Another short story recycled from the Abyss of Alice for a new writing competition ‘the campfire ghost story‘. The criteria is that the story must start with the first line given “The cabin in the woods had been abandoned for years, but one night, a candle burned in the window.” Let me know what you think.
The cabin in the woods had been abandoned for years, but one night, a candle burned in the window. This was a repetitive dream for Alice, and to her amazement, there, beyond the local church and the past gargoyles, over the meadow, she found the cabin tucked away in the woods. The cabin belonged to an old campsite that had been put up for sale, and she just knew it was meant to be. The cabin spoke to her with such mystery and charm, in a hypnotic lure. Alice could feel its character seeping through the timbers, and she fell in love with the energy released from the dark, rustic oak. Alice and her partner, James, purchased the cabin and spent a little over a year renovating and repurposing the furniture left behind, turning this abandoned cabin into a real dream. It was a new beginning for the couple, but the cabin would also deliver an ending.
It was a snowy Friday night, and the clock had just struck midnight. Alice sat on the balcony ledge, surrounded by candles, admiring the moonlit landscape of the undisturbed, crispy snow. The snow supressed all the sound and, for a moment, there was nothing but silence and the visibility of Alice’s breath. She had so much temptation to run through the snow and leave a trail of snow angels. However, she was too captivated by the ocean of stars above. The moment was truly mesmerising, just like a scene from a movie. A moment that Alice did not want to end. A moment that would last for eternity. The temperature of the air had reached freezing point and the cold shivered down into her core. She decided to take a selfie for her many Instagram followers, attempting to capture as much of the background as her lens could hold. She was foolish, Alice leant too far and lost her balance. “Shit,” She shouted as she tried to catch the ledge. Her catch was unsuccessful and she fell from the balcony.
The fall felt like she had been falling over and over again for an eternity. There was no adrenaline, just a deadly silence echoing in her state of shock. Her limbs were frozen. She could not scream or blink. The more Alice fell, the colder and darker her surroundings became. She felt like she was dissolving into nothingness over and over again. There was an anticipation of impact, which took forever to reach. However, the impact of the hard ground did not arrive as expected. Instead, Alice was greeted with the whiplash of water that would be scarred into my memories for lifetimes. She had crashed into an abyss. The water engulfed Alice, and she was pulled under. She tried to swim up as fast as her arms could move, but her clothes were too heavy. She was drowning faster than rising. The water was ice cold and the current was strong. She could not see how far under the surface she had sunk. Alice tried hardest to reach the surface, she tossed her arms and flapped her legs. As soon as her face felt the brisk air, she breathed in all the oxygen her lungs could hold and exhaled in a sharp gasp at her surroundings.
There was nothing in her sight. No sky, no horizon, no snow, and no walls. Just pitch-black darkness. She kept seeing things around her move, and she began looking for something, anything to hold onto, but there was no hope. There was no light except a small spotlight of moonlight which glistened over her and the surrounding water, except when Alice looked up, there was no moon. Was she hallucinating? Alice became nauseated; the current was just spinning her in circles. Confusion and disorientation were kicking in fast. “‘Help, help,’” she screamed. Her voice echoed and echoed into the distance. The space surrounding her was utterly silent. The type of silence that deafens you with the sound of your rapid heart thudding. She didn’t know what to do. Her situation was surreal and overwhelming. Her heart was racing, anxiety took over her and a lifetime of tears poured from Alice. She felt like she was dying over and over again.
Each tear drop turned into a river, flooding the water further. Alice tried to stop crying, but she couldn’t. The tears just kept pouring out of her. She was floating in an ocean of her own tears. Her cry bounced from silence to silence, echoing into screams of pain. Her tear drops became so cold that they began to freeze the water surrounding her. Waves were frozen within a ripple of time. She could feel the burning ice seeping into the cracks of her skin. Alice was becoming one with the abyss. She had given into a lifetime of heartache, fear, and escape. She was running out of fight. The dark ocean’s lure was consuming her. Her hands began to ice over. The blood pumping through her veins was slowing. Alice had grown cold, and now the cracks were exposing her.
Alice woke in terror. She was in her bed, back at the cabin. Her memories were fuzzy and confusion engulfed her. She jolted to her feet without hesitation and looked around. The cabin appeared different. The bed was dressed in sheets that were left behind when she moved in. Alice had thrown them out when she was renovating. She reached down and stroked the bed. Grief and loss washed over her. Tears streamed from her eyes. The sheets were covered in layers of dust and the reality was hitting hard. The rooms was filled with remains of the same abandoned furniture she had repurposed during renovations. She walked over to old mirror in the corner, She had no reflection. She was merely a shadow, yet when Alice looked down, she could see her slim frame and the ends of her long blonde hair. Panicked erupted. She ran around the cabin, frantically screaming for James. There was no one. Alice crumpled on the floor and let out a deafening scream. A scream that echoed and echoed into the void. There were no lights in the cabin, only a candle that burned in the window.
The candle flickered and Alice thought she heard someone call her name. “Alice, Alice”. Then it happened again, “Alice, Alice,” but this time it was louder. “She did hear someone shout.” She ran to the window, but no one was there. She grabbed candle and flame went out. There was no more cold or darkness, just peace. An overwhelming warmth rushed through Alice’s core. A light flashed through her gaze, and familiar voices were talking around her. Alice could hear her partner, James. He was on the phone to someone explaining how he had found Alice in the pool beneath the cabin’s balcony. He was sobbing uncontrollably. He went on to say that Alice was 3 days into a coma with a serious head injury and a broken leg. James heard the thuds and splashes and came running to Alice’s aid. The paramedics had to resuscitate Alice twice before arriving at the hospital. The doctors reassured James that everything would be okay.
For Alice, though, she would not be okay. The incident felt like an eternity; an eternity that was embedded into her memory; an eternity that would later cost her sanity. The fall didn’t kill Alice, but part of her died. When she did awaken from the coma, she was merely a ghost of the woman she used to be. She became an echo of deafening silence, walking amongst the living, part of her remains lingering in the void. Her shadow still stares out of the cabin window, holding on tightly to the candle that continues to burn.