Not all that seems beautiful, really is.
Eva’s curiosity held her hostage, dragging her to find the source of the haunting song that wafted through the forest. In her eleven years of life, she had never heard anything so beautiful yet tinged with such sadness. When her parents had suggested that they go camping, she resisted. It took her dad's ridiculous claim of camping on the border of a haunted forest to pique her interest. They kept up a good act. Pretending to be nervous and jumping at every noise. That alone made the trip worth it.
They turned in early, but in the middle of the night something woke her. She slipped out of the tent and heard music coming from the forest. She hadn't brought a flashlight, but the light of the full moon and the beautiful song were enough to guide her. As she approached, she began to hear words.
Come my dear
Now draw near
To the song you hear
She reached a clearing and saw a boy sitting on an old tree stump. He was the same age as her, with dirty blonde hair. He seemed to be sleeping, yet he sang the same verse over and over. When she reached out to touch his face, his sky blue eyes snapped open, startling her.
"Who are you?" she asked.
For a long moment the air was still and silent. She felt a profound sense of loss that the music had ended.
"Please sing again," she said.
When he opened his mouth the song was barely audible. She leaned very close.
Please don't stay
Heed what I say
He comes this way
She drew back and saw tears streaming down his cheeks. For the first time she noticed his arms and legs were bound by tree roots. Panic flooded her mind as he sang again.
It's too late
There's no escape
I'm only bait
You've sealed your fate
Her heart pounded as she frantically searched for the way out. Black clouds drifted in front of the moon, blanketing the forest in darkness.
The boy bowed his head.
The girl shrieked and was suddenly quiet.
The clouds passed.
The boy looked up and saw a trail of blood leading into the dense, dark forest. A shadow stirred at the edge of the clearing. The boy stared at it, then sang.
Is your hunger slaked?
Please I pray
Let me go my way
The answer was a low growl. The boy knew from many times before exactly what that meant. He sighed deeply and began to sing.
Come my dear
The song wafted through the forest seeking another victim.
In the weeks that followed, the girl's picture was placed on milk cartons like so many others. In a small store on the edge of the forest, her milk carton stood in a cooler next to one that had a picture of a boy with dirty blonde hair and sky blue eyes.
Word count: 496