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Mystery Fantasy Suspense

The young girl sprints through the trees, her long, wavy hair wildly fluttering about her face.

We’re gonna get you! We’re gonna get you!”

The voices taunt her, follow her; the phrase repeats over and over, out loud and in her head, a musical canon wrought with terror. She pushes her legs faster, releasing a sob.

We’re gonna get you! We’re gonna get you!”

Panicked, she wildly looks around for an escape route. To her left is an open road. Exposed. In front of her rests a school. Too many places to get cornered. To her right sits a dark, quiet forest.

She darts to the right.

The trees are thick and dense. They smother the stars splattered across the sky. The little sliver of moon she’d been using to guide her way disappears. She pushes through the branches, pine needles scratching at her arms and legs and cheeks. With each step, the branches rustle ever more loudly as she shoves them out of the way.

We’re gonna get you! We’re gonna get you!”

The voices are louder now. Much louder. Gasping, the girl sinks to the ground, fumbling around for a ditch, a rut, a hole––anything that she can drop into for extra cover.

A hiding place. She needs one, now. Desperately.

Her hand hits something smooth and firm, and she yanks her hand backward in surprise. Biting her lip to muffle a shocked scream, she shakily feels around for the strange object once more.

It’s… a box of some sort. A large, cardboard box, by the feel of it. As she feels around the box in the dirt, she realizes that the box cannot move; it appears sunken into the ground. She slowly moves her fingers up the side of the box, until she feels the top edge. It’s open. Slowly, her heart thudding in her ears as she listens to the footsteps drawing closer, she reaches her hand inside, half expecting to find a dead body or perhaps a pile of bones or a monster waiting to grab her and yank her inside, ready to feast upon her flesh. Frankly, any of those options are far more appealing than getting beaten to pulp yet again by her bullies. She holds her breath, reaching her arm deep into the box––

Nothing. She feels around. The box is large and empty, around two feet in each dimension. The only object of interest she feels inside the box is a small piece of crumpled paper, which she hurriedly brushes to the side.

The girl sighs softly in relief. Quickly, she climbs inside the box, curling up and wrapping her arms around her knees. She ducks her head and takes the flaps from the lid of the box and holds them over her head, shrouding her in complete and utter darkness.

Footsteps. She hears their feet thudding against the forest floor, loudly now. A scatter of muted giggling. A few whispers. She holds perfectly still inside the box.

And then, to her surprise, the flaps of the box wrench open.

The cold of the night seeps into the box. She shivers violently. Her heart lurches as she cowers inside, arms held over her head. Light floods the box. She squeezes her eyes shut against the blinding light––a flashlight. Somebody––one of her bullies, undoubtedly––shines a flashlight down upon her.

So much for hiding now. Dread slithers up her spine, heavy and inevitable. She swallows.

“Ugh.” The scowl is a familiar one. Her primary tormentor.

“Tell me about it. I thought we had her for sure.” Her secondary tormentor. She can feel their breath, smell their stench. She imagines the rest of them are there, too, awaiting their turn, itching to strike a blow against every inch of her body––

“Come on. It’s empty.” The boy sighs in disappoint. “Come on, guys. I think she went this way.”

Footsteps. Loud. They fall beside the box… and then veer away from it. The sound fades.

The girl remains in the box for a long while, heart beating, breathing shallow. She digs her nails into her palms, her little fists clenched tightly.

What just happened?

They’d looked down at her. They’d shone a flashlight right into the box. They’d seen her. They must have. She was––is––sure of it.

Was it a trick? Some sort of game? Were they simply hiding out there in the trees, waiting to snatch her when she least expected it?

Slowly, ever so slowly, the girl lowers her arms and lifts her head so that her eyes poke just a few inches out of the box. Her neck is stiff from bending over. She peers into the darkness.

It’s quiet. Nothing moves; nothing breathes. Not even the wind. Everything is still and silent.

The darkness is beginning to shift. The girl squints her eyes. Yes, she can see it now––hints of light. It must be morning.

She had been running from them all night.

The girl remains still, staring at the forest around her as the sun begins to illuminate the scene. The trees are interwoven tightly together. As the light hits the trees, dewdrops glitter across the vibrant green pine needles. The forest floor grows brighter and brighter, until she can see their tracks, a pile of footsteps beside the box, and then a line of them stretching far into the forest.

