Welcome to everyone who has popped over from Vanessa's blog for my contribution to the Halloween blog party this year, if you missed last years spooky story you will find it HERE
And now for my tale.......
When walking in the woods one should not stray from the path,
for who knows what may be lurking behind the next fallen tree or bramble bush.
Alice was just such a young woman,
curious to know what new treasures may be hiding out of sight.
She had been wandering for some time since leaving the path,
and she knew it must be growing late in the afternoon by now,
she certainly didn't with to be lost in here after dark....
Every way she turned she new paths appeared,
she had no way of telling which would lead her out,
and which would lead her deeper into the woods.
The trees seemed to change and take strange shapes,
twisting and turning, creating living cages,
waiting patiently for her to come closer, waiting for the opportune moment...
Alice stood still confused and frightened, not knowing where to go next,
when from behind her there was the sound of branches creaking as though straining to reach her.
As she looked back over her shoulder she saw a huge old tree,
twisted and overgrown with ivy.
As she looked upwards into the tree's canopy a voice began to speak,
seeming to come from the heart of the trunk itself.
"Do not be afraid child, you are far from home I dare say,
you should not be wandering in here alone,
there are many in here who have become resentful and cruel,
they would find you to be a fine toy to play with."
"I will tell you the way out of here, listen to and remember my instructions carefully,
and follow them exactly.
There is a pathway behind me follow this until you find brother Toad, then......"
Alice listened carefully to the tree spirit's instructions,
and after thanking it began following the path.
After a time she looked down and at her feet was her guide,
"you must be brother Toad" she whispered,
and she began to follow him as the tree had instructed,
until she came upon the entrance to the deepest part of woods.
Here she was to go on alone, even Toad would not venture into here,
it is told there are barrows in here where the Trow live,
a bad place to be caught unawares.
"Follow the trails of toadstools", the tree had said, "they will lead you along a safe path"
Alice walked on through the woods, over mossy fallen logs and winding streams,
the patches of toadstools always in sight of one another so that she never lost the trail.
She was getting very tired now, and the grassy hollows looked so invitingly soft,
maybe she could stop for a brief nap before moving further.
But she remembered just how late it was getting and carried on going.
Past fairy rings she went, wondering if she would see sprites dancing if she came here after dark...
till she came upon a line of mushrooms leading right up to the gate of the abandoned millers home.
This was a place she had heard spoken of only in whispers
as no one came to this part of the woods anymore,
it is said the miller and his family just disappeared one night, no one knew their fate.
Alice entered into the old mill and looked around, it was dark in here,
but her eyes soon adjusted to the gloom, and she saw that the building was bare.
The only signs of life being the birds who obviously roosted and nested here.
Alice wondered about the stories about this place......
Some say the miller went crazy and led his family into the forest one night,
others say the Trows came and took them,
the only thing for certain was that the forest had claimed them in some way.
As she wandered around she found some stairs leading down to a lower floor in the mill
and walked down them as she had been told.
It was lighter down here and she followed the light till she found a door leading to outside....
This was the door she must take into the rear grounds of the mill......
She walked to the rear of the garden, passing the standing stone in the center....
Till she came upon the entrance to the caves.
Looking around she thought, "surely I can just follow the fields now till I reach a nearby road",
but the tree's instructions were specific, and who knew what was hiding out here.
So down she descended into the caves beneath her......
Through a series of passageways and caverns
following the path towards a distant source of dim light....
Finally she came upon what seemed like a door
from where the light appeared to be just around the corner.
Alice stepped through the doorway and turned to look down the passageway....
She found herself in a rocky gorge, and at the end could see daylight and water,
she quickly hurried ahead.
Blinking from the bright light she climbed up at the mouth of the gorge and looked out to sea....
She looked out at the setting sun and realised she knew this place,
she wasn't far from home, and she had made it to safety before dark.
Sitting watching the sun go down she vowed to be much more careful to keep her curiosity in check,
and not go wandering off into dark hidden places,
at least..... not until tomorrow......