I wrote this story in hopes of bringing back fond memories for our wonderful Domina. In case you don’t know, Domina’s older brother and very best friend died in his 20’s in a very tragic way. Each year, especially on that anniversary, Her family suffers through renewed grieving for their tremendous loss. I told Domina I wanted to write a fairy tale about when they were young children and the loving time they spent together, which I hope would be some small consolation.

Dark Woods

Amanda and Andrew had mixed feelings about their families move from the city to a small town. Dad got a promotion as a district manager and mom always wanted a quiet home in the country. They’d miss all their friends but mom said they’d make new ones. Plus they saw this as an adventure. They’d never left the city. Andrew was 11 and his sister was 10 so they were looking forward to camping, fishing, hiking and just exploring new places.

They followed the moving van off the highway down a beautiful country road. They saw small lakes and creeks and meadows of green grass and purple flowers. They saw cows and even a deer. They pulled up in front of a beautiful two story house and stopped. Mom said, welcome home kids. They all jumped out. Amanda could smell the sweet fragrance of wild flowers and the sound of song birds. No little girl in the world could be as happy as she was at that moment.

They started putting stuff away as quickly as the movers unloaded. Amanda and Andrew both had their own rooms but after just one night of trying to sleep by herself in her big empty room, Amanda asked her brother if she could sleep in his room. Andrew didn’t let on but he was a little afraid being alone too.

The next morning they quickly got dressed and ran downstairs. It was still the weekend so everyone had time to relax before going to their new jobs and new schools. Mom and dad were relaxing on the front porch drinking coffee. Andrew ask if he and Amanda could go exploring around their new place. Mom said yes but stay away from those creepy old woods over there. They give me the creeps…. She pointed off toward the far end of their property, behind a rusty barbed wire fence where stood a dark wooded area. Andrew and Amanda both knew right away what mom meant. They felt something, too. It was so dark inside the woods and the trees looked older than the other trees around their home. Both kids got goosebumps looking at the woods. But they both quickly forgot about it after looking around the old barn and riding their bikes and enjoying the warm summer day.

Chapter 2

They liked their new school. Both quickly made friends. They both fit right in. It couldn’t have been more perfect. Mom and dad both loved their new jobs. And every evening they would have dinner on the porch and enjoy the sights, sounds and fresh air of their beautiful new country home. One Saturday afternoon while playing outside, Amanda told Andrew, Let’s explore the woods. Andrew said, What the creepy old scary woods? Mom said to stay out of there. Amanda scoffed, Oh come on scaredy cat, just a little look. So Andrew reluctantly agreed. Although younger, she seemed more assertive than her older brother, who followed along.

They quickly made their way across the field to the tree line before mom or dad could see where they were going. They crawled under the rusty old fence and stood looking into the dark woods. Both were afraid but curious to see what strange things might be lurking in the dark woods. They slowly made their way in, neither speaking, just listening to the sounds of the forest. They could hear the most beautiful song birds. A squirrel ran across their path, stopped and looked at them then casually, then climbed a nearby tree. Just then a family of deer walked by and didn’t even notice them. Amanda turned to her brother and said. These woods aren’t creepy at all. It’s beautiful here. Andrew agreed as they ran and laughed and enjoyed their new playground. Amanda saw a strange clump of bushes so she went to investigate. She poked her head in and could see a road. A stone road. So she crawled through the bushes to the other side. When she came out the other side it was night time. The road looked old like the ones from movies and books from long long ago. The stars looked different somehow. The moon was out but it too looked weird. She jumped back through the bushes and called for her brother. He came running and together they went back into the bushes and through to the other side.

Andrew said Wow! What is this place? Amanda said. I don’t know, but everything’s weird. How come it’s nighttime? Just then they heard what sounded like horse hooves clicking down the road coming their way. They darted back into the bushes, came out the other side and ran home.

They said nothing about what they found to their mom and dad. They weren’t supposed to be in the woods, anyway. They were both excited and afraid at the same time.

The next day Amanda told Andrew. Let’s go back and look around some more. Andrew wondered, But what if we get lost? Amanda reassured, We won’t get lost silly. We’ll be careful. Come on let’s go. So they ran back to the dark woods. They made their way back to the clump of bushes and crawled back through. Once again it was night and the bright but unusual moon shined brightly. Even the trees looked like something from a fairytale or a movie. Nothing looked quite right. Andrew left some sticks in an X shape by the bushes they came through so they could find their way back home. They walked down the stone road for a short while, seeing odd birds and little chipmunks watching them from the tree branches and the ground.

Just then they heard an awful clambering sound, what sounded like a horse pulling a wagon up the road. They hide in the bushes to see what might pass by. The clicking and banging sound got closer and closer. There before them was a little wagon being pulled by a small mule, not much bigger than a large dog. There were pots and pans and all sorts of strange tools hanging from top to bottom of the small circus like wagon. And sitting atop driving the wagon was a little man, with a long white beard that reached past his short stubby legs. He wore a green pointy hat and yellow suspenders. He looked quite comical in fact. He stopped his wagon, sniffed the air and yelled out in a squeaky voice. Come out whoever you are! Don’t think i can’t smell you! Come out of hiding i say!!

