Friday, July 30, 2021

The Wicked Tree in the Waste

 This terrifying tale was written in collaboration with one of my creative writing classes! The authors who contributed to this ghost story are Sarah Anne, Quinn, Anna, Lily, and Yeseo. 

Robyn woke early, before their father or sister Quinn had awoke. They decided this would be a prime opportunity to sneak down to the kitchen and hopefully find some biscuits with butter and jelly to eat, instead of the usual bland oatmeal that Dad normally provided. 

They made way out of their tiny bedroom, down the dark hall, and then down the worn steps; careful to avoid the creaky spots. The slumbering cottage was full of richly papered walls, artifacts from a bygone era like brass candelabras and tin type photos in gilded frames. Despite it’s beauty though, it was also a tiny cottage, cramped by the hoard of collections, the three people who resided there, a host of pets, and not to mention the house spiders and their webs. 

Nonetheless, Robyn loved their home fiercely, and often embraced the old fashioned charm of the place by dressing in clothes and night things from days long gone. That night, they had chosen a long white nightgown, with lace trimmings and a high neck collar. Robyn looked like a person straight out of a gothic novel, and they loved the feel of the gown as it swished and whispered while they made the brief journey to the kitchen. 

Once in the kitchen, Robyn quickly and quietly assembled the things they needed to prepare the secret breakfast. It was when they were standing by the counter and the small kitchen window, under the ghostly light of the moon, about to take their first delicious bite, when their father screamed. 

Robyn whirled around, their jelly slathered biscuit falling with a splat onto the kitchen’s stone floor. “DAD! ARE YOU OK?” Robyn screeched. 

Dad stood leaning one hand heavily on a kitchen chair, and the other hand covering his heart. He sucked in deep breaths of air as though he were having a hard time breathing. Robyn’s own heart picked up the pace at the sight. 

Dad waved as if to shoo Robyn away. “It’s fine, I’m fine, I thought you were a ghost in that getup.” 

The two stared at each other for a moment, and then Robyn burst out laughing. “Sorry?” They said skeptically. “I didn’t even think you believed in ghosts.”

“I don’t,” Dad replied. “That’s why it scared me so bad.”

The two shared a laugh and then Dad gently chastised Robyn for sneaking sweets first thing in the morning. Together, they prepared the oatmeal and then Robyn went back upstairs to wake their little sister, Quinn.


Later that day, while Dad was gone at work, a storm whipped up out of nowhere. Quinn and Robyn went to the window after they heard the first violent crack of lightning and thunder. The limbs and leaves of the trees of the forest surrounding their cottage danced in a devilish frenzy, tossing in a frightening wind. The old bones of their house creaked and the house itself seemed to sway with the force of the wind. The dogs and cats paced and whimpered nervously. 

“Oh no,” Quinn worried aloud. “I hope Dad doesn’t get caught in this.” 

Robyn glanced at their watch. “It’s not time for Dad to come home yet, so he should still be safely at work.” They stared out into the wild forest, and then down at their little sister, whose face was drawn into worry. “Don’t worry, Quinn, it’s just a storm. It will be OK!”

But, the thing was, it wasn’t really OK. And it wouldn’t be long until they realized how very NOT OK it was going to get. 

The storm wore on and grew in intensity until Robyn admitted they should go to the storm cellar beneath the cottage. Quinn began to cry and Robyn hugged her trying to reassure her, even though they did not feel the least bit sure of things themself.

“Come on, we have to be brave for just a second, and then we’ll be safe down in the cellar!” 

The entrance to the storm cellar was on the outside of the house, along the side. They would need to run out into the storm to get to safety. But, above the trees, Robyn could see terrible and dark clouds funneling, and they knew they had to get their sister somewhere safer. 

Together, the siblings darted out the front door. Robyn lost their grip on the door and it crashed into the side of the house. “JUST LEAVE IT,” Robyn called, having to shout to be heard over the fury of the storm. They dashed through the pelting rain, around the corner of their house and to the old cellar doors. Robyn grabbed the metal doors and yanked them open. They ushered their sister inside and pulled the doors shut behind them. 

