Hold Still

May 22, 2017
By , Charlotte, NC

Kody’s heart beats faster and faster as his legs pick up in speed. The scenery around him blurs and all he can hear is the sound of his heavy breathing.
“I can’t go back,” he whispers to himself. “Never again.”
Still shaking, his eyes dart back and forth unsure of his next move. He slows down and takes a seat on the mossy, mulch-covered ground. His back leans against a trunk, and he lets out a deep sigh.
“This is too much. Why is this happening to me?” he fervently thinks.
He opens his backpack and shuffles through the crumples of paper. He pulls out a granola bar and quickly tears it out of the packaging. Chewing furiously, he starts to notice his surroundings. All he can see is trees. Just trees. Nothing else. He has never been so deep in the forest before.
He scoffs, “Today must be the day of trying new things, I guess.”
Kody quickly zips up his backpack and steps around the trunk, searching for any possible way out. With no tools for navigating, Kody quickly regrets asking for the new Call of Duty for Christmas and not for an Iphone instead. He just stares at his smashed Motorola Razor phone regretting all his previous decisions.
He aimlessly starts to walk, completely lost and full of self-hatred.
“This is ridiculous; I am not even scared anymore.  I’m just mad, tired and cold,” He exasperatedly lets out.
Kody hears the crunching of leaves, and quickly swivels his head around, eyes wide, only to discover a bunny running away from the noise.
“Okay so I’m still scared,” he reveals, completely just talking to himself now.
The wind starts to speed up and the sun begins to set. Kody’s teeth begin the chatter. Kody’s feet start to transition from walking to running. He realizes that if he picks up his speed, it has to get him somewhere. Right? Wrong. What feels like an hour later, he seems to have only made a circle. About to give up, Kody notices some smoke coming from a nearby source. He starts to walk near the smoke, in hopes of life. When he reaches the top of the hill, he finds himself staring at a little log cabin. Completely delighted with himself, he races down to the front door. He furiously knocks, gleaming with joy.
“Can I help you?,” an elderly woman inquires. 
“Yes. Yes, actually you can,” Kody states. “I am very lost and I need some help getting back to the city. Is there anyway you could help me out please?
The old woman curiously stares at him and they stand in awkward silence for a while.
“Ma’am?,” Kody whispers, breaking the silence.
“Oh! Why yes of course! How utterly rude of me! I don’t get many guests.” The old woman excitedly spews. “Why don’t you come in?”
She smiles largely and gestures Kody to come into the log cabin. Hesitantly Kody steps in and takes in his surroundings.
“Jeez, this lady likes to sew,” Kody thinks to himself, as his observes the light brown knitted covers lain over every item of furniture. 
“Please! Take a seat!” the old woman enthusiastically adds.
Kody hesitantly bends to sit and sinks into the overly soft and worn down couch. The coarse knitted cover brushes against his skin roughly, making an otherwise comfy couch, uncomfortable.
The old woman finally outstretches her glove-covered hand and says, “Hello my name is Joe.”
Kody smiles and grasps her hand in return. He nods his head in acknowledgement but an odd feeling takes place in his stomach. Joe is wearing a blouse and a long skirt that hits her ankles. Her feet are engulfed in thick socks and large boots. Her hands are covered in black leather gloves, which gives some edge to her seemingly conservative outfit. Her black eyes are unnerving as she seems to never blink. A large smile plastered on her face but never reaching her eyes. The worst part though is her hair. It shifts back and forth as she walks revealing its true nature.
“So what brings you here, young man?” asks the old woman curiously.
“Well, it's kind of a long story.”
“I want to hear it. Please tell me. I have no entertainment here so far away from civilization. It would make my year. Please?” Joe pushes.
“Umm okay,” Kody hesitantly continues. “Well I have not had the most loving childhood. My parents split up when I was young, and my mom left with my baby brother. My dad and I  have been alone since I was five. My dad was torn after she left. He wouldn’t speak to me and stayed in his room for hours on end. He was fired from his job because he never showed up. At the time I felt bad for him, but now I don’t. He turned to alcohol for assistance and that's when things went south. When he drinks, he gets violent. It just gets bad. He was really mad when I got home. He came after me and….there is not much more to say than that. I just needed to leave. I couldn’t stay any longer.”
“Oh you poor dear,” Joe gushes. “Don’t worry. You're safe now,” she states confidently, with a large smile plastered on her face.
“Well thank you,” Kody whispers. “That’s nice to know.”
“Okay well honey, why don’t you sleep a little. You must be tired. I'll bring you some tea to help calm you.
“Oh okay, thanks,” Kody gratefully adds.
Joe disappears into the kitchen and Kody takes this as his opportunity to explore. He walks around the small cabin making sure to step on the knitted carpet and not on the creaky floors. Everything is brown and knitted.
Opposite of the kitchen is a hallway that seemingly leads to the bedroom. He walks into the hallway ready to reach for her door handle, but notices a door on his left, just before the door at the end of the hall to what Kody only assumes to be the bedroom. The door on the left is has a chain and lock on it. Kody looks down and sees the floor surrounding the door has hair threatening to escape from underneath.
“Maybe she has dogs,” Kody unnervingly thinks.
“What do you think you're doing?”
Kody whips his head around to be face to face with Joe. Her face seems angry as her nostrils flare and her forehead wrinkles.
“I..I..I’m sorry, I was just looking for the restroom,” Kody quickly makes up.
Joes snarl quickly changes into a smile as she says, “Oh my, why didn’t you just ask silly?”
“I didn’t want to bother you,” Kody whispers.
“Well your tea is ready. I think you should come drink it now,” Joe firmly states.
“Oh.. umm… Okay.”
Joe leads Kody back into the living room and softly but firmly pushes him onto the sofa whilst grabbing the tea and handing it to him.
“Thanks,” Kody states.
“Of course! Now drink up!”
Kody hesitantly brings it to his lips, smelling jasmine and chamomile. He takes a sip and finally realizes how thirsty he was. He quickly drinks the rest after that, making sure to blow every moment or so that it wouldn’t burn his tongue. A heavy sense of fatigue starts to take over him as he closes his eyes. The last thing he sees is Joe's large smile that never seems to reach her eyes. 

Kody opens his eyes slowly. His squints as the pain of the fluorescent lighting burns his eyes. He takes in his surroundings. He is not on Joe’s couch anymore. He is on the floor staring at a large pile of corpses staring back at him. They are all dressed in the same knitted covering as Joe’s furniture. The only reason Kody knows they are corpses is because each and everyone of them had the tops of their heads completely removed. Completely scalped.
The stench of the rotting bodies fills Kody’s nostrils as he tries to move. Kody tries to move but quickly realizes his hands and feet are bound together. Trying to wriggle free, Kody hears a humming sound get closer and closer. He turns his head and comes face to face with Joe holding a bloody electric razor in one hand and her knitting needles in the other.
“Hold still sweetheart,” Joe snickers.

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DaylightwondersThis teenager is a 'regular' and has contributed a lot of work, comments and/or forum posts, and has received many votes and high ratings over a long period of time. This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
Jun. 4 at 9:46 pm
This story is incredible! It is well written and the mood was not rushed. The ending was a bit expected, but I loved the story! Good job!
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