The village is tranquil, separated from the hostile and inhabitable mass of woods that surround us. The village sits in the crook of the valley, wedged in between the hills and scenery. The little ones are in the classrooms with Mr Walker most days, the older children helping around the houses and awaiting marriage to come knocking on their door. Like Kitty Walker, the daydreamer. Before she married Christop Crane, she ran around like a hopeless romantic, confessing her deepest feelings for every young man in the village.
Ivy was the opposite. The eldest of the Walker children, the town rejoiced when she and Lucius Hunt married. Although Ivy went blind at a very young age, she is a truth seeker and among one of the boys. The Elders feared for her, scared that her tomboy attitude and masculine personality would fail her in life. Fortunately, Lucius was a risk taker and dared to claim what was rightfully his. After Daniel Nichoklson died, the town was in dire need of medicines. Lucius requested to go to the towns and retrieve these, until he fell ill after an unfortunate accident.
Their love had blossomed and Noah Percy, the local madman, became green with envy and did something he would grow to regret.
Mr Walker feared his family legacy would soon die with him as Ivy had promised she would not marry, or even love, again. Thankfully, the Elders allowed her to leave and she returned almost two days later, bearing medicines and soothing lotions for Lucius.
I often wonder about the towns; I know of the creatures and the truce and the Ceremony of Meat. I know how life isn’t always so calm and quiet here; the creatures sometimes visit. Sometimes, they kill people too – like poor Noah Percy. He was a little wrong in the head but really, all he was was just a sweet wee kid. One thing I will never know for sure is why we came here. Were the creatures always here, or did they only appear once we settled? How on Earth did we end up like sitting ducks, trapped and just a walking feast for the creatures?
It is woven into us that we must be terrified of the creatures and of the red colour. I remember when Lucius threatened the creatures and broke the border. That night, the creatures spoke upon each and every door in the village and left a red mark upon the challenger’s door. This brings me to Noah once again: how did he escape? Everybody knew he’d been in and out of the woods many times and creatures always pitied him. I guess the attack robbed him of the last of it and left him defenseless.
Maybe the village is safer without him here anyway.
The secrets are everywhere now, closing in on us like a pack of wolves. I see the black boxes that the Elders keep locked, the black boxes that they hide in the darkness of their homes and the corners of their minds. I hear the whispers in the town hall, I hear how they talk of regretting coming here and how they fear the villagers may cease to exist when they pass. Truth is, nobody knows what will happen when the Elders die.
The town is six foot deep in the secrets that the Elders bury us in and until they tell us exactly what they hide, we will continue to suffocate in them. After all, there is only so much oxygen left in a casket after it is buried.