They carefully made their way down the crumbling stone stairs into the dank cellar beneath the house. Quinn cried and clung to Robyn, who flailed around in the dark searching for the pull string to turn on the light. When they found it, dim dirty light filled the musty room. 

Quinn calmed somewhat with the lights on and Robyn peered around the room. They hadn’t been in it since they were a young child, and it seemed smaller than they remembered. The floor was dirt, and the room had the wet smell of things that are decrepit. Despite the earth floor and the stone walls, they could still hear the storm raging above, and vicious wind whistled in between the metal cellar doors. 

Dad must’ve been using the old cellar for storage, as some furnishings stood around, awkwardly placed. They were covered in sheets and hulked like the ghosts of monsters. 

But there were two pieces that were uncovered. They were mirrors, propped on the floor and leaning against the stony walls. The mirrors were side by side and identical with fantastical golden frames. They stood as tall as Robyn.

Robyn and Quinn wandered in front of the mirrors, as if drawn to them by some invisible magnet. They stood side by side and peered into the mirrors. 

“Are these ours?” Quinn wondered aloud.

Robyn vaguely recalled seeing the mirrors at some other time in the distant past, but they had forgotten them up until that moment. “I don’t think so,” Robyn replied. “I think they just came with the house. Sometimes people leave things behind when they go.”

Quinn smiled into her reflection in the mirror. Robyn gazed down at her and thought there was something odd about the look in their little sister’s eyes. “I like them,” Quinn said. “They’re pretty.”

A shiver ran up Robyn’s spine. “Yeah? I think they’re creepy.”

The siblings pulled a dusty sheet from an old shelf and made themselves a place to sit down on the floor. They exchanged ghost stories and jokes to pass the time and finally the storm sounded as though it was waning up above. They heard a rumble of thunder that seemed distant and much more subdued than the furious strikes they’d listened to all afternoon. Robyn stood up.

“Looks like there won’t be a tornado,” they said, offering Quinn a hand and helping her stand too. “I think it’s safe to go up.”

As if on cue, one last clap of thunder, monstrous and sharp like a gunshot, rang out above. 

Robyn and Quinn nearly leapt out of their skin as the two big mirrors across the cellar fell forward and crashed into the floor.

After the thunder clap and the shattering glass, a bottomless silence sank over the cellar. Then, Quinn darted forward toward the fallen mirrors and shards of broken glass. 

“Don’t touch it!” Robyn gasped. Quinn stopped short of reaching down to grab one of the pieces of glass. She straightened. 

“Why not?” She asked.

Robyn stepped forward to pull Quinn away from the glass. “Because, silly, it will hurt you! Didn’t anyone ever tell you not to play with broken glass?”

Quinn stared down at the broken glass and Robyn noticed the same weird pale look on her face that they’d seen earlier. “Shouldn’t we clean it up?” Quinn asked. Her small voice was nearly a whisper. 

“Nah, it’s OK. Dad wouldn’t want us to mess with it. We’ll tell him about it. He’ll get it later.”

Robyn practically had to drag Quinn out of the cellar because she was so mesmerized by the broken glass. As though it had somehow cast a spell on her. 

Unfortunately, the two siblings both forgot all about telling their dad to clean up the glass…


Just as Robyn and Quinn emerged from the cellar, their dad was careening into the driveway. He leapt from his car as they rounded the corner of their house and flew up to them, sweeping them into his arms.

“I’ve been so worried, I’ve been calling you for hours!” He cried.

“Oh, sorry,” Robyn said, returning Dad’s hug. “We decided to go into the storm cellar.”

Dad smiled. “Oh, well… Great. That’s very responsible of you. I was going to tell you to go to the cellar!” He peered up at the sky overhead, which had settled down significantly, but still looked ominous. “Looks like the worst has passed. I’m going to go out to the barn and check on the animals, you want to come with?”

Robyn nodded and agreed. Quinn informed that she was starving and was going to go in the house and get a snack. Together, Robyn and Dad meandered to the barn.

Unfortunately, inside the barn was a terrible surprise. Robyn instantly began to cry and dropped to their knees when they saw it. Dad choked on his own breath and moved to block Robyn’s view of the stall. 

The stall where their horse, Champ, was very much no longer living.

“DAD!” Robyn shrieked. “Dad, what happened? How did this happen?”

