Young Writers Society

Home » Literary works » Short Story » Horror


She Keeps Us Here

by aeternum


The girl woke up lying on her back, cushioned by the soft grass underneath her. She turned over and pushed herself off the ground. Where was she? Green grass was the only thing she could see, stretching out in all directions. The clear blue sky seemed to stretch out in all directions, and it seemed to be never ending. It was light out, despite lacking a sun. Looking straight up at the sky made her dizzy and the girl sat down.

Was this a dream?

The girl pinched herself. The scenery around her didn’t change. She closed her eyes and pinched herself hard enough to draw blood. She opened them again and stared out into the endless sea of grass and open sky.

She once more found herself staring at the empty blue sky and she swore it stared back.

The woman waits beneath the grass, her rotting flesh tainting the soil around her.

The girl turned around slowly in a full circle, until she thought she could see a tiny dot in the distance. The girl walked towards the thing in the distance. She found herself enjoying the feel of the green grass between her bare feet and for the first time noticed she was wearing nothing but her pajamas. The girl tripped over something and fell into the soft green grass, her toe throbbing in pain.

The woman waits beneath the grass, her rotting flesh burning the soil around her.

The girl got up and retraced her steps to where she fell. She thought she saw something black sink back into the grass

The woman waits beneath the grass

But after an empty investigation, she chalked it up to clumsiness. The girl continued walking to whatever was in the distance. It got bigger and bigger until she could make out what it was. It was a tombstone. The girl crouched down and examined the tombstone and read it out loud.

“She keeps us here,” the girl read. As soon as those words left her lips, her vision blurred and the world turned into a nightmarish version of what it had once been. All the colors inverted and the girl could hear screams.

The screams of children.

She Keeps Us Here

The girl fell onto her knees, covering her ears. The screams were deafening. A loud thunderous boom could be heard and the girl blacked out in the grass.

The woman waits beneath the grass, her rotting flesh poisoning the soil around her.

The girl opened her eyes. She saw the clear blue sky. She almost screamed. The girl assumed this was some sort of lucid nightmare. She stared at the blue sky and she swore it stared back. The girl heard the static of a television. She got up and saw something dark move out of the corner of her eye. The girl turned around and saw what was making the static sound.

The being had shiny black skin. It had no facial features except two eyes that were surprisingly human. Its limbs seemed to be too long for its body and the hands were being dragged behind it. It was almost eight feet tall and seemed to produce a static sound. It did not seem to notice the girl as it twitched and spasmed as it walked.

The girl crouched down behind the tombstone, hoping that whatever that thing was wouldn’t notice her. A small breeze tickled her ear and made its way in the creature’s direction. The creature stopped twitching and spasming. It cocked its head as if it was listening to something… or someone. The creature let out a primal, animal-like scream. It bounded in the opposite direction, too fast for the girl’s eyes to follow. Running away from the creature wouldn’t be an option if the creature became aware of her presence. The girl slowly left her small hiding spot and observed her surroundings. Just grass in all directions.

The girl felt helpless. She was certain that she was going to die in this place, wherever this was. The girl began to cry. Tears rolled down her face and she began to sob. A single teardrop landed on the grass. The grass where the teardrop had landed started to die, turning brown and dry.

“Quit it! You are gonna wake her up and that’s the last thing any of us need!”

The girl turned around towards the source of the angry whisper. There was no one behind her. The girl looked around, confused.

“Down here!” the voice whispered.

The girl looked down to find a boy’s face emerge from the grass. The face belonged to a nine year old boy with freckles and red hair. The girl stumbled back with fear.

“Calm down, now, won’t ya? I ain’t gonna hurt you!” the boy assured her. They studied each other for a few seconds.

“You don’t belong here, don’t ya?” the boy eventually said. The girl shook her head. A sound caught her attention. Static. The boy’s face turned to one of fear.

“Grab my hand. I will take you to where you need to go to get out of here, but you have to hurry before he sees you,” the boy said. A hand emerged from the ground, the grass parting as he held his hand out. The girl hesitated. The static sound seemed to be getting louder. She looked back at the boy and figured she could trust him. The girl grabbed his hand and he pulled her down. She thought that she was going to faceplant into the ground but instead found herself being pulled through the soil as if it was water.

