The dark desolate forest, rumored to be the home to a monster only known of in old folk tales. each day in fear of the monster for years until one day, a young girl entered the forest and the attacks suddenly stopped.
The village leaders of each village came together and agreed that every fifty years they would send a girl into the forest in hopes that the monster would leave their villages alone. Though this solution was drastic, it seemed to be the only option that seemed to work. Villagers gathered the before the small group if women, one of whom would be sacrificed to the monster.
Skylar was among the small group but unlike them, she was completely calm, she didn’t care if she was picked to be sacrificed. She had nothing, no home no family nothing but the torn tattered clothes on her back. Skylar lived on the streets only surviving on what little scraps of food she could find.
“It is that time again to send a girl to the monster, this is never an easy task for us to do but in order for peace we must carry this burden”
The villagers all nodded in understanding while the girls whimpered in fear begging to be spared.
“And now to chose the girl that will keep the monster at bay once more…”
Suddenly, a loud roar erupted from the forest the villagers all screamed in fear and run to hide in their homes. Skylar sighed slightly annoyed, before she walked up the village head. She didn’t say a single word as she refused to speak for years and simply headed straight towards the forest. Her heart pounded loudly in her chest, anything must be better than living on the streets right? She took a deep breath as she reached the entrance to the forest.
She looked back to the village she lived in for so long, the villagers looking at her in shock at her actions, before facing the forest once more. Closing her eyes, biting her lip, hand over her heart. She entered.
The forest was cold and dark, wherever she looked all she saw were trees shrouded in darkness. No light was able to break through. Fear slowly creeped up inside her. Her pulse quickened, her body began to tremble. The ground was hard under her bare feet as she continued to walk deeper inside the dense forest.
After what felt like hours of walking, the scenery hadn’t changed at all. She sighed tiredly before sitting under a large tree, she leaned back and closed her eyes. Hugging her knees for warmth before falling asleep. She awoke to hot air on her skin, her eyes slowly opened only to see a large black tiger glaring at her. She flinched and trembled in fear, she tried to make space between her and the tiger but the tiger only moved closer. It’s large red eyes glowed intensely as it closed the gap between them. Skylar froze in fear, her eyes wide, tears now streaming down her face.
She shut her eyes praying for a quick death, when she suddenly felt something warm and wet against her cheek. She opened her eyes to find a large tongue pressed on to her cheek. The tigers tongue, was it tasting her? Her fear was quickly mixed with confusion was this the monster that had terrorized the villages for centuries? This large cat currently licking her cheek and rubbing it’s head against her side? It couldn’t possibly be the monster she heard so much about could it? Skylar slowly moved her hand to try and move the tiger off her but her attempts where in vain. She tried to push the tiger away but it didn’t budge, the tiger soon stopped licking her face and simply laid down on her legs making her unable to escape. It purred quietly on her lap and Skylar reached out her hand to pet the tiger but hesitated slightly before slowly placing her hand on the tigers back.
She calmed slightly as she began to stroke the big cat, the tiger leaned back against her showing her it’s stomach, asking for belly rubs. Skylar looked around something didn’t feel right, like she was being watched. The tiger seemed to tame to be a wild animal so who did it belong to? Thoughts and questions slowly creeped inside her mind, did the tiger belong to the real monster of the forest? She refused to think anymore, instead she focused on the tiger who was acting more like a big house cat than a deadly predator.
After awhile however, a strange noise resounded throughout the forest. The tiger lifted it’s head up, it’s ears twitching in the direction of the sound. Confusion mixed with fear quickly spread through her as the tiger rose to it’s feet, turning to face her again. It caught her tattered top in it’s teeth before toughing here over it’s head and putting her squarely on it’s back. Skylar didn’t know what to do, before she could even process what was happening the tiger took off. She quickly grabbed onto the tigers fur in fear of being thrown off. The tiger began to speed up faster and faster, heading straight towards the strange noise. Her heart pounded loudly in pure fear of both being thrown off the tiger and of what was making that strange noise. The forest began to thin out as the tiger continued to run at fall speed.
Soon, the tiger began to slow down as they reached a clearing in the forest were a small house sat. Skylar looked around for any signs of life but saw nothing but grass and trees surrounding the clearing. The tiger also looked around as if it were trying to find something or someone. It started to whine sadly after a moment of looking around, she stroked its neck in comfort but it continued to whine. When Skylar tried to get off the tiger however the growled every time. She looked around again and realized that the noise was gone, where did it go or better question was who was making it.
“Well well….looks like my tiger made a new friend how sweet”
She jumped in fear at the new voice, looking around she saw no one. The tiger wagged it’s tail happily and it’s whining stopped as well. The sky’s above began to darken and Skylar became paralyzed with fear only trembling slightly.
“Oh dear~ she seems frightened~ I wonder why?”
Skylar quickly put her hands over ears to try and block out the voice and in fear squeezed her eyes shut. Tears began to stream down her face. Suddenly, something touched her head, making her shake. Muffled sounds was all she allowed herself to hear. “p-please make it stop” she silently prayed before everything went blank and she fell unconscious.
A man stood before the girls unconscious body before turning to the tiger, he waved his hand transforming the tiger into a human. The tiger brushed himself off visibly irritated though in human form the tiger kept his animal ears and tail.
“There was no need to scare the poor girl to the point where she passes out!”
He scolded before kneeling at the girls side, cradling her gently in his arms. The other man rolled his eyes annoyed,
“Whatever Theo, I was just having some fun they send a girl here every fifty years and you never cared about the others before her. What makes her so special?”