Dad dropped down and pulled Robyn into a fierce hug. He cradled them against him and quietly attempted to sooth them, though he was having difficulty keeping it together himself. Though he was preventing Robyn from seeing the horrific sight, he knew they had already glimpsed it and would never be able to escape the memory.

The horse’s limbs and head remained intact, while the rest of him was a mass of bloody, oozing gristle.

With his mind spinning while trying to stay calm for Robyn’s sake, Dad glanced all around the barn looking for some sort of sign of what had happened. He’d just been in the barn before he’d left for work and Champ had been fine. He couldn’t imagine how this had happened, other than possibly a lightning strike. But, this certainly wasn’t what he’d imagine the victim of a lightning strike looking like, and there was no indication of a hole, or burn marks of any kind where lightning would have needed to penetrate the barn to reach the horse. 

Dad scrambled to his feet and dragged Robyn by the hand out of the barn, all the while clamping his hand over their eyes. They cried and stumbled but gratefully followed their dad to escape the nightmare in the barn. Outside once again, they both gulped in big breaths of fresh air. A fairly calm and collected person in general, Robyn managed to calm down fairly quickly. Their dad gave them massive hugs and stroked their hair comfortingly. 

“Listen, I don’t think we should tell your sister about this,” Dad said.

Robyn nodded. “Yeah, I agree.”

“I’m going to make some calls and take care of it, and then when we’re ready, we’ll tell her he passed away from natural causes.”

Robyn felt the sting of tears again, but nodded their agreement. They turned to return to the house and let their dad do whatever he had to do alone.


Robyn was still deeply sad by the time the family met at the breakfast table. They could tell their dad had likely suffered a sleepless night as well from his pale face and shadowy eyes. 

Once everyone was seated and had told one another good morning, Dad looked at Robyn. “Hey, kiddo,” he said. “You got me good with your ghostly nightgown yesterday morning, but give it a rest tonight, OK? I need to get rest before work, this is going to be a long day now.”

Robyn frowned and cocked their head to the side. “Huh?”

Dad frowned. “The whispering? I mean geeze, you must be exhausted too, staying up all night to try and scare me again!”

Robyn stared at him, genuinely perplexed. For one thing, they had absolutely no idea what he was talking about. And why would he think they would be in the mood for pranks after what had happened in the barn yesterday? But they of course couldn’t say that because Quinn was sitting right there, and they still had not revealed the news about Champ. He also stared back at Robyn and could clearly see they had no idea what he was talking about. 

He turned his attention to Quinn. “Was it you, Quinn? Whispering all night?” 

Robyn looked at their little sister for the first time since coming to the table and suddenly recognized the same weird dazed look in her eye that she’d had yesterday while looking into the mirror. “No, Daddy. Wasn’t me!” Quinn said in an oddly chipper voice. 

Dad looked back and forth between the siblings. He gave a confused frown. “Did you not hear the whispering?” He asked. 

Robyn shook their head. 

Quinn also shook her head, but she wore a mischievous smile as though she were fibbing. It was Robyn’s turn to give a confused frown. It wouldn’t necessarily be out of the realm of possibility for Quinn to play a prank, and she was acting sort of guilty. But the thing was, the bedrooms upstairs were all tiny and packed tightly together, Robyn didn’t understand how their dad would supposedly hear whispering all night but Robyn heard nothing. 

Dad shrugged. “Huh, well, I apologize. Maybe I’m going crazy.” His face broke into a smile. “Or maaaaybe it was ghosts,” he said dramatically. 

Quinn laughed much harder than the joke warranted. 

“I thought you didn’t believe in that sort of thing,” Robyn said, feeling deja vus. 

Dad chuckled. “I don’t. I’m just kidding.” 


The following morning, Dad complained of being kept awake by whispers again, and was quite a bit less patient about the situation. Robyn was even more confused, and Quinn acted even stranger. In fact, Quinn had been acting progressively more weird with each passing minute. She was over the top perky and hyper. Almost like she was pretending to be happy… Like she was… Hiding something. While they’d worked on their homeschool work the day before, her attention had kept drifting off into space. As if there were someone else in the room she was listening to. It had gotten so frustrating that Robyn had eventually called it quits early for the day and gone off to their own room to listen to music and be alone. 

