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Once upon a time there was a girl who lived in a strange cottage in the middle of a strange wood in a strange land. She spent her whole life rambling about the strange territory and as she got older the land became so familiar to her that it was no longer as strange.
With every passing season she aged gracefully with the wood and when the flowers bloomed her sixteenth year, she opened her eyes and saw the strange land for what it really was. Suddenly the land wasn’t so magical and she began sitting by the front window of her cottage everyday, trying to think of things to do.
One day, as she sat bored in the window seat she decided that sitting there would get her no where and she began to roam the strange cottage in search of any changes that had been made. Every room in the house was untouched and clean and she flopped herself down on the attic ladder and started to pout.
As she sat with her chin in her hands she heard scratching on the attic door like an animal wanting out. She was used to this sound as the woodland animals would often beg for shelter from unpleasant weather and she thought it might be a squirrel looking for food.
So she climbed the ladder, warned the visitor that the door was opening and shoved hard so that the door flew open and she popped her head in the attic to look around. All she saw were draped covered boxes, dress stands and a strange chest of drawers blocking a dark wood door.
Quickly she climbed up the ladder and into the attic, making sure her dress didn’t catch on any loose boards. A bird startled her as it suddenly took off and flew into the dusty rafters. She gave a squeal, a sneeze and a cough before she opened her eyes and began searching for the visitor.
There was a small tapping sound coming from somewhere in the attic. At first she ignored it, thinking it was the clicking sound of birds in the rafters. She lifted up almost every drape and opened every box until she decided that the tapping sound could not be ignored anymore and she stopped and listened for it quietly.
It came again, in sharp raps and she turned towards the dark wood door in surprise. First she searched every one of the drawers and found small trinkets like lace, ribbons, pearls and mummified butterflies. She decided to leave them be and listen once more to the knocking sound. It came again from the door.
She heaved the chest away from the door with all her might and stood hesitantly before the door, her hands clasping the fabric of her dress. The knocking continued and as she continued to stare at the strange door until her heart began beating in her throat, she felt her eyes sting with tears. She was genuinely afraid.
As time passed the knocking grew louder and more urgent. She felt her h and reach out to the gold doorknob. As soon as her skin touched the metal she felt a chill pass through her and she shivered violently, causing the knob to turn and the door to open. It swung away from her into a pitch black room that seemed to never end and she felt her knees buckle with fear once more.
An eye opened in the dark, blinked, and then two eyes stared back at her. She gave a small gasp and reached in the doorway to pull the door to but felt a strange, leathery skin brush her hand and she pulled back quickly, cradling her hand as if it had been burned.
‘Hello,’ said the deep voice from the gloom. ‘May I come in?’
She shook her head, terrified.
‘Why not? I won’t be long. I just need to find warmth for a bit.’
She reached for the doorknob again but a hoof blocked her hand and she yanked away, staring in fear at the beady eyes.
‘You’re not very hospitable.’
She stood in fear.
‘What are you afraid of?’
She shook her head.
‘If you’re not afraid of anything then let me in.’
She took a step back and looked to the drawers.
‘They won’t do, you know.’
The darkness began seeping across the floor towards her feet. She jumped up on the drawers and held her dress to her.
‘I can clean that up, if you’ll just let me in.’
A chill passed through her once more.
‘If I promised you anything you desired, would you let me in?’ A hoof smacked the doorframe as the eyes cried, ‘Let me in!’
She shook her head and clutched her knees.
‘You’ll never be anything! I can make you into what you want to be but without me you’re nothing! Do you understand? I am your everything! Let me in! Let me in! Let me in!’
She shook her head quickly, examined the dark spilt on the floor and saw on small, untouched spot. She jumped down into the clean spot and controlled her shaking as best as she could.
‘Are you going to let me in?’
Quickly, she snatched the doorknob and pulled the door to. A hoof got caught between the door and the frame and the eyes gave a high-pitched squeal and pulled its hoof back into the darkness. She locked the door back and shoved the drawers in front of the door, kicking the darkness with her feet to clear a path.
After she escaped the attic, she ran back down to her window and she fell asleep watching the strange woods sway in the warm, spring breeze.