The woods are deep; the woods are vast. They sweep down from the higher ground and into the valley, encircling the village like a snake encircles its eggs.
Life in our village is – usually – very peaceful. We spend our days at school with Mr Walker or helping with the animals and the crops. People in the village are friendly; we all look out for each other. We’re like a big family, sometimes, there’s a big celebration, like when Ivy and Lucius got married.
Ivy and Lucius are really nice. Ivy is the only person who has been to the towns apart from the elders. Ivy is blind so she can only see certain things. Lucius is shy but is kind to Ivy. Ivy has a sort of magic sense of direction.
Life isn’t always so peaceful in the village. Sometimes, bad things happen. Not so long ago, the little boy passed away but it would have all been fine if we had medicines. Noah stabs Lucius because Noah is jealous of him and Ivy.
Mr Walker says bad things happen in the towns. That’s the reason they didn’t stay. The towns are horrible, mean places and the people are unkind. We moved to the village before I was born so I grew up there. Only the elders know the truth about the creatures and the towns.
Mr Walker says that as long as we don’t go into the woods we are safe. The woods are where the creatures live. The creatures won’t harm us as long as we don’t go into their territory. Once, Lucius went into the woods, and later that night the alarm bell rang. Everyone knew what to do we closed and locked all the windows and doors and hid in our underground hiding place. When we were there, we knew we were safe.
The next day, when we knew it was safe, we went out and found red marks on every door. It was like they were trying to warn us.
That very day Noah was killed by the creatures in the woods. Ivy thought she was being followed by a creature. Although of course, she wasn’t sure.
The elders have old black boxes, I have always wondered what was in them. There are securely locked so no one can get into them and found out what was in there.
Mr Walker is the most secretive of them all. What does he do when we see him walking towards the edge of the woods sometimes? What does he keep in the old shed that no one is never to be used?
I don’t know but there’s something not quite right about this village and I lie awake at night wondering what the answers may be.