Amanda and Andrew slowly stood up and stepped toward the wagon. The strange little man said, Oh my, you two don’t look like bandits, no no not at all. What are you anyway? Amanda replied, What do you mean by what are we? The little man grumbled and replied. Well you’re not a gnome like me, you’re both far to ugly and you’re not a goblin or an elf. What pray tell are you then? Andrew said, We’re people, humans. The gnome said, Never heard of people humans before. Where did you come from? Amanda replied, We live at home with our mom and dad near Scottsdale. The gnome looked confused but didn’t asked anymore about that. He said, Well what are your names anyway other than people humans? Amanda said, I’m Amanda and this is my brother Andrew. The gnome replied, It’s a pleasure to meet you Amanda and Andrew. My name is Blinky, Blinky Fizzlehop. I’m an apothecary. I make and sell potions. I make potions to help you sleep, I make potions to wake you up. I make potions that make pains go away. I make all kinds of potions. My most popular is my healing potion. But it’s so darn hard to make and the ingredients are hard to come by. The main one is a special mushroom that only grows at the very top of the giant grindle oak. And not every tree has the mushroom. So you can imagine how expensive that potion can be haha. I’m on my way to Goblinberge. Those darn goblins are always breaking themselves, so needless to say the healing potion is my best seller there.

So what are you two doing out on this road at night if you’re not bandits? Andrew spoke up saying. We’re just exploring. Blindy shook his head and said. Exploring? Strange places to explore. Oh well, need a ride back home? Yes, Amanda said. Hop on up then said Blinky. They road and talked a little. Amanda and Andrew liked the odd old gnome with his squeaky voice and long long beard. Soon they reached the marker by the bush they came through. Andrew said. Here’s our stop. A bush? Asked Blinky. Amanda and Andrew both giggled and stepped off the little wagon. They said their goodbyes and slipped back through the bush and into the daylight from the dark woods. They ran home, excited over the wild adventure they just had.

Chapter 3

A few days later, after Amanda and Andrew had come home from school, Andrew was playing alone behind the house when he heard a squeal of tires and a scream coming from in front of their house. Andrew ran around the house and saw, in horror, that his little sister, riding her bike on the road, was struck by a speeding car. Everyone ran to her. Dad was on his phone calling 911. The ambulance arrived and rushed Amanda away. Andrew still stood there. Tears rolling down his face in shock. Mom grabbed his hand and said. Hurry son, we’ve got to get to the hospital.

They waited at the hospital to hear what the doctor had to say. After about an hour the doctor came out and told them. We’ve got her stabilized right now. She has a lot of injuries. I’m sorry to say it doesn’t look good. All we can do is pray and hope for the best.

Andrew had to go home so he could go to school. He thought and knew there was only one person who could help. So that Saturday at the same time they had met Blinky, Andrew was there. On the other side, standing in the middle of the strange road in the dark waiting to hear Blinky’s wagon clambering down the road. It wasn’t long before he heard Blinky coming down the road. Blinky stopped his wagon and said. Well hello my new people human friend, where’s your sister? Andrew ran to Blinky almost frantically saying. Please Blinky you have to help me. My sister’s been hurt really bad and may not…. Live…. Please Blinky I need a healing potion.

Blinky shook his head in dismay saying, My friend I’d love to help but i can’t just be giving healing potions away. Andrew said, But Blinky she may die…. Blinky thought and thought. He said, Ok I have an idea. I’m an old gnome. Too old to be climbing gringle oaks, and grinding herbs and chopping wood and cooking and cleaning. I’ll give you the potion but in one week’s time you’ll meet me here ready to come work for me. Yes yes Blinky, I will, just please may I have the potion? Blinky giggled and tossed Andrew the potion and said. Don’t forget, be here in one week’s time

I will I will, said Andrew as he ran into the bushes and ran home. He road to the hospital that night with his mom and dad. As soon as he could, he slowly poured the potion slowly into his sister’s mouth. She moved a little, licked her lips, sat up and said loudly, Yuck!! Everyone came running in. The doctors were confused. No one could understand how Amanda was suddenly well. No injuries at all. She seemed perfectly healthy. They kept her in the hospital for a couple more days then sent her home with a clean bill of health. Once they were alone Andrew was able to explain to Amanda what happen. Amanda told him. Well just don’t go. We’ll never go there again. He won’t be able to find you. So they agreed they’d never cross into the bushes again. The next Saturday came and went with no sign of Blinky. They both felt so relieved when Sunday morning came and still no sign of Blinky. They were back to their old selves Sunday night as they got into bed. Both giggling with their thoughts on tomorrow’s school. A thunderstorm storm came that night as they slept. Amanda woke to find the bedroom window open and small muddy footprints leading to and from Andrew’s bed and the window. Andrew was nowhere to be seen. Amanda cried out to her mom and dad. They came running in looking all around. Outside, everywhere they could think. Amanda knew where he was but she knew they wouldn’t believe her. Days went by. Police searched the woods. The newspaper asked everyone to look out for Andrew. They put his picture all over hoping someone had seen him. Amanda thought and thought. She came up with a plan.

Chapter 4

That very next Saturday she put two cans of black pepper, a hatchet and a box of matches and two handkerchiefs in her backpack and made her way to the dark woods. She climbed into the bushes and once again she stood on the stone road in the strange moon light. She covered her face with one handkerchief and dumped both cans of pepper all over the road. Then she hide in the bushes and waited. Soon she could hear the sound of Blinky’s wagon coming up the road. As soon as his wagon reached the pepper it began. Aaachew! Aaachew! Aaachew! Blinky went into a sneezing fit like Amanda had never heard. Blinky even fell off his wagon sneezing. She could also hear her brother in the back of the wagon sneezing. Amanda jumped up and ran to the back of the wagon. Gave her brother the other handkerchief, grabbed him by the hand and pulled him behind her. Into the bushes and out the other side. Once again back in the dark woods. Amanda quickly went to work chopping the bushes down and then took the matches and set the bushes on fire. They ran home as fast as they could. They never went back into the dark woods and they never heard from Blinky Fuzzlehop ever again. Next time, it might be a good idea to listen to mommy!

The End

P.S. So sweet and touching, My dear slave rickey. Your Domina Shelle


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