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Allie Rieger

Thanksgiving

Once there was a girl, abandoned by her mom, left by her dad.  She found her way through the old trees, following her name that she imagined was whispered on the branches.  She wound her way down the hill, and crossed the river by walking slowly and carefully over the fallen log.  Her boots had holes, her big toe stuck through.  Her dads old shirt tied tightly around her waist, it dragged through the leaves making a zig zagged path.  She was sad, her tears had left a clean line through the dirt on her chipmunk cheeks.  She had sucked her little thumb until it pruned up.  And she thought of her mom then, and how she would yell at her dad when he would yank her thumb out of her mouth.  So now she took it upon herself to keep her mouth thumb free.  She made her little hands into balls and powered through.  Digging deep to find the will, when all she really wanted was to fall on the ground, kick her feet and cry until someone came to her rescue.  

Eventually, as the sun grew weak and her stomach grumbled louder then the birds chirping she came across a chimney.  It was coming right up from out of the ground, smoke billowing strongly out of the stone.  She ducked down behind a white tree and waited.  Her big brown eyes wide, her chapped lips slightly open.  How could a house be underground, how do you knock on the door?  She hoped who ever was inside would be cooking a nice dinner.  She thought for a minute actually making note of her hunger.  She wanted everything, a big bowl of soup with grilled cheese, maybe some spaghetti or better yet a big round cheesy pizza.  She wanted a sugary soda.

Once she was next to the structure she figured it out, this persons house had been built into the side of a hill!  She got down on her belly and hung her head over the edge.  Snuggled in between the two dimly lit windows stood an arched wooden door.  Light seeped between the planks along with a smell she had never smelt before.  It smelt good and she licked her lips.  Her dirty blonde hair framed her cherub like face as she debated what to do.  She was always told not to talk to strangers.  Everybody told her, her mom, her dad, Ms. Digus, and Mr. Kohler the only school teachers she’s ever had-and ever will have she thought to herself.  But nobody told her what to do if she ever found herself in the woods with nowhere to go.  From inside the persons little hidey hole she heard sounds of life.  Feet shuffled from one area to another, something scraped rhythmically, she pictured someone standing over a stove stirring.  She hesitated right before she brought her hand down on the wood, rap rap rap.  She knocked lightly, afraid of what might be on the other side of the door.  All the sounds inside stopped suddenly.  When nobody came to the door she knocked again, rap, rap, rap.  From behind the door she heard the shuffling feet make their way to the door and then she could make out a shadow through the slots.  The person behind the wood was not that tall at all.

The door creeeaaaked open slowly.  The young girl wished to turn back time and take back her decision to knock.  She wished her mom had never not come back.  She wished her dad had never eaten those little candies that put him to sleep.  She wished that the car they had been in had not gone down that big big hill.  Too afraid to speak, her thumb shot into her mouth.  The person behind the door was more like a hunchback- she was reminded of Quasi Moto from the T.V.  Except she was looking at an ancient woman, she had to be the oldest person she had ever seen.  Her wiry gray hair crawled all the way down her back and onto the floor.  The wart on her chin was sprouting its own hair as well.  One eye was clouded over, the other one a blue so bright it was like looking at a lake in winter.  The hag stood only a foot over the girl, smiled a toothless smile and ushered her in without words.

The walls were smoothed down dirt.  The floor was dirt as well, so compacted that it was almost like concrete.  Tree roots dangled from the ceiling like fingers trying to grab at them.  The dim light was from candles hanging in rusted lanterns and the fire underneath a large cauldron.  There was another ram shackled wooden door on the other side of the round wooden splintery table.  She placed the girl on a tree stump chair, then placed a bowl made from stone in front of her.  The girl watched the hunchback work in her kitchen.  The cauldron simmered and bubbled.  The old woman stirred the mix with two hands, looking between the blonde babe and the cauldron smiling and nodding to herself.  BANG!  A large noise made the young girl jump and bite down hard on her thumb.  She pulled out a bloody digit from her mouth.  Grimacing she swallowed the metallic spit in her mouth.  The bang came from behind the door leading into the only other room.  The hunchback ignored the noise, tears popped up in the young girls eyes.  Should she leave this place?  She wiped her bloody thumb on her pants.  Up and down, up and down she rubbed the blood into her jeans.  She couldn’t decide if it would be better in the woods at night, or here?  BANG!  BANG!  UUUUGHHHHMMMM– something groaned behind the door.  Tears leaked freely from the girls eyes.

The hag placed a finger in front of her mouth, shushing the girl.  Smiled and nodded, trying to reassure.  The old woman slowly reached for the lantern nearest her, her arm shook with effort.  From under her brown shawls she pulled out something that glimmered briefly.  The young girl did not get a good look but watched as the old lady slid one slippered foot in front of the other until she was behind the other door.  The young girl stood, meaning to make a run for it.  But she found herself stepping around the table to the other side of the room.  She put her face up to the door, her brown eye between the slots of wood.  She saw the old hunchback bring up her arm and bring it back down.  The girl cried out, there on the ground was her daddy, now with a knife sticking out of his neck.  Blood pooled around the silver blade and quickly ran down his neck onto the dirt floor turning it black.  He gurgled until his life left him completely.  

The girl ran right into the table centered in the room.  It hit her in her stomach and unconsciously she doubled over.  Only for a split second.  She pushed her way between the table and the stump, she got to the door when she felt it.  A hand squeezed her shoulder, digging into her flesh.  The old lady shouldn’t be this strong!  The hunchback got her other shoulder.  The girl looked down, the hand was not that of an old ladies, the skin was not soft or wrinkled or spotty at all.  The hand on her shoulder was caked with dirt, and blood, the black nails were more like claws and they punctured her skin.  Each of the hags knuckles had messy symbols inked on.  Right on the back of each of her hands, an upside down star in a circle.  She screamed and twisted trying to get free of the claws, but they were in too deep.  On either side of the door, the same symbol of the star.

A shrill voice wailed, “Oh, father, my master, The horned one, Lord Satan! You have provided for me, wealth, warmth and now sustenance.  I give my soul to you again and again!  I thank thee, for these givings.”  And with this she turned the girl back into the room, and slammed the door with doomed finality.  

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