And now Dad was claiming there was disruptive whispering going on at night and once again, Robyn had heard nothing. All the same, sleep had failed to find them. No whispers had disturbed their sleep, but nightmares of Champ had. So Dad and Robyn were both quite grouchy, while Quinn just stared at them, smiling impossibly broadly as though there were a funny secret only she knew. 

There was a slight squabble as Robyn attempted to convince Dad that they really didn’t know what he was talking about and eventually, Dad left for work still frustrated. Robyn questioned Quinn, basically demanding that she admit her tomfoolery and cut it out. But Quinn just smiled mysteriously. 

“You didn’t hear the whispers?”

“No!” Robyn grumbled. “What whispers? So it was you?” 

“No,” Quinn giggled. “It was Sarah Anne. She’s so silly.”

Robyn froze. It seemed like the blood rushed to their head. “What are you talking about?” Robyn asked in a very quiet voice. 

“Oh you’ll see,” Quinn said. 

“Who is Sarah Anne?” Robyn demanded. 

Quinn grinned. “Oh… You’ll see…”

It was likely little girl nonsense that Robyn was facing, but all the sudden, their blood ran cold. 


Robyn’s sadness over the family horse had grown so deep, that they didn’t even feel like working on schoolwork at all. By that afternoon, another storm had rolled in, this time mostly rain. Robyn laid on the couch mindlessly staring at the TV. Quinn had opted to work alone in the kitchen on her schoolwork. 

A couple times Robyn heard peels of Quinn’s laughter ring out from the kitchen. They thought it a bit strange, but barely paid attention. Their sadness was so heavy that it was like a weight holding them down and preventing them from really latching onto a thought. 

But then, Quinn called out. 

“Rooooobyn,” Quinn said in an odd sing-song voice. “Sarah Anne is ready to introduce herself!”

Robyn sat bolt upright on the couch, finally snatched from their reverie of depression. They scrambled off the couch and raced to the kitchen. 

Only to stop dead in their tracks. 

Robyn’s jaw dropped and they gasped as they stared around the kitchen. 

Every single plate, plant, napkin, Quinn’s school books, bric a brac and decorations… All of it was suspended in midair. Everything hovered several feet above whatever surface it had originally rested on. Their sister was seated at the table with a room full of levitating objects all around her. 

She wore the biggest grin and had crazy eyes. 

“What is happening?” Robyn whispered. 

“This is Sarah Anne,” Quinn quipped, still smiling so wide it must’ve hurt her face. 

“Who?” Robyn said, feeling like crying. “Who is?”

Just then, there was a rush of air in the room; a sound as though something giant had taken a deep breath. All the objects in the air jerked upwards and then fell fast, back down to the counters, the table, and the floor. Quinn laughed maniacally as dishes and decor shattered all around, and knives and silver clinked. Robyn ducked and covered their head with their arms. 

When everything had fallen, and the kitchen was littered with ruined debris, Robyn gaped at their little sister. “What just happened?”

“That was Sarah Anne!” Quinn chirped. 

Their little sister’s smile was beginning to irritate Robyn. “There’s no one here, Quinn!” Robyn spat. “Our whole kitchen is wrecked. What just happened?”

For the first time in two days, Robyn saw Quinn’s exaggerated grin falter. “It was Sarah Anne,” Quinn said again. This time her voice was quieter and not so happy. 

“It was Sarah Anne,” she said again. She slid out from the table and stood up. Her smile was gone now and was in fact replaced with an angry snarl. 

Quinn’s eyes seemed to turn dark, almost black. Her voice grew deep and gravely. 

“It… Was… Sarah Anne…”


By that night, Quinn’s perky mood was completely gone. In fact, she was hot to the touch and Dad feared she had a fever. She had offered no further explanation for the broken disaster of a kitchen, and seemed to get angrier and angrier that simply saying, “It was Sarah Anne,” wasn’t a satisfactory explanation. 

Dad had seemed like it was hard to believe their story of the devastated kitchen, but just as he had started to question it, the entire family witnessed the flat screen TV lift into the air off of the TV stand, and then smash violently to the floor. 