“Gee Karma I dunno why not take a look at her and see that it looks like those humans didn’t treat her very well”
Karma snarled angrily before taking in the girls appearance, she had scars along her arms and legs, her clothes were torn and tattered and she was covered in dirt, her hair was also badly matted.
“What did they do to her?”
“Looks like they hurt her to the point that she choose the forest than stay there”
“Take her inside the house”
Theo nodded, he picked her up bridal style and carried her inside closely followed by Karma. He placed her gently on the bed and threw a blanket over her.
“So what’s the plan when she wakes up?”
“Before she wakes up I want to look into her memory and find out what those humans did to her, if I don’t like what I see then I’m paying those villages a visit”
Theo looked at him in surprise and nodded “ I’ll join you”
Karma took a deep breath and gently put his hand on her forehead, his eyes glowed as he entered her mind. He saw the death of her parents and felt the pain she felt throughout her entire life up until she entered the forest. He exited her mind, panting heavily, before glaring at Theo.
“We’ll wait until she’s awake then we leave”
He nodded anger a portrait on his face.
“And they call me the monster… Her name is Skylar and she hasn’t spoken since the murder of her parents”
He nodded then turned to face her and signed how could someone so innocent go through so much pain? Skylar tossed and turned slightly in her sleep, her smooth features twisted in fear like she was having a bad nightmare. He stroked her head gently, her face relaxed slightly before drifting back into a deep sleep.
When Skylar woke up, fear was already with her as she looked around were was she? There was a small fireplace, a sofa and a bed which she was laying in. Suddenly, she heard voices in the other room, she rose slowly out if the bed and started to go towards the voices, cautiously. She stood in the doorway watching as too men slightly older than her spoke. One had the ears and tail if a tiger that swayed every time the man spoke, he had black and white hair and both were well built. The other looked to have more human features than the other with shaggy black hair with red highlights.
“Remember no scaring her alright there’s no telling what might happen”
“Yeah yeah I know geez you’re really annoying sometim- “
They looked at her slightly surprised to see her there, Skylar hid in the doorway starring at them in fear. The white haired man took a step towards her causing her to flinch and look away.
“Hey… it’s okay we don’t mean you any harm okay? Why don’t you come over here and we can introduce ourselves okay?”
She hesitated slightly before taking a step forward, her eyes turned to the floor and her shoulders shook slightly in fear.
“Okay my name is Theo and this is Karma and your in our home in the forest”
She looked up at them slightly, if they lived in the forest then who or what is the monster she was told about for years?
“Your wondering about the so called monster that lives in the forest are you not?” asked Karma taking in her facial expressions.
She flinched slightly before looking away again, his voice sounded familiar some how she just couldn’t remember where. Karma sighed tiredly then continued,
“The monster your village spoke about is me I’m a demon a powerful one, I can manipulate anything I want and can use your greatest fears against my enemies”
Skylar took a shaky step back, she remembered were she heard his voice it was the voice from earlier before she passed out.
“P-ple-ase d-don’t h-urt m-me…” her silence was broken, her voice was no more than a whisper but they all heard it. Karma’s eyes widened, her first words. His expression softened and he gently approached her, he placed his hand on her head.
“You’ve nothing to fear little one, no one will hurt you not for as long as I’m around okay?”
“Promise now why don’t we get you cleaned up my friend will run a warm bath for you while I make you something to eat and get you something clean to wear”
She nodded before she followed Theo to the bathroom to wash up. He began to run the water and then picked up a hairbrush.
“would you like me to brush your hair a bit it’ll be easier to wash then”
She nodded nervously, trying hard not to stare at his ears and tail, she sat down her back facing him as he began to brush her hair being as gentle as possible. He cut the dead ends off and cut it to a manageable length. Once the bath was full, Theo closed his eyes and helped her undress then helped her into the bath. She was fully submerged other than her shoulders, so Theo opened his eyes and helped to wash her body.
“Its no problem”
Her cheeks blushed slightly out of embarrassment, she was being washed by a man after all. The water was warm on her skin and her body began to relax, Karma soon appeared with clothes for her and Theo left.
“We’ll leave you to get dressed alright?”
She nodded before being left alone, she stepped out of the bath and dried herself off a bit before getting dressed. The clothes were made up of a pale blue tunic that ended just above her knees and a pair of black leggings along with a pair of small boots. Once dressed, she wrapped a towel around her hair and headed back out to the living room.
The men looked at her, stunned, they could barely recognized the woman in front of them. Without the dirt covering her skin, they could see various scars littered over her bare skin. Karma approached her waving his hand, he used his powers to dry and style her hair, he smiled satisfied at her new appearance.
“You must be hungry, come sit, we have a lot to discuss”
She nodded nervously before sitting down at the table, Karma placed a large plate filled with meat and vegetables along with some bread and a glass of water. Her eyes widened, she had never seen so much food before.
“I-is a-all of t-this f- for m-me?”
“Yep it’s all for you so eat up”
Skylar gabbed a fork and began to eat ,not holding back, she reveled just how starved she was. Only slowing down to have a drink before tearing into the food like a starved wild animal, the two men looked at her in shock at how she tore into everything.
“Hey slow down or you’ll choke”
Theo spoke in a concerned tone, Skylar flinched slightly before slowing down. She looked up at them, looking like a small puppy after being told off. Once she was finished her food, Karma and Theo sat down in front of her.
“Now we are going to ask you something that we want your honest opinion on”
She nodded nervously.
“We want to know if you want to go back to your village”
Legends of a monster have terrified the villagers for years, until a solution was made that every fifty years they would send a girl in to the forest to appease the monster. Skylar, an orphan who lived on the streets, was the newest girl to enter the forest. Will she survive or will the monster claim her?