A bright light through the trees. She blinks as the sun peaks through, finally shining upon this strange place of refuge.

She looks down. It’s as she expected––a worn, cardboard box, still surprisingly held together by a few pieces of tape.

Something catches her eye. She glances near her feet. There it is––the crumpled piece of paper. It looked like it may have been white once, but now, it’s yellowed and dirty. She leans forward, taking the paper and pressing it against her legs to smooth it out. To her surprise, there are words there in black ink. Just a few. But they’re clearly hand-written.

She brings the paper closer until it’s just a few inches from her nose. And she begins to read.



If you feel you must escape,

From a life of pain or hate,

Then by all means please use this tool,

This place to hide, this time capsule.

Just rest inside and fade away,

As time moves on through every day,

Sink inside this place of cover,

This hiding place that’s like no other.

-A friend



She stares at the paper in wonder, rereading the lines three times. Then, she slowly places the paper back in the corner of the box, and stands up. She stretches, reaching her arms to the sky, rolling her shoulders. She steps outside of the box carefully, successfully evading a branch full of pine needles. And then, to test her thought, she looks back inside the box. And smiles.

The paper is gone.

She climbs back inside the box. She smiles again.

The paper is right there, right in the corner of the box where she left it.

This hiding place that’s like no other.

The girl’s smile shines on as she leans back against the side of the box, staring at the peaceful forest around her, the sun bright and full in the sky, invisible and hidden from any soul that tries to find her.

October 09, 2020 00:14

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11 comments

Narnia Zelda
00:53 Oct 25, 2020

Captivating!

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Lina Oz
02:00 Oct 25, 2020

Thank you! And thank you for upvoting all my stories! I appreciate it :)

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Lani Lane
18:04 Oct 11, 2020

"They smother the stars splattered across the sky." This was just a really fantastic sentence! Great description and alliteration. That poem was awesome. It reminded me of the poem in Gringotts. :) "Thief, you have been warned, beware / Of finding more than treasure there." Love stuff like that! A really creative take on the prompt, really love it!!!

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Lina Oz
18:11 Oct 11, 2020

Thank you so much! I'm trying to get better at poetry so I'm glad that you enjoyed it! Haha I love that one from HP––I tried to also capture a more magical/fantastical tone there. Thanks for your lovely comment, as always! :)

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Lani Lane
18:15 Oct 11, 2020

Of course! I love little poems interwoven in stories, especially fun ones like yours/Gringotts.

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Lina Oz
19:01 Oct 11, 2020

Me, too! I might have to try a few more stories with poems now...

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Lani Lane
20:24 Oct 11, 2020

You definitely should!!

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Charles Stucker
02:36 Oct 09, 2020

The box is deep and empty, perhaps a couple feet in depth and width. "large and empty" "around two feet in each dimension" Technical point - cardboard has never struck me as being particularly hard. and I now realize the box just looks like cardboard. Perhaps if it struck the girl as odd, it would make the point earlier. Panicked, she darts to the right. - maybe say panting from exertion instead of panicked? Overall, this does an excellent job of relating the emotions of the running girl and her relief at finding a magical hiding...

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Lina Oz
02:46 Oct 09, 2020

Can you think of all my titles for me, please? That's awesome and witty and I'm using it right now. I'll make these other changes, too (great catches). Thanks as always for the suggestions. Madly trying to write and answer these prompts (busy week) and finding them difficult to respond to, so I appreciate any feedback you have.

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Charles Stucker
02:55 Oct 09, 2020

Sometimes I have trouble getting a title, but sometimes they do come to me. If I start a Fiver service (Title your book or short for just $5- clearly more appealing for books) would you give a testimonial? Obviously, I would keep making title suggestions here on reedsy...

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Lina Oz
02:59 Oct 09, 2020

Oh, I would for sure give a testimonial. Honestly, a good title goes SUCH a long way, especially for books. It can honestly make or break a piece, in my opinion (although I've read books with uninteresting titles before that became interesting after I read the book, too, so that's a possibility––but I think it's a rare one). Having a knack for titles is so needed––I'm absolute garbage at coming up with titles. I tend to pull words that aren't in the piece itself, tell myself, "well, that's deep and mysterious enough, cool," and move on, ...

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