The Sithes

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The trees in the black woods tremble in an invisible wind as the moon glowed brighter. Dark clouds blew across the sky, casting threatening shadows down upon the earth. In the heart of the dark, lonely forest, a wolf howl rips through the still, tension filled air. Only one person walks these parts at night, a lost, frightened hiker wandering blindly on the thin, worn dirt paths. A deep rumble of thunder comes from above the looming treetops and the hiker looks up fearfully, blinking back the first raindrops of the storm. A storm right now, in these foreboding parts means certain death unless he finds shelter or a way out of here. Hunching down in his waterproof shell, he forges on, tripping and stumbling his way down a rocky ravine. A railway runs through these parts, closed down many years now. If he can find the tracks, he can follow them out of the woods and into some kind of civilization. At the bottom of the ravine, he squints through the black and the pouring rain to try to make out some sort of evidence that the railway was here. His eyes catch on a large boulder that faces the direction the rain is blowing. There could be some sort of dry area behind it that he could use to get a clearer view of the area and perhaps a few minutes to duck out of the driving rain. Trudging over to the enormous rock, he skids across a few exceptionally slippery rocks to trip over a small, dark figure huddled behind the boulder. With a piercing shriek, the hiker scrambles up and presses himself against the cold, hard boulder, his heart skittering wildly in fright as he gapes at the small child pressing herself against the other side of the rock in obviously equal terror. They stand for a second, looking in a disbelieving shock at the other until the little girl crumples and begins to weep.


Born and bred in the southern part of Georgia, the hikers manners would not tolerate allowing a young girl to stay here and cry while he left to find the tracks. Walking slowly, not quite trusting of the strange, lost girl, he crouched down a good five feet away before inquiring after her name. " I-Isabella," she sniffled," And I'm lost, and it's really dark and cold and I can't find my brother!"


Hoping to calm the frightened child, the hiker gently asked after her brothers name and where she last saw him. With a sob, Isabella managed to whisper," His name's Jeremy and he's twelve and," with with a great wail that shook her frail body cried out," The Sithes got him!"
The hiker stared at the weeping girl in puzzlement and a twinge of fear. He had no idea what the "Sithes" were but for some reason the name made his heart constrict in fear and his pulse begin to race. Swallowing, he nervously asked the girl what the Sithes were. Almost immediately, the girl turned her tear streaked face towards him in shock," What do you mean what are the Sithes?" she said suspiciously. "Are you kidding me?" When the hiker had assured her that he was not she proceeded to mutter something under her breath then begin tell him the story of the Sithes. "Well," she began with the air of someone used to telling suspenseful stories," Sithes are ancient she devils descended right from the Devil himself. Why, my ma always used to warn Brother about them, she always said,' Son, you stick to those tracks now, they'll protect you from the Sithes and any other demons that wander your way.'" Enthralled, the hiker asked how that was, that the tracks would protect him. The girl stared at him contemptuously,"Why, they're made of iron aren't they?,"she said in the manner of one speaking to a slow child," Iron protects you from the demon and fairy folk. Burns them, binds them to earth in a way that burns, it does." she said with a self assured nod. The hiker waited for her to continue. After a long pause, she cleared her throat, shook her head as if to clear out the cobwebs and continued hastily with her tale," They come as beautiful women and music follows them wherever they step, enticing hapless travelers to dance and make merry with them. Their blonde and white hair flows down their backs and fans out behind them in wild manes when they hunt. Their long, green dresses reek of blood when you get too close but their piercing green eyes hypnotize you into their deadly dancing circle." The girls' voice took on a deeper tone, almost hypnotic and her green eyes gazed dreamily at the entranced hiker. "They dance with you until just before dawn, right before the merciful sun comes out to strike its wrath upon those creatures of the night. They make you dance until you're so exhausted you can barely stand straight and you're gasping for breath and so weakened a kittens soft breath could knock you over. Then, when they stop and you gasp for your last breath they pounce upon you. Then," The girl was so close that the hiker could feel her cold breath sting his his frostbitten nose. "They drink every drop of blood in you and leave for dead, for the sun to discover in the morn." Breathlessly, the hiker stared at her and she, back at him and for a long moment, neither spoke. Then she leaned back against the boulder, and the hiker was again aware of the cold of the the night and the driving rain pelting down next to them. He moved back slightly from her and she smiled sadly," Of course, if you're a girl it's different," she said quietly. The hiker stopped moving and looked warily at the strange little girl in front of him. Her green eyes gleamed in the dark as she whispered through blood red lips," If you're a girl and they find you they'll change you. They'll take their black, thick blood and force you to drink from them as they drink from you. Then they leave you in the middle of a storm to prey upon the first person who happens upon you...or who you happen upon." The hiker couldn't breath. His eyes widened and his hands were cut into sheds on the sharp rocks as he backed slowly away from the devil child in front of him. He made it only three more feet before panic seized upon him and he whipped around and ran blindly into the night, searching desperately for the iron rail road tracks that could save him. Isabella watched him fade quickly into the pelting rain and mysterious blackness that was night. She scanned the night, looking for forms in the darkness, for wisps of a green dress or flashes of blonde and white hair, or a stench of blood. Sighing, she looked over at the small figure curled in between two rocks. From where the hiker had sat it had looked like one large rock on the bottom of a rocky ravine and he had not given it a moments thought. She reached across, into the stinging rain to touch her brothers cold, lifeless hand. "That's what they do, Jeremy," she muttered sadly. "It's what we always thought they did too. And still you came to look for me...and still you strayed from the iron tracks..." Sighing again, she scrunched up tighter, her hands around her knees, newly green eyes searching hopefully through the dark for the Sithes shapes to form against the black. For her new family to come back for her so they could find the hiker again...and dance and dance until mornings light...





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