Robyn and Dad instinctively threw their arms around Quinn, but Quinn just laughed. Actually, it was more like a shriek than a laugh. 

“That’s it,” Dad had said, “we’re getting out of here. Let’s go to town and have dinner, try and clear our heads a bit,” he suggested. But, just as he rose from the couch, thunder struck outside. Just like that, the rainstorm escalated to another wild storm like the one from the previous day. 

The storm raged all evening and into the night. Quinn seemed to deteriorate before their eyes and Dad and Robyn decided finally to put her to bed, and to take her to the doctor as soon as the storm broke. 

Robyn and Dad discussed the situation in hushed tones and then decided to retire to bed themselves. Under the oppression of the savage storm, Robyn fell into a fitful sleep. 


Robyn woke in the middle of the night. It was one of those unsettling instances of knowing they’d heard something, but not knowing exactly what they’d heard. 

One thing that did register was an awesome quietness. The storm apparently was over. Robyn felt compelled to get out of bed and go to the window. 

Outside, the world was cloaked in fog so thick, they could see nothing outside their window except for the fog. It was as though the forest, and the whole world beyond the fog, was gone. 

“It was Sarah Anne.” 

Robyn startled at the sound of their sister’s voice. That’s it. That’s what had woken them. Quinn was talking. Not even whispering. Just talking in that same growling voice she’d used earlier. 

Robyn hurried to Quinn’s room and found her sitting up in her bed, growling about this Sarah Anne person. She was drenched in sweat, her hair was crazy tangled and matted, and her eyes were completely black.

“Quinn!” Robyn cried, rushing to their sister. Dad flew into the room behind Robyn. His face went pale as he beheld his little daughter out of her mind and with solid black eyes. 

“What’s wrong with her?” Dad gasped. 

Robyn had begun to sob. “I don’t know!”

Dad whisked Quinn out of her bed, lifting her as though she were no heavier than a feather. “Come on, we’re taking her to the hospital!” 

Robyn hurried behind their father as he made his way through the house, grabbing shoes and jackets as he went. Outside the front door, they momentarily paused when confronted by fog as thick and white as cotton. Robyn became even more upset at the prospect of traveling in undoubtedly dangerous road conditions. 

After pondering the fog for no more than a split second, Dad said, “Come on, it’ll be OK. I drive in fog all the time. Come on, get the door for me.”

The trio blundered through the fog to where their car was parked and Robyn felt around for the car door. Dad hurried to deposit Quinn in the backseat and Robyn climbed in with her. 

Once the car roared to life and Dad turned on the flood lights, a tiny bit more of the world became visible. He carefully maneuvered the car down the driveway and through the trees that led out to the road.

Only when they reached the end of their crunching gravel drive did they discover that the road beyond there was gone. 


Back on their couch, Robyn held their feverish sister on their lap while Dad paced to and fro across the living room. The floor boards groaned under the weight of his frantic heavy foot falls. 

He raked his hand through his hair, with a look in his eye that suggested he was coming unglued. 

When they reached the end of their driveway, the fog lifted, and that’s when they discovered the world outside their little world was… Gone. Had simply vanished. There was no road. There was no MacGregor homestead to the left. No Harris place to the right. No bird sanctuary across the road. 

Not a sound hinting of someone else out there besides them.

Not a flicker of light. 

Not a smell. Nothing. 

Everything outside their little cottage and their little forest had vanished and nothing was left except for an endless black void. 

Furthermore, there was no internet. There was no phone service. Their cell phone had been rendered a useless toy. The televisions didn’t even turn on. If there had been a world left to contact, they’d been left with no way to contact it. 

Thinking out loud, Dad asked questions and made demands of thin air. His ranting must have offended thin air too, because the pictures on the walls began to rattle, and then one by one they fell. That stopped him in his tracks as he stared around at the shattering glass. 

“That was Sarah Anne,” Quinn growled. She giggled softly from somewhere within her fever dream. 

Robyn felt a swirl of terrible emotions, heavy in the air. They also felt exhausted, and knew their father felt the same. They didn’t know what was happening or what could be done. There were only a few hours left until the sun would rise, and Robyn convinced Dad to put Quinn back to bed, and for all of them to get some sleep. 

Everything looks better in the light of day. 


