‘Shh….listen to the rustling.’ I whispered to my brother. He knew that I firmly believed in the legend of Cypress. The story goes something like, ‘Cypress was a woman that was possessed by demons and her body was found in this forest. Now she haunts them looking for a new body to possess.’ The thicket of woods that we were trespassing through to cut our walking time in half belonged to Cypress. But damned if he didn’t want to take the shortcut to get to the movies.
‘The rustling is just the wind through the leaves. The wind blows in no specific direction, you moron. You’re being paranoid over nothing,’ He said waving me off. Did he not hear the silence of the leaves when he was talking or feel like something was watching and eavesdropping on us? I walked faster to catch up to him. My feet felt like lead but I was shaky all over from fear and excitement. We kicked ground debris around making it out of the woods. When I turned to look back it seems that the branches were reaching for me and wanting me to come back.
The movie was great although my brother thought himself to be a badass said, ‘That was for babies. Next time let’s go see Halloween.’ I just rolled my eyes. It was dusk out now and he wanted to cut back through the Cypress’ woods. I pleaded for us to take the road but called me a baby and said, It’s all a story the adults tell the kids to keep them from having fun out here.’ I started walking a little closer to him. The wind felt like it was following us. The leaves were just blowing where we were at not anywhere else.
‘OUCH! Quit it, ‘ my brother said harshly rubbing the back of his head.’
‘I..I didn’t do anything Thomas. I was walking right beside you.’ I stuttered. I could feel my facial expression of fear becoming somewhat permanent. My eyes widened thinking it would help me see whatever could be coming for us.
‘Well, Cliff-ord, who else slapped me in the back of the head? What did you use a switch or the whole damn limb?’ I was stunned. He kept walking and I ran to catch up to him.
‘Keep it up Clifford, I’ll leave you here for Cypress.’ Thomas warned. I put my hands in my pockets knowing he could see that I wasn’t reaching for anything. I was in tears from fear and feeling helpless.
I could finally see the streetlights through the thicket of trees and almost broke out into a sprint. I was way ahead of my brother and would have made it out before him but I froze in sheer panic. ‘Shh…can’t you hear me?’ was whispered in my ear. The cold breeze of breath on my neck stopped me dead in my tracks. Thomas ran right into the back of me almost knocking us both down.
‘Cliff, what the hell?’ Thomas shoved me forward but like a stubborn mule, I wasn’t moving. The leaves cycloned around me, ‘The stories are wrong.’ came the voice. It sounded like a young girl. ‘Cypress?’ I asked.
‘Yes, tell my parents to come here. I miss them and the witch made it to where I can’t leave these woods but I can fly through the leaves.’
‘Your just a little girl aren’t you?’ I said reaching out to one of the leaves. ‘What happened to you?’ I asked as a little red leaf skimmed my fingertips. It was Cypress’ way of having human contact. Who knows how long it has been.
‘The witch asked if I wanted to see something magical. She lied. There is nothing magical about her taking my soul in these woods. Tell my parents that Aunt Rebecca did it. She has the yellow ribbons that I wore in my hair that day. On those ribbons is the bloody proof of her crime. My mom’s sister is the witch.’ and just like that the cyclonic ease of leaves encompassing me stopped.
‘CLIFFORD! Are you ok?’ Thomas yelled at me. It looked like he had seen a ghost. ‘Yeah, I’m fine. Why?’ I asked grinning.
‘You were in a tornado of leaves and I was yelling at you to get out and each time I tried to grab you I was whipped with a skinny stick.’ Thomas blurted the words out so fast I could barely understand.
‘So, you didn’t hear anything did you?’ I asked suspiciously.
‘All I heard was wind and leaves crinkling together. You were just standing there. Not moving. You were really freaking me out. Not even cool!’ he grabbed my hand and we marched home. I thought it better to not tell him what happened. It was more for me to get back at him and not listening to me. It worked because now he listens when I speak up about not having a good feeling. I also decided that I would write a letter to Cypress’ parents.
Two weeks later my mom was in the kitchen listening to the radio when her vocal rendition of ‘Livin’ on a Prayer’ was interrupted. ‘Cypress Walker’s killer has been apprehended thanks to an anonymous tip. Early this morning a search warrant for Rebecca Putnam’s residence was executed…’ I walked out of the kitchen with my glass of milk when I smiled looking out the window. In the yard danced a small cyclone of leaves and flower petals. Cypress was free from her forest.
I got a little carried away with this. After the drama that just unfolded here at work, I thought it would be best if I put myself in time out. The fight or flight moment almost became a fight moment where assault charger could’ve been filed. Writing this calmed me enough that I’m going to write a lengthy, professionally worded email about the situation. Yes, it’s long but I fell in love with my characters. Thank you for the prompt Discover.