Cursed and Forbidden
An Unearthed Tale from Long Ago...
Once there was a village, very small, very secluded, and very dark. This place never received sunshine and so the food and supplies always had to be delivered from other far away towns and villages. The delivery men always returned home shaken and frightened. When the families tried to ask what was wrong they would never give a clear answer. They always said things like “there’s something wrong with that place” or “It gives me a bad feeling.” People never really went to this village and rarely did anybody leave it. On the rare occasions that people did venture out of the village they became notorious killers who wreaked havoc on other people’s communities wherever they went. No one ever understood the curse that lay on that place and no one was ever brave enough to find out until one day when a few children decided to enter. They were never to return home again alive.
One of the boys in the group was named Jacob. Jacob was nine and rather small for his age. He had brown hair and black eyes. His parents loved him dearly. One of the boys that was with him when he died was Kyle. Kyle was tall for his age. He too had brown hair, but his eyes were green. He was always getting into trouble with his parents and it is rumored that his parents threw him out of the house on the night the boys disappeared. Kyle was nine as well. The third boy who disappeared that night was named Randolph. Randolph was exceptionally quiet. He had black hair and equally black eyes. He was five. His parents were quiet and mysterious people who kept to themselves and who did not say a word after the disappearance of their son. Some townspeople even blamed Randolph’s family for the disappearances, but nobody ever took action against them.
It was one of the older boys, Thomas, who dared the three boys to enter the dark village that afternoon. They were scared, terrified even, but they were equally terrified of Thomas and feared what he would do to them if they did not enter the town. In the forests bordering the dark town, they discussed whether they should actually venture inside or go back and try to pretend that they did. Jacob was too fearful that Thomas would somehow know that they did not enter, for Thomas claimed to have been there himself. To ensure that the boys entered the village, Thomas requested that they bring him a green stone, one that is rumored to line the fountain that sits in the town square. Kyle argued to find another green stone outside of the town, but the stones that lined the fountain were special and imported from a place thousands of miles away. Without any other options, the boys reluctantly crossed the border into the dark village.
The minute they crossed the threshold, they felt a cold blast of air and it seemed that all eyes were upon them. They walked down the silent streets, receiving suspicious eyes from some of the residents. But most, they noticed, looked straight ahead with a deadened look in their faces. This frightened the boys, but they persisted toward the center of town. The clouds grew darker up ahead and the night began to creep over the sky. Randolph protested to go home, but was quickly shut down by Kyle who said that they would reach the fountain any moment. The darkness seemed to roll in fast, much quicker than any of them ever experienced before. They were never again to see daylight. They kept walking. Darkness fell. They continued to walk by the dim light of the lanterns that lined the street every hundred feet or so. It was very dark and none of the side streets were lit. They were unaware of what lurked in the shadows just outside the light.
Suddenly they saw it. A twinkle of green in the lantern lights ahead. They had reached the fountain. With relief they ran towards it hoping to find a loose stone quickly so that they could make their way back to the woods. When they reached the fountain, however, they realized that it was not a fountain at all. It was a large platform paved of green stone, and on top stood a tabletop made of a large black stone slab. The boys did not realize what this table was for, for if they had they would have run away and never looked back. But even then it may have been too late. The boys did not know why, but they were afraid. The desire to run was strong in each of them as they gazed up at the black stone slab. Jacob even thought he saw dried blood caked on the table’s edge, but in the dim light there was no way to be sure. They all felt the sense that somebody was watching them and that they were violating some sacred rule by being at this platform so late at night.
In an effort to motivate his friends Kyle clapped his hands loudly and insisted that they find a stone and that there was nothing to be afraid of. This was a fatal mistake, for the nearby dwellers heard the clap and went outside to investigate. The boys, unaware of the approaching townspeople, frantically searched for a loose stone, trying to comfort themselves and arouse bravery within themselves. The boys, unaware of their impending demise cried and complained that the stones would not come loose. The boys continued to search the platform for a loose stone when suddenly they heard a loud ringing, the eeriest sound any of them ever heard in their lives. It was the village dweller ringing the old hollow bell, sounding the alarm to signal intruders in town, or so they assumed.
The bells were quickly followed by drums, deep and terrifying drums that surely signaled death was coming. The boys immediately forgetting the stone frantically looked around for an escape. They finally decided to exit the town the opposite way that they came, but it was too late. Dead eyes were closing in around them. The air grew chill as Kyle tried to make it seem like they were lost and looking for help. The townspeople did not speak, but they continued to move closer and closer to the boys. Through the dim light of the lanterns, the boys could see that the faces of the townspeople were beginning to change. They began to smile, their skin became pale, and their eyes grew completely black. The faces changed until they no longer appeared human.
Jacob was frightened and he began apologizing for the disturbance, saying that there was no need to sound the alarm over three small boys. One of the old men closest to the boys stopped and looked at them directly in the eyes and said, “That was no alarm.” They felt a twinge of relief for a moment, and then the old man spoke again, “That was the dinner bell.” He pulled a large knife and fork from his tattered and oversized coat. The boys were now terrified, certain that they would never make it out alive - and they were right. The old man smiled and his face turned into an evil gargoyle grin as he said, “elders eat first.”