In the morning, the sun did come up. Barely. The sky still looked treacherous, filled with rolling dark clouds. And the fog still rolled through the trees off and on all day. 

But, the world beyond their forest remained gone. The Internet and the phones remained dark and quiet. Quinn remained feverish and incoherent.

And Sarah Anne, whoever she was, remained angry if Robyn or their father stepped out of line. 

There was barely any food in the house, and they ran out quickly as time slipped away waiting for an idea of what to do. When hunger began to mount, Robyn suggested venturing out to the garden to harvest some things to eat. But, their dad said no. He’d become anxious and paranoid, constantly peeking out the windows. He did not want Robyn to go outside, nor was he willing to go and leave them. 

Moments turned to hours, hours to days, and soon, two weeks had passed. The more hungry the family became, the more erratic they behaved. And the more frantic they became, the more angry Sarah Anne became… There would be pounding on the walls, screeching in the pipes, the whole house would quake on it’s foundation when the mysterious and invisible “Sarah Anne” cared to reckon with them. 

On the two week anniversary of the night the world disappeared, another storm raged outside. It was late, and Robyn was laying in their sister’s bed, watching Quinn toss, turn, and cry in her sleep. Thunder clapped, and Quinn’s eyes snapped open. 

For the first time in weeks, Robyn saw their sister’s eyes return to normal. No longer black and crazy. Quinn gazed up at Robyn, big tears gathering in her sad eyes. 

“I’m hungry,” Quinn whispered. It was the first coherent thing Robyn had heard out of her mouth since the nightmare had begun. It brought tears to Robyn’s eyes as well. 

They glanced out Quinn’s bedroom window but decided the storm was not going to stop them. “OK, sweetheart,” Robyn whispered. “I’ll go get you something to eat. Wait here. I’ll be back.” 


Robyn’s hair tossed wildly in the wind just as the forest did all around. Despite the fierce call of the storm, it was still strangely quiet. 

You never realize how quiet the world is until the world itself disappears…

Robyn stumbled through the night and the sheets of rain, around the corner of the house, and to the edge of the clearing where the garden was planted. As they neared the now overgrown rows of cucumbers and tomatoes, they began to hear a voice calling their name. It was the voice of a woman and it sounded angry. It wasn’t anyone they recognized, and Robyn shuddered with the knowledge that they were hearing the voice of Sarah Anne.

Nonetheless, Robyn remembered Quinn’s pale sick face and pitiful voice, begging for food, and they pressed on. The storm and Sarah Anne raged at Robyn’s back, as they stepped into the garden. They stooped down to sweep aside a fringe of leaves to attempt to gather some cucumber. 

That’s when they spotted them. 

“Bunnies!” Robyn exclaimed. Even in their current circumstance, the sight of bunnies brought a thrill of happiness. There were four of them, with assorted coloring, but their coats were so shiny, they seemed to glow in the darkness. They were huddled together in the leaves, and they looked up at Robyn, wiggling their little pink noses. Robyn was less than a foot from them, but they did not run. They had never known a rabbit not to run scared from a human. 

Sarah Anne was shrieking like a maniac by then, but her wicked voice and the terrible storm seemed to somehow quiet as Robyn looked down at the rabbits. They stared at the rabbits as if under a spell. 

They bent slowly, reaching out their hand…

Their heart thudded, wondering if the bunnies were actually going to let them pet them. 

And when Robyn’s hand reached the bunnies, it passed right through them. 

Robyn gasped. “Ghosts!” They whispered. 

The bunnies looked up at Robyn for one more second and then began to make their way slowly toward the forest. Sarah Anne was going insane in the background. 

Then, Robyn heard Dad screaming her name. The bunnies paused, as if waiting for Robyn to follow. 

“Robyn! ROBYN!” Dad screamed, running toward the garden.

“Dad!” Robyn replied. “Go back inside with Quinn! Protect her! I’ll be back!” 

Robyn turned back to the bunnies and nodded. They turned and darted into the trees, and Robyn followed. 


It didn’t seem that the rabbits led Robyn very far into the forest, but soon it seemed as though the storm had been left in the past. The wind died down, and the forest became calm and quiet. And that is when the tree appeared. 

