Free Read Friday: Billy Part 2

Image of gloomy forest

The journey continues. I'm beginning to get an inkling of an idea of where we're headed here. I believe I know how it will end, but we all know how that usually turns out. Billy is one very special little boy, he just doesn't know it yet. 

Here's a link to part one if you'd like to get caught up. Part One


Part 2

Did he? He wondered as he watched her door anxiously. At any moment he expected the door to swing open and for Sarah to appear, wearing an oversized tee shirt, her hair a wild tangle as she rubbed the sleep from her eyes.

“Go back to bed squirt,” she would mumble as she passed his room on the way to the bathroom.

Tonight, as it had since the day of  her death, her door remained closed, locking away a secret that might explain what had motivated her.

Did he believe?

He didn’t believe in much of anything anymore, Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny, and the Tooth Fairy were nothing more than fairy tales designed to keep little children in line. If you didn’t listen to your parents you wouldn’t get that special gift you wanted. You would get something else, something functional you could use throughout the year. Socks, underwear, new pants or shoes. The lumps of coal that had once been doled out to those who refused to listen had been replaced by the necessities.

With these thoughts in his mind he slowly closed his door on that shadowy hallway filled with secrets and crossed back to his bed where he slipped under the covers and fell asleep. A part of him wanted to recapture the wonder he had felt in that small cabin, yet another part was afraid he might fall into that dreamlike place and never escape.

As it was the remainder of the night passed uneventfully and his dreamless sleep was only disturbed in the early hours of the morning by the soft sound of crying coming from beyond his bedroom door. Carefully he crossed to his door and gently eased it open enough for him to peer through the slender crack.

Across the hall his mother stood with her back to him, the door to Sara’s room wide open as she filled the doorway. Her shoulders shook as she wiped at her eyes as that sound of her crying softly came to his ears. His heart broke for her.

He wanted to tell her everything was going to be all right, that Sarah was not really gone, in fact he had tried just that shortly after her death, and his dreams of that secret forest began. His revelation had earned him a trip to Doctor Morgan’s office, where the older women who once cared for Sarah tried to trick him into telling her how he knew everything was okay, and Sarah was safe.

Sarah had warned him they would try to do that and that he had to be real careful about what he revealed. If he told them about the cabin in the forest it would be all over, they would win, and Sarah would have to go away forever. He had done pretty good until he let it slip about the small stream running through the forest and how if one listened real close they could learn all the secrets of life  and death.

That little mistake had caused his dreams about his sister to devolve into the nightmare of fleeing through the forest depths as the others, those shadowy shapes that flowed over and around one another with sinister intent, pursued him. The cabin was still there, but they hadn’t found it yet, and every time he dreamed of them, he made sure to run away from the cabin, to lead them away from his sister.

“Are you all right, Mom?” Billy said as he stepped out of his room and pulled the door shut behind him. His mother spun around, startled by his sudden appearance, and knelt down to wrap him in a desperate embrace.

“Don’t you leave me,” she whispered fiercely in his ear, her breath hot as it tickled his earlobe. With his head resting on her shoulder he had an unrestricted view of Sarah’s bedroom, his gaze drawn to the poster tacked to the wall above the head of her messy bed.

“I promise, I won’t,” he replied dutifully as his gaze took in the sinister intent of the poster. It was of a massive tree at night, awash in the light of a full moon, its spindly branches reaching for the dark sky like devoted worshipers reaching for the heavens above. Around its massive trunk the shadows were dense, filled with slender appendages that whispered over and around one another as glowing red eyes gazed unblinking from the other side.

“Do you believe?” his sister’s urgent whisper filtered through his thoughts and he nodded his head.

He did believe.

But what did it mean?

To be continued!

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