There’s a girl who lives alone in the woods

Down a long dirt road, past a mile or so of forest, there’s a girl that lives all by herself in a big house. All of her relatives have passed, leaving her a treasure trove of valuables and money that she keeps on the property. There’s not even a dog to keep her safe from people who would take those things away.

And when the wrong ears hear all those things, their eyes fill with dollar signs and they decide to make the trek.  

They always make the same wrong assumption though-

That I’m really alone.

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Mr. Ferguson

I think the whole street breathed a sigh of relief when we saw the EMTs take a body bag out of the Ferguson house. I was only about ten or eleven at the time and it’s been a while so some details of my childhood are lost to time, but I can’t forget Mr. Ferguson.

There was never a Mrs. Ferguson in the picture, as far as I know. He lived in the house on the corner, the one with the bright yellow shutters and the gorgeous garden out back. The garden didn’t make up for the rotten old bastard he was. I wondered once if he was nicer when he was younger, when he didn’t have to walk with a cane and could actually get around without help, but my dad set me straight on that one. Mr. Ferguson had always been a terrible person and the neighbor from hell.

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Biter

I’m never going to complain about working at a daycare, it really is my dream job. I love working with kids and seeing how they grow up, when they learn to talk and walk, when they learn to string together sentences… It’s the best.

However, there are some kids that drive me up the wall.

“Ow! Parker, you don’t bite people!”

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Follower Count

“Hiya, babes! It’s Laura!”

“Hello! It’s Laura! We hit a thousand, babes! We did it!

Laura was just another small time girl trying to hit it big with YouTube. There was hundreds of Youtubers like her out there. They put on makeup. They play video games. They review movies. They vlog about their day. They try weird products and make comedy shorts.

I found Laura on a late night. She’d made a comedy short with Katherine Short, a YouTuber I had followed for a few years. Laura caught my attention with her low voice, sweet smile, and odd eyes- she had heterochromia. One eye was dark brown, like her hair. The other was like a husky dog’s. Piercing blue.

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The Flyaway Colony

When I was growing up, I lived near a cult.

It was what it was, it wasn’t openly talked about but it was gossiped about during Saturday afternoon barbecues and whispered after the church service. Other than, ya know, growing up next to a cult, I lived a pretty down to earth life.

These guys were known as the Flyaway Colony. The leader, Douglas Luther, believed that he was sent by god to lead people to the cause and that one day he’d take them all away by levitating them to heaven like Jesus in the new testament. Yeah, pretty basic crazy cult crap. They lived off the grid for the most part, the followers camped out in tents surrounding this old farm house where they’d eat and worship. You could always tell if you ran into someone in town was apart of the colony- they wore plain brown clothes and smelled kinda ripe. The men always had beards. If one of the women was in town, they’d always have one of the men with them, probably their husbands.

And now that I think back on it, I never saw any of their children. Not once.

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The Fire That Won’t Go Out

The first fires started on Monday and by Saturday we were all evacuated from our homes, told to grab only essentials. And although it was never directly said to us, it’s implied we’re never going back. I’m writing this from my parent’s house in Michigan, far away from the hellscape that was once my home.

My boyfriend Ike, a volunteer firefighter, got called about the first house fire. Typically he doesn’t get called on for this sort of thing but apparently it was a rager. So with a kiss to my cheek and a cheeky reminder to let the cat in tonight, he took off. Meanwhile I settled in for a day off of work, I don’t get them often enough and I wanted to relax.

About noon Ike called me. I was dancing around my room to the Hamilton soundtrack while eating Pringles when the phone went off. I turned off the music and answered.

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Ferrymen to the Afterlife

Once the world wasn’t like this, according to Father Blackburn. Once the world was covered in green grass, tall trees, and beautiful clear skies. Tonight there’s a patch of visible sky. It’s so beautiful. I think if I ever saw a sky that was entirely like that, I wouldn’t be able to comprehend what I was looking at.  

But that changed when humanity destroyed it all.  

Father Blackburn was there. He saw it happen. He might be one of the few people left alive who truly witnessed it. He tells us every Sunday and Thursday about the days of clear skies and plenty of food. Fresh food, not the packages of dried powder that contain our necessary nourishment but have the texture of sand. I’ve always wanted to eat an apple. I can’t explain why, I just see so many pictures of them. My mouth waters at how it must be to taste an apple.  

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Family Reunion

“Is that it?”

Garrett craned his neck forward to get a better view and I suppressed a giggle. “Yes, babe, that’s my parents’ house. What did you expect?”

“When you said you lived in a wooded area, I dunno, pictured creepy cabin, bloody axe on the doorstep…”

I kissed his cheek before gently elbowing his side. “Come on, park the car, I can’t wait to see my mom!”

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Family

It was strange to wake up feeling nothing, when what you felt before being knocked unconscious was the most agony a human being could feel in their lifetime.

My eyes flickered open, blood from the gash on my forehead leaking into my eyes. My gaze focused. I could make out a spiderweb of cracked glass in front of me. The windshield.

Driving home.

Turned around for one second.

Then here I was.

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False Pregnancy

I was pregnant.

The doctor said I was, at least at first. I was so excited. So was Greg. We weren’t planning on kids, but when I skipped a period, I never felt so much joy in my life. Greg proposed on the spot when I told him. We immediately made plans for the nursery and my mother cried because she was too young to be a grandmother, but it was amazing.

Then when we went back to the doctor nearly a month later, I was lied to.

I was told I was never pregnant in the first place.

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