calm sea during golden hour


SHORT STORY: Valerie Arden {Installment #1}

This is the first installment of a story I wrote myself. Every time I update the story, a new title such as Installment 2 will appear. I hope you like it!



6/15/20232 min read

trees on forest with sun rays
trees on forest with sun rays

The first impression of the place was that it was dark. It was evil. Tall, fibrous shadows of unknown objects loomed in the meager sunlight drifting in from the barred windows in the grayish cracked walls. Vines had reclaimed the walls, twisting over each other like some parasite intent of devouring.

The first thing Valerie did when she was unceremoniously dumped into the oubliette was feel the earth floor for some type of mud or dampness. She had read about it, why should it not work? No, it was definitely hard packed earth. Next, she slammed into the heavy metal door and fell backward on the earth, her shoulder pounding hurtfully.

“Shit,” she whispered, rubbing the afflicted area with a trembling hand. The last thing she remembered before being catapulted into this oubliette was…

“It’s Saturday tomorrow, come on, Val!” Penelope cried, swishing around the rest of the pink lemonade in her glass. “Im, Will, back me up.”

Willow grinned at Valerie, but Imogen shook her head somberly. Her black curls whipped in the breeze from the window she sat across from, and the look in her dark eyes just told Valerie she was not supporting Penny and Will.

“The woods are dangerous.” Imogen said without a hint of sarcasm. “Remember Lily?”

As Imogen mentioned Lily, both Penny and Will quietened down and exchanged glances, subduedly. Penny looked pale in the golden light from Valerie’s fairy lights- her scarlet hair looked almost strawberry blonde. Will pushed a hand into her white-blonde hair and looked nervous.

“That was years before, Im.” Willow said finally. Valerie took a look at her three friends- they all looked distinctly more frightened than 10 minutes ago, when Penelope had been daring her to go into the woods and see if their old childhood tree house was still there.

Imogen looked impatient. “Lily vanished in the woods three years ago. You know it wasn’t a coincidence.”

Penny looked bored now. “Now you’ll say there are spirits in the woods who snatch up children right, Im? Come on, that was just something our parents fed us when we were children. The most dangerous thing out there now are those doped up teens eating beef jerky!”

Valerie broke out laughing. She looked into the mirror hastily as Imogen death-glared her. Instead of looking into Imogen’s annoyed eyes, she focused on fixing her dark brunette hair.

“Valerie, you know better than these bimbos!” Imogen said angrily. Valerie did, Lily had been her peer and slight friend, but she hadn’t understood much at 11. Penny shifted.

“Chill out, Im.” Penny said. Before things escalated, Valerie’s mum popped her head into the room and asked if they wanted snacks. It broke up the tension, and they settled down for their sleepover. When dinner was over, Valerie pulled Penny aside and told her.

She would do it.