The Watchers in the Woods
-By Debbi Decker
It was not always like this. She has traveled through many woods in many countries. They always held a sense of magic for her, a sacred place to wander and to worship. Not these woods. The forests behind her new home hides something she cannot identify.
It isn’t that the forest is a fear-filled place. Rather it is the feelings it gives her as she wanders amongst the trees.
Tall trees they are too, with a high canopy that lets in just enough light to allow her to see her surroundings. The light never brings detail to anything to give her a real sense of safety. Covered in leaves and moss, the forest floor offers no bracken or shrubbery to hide within. So, why is there this sense of being watched, being weighed, and always being found wanting?
The paths through the woods are barely there, trodden only by beasts of habit. She is never sure what beasts these are. There are watchers in the woods. The eyes she feels on her sometimes feel like the eyes of something “other”, something elemental and only found deep within the forest. Babbling brooks and moss filled nooks take on a different meaning here. It is a dare to drink from the streams, knowing the stories told of enchantments placed upon the flowing waters and the fates that befell those who took those dares and drank.
Blame it on all those fairy tales she thinks. Red Riding Hood’s wolf and that gingerbread cottage in the depths of the woods. Funny how both of those tales speak of cannibalism. Death by a supposedly trusted or respected person. Both stories feature women who are not as they seem. Makes one wonder if the Gods of the woods require such sacrifices. Surely not, she thinks, but one never really knows when it comes to the Gods and their needs.
How is it that she did not sense this when she first viewed the house and the land? Had she known, she would have continued her search for a new home. She must have been dazzled by whatever lives in the shadows there. It must want something from her.
She feels compelled at times to pass through the forest as though some force or lost soul calls to her, luring her into the deepest, shadiest, darkest parts. The forest uncovers her darker side and throws it mirror-like back in her face, forcing her to embrace those secret bits of her soul. The bits that recognize the demons hidden within those fairy tales that tell of old women wearing wolf’s clothing and homes with deep ovens. Whose big eyes see everything you do and whose appetites can devour you right down to the tiniest crumb of your very essence. These woods feed on those bits.
No, this particular forest is not her friend, no matter how Pagan her soul and no matter that the Gods she worships revere this place. This forest is not for her and she passes through it only when called and only as a last resort. She wants to keep her soul. This is not her place. The Gods will understand after all. She hopes. Because no none ever really knows when it comes to the Gods and their needs.
Photographs “Watching”, “Green Man”, “Forest Moon and “Portal” provided by Crazed Poppet Creations and are copyrighted images. To contact Debbi Decker for purchase of these prints visit her website.
Debbi Decker is proprietor of Crazed Poppet Creations Art & Assemblage Emporium. Check out her artist page to find links to her shop and blog to read more of her writings. Visit again next month for the telling of hauntings and ghostly tales by Debbi Decker.