REVENANT VII

He won’t stop knocking. I dont understand. he’s never done this before


I was given to believe these doppelgangers of the woods are typically passive. They portend, but they do not take action.


So they are from the woods? What do they want?


Aspects. Feelers. They monitor the prey the forest has marked for itself, simulating every potential fate and option left available. Alethe would die from the rebounded axe blows against the tree that grew from her sister, and so that was how her doppelganger appeared: bloody, shredded, furious. Hazel tried so hard to cut herself off from the forest, though it had already claimed her, that she wasted away to nothing. And so her doppelganger appeared sickly and weak.


I have been pondering on what exactly these doppelgangers are. And I think the answer is simple: they are the woods imagining how you will taste.


Well, mine looks healthy, except for its cough. And it’s pounding on the front doors.


You are running out of time.


gee ya think


Or the woods are running out of time to claim you.


But that would m

Castile. Did Hazel or Alethe ever speak to their doppelgangers or try to communicate with them? Are they tangible, or are they like ghosts?


If they are intangible, then how does yours knock?


Got it.


Where are you going?






Farrow where did you get that?


Behind the garden shed. It’s how I broke through the walls to find your skeleton.


I had been wondering how you did that.

But what on earth are you


Castile this is very important. You said you can hear when I speak out loud.

So tell me.


Can

You

Hear

That?






Yes.


Someone is calling your name.


I think it’s my dad.


Even if it were — Farrow, if you are hoping that someone will come to save you, I’m sorry. We are not connected to the world you come from. The woods, this house. They have fallen through the cracks of reality, and so have we. If you were to step outside and start walking, you would never find the road. Time here does not advance.


In essence you are cut off from the world, placed a little aside from it. We are like afterimages, peripheral ghosts. Your father cannot reach you, and you cannot reach him. We have been in the belly of the beast for some time. Digesting.


I’m getting really sick of your metaphors, Cas. Besides, I knew that already. But my dad is out there, in the real world. And shit, he came for me.


He came for me.


You sound surprised.


I must have been gone longer than I thought.


Before I go, Cas, I want you to tell me one thing.


I don’t understand where you think you are going, I’ve just told you that —

Just answer a question.


Very well.


How did the rest of your family die? What happened to all the servants? The estate shut down. It was cut off for three months. Then some lumber company came through and found the bodies. You have to know what happened.


My family did not die. The servants, as you undoubtedly suspected already, were taken by the woods.


But how? Did it have something to do with what happened to Hazel? I’ve looked at the dates. They almost line up. The estate shut down on January 6, and Hazel’s obituary was

You should know by now that time is not precise in matters of the supernatural.


Everyone was long dead already by the time Alethe came to the estate to ask for aid. In fact, they were dead by Hazel’s funeral.




what?


My father was still alive, in a biological sense. He needed to attend the service, after all. But had anyone forced open the front doors to our estate, had they come in with a delivery or a calling card to make a visitation upon our family, they would have found the same scene which the lumber men discovered months later. The estate’s every inhabitant, lifeless. Some lying in bed as if asleep, others collapsed in parlors and dressing rooms and kitchens and cupboards, folded like paper dolls as though death had closed its fist so suddenly there was no time for them to put down their tasks.


I suppose there wasn’t. There are some poisons you can breathe for years without harm, but which may overwhelm the system suddenly, like a thunderbolt, at any time. There is only so long a person can exist ignorantly in this place. There is a sickness in the air which kills.


It cultivated our family with tender loving care — my mother, my sister, my father, and me. It claimed Alethe and Hazel as its own, as well. But all outsiders, or those it decided it did not need, simply succumbed to its poison.


What do you mean by “in a biological sense”


All his pieces were there. Flesh, blood, skin. But there were branches in his bones and they walked him up and down. He was a marionette. Others noticed, of course. There were comments on how stiffly he moved, how it seemed like he was in pain. I could not tell anyone the truth.


The forest wished to keep us isolated, undisturbed, while it digested. It also wanted Hazel returned, and Alethe, though they did not live at the estate. And so it improvised. It forced my father and me to the funeral, and you already know what unfolded there.


Your story has holes. You claim you never saw your doppelganger. And your sister escaped. I know that for a fact.


I was unique. And my sister was clever.


I think she did have a doppelganger. And I know how she got away.


Please tell me, because I do not.


What on earth does the axe have to do with it?


I wish I could’ve helped you, Castile. But you’re dead. And I have shit to do.

FARROW, WHAT ARE YOU GOING TO DO WITH THE AXE


You know what I’m going to do.



I’m going to kill it.