The wind, a mysterious organism disguised as a natural phenomenon. While modern science explains it as an occurrence of pressure and fluidity, the events that have been left on my mind say otherwise…
The air was thin as an atmosphere of celebration was around. The yellow lanterns placed everywhere illuminated the red and brown leaves, giving a sense of fiery foreboding around. As the voices and footsteps approached and receded, the laughter too ebbed and flowed. I gazed at the groups of costume-clad people as they moved in a mesh of colors and shapes. My own footsteps led me along the pavement as the gas lamps cast my shadow back.
Glancing towards the windows of the house nearby, I stared back at the frown on a Jack-O’-Lantern glowing on the ledge. Giving a frown to reflect the one in front of me, I turned my gaze and kept walking down the cold cement. The cold wind blew past my face, and for a minute, I felt a caress on my cheeks. Almost as if tempting me to move with the wind, I looked behind me, the eerie sense of being followed playing in the corner of my brain. I blamed myself for being paranoid and walked past the cozily lit houses and sounds of joy. As the suspicions ebb away, I slow down and stop. Glancing back, I see the distant lights. But glancing forward, I see the gloomy darkness of the forest ahead.
It lulled me, transfixed my mind, and slowly ripped at the nerve fibers. I would claw at my own face to try and assert that this was in fact a horrible dream, but as the wind blew, I knew that my hands would not move the way I wanted them to….
In many ways, this was an enchanted place. The moonlight streamed through the gaps in the leaves as the tree barks glimmered in a silver blanket. Largely unexplored and run over by natural life, the forest was both awe-inspiring, as well as belittling. Here, things grew as they pleased, and events occurred that went below the human radar. However, the village rumors spoke of the enchantment coming with a silver lining of a sinister nature.
Almost half a century back, these forests were the home of an occultist, the now late Merle Abrahams. Known throughout the land as the “Infinity Killer”, the disappearance of 8 joggers from around the skirts of the forest, led him to fall under the eye of the police. However, lack of evidence and a series of mysterious mishaps led to Merle being left undisturbed by the law for many a decade. I felt myself laugh as I remembered the way the older members of the village told the tale. A simple ploy to keep children away from the dense and uncontrolled forestry.
An inkling of youthful mischief and curiosity crossed my face as I felt the wind whisper in my ears. It was almost suggestive. Shooting another glance behind me, I decided to step forward, the brash and bold feelings of my brain taking the upper hand.
To this day, I still question it. Why? Why did I keep moving? To this day, I have no explanation. Apart from the faint feeling, of the wind leading me on.
The dense populace of the trees grew with each step. While the moonbeams still flitted through the small openings of leaves, a nagging sensation started to form in my head. As I walked, I started noticing a pattern. Or was it just me? For a moment, it seemed as if the moonlight shined through leaves at an even spacing. Almost as if illuminating a path. Or more likely, footsteps. I stopped in my tracks for a moment and turned around and focused on the silvery patches on the forest floor. Doing so, I mentally slapped myself, it looked like a randomly dispersed pool of light. Frowning at my growing paranoia, I kept walking. However, stopping again and looking back, I could have sworn that the random pool of light was as if multiple footsteps were trodden, in multiple directions, by multiple people.
Shaking this feeling off, I delved further into the forest. This time, however, the moonlight seemed to get brighter. And suddenly, it fell directly on my face as I stared at the clearing ahead of me. What’s more was the massive house looming before me.
The wind wast a chuckle, echoing yonder the night rustle
t echo’d of the swingeth of an axe, the whisp’r of a riddle
as a but soft growing dread, searing heat of a whistle
on cometh the madman, an infinity in his bundle…
I caught my breath as I stared at the 19th century styled behemoth. Ivy snaked its way on the walls and crept in through the shattered window panes. The weather had chipped the paint while the bricks had crumbled at the corners.
I wanted to turn back, but something edged me on. This time though, I was certain it wasn’t my curiosity. I was a moth drawn into the phantom lights of the lanterns. Getting closer, I noticed a message scrawled on the walls, reading “Go away Merle Abrahams you a wrong un”. The window nearest to me was broken inwards, shards of glass still lying there covered in the thick layers of dust. I felt myself being moved towards the door, or at least what it used to be. The decayed lump of wood lying at the doorway was a red flag, all my instincts pointing to flee. But the cold wind on the back of my neck teased me, like dangling a piece of meat over a dog. This house drew me to it. I wanted to step in.
The air caught around me as I coughed out the storms of dust that I had disturbed by stepping inside. As I approached what was possibly the kitchen, I saw slash marks on the wooden surfaces. I felt the scars of shotgun pellets as my fingers lingered over the walls. A pair of shoes sat on a rack at one end of the room, judging by the make, a woman’s. My gaze fell on a staircase that possibly led to the upper floor. Hypnotized, I stepped towards it, the wind rattling the window panes and forming translucent patterns in the air before me with my own breath.
The creak of the floorboards made me hear the creak of a heavy object falling on them, a seemingly distant memory. I jumped as I swiveled around trying to pin the source of the noise, but only the dark furnishings greeted me back.
My lungs screamed in protest as it took me a while to realize that I had stopped breathing. I could hear my heart pounding on my sternum as the sight of the dark smears on the walls of the bedroom filled my vision. The blows of an ax had torn apart the wood paneling, its rusted blade glistening through the hole in the wall. As I was walked towards it, I could hear the wind whispering to me, a childlike riddle that made me feel sick. “One is nine, nine is two, holy god and holy you. Nine is god, nine to come, nine to breathe inside your lungs”
The words “8 is just infinity stood up” were etched into the walls, seemingly as if by a knife. I felt a scream erupt through my lungs as I stumbled and fell on my way back out of the room. Out of this house. I found myself outside and crashing through the trees as all sense of direction was lost to me. The leaves seemingly stared at me with evil eyes. At this point, paranoia and delusion took over my senses. Emerging through the forest, I found myself at the edge of a lake, the fog falling heavily on the surface.
I realized that I had confused direction a little too late. The wind whispered that riddle again. “Nine is god…” it said as the fog gathered around the banks of the lake ahead of me. The leaves looked more and more like menacing eyes. I felt a tingle down my back as the fog spilled over the banks while “Nine to come” rustled through the leaves. For the second time that night, my lungs protested as my heart resonated with the sound of footfalls in my head. The dreamy delusion was paralyzing me as the wind whispered once more, this time, right in my ears.
“Nine to breathe inside your lungs.”
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