran, she somehow kept running around the same place. Maybe the woods didn’t want her to reach the cottage.

She had been running for 25 minutes. Sweating, panting and thirsty, she at last fell on the ground, exhausted.

“Riyaa…..Riya -gulped her saliva- where….are you”, she said in the most tired voice that she herself, had NEVER heard before.
She had been shouting the same sentence while running and now, her throat was extremely dry, and, her legs…, she felt as if something was surrounding and confiscating the flesh of her legs. Her eyelids were heavy and had started to droop, when a voice from behind pushed her back into the consciousness.

“Savannah! WHY DID YOU FOLLOWED ME! WHY!”, Riya said while sobbing and dragging her back and forth from her shirt collar.

“You were right. THAT thing was NOT my best friend. All this time, THAT thing had been controlling my mind time and again. As soon as I entered into the woods, she disappeared”, Riya was crying she came closer to Savannah and continued,” You were right. She was not…not…my bestfriend. She just controlled my thoughts-sobs-, You ARE my best friend! You ALWAYS have been my best friend. Oh dear!” Riya sat down and hugged Savannah tight.

Savannah smiled wearily. She felt as if all the energy in her body had been drained by something beneath.

Riya pulled back from the hug and stood up after feeling something coarse and moving on the ground.
“You shouldn’t have followed me.Look now what you’ve done!”.Riya was saying while hands covering her mouth and stepping back, as if what she was seeing was unreal.

A cluster of roots of ground branches approached Savannah’s leg and with a force, they dug inside her limb.
Savannah SCREAMED in immense pain and agony. Her leg was bleeding.

Riya felt as if someone had attacked on her. She felt shrills of pain arising from her heart. She couldn’t bear to see Savannah bearing this torment. She hysterically started to hit the branches with her feet, her hands, and tried to push them with every thing she could get. She also struck the branches, with a log of wood multiple times.
She felt as if loosing her mind. Extensive power application and friction had injured her hands and feet badly and they were bleeding.
Riya didn’t want to give up. She shouted”Somebody please help!”. But nobody was there to listen.
Suddenly, she heard a familiar voice approaching.

“OH NO NO NO!”, Riya’s mother rushed towards Savannah from the other side of the woods,”I was afraid I’ll be too late and unfortunately, I AM. I have called the rescue services,help forces and ambulance and the whatever-help-force you call it. In other words, I called maximum help I could get. They’ll be here any moment now”.

“We can’t wait for THAT long.We don’t have that much time”, Riya said while her hand on her head with anxiousness and looking at Savannah’s bleeding leg.

Riya looked around and saw a big stone. It was immensely heavy. Riya picked it up with all of her might. Riya’s mother opened her mouth so as to stop her but Riya had already thrown it at the branches.

“You shouldn’t have done this!” Riya’s mother said with a sorrowful voice.”The more you try to fight with these, the more furious and powerful they grow”.

After the stone had struck, more and more branches could be seen approaching with a pace faster than before.
The branches roots were entrenched inside the lower limb of Savannah and were constantly applying more and more tension. Riya was bewildered at this spectacle.

“It is useless to fight this huge power”, Riya’s mother said.

“There must be a way please tell me. I can’t see Savannah in this agony even a moment more.
Please mother tell me, what is happening to her?” Riya asked while deviating her eyes from Savannah.

Riya’s mother answered with plain expressions, “The center power of the woods has started to feed on Savannah”.

“OH MY GOD “, Riya gasped.

Savannah could feel some thing digging down and down into the flesh of her leg. She felt pain to such an extent that she couldn’t even scream. She could just see vague figures of Riya and her mother standing nearby.

Riya had her back towards Savannah now. She could not bear seeing it anymore. She just wanted to stop this all in ANY WAY.

“Mother, what u mean by the center power is feeding? And WHY didn’t it feed on me?!” Riya asked as if she wished that may the woods had fed on her instead of Savannah.

Riya’s mother looked distracted. She was continuously looking around as if afraid of not to tell the woods that they were there.

Riya’s mother had no time of any sort of foreword and directly said,” Because your spirit power is the MOST high than anyone else in this town. That is why the evil strayer had been wanting u to enter the woods SINCE your childhood”.

Savannah was way too much in pain to hear any of the words. She was between consciousness and unconsciousness.

And Riya couldn’t understand what her mother had said. She kept looking into her mother’s eyes so as to seek more information. She wanted to know as much as she could as the more she knew, the more chances were of her saving Savannah.

Her mother continued,
“Look Riya, the woods didn’t feed on you because it needs a task WAY MORE GREATER than that to be accomplished by you”, Riya’s mother was speaking fast as if she had to tell A LOT in a very short time. She continued,
“Savannah has low spirit power, that is why the woods can ONLY feed on her, nothing more than that. All those people going missing in the woods since the past 20 years,were having low spirit powers. That’s why the center power fed on them”, Riya’s mother eye contact intensified.
“The center power didn’t want to feed on them, it just wanted the strongest spirit power person to come to the woods, that is YOU. And the woods failed everytime it tried to lure you inside and instead, some other person stepped into the woods. So in meanwhile, the center power had to feed on them as it has been very weak since the last twenty years. Because, it is controlled by a half spirit. That’s why the woods want YOU, a full high power spirit to take hold of the center power”.

Riya couldn’t waste time in showing shock. Already what she was facing was nothing less than a dream.
“How did it all started?” Riya asked,”I mean this all center power thing?”