Robyn stopped short to stare up at the tree. It was a massive ugly tree with twisted limbs and a web of vines. In it’s center was a glowing, swirling purple vortex. It was unlike anything Robyn had ever even imagined, and they slowly reached forward, feeling drawn to touch the void. 

“No, don’t touch it!” 

Robyn spun around and when they saw who had warned them, they began to weep.


She was glowing and magical looking just like the rabbits, who were all roosted at Mom’s feet. She smiled beautifully at Robyn. “Yes baby, I wish I could hug you.”

Robyn sobbed. “I wish you could too, Momma.”

“Baby, you did the right thing by following my little messengers,” Mom said, gesturing to the bunnies. “I knew they would be the perfect thing to send to beckon you. Now, I need you to do one more thing, and this whole thing will be over. I need you to get the glass. Sarah Anne will throw an absolute fit, but she can’t hurt you. You have to be brave, and go get the glass.”

Robyn shook their head. “What? What glass? And who is Sarah Anne?”

Robyn’s beautiful mother frowned sadly. “Sarah Anne is… Is something dark. Something not of this world. And she was allowed to cross into your world when the mirror glass broke. Your father and I should’ve gotten rid of the mirrors long ago. They’re cursed. One is good, and one is bad, and when they both broke, it gave Sarah Anne a doorway. This doorway,” she explained, gesturing to the tree. “Go get the glass, hurry. Bring it here, and throw it in, and all of this can be undone.”

Robyn dearly wanted to stay there with their mother forever. In the quiet midnight woods. Away from the shrieking devil, the frightened father, the possessed sister. To stay with the mother who’d been taken from them suddenly more than three years back. Their mother smiled sweetly though, and Robyn knew they could not stay.

“Go, love,” Mom whispered. “Hurry.” 

With that, Mom and the rabbits vanished, but the vortex swirled evilly on.

Robyn sprinted back through the trees toward their home, running faster and with more grace than they’d ever had before. Soon they were ripping open the storm cellar doors and pounding down the crumbling steps. 

They found the pull string to turn on the light easily this time then dove into the dirt, scurrying to the mess of broken glass. The light flickered, and the whole house seemed to seethe angrily as Sarah Anne and the storm raged above. Robyn yanked off their hoodie and turned it into a makeshift tote bag, and then began to scrape the broken glass into the hoodie. The glass sliced their fingers as they worked, but it didn’t even slow them down. 

The storm was worse than ever before as Robyn emerged back out of the cellar and into the terrible night. Sarah Anne screamed threats and the house thundered on it’s studs, but Robyn pressed on. Soon, they were back at the tree, and without a second’s hesitation, they hurtled the hoodie full of grass into the tree. 


Robyn woke early, before their father or sister Quinn had awoke. They decided this would be a prime opportunity to sneak down to the kitchen and hopefully find some biscuits with butter and jelly to eat, instead of the usual bland oatmeal that dad normally provided. 

They made way out of their tiny bedroom, down the dark hall, and then down the worn steps; careful to avoid the creaky spots. 

Once in the kitchen, Robyn quickly and quietly assembled the things they needed to prepare the secret breakfast. It was when they were standing by the counter and the small kitchen window, under the ghostly light of the moon, about to take their first delicious bite, when their father screamed. 

Robyn whirled around, their jelly slathered biscuit falling with a splat onto the kitchen’s stone floor. “DAD! ARE YOU OK?” Robyn screeched. 

Dad stood leaning one hand heavily on a kitchen chair, and the other hand covering his heart. He sucked in deep breaths of air as though he were having a hard time breathing. Robyn’s own heart picked up the pace at the sight. 

Dad waved as if to shoo Robyn away. “It’s fine, I’m fine, I thought you were a ghost in that getup.” 

The two stared at each other for a moment, and then Robyn burst out laughing. “Sorry?” They said skeptically. “I didn’t even think you believed in ghosts.”

“I don’t,” Dad replied. “That’s why it scared me so bad.”

The two shared a laugh and then Dad gently chastised Robyn for sneaking sweets first thing in the morning. Then they left the kitchen to go wake their little sister Quinn for breakfast. On the way, they happened to notice cuts on their fingers and frowned at the wounds, wondering how they’d gotten there.