I am the dark and spooky woods. Oh, please, don’t be afraid. Just because you see overhanging branches and tangled brambles, darkness and no way out, it doesn’t mean I’m going to hurt you. I really do quite like visitors, actually. Come, enjoy my clearly set out paths. You may want to take a flashlight, though.
There was this one person who forgot their flashlight. In fact, he hadn’t any idea how he’d got here. I knew exactly how he had. You see, someone decided to clobber him about the head and dump him. I felt really abused, how dare someone come along and dump a semi-conscious body in me? They tried to kill the poor guy, but he survived, thankfully.
There was this other person, came with a party of people. She seemed to be the leader. They were banging on about me being haunted and the like. Okay, so I host a few ghosts. I am the host with the ghost! That party escaped unscathed. None of my ghosts wanted to bother them. It was all a bit too passé.
I never used to be dark and spooky, though. I was once a haven, with babbling brooks and all manner of greenery. I was peaceful. There were bramble bushes, but they had berries and they were revered by the locals for their sweet and tart taste.
“Great for jams!” I’d hear them muse. Yes, I had it all. What happened, to make me so dark and gloomy?
Well, before all that, I had all manner of benevolent trees growing inside me. Oaks and ash, pine and cypress, trees which possessed healing powers, plants and flowers which attracted all kinds of wildlife: Deer, badgers, snakes, moles, you name it, I had them all. I even had a giant redwood! My willow trees were used by Pagans as a worship point. I loved the Pagans, they were a nice bunch of people. They worshipped the earth. I still do have Pagans come and bless me, but a lot of them are scared. It is nice to feel their blessing, it makes me warm and gives me hope.
Anyway, one day, this mage was fiddling about with his magic. He had no clue as to what he was doing, but decided to cast spells upon me anyway. He cast this particular one and one of my trees got infected. With the help of his brethren, he survived, but it took his toll on him and on the rest of the earth around him. Unfortunately, this tree died, after a long and arduous fight. He was my favourite. Okay, I know I’m not supposed to have favourites, but we talked a lot. He always had something interesting to say. We all mourned his death and were all healing, but soon again that mage came.
We had to fight, so we did our best. We did manage to banish the mage, but his horrible magic lingered. Before we knew it, our brightness had turned to darkness and our berries had gone sour. Leaves were stripped from the trees and nothing good could grow again. Only darkness grew. It lingered and we all went into a permanent, dusky mourning.
Demons and ghosts came here and camped out, making me haunted. My trees and plants tried their best to banish the ghosts, but the evil power of the mage was too great. I’ve gone down in history as the most evil woods to have ever existed. Nobody knows my true story, nobody will.
Every so often there’s this Pagan comes to visit. He blesses me, gives me hope. Without him, I’d have died many, many ages ago. I am the only part of this wood which still lives, but even I am not long for this world. Though I am the heart of the wood, I can feel my life-force being drained. That mage really made a terrible impact on me.
So, please, come and visit. I won’t hurt. Not on purpose. I just wish someone could come along and heal me. Maybe with enough reverence, I could go back to what I was. I miss the children frolicking, the lovers kissing and walking hand in hand, the people walking their dogs. I miss the sound of my streams of water, the noise of my trees talking and laughing with each other. I miss my faeries and nymphs and birds. I miss my butterflies fluttering around, bringing life to the flowers. I just want to go back to being bright and loved. Can you help? Will you help me escape this permanent dusky feeling?