“As far as I know,someone tried to do black magic stuff deep down alone in the woods, in the cottage for GOD KNOWS WHAT reasons. Maybe the spell was very strong. It all went wrong and the spell somehow casted out into the woods. All the good powers of the natural woods got messed up with the evil powers, the result of which was that the woods needed a center power to function furthermore. That person’s spirit got trapped in the cottage and became the center power of the woods”.

Riya had heard too much to absorb. She started contemplating.
Riya could remember many events when she was about to enter the woods but was saved somehow, like the last time, two years ago when…….Riya’s eyes flashed.
“Mother! Was it your lover last time, who tried to lure me in? And were….were you INVOLVED!?”

Riya’s mother froze. She didn’t find any explanation other than the absolute truth.
“Daughter, my mind was not in my control”.

Riya would have been furious if she herself hadn’t faced this. Her mind was also controlled by the evil strayer at different times of her life. And the evil strayer’s hold on her mind grew the strongest one day before, and that was when it had been successful in it’s goal, i.e luring Riya into the woods.

“I know what you’re talking about and how that feels”, Riya drooped her head a bit. Her eyes to the ground.

Riya’s mother continued,” Riya ALL these years, you know I am not even ME most of the time”.
Riya looked up at her mother’s face on these words.

“My mind was not in my control. Unlike you, my mind was not dominated by some evil strayer or some other power. Instead, the power lives WITHIN me”, Riya’s mother said. She twitched her neck and closed her eyes as if fighting something within herself.

Riya couldn’t find words to ask so she kept listening.
“You know how it feels when a single body bears the burden of two half souls? Every time wars inside yourself”.

“Half souls?” Riya asked in gradually defying tone.

“My spirit level was half high when I came to the woods twenty years ago. The center power was controlled by another spirit or soul as we say. It was trapped inside. It wanted to get out so bad that it fed on half of my soul and let the rest of the half of my soul inside….inside the center power. THAT soul set itself free halfly, but still half of it is trapped.”

Riya’s mother jerked her head in an abnormal way as having a very hard war inside herself.Then, she screamed in pain and then suddenly, absolutely silent.

Riya’s mother head rose towards Riya eyes looking fiercely into her eyes.
“I AM HWENOX”.

This was not Riya’s mother’s voice. Riya’s mother grabbed Riya’s neck with an arm lock with Riya’s neck between the opposite portion of her elbow.
“Finally I’ll be free. Let’s go to the dark cottage without any further delay”, Riya’s mother said in the most unfamiliar voice that Riya had ever heard.

Another scream of Riya’s mother and her handlock let Riya free, her head towards the sky then she said,” Riya your friend Savannah, she …. she’s dying….Hwenox wants to feed on it and I am resisting…dear, do something otherwise, in front of your own eyes, you…..”, Another LOUD shriek of pain.

The woods seemed in pain too. The woods became DARKER than before.

And Savannah….,Savannah’s face was pale as if the last drop of blood had been sucked out of her veins. Her legs were pulled beyond, by the roots, and the roots were tearing her flesh apart. A forcefull jerk seperated the right leg of Savannah from her body.
Savannah fainted and fell to the ground. She was still breathing.

Riya closed her eyes and two big tears trickled down from towards her cheeks. She could feel the hair of her neck raised with goosebumps.
“My mother is in great pain, Savannah is dying. These innocent people sacrifices for the woods feed, throughout all these years. Oh God, I have to do something”.
Saying this, Riya hurried towards the cottage.

“RIYAAAA NOOOOOOOOOOOOO!”, Riya’s mother cried from inside while an evil smirk spreaded across her face.

Riya reached the cottage. She entered inside and felt a huge pressure of unseen things on her. There was a big red circle in the center of the cottage. Black dense clouds surrounded the circle and emitted the most evil and scary vibes Riya had ever felt.

The cottage was studded with foul smell as if someone had died there years ago. The smell had subsided but somehow was trapped inside the dark cottage.

Riya took a deep breath and stepped towards the dense cloud. She could see two eyes. Maybe if she was not there to take the spirit’s place, GOD KNOWS what that center power would be doing to her. But now, it was calm and was anxious to be free.

~Step inside the circle~
She heard as if someone said this in her ears.

She closed her eyes. A flashback of her life right before her eyes. Her childhood giggles, laughs. Her mother’s smile. Savannah’s warm hugs. Her cheeky fights. All right before her eyes. Amidst all of these memories, she stepped inside the circle. She felt as if falling down, down down and down. She kept falling, until she reached the end. She landed softly. She could saw two figures in the pit. One of an unknown man and the other one was badly injured body of her mother.

“I am here now to take control of this. This all stops now”, Riya said while her head high. “You must be tired. Now, you can set yourself free”.

The man smiled and her mother badly injured, saw her daughter with a stream of tears in her eyes. They both rose slightly up and started fading away.

Pinching light made Riya squint her eyes. She could feel a force evolving and entering inside of her.

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When she opened her eyes, she could see the same cottage room. She glanced around. Looking around, her eyes stuck below where the physical body of Riya laid dead. She saw herself for a moment. It was such an inexplicable spectacle.

After too much of pretty much everything,Riya’s tired physical body laid static on the floor. Riya’s soul could not bear seeing that even for a second more and she turned her eyes away.

She could feel the whole power of woods within herself. She could see all of the woods.
“Savannah”,she thought.

She could see Savannah alive. The help forces ambulance etc. had arrived and were loading Savannah on a wheel chair. Unfortunately, Savannah had lost one of her leg, but was alive.

Riya’s mother body laid dead on the woods ground. At last, she was set free from all of the torture.

Riya’s soul took a deep breath and a stormy wind blew within the woods.
She WAS the whole woods, the whole POWER herself.
She was Now, “the center power of the woods”.

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