Hello, my name is Clare. I’m from small country in central Europe. Loads of people have probably never heard of it. It combines small patch of Adriatic Sea and Alps, but landscape is mostly small green hills, each with a little church on top. Almost two thirds of land is covered with forests and capitol is famous for its middle age architecture. It is an adorable country in which most of the time nothing really happens.
Like most of the population I live in the countryside, few hundred meters apart from closest neighbour, right next to the forest. I spend most of my childhood in that forest. I can still remember which the best trees for climbing were and where certain flowers grew. But the thing I will never forget happened in the summer of 2001. I was just around twelve back then and I was spending my whole afternoons in the forest. Most of the times I was roaming around with my best friend, but that day I was alone.
As I said before, most of the land around here isn’t flat. The hill behind our house is quite steep, right above our house is old orchard my great-granddad planted and when you come on the top of the hill you can almost see the capitol city in the distance. Then there is big forest that extends across the karst landscape practically right to the Italian border with a few smaller towns and villages in between. I never really went very far because I mostly stayed in the area my family owned, but that day I decided I want to see some more.
I didn’t have much with me and I didn’t tell my parents I was going anywhere far. I always felt very safe in the woods even though bears were often seen in the area. In reality the most dangerous thing you can bump into are drunken hunters. Forest is pretty in the summer, leaves and tall trunks made me feel like I’m in a big cathedral. I started to sing a tune I have heard on the radio some time ago. At that point I was about hour and a half walking distance away from home.
I decided to stray away from the main road that leads through the forest in big curves and to take the shortcut. Sun was setting and light was making leaves glowing in sharp colours. But soon all the light disappeared and I find myself wandering in the twilight on territory unknown to me. Wind was blowing and dry branches were making weird noises. I started to feel uncomfortable. And in one sheer moment I discovered I am lost.
I could feel the panic in form of adrenaline that started to flow through my veins. My instincts were screaming to run away, but I forced myself to focus and tried to get orientation. It was all pointless; I had no idea where I was. I started to walk around aimlessly, hoping to at least find the road. Suddenly I saw a small figure standing in the distance. From what I saw it could only be a small child. I started walking towards it, but the figure noticed me and ran away. I chased figure in forest for quite a long time, I never came enough close to actually distinguish any of its features, but it looked like I small girl, no older than I was at the time.
In one moment I was running and in the next the floor under me disappeared. I felt that dreadful feeling of falling, similar to one in very bad nightmare when everything feels like slow motion. Then that awful sound of body hitting the floor, a moment later also came the pain. For moment I motionless lied on the ground, finally I pulled myself together and opened my eyes, waiting for them to adjust the thick darkness in the cave, where I landed.
First everything was pitch blackness. And then I saw. There was a single pair of eyes staring at me, for less than a few inches in front of my face. I quickly backed away, until I hit something dry and crumbly. Somewhere in the back, fires were lit. First there was one, and then more and more, until chamber was fully lit. There were thousands and thousands of eyes watching me. Dead eyes in dry sockets, skin that was stretched over the bones, mouths hanging open like in big shock, but that was only because lips rot in the time that passed.
I stared, I wasn’t able to move or scream. I am not even sure I was able to breath. I blinked, hoping for dreadful image in front of me to disappear. As I opened my eyes all otherwise motionless copses moved. In the matter of fact, I didn’t really see them move, but when I blinked it was like everything got one step closer. I felt cold sweat slipping down my neck and my eyes began to water. I could help myself I blinked again. This time, I was completely surrounded. I simply closed my eyes, wishing for all to be just a bad dream. I didn’t hear a single sound; I smiled thinking that soon I will wake up. When I opened my eyes, there was a face, almost touching my face. I could clearly see dried and rotten face, eyes filled with numbness. I started to feel dizzy, I felt something like dust and bones grabbing my hair and tearing my clothes. I felt it and I didn’t feel it, because I became so damn dizzy and sick. I tried so hard to stay conscious, to fight, but I couldn’t move a single muscle. And then it was again pitch blackness all around me.
I opened my eyes, trying to adjust to the lack of light. I was lying on the forest ground, not so far away from home. In that exact moment all my body started to function normally, I ran home like a wind. I had no idea how I got there and I just tried to forget about whole thing, but my peace didn’t last very long. Next night I dreamed about people I saw back there. I woke up to the face looking at me from the window. It was the face of a little girl, she was also dead, and her empty eyes watched me with wild anger as she was clawing the window, trying to get in. I am having the same nightmare for the past twelve years. It that time I visited many different therapists. They say it is just stress from school and job; that I should try to relax. But how can I relax, when every night as I open my eyes, a girl is one step closer to me?
Slovenia as independent country exists now only for a bit more than twenty years. Right after Second World War, communists take over government and we became part of Yugoslavia. Thousands of people who refused to join the new system and didn’t cooperate with guerrilla were killed in mass murders. Men and women were walled up alive in abandoned mines or shot and buried in mass grave sites. Some of them were even my ancestors. Our government nowadays still refuses to talk about this and almost none of the culprits were ever find guilty.
Credit To – thepierces42