She and the boy fell into a dark room. The girl brushed herself off and tried to study her surroundings but it was too dark.

“Oh! Sorry, I forgot you can’t see in the dark. Here!” the boy said. There was a click and the room was lit up by an electric lantern. The room was entirely made of dirt. Parts and pieces of machinery littered the room, as well as little knick knacks. She saw parts of dolls and other toys littering the floor too. The boy held up the lantern and smiled encouragingly at her.

“What’s your name?” he asked. The girl found that she could not remember her name. She began to panic as she realized that she couldn’t remember anything that had happened before she woke up. Names, places, memories. Nothing. The boy looked at her panicked expression and looked embarrassed.

“My bad. I forgot the living don’t have any memories here,” he said. The girl tried to speak and found that she couldn’t. She tried to make words but couldn’t turn them into sound. She looked at the boy desperately.

“You also can’t speak here either. Listen, we don’t have much time to get out of here. Your tears seemed to have woken her a bit early and once she is awake you won’t be able to leave. We better get going,” the boy said. The girl tried to ask him who she had awakened but found that she couldn’t. She wanted to ask him where they were, what this place was called, and most of all what was that thing she saw? The boy seemed to realize this.

“It doesn’t matter. You will be leaving soon and once you do, you won’t remember any of this. Now come on, we have to go.”

The boy led her out of the room into a long hallway. The ceiling, walls, and floor were made out of dirt and it was too dark to see the end of the hallway.

“Did you see any other children while you were out there?” the boy asked while they were walking. The girl shook her head and the boy’s face fell. She could tell that he had lost someone important to him. She wanted to tell him about that creature she saw outside but couldn’t make the words. So, they walked in silence. The smell of soil was overwhelming. The girl didn’t see any bugs or any other signs of life. Then she remembered what the boy had said. The living don’t have any memories here. Did that mean her companion wasn’t alive?

The girl thought about this as they walked. He didn’t seem dead. He was lanky and wore a dirt stained T-shirt and jeans. He was also barefoot. How long has he been here? The girl felt trust for this boy. Finally, they came across a dead end. A wall of dirt. The girl gave the boy a quizzical look but he didn’t pay her any attention. He just grabbed her hand and pulled her through the wall. Then, she was yanked up through the dirt and found herself in a hallway with a set of dirt stairs. Light came in from the top of the stairs, which the boy was already climbing with haste.

The girl ascended, trying to keep up with the boy. Finally, she reached the top and found herself in a grassy field again. This time, an oak tree sprouted from the ground in front of them. The boy grinned at her.

“Neat, huh?” he said. The grin slowly fell away as something screamed in the distance. They had been spotted. The girl couldn’t see the creature but remembered it’s terrifying speed. She knew that they didn’t have much time. The boy grabbed her hand and pointed at the tree.

“Touch the trunk. It will take you away from here.”

The girl gave him a look. Why didn’t he go with her. He seemed to understand and gave her a small smile.

“I am not allowed to leave. She keeps me here. But it’s not too late for you.”

With that, he shoved her towards the tree as something black slammed into his body, sending it flying a few feet before landing with a sickening crunch. The girl lurched for the tree and touched it. The creature regarded her. The girl waited to be carried from this world, but it didn’t happen. With amazing speed, the creature grabbed the boy. It held him by his neck and turned towards the girl. The boy was also looking at the girl, but he didn’t look scared. The look he gave her was a look of love and recognition. Then the girl heard the sound of branches snapping as something wrapped itself around her wrist.

The girl turned around and saw that the tree branches had wrapped itself around her wrist. The girl tried to let out a scream as she saw the branches bend and twist as if the tree was alive. She tried to escape its grasp, pulling on the branch, but it was too strong.

The woman waits beneath the grass, her rotting flesh awakening the soil around her.

Then, the tree flung her into the sky. The girl tried to scream as she went airborne, but nothing came out. She was only met with blue. The sky stared at her hungrily. Her vision went black. The girl slowly regained consciousness. She was lying down in a bed. The girl looked around. It was a hospital bed. She felt like screaming. She didn’t know why, she couldn’t remember the reason if there was one, but she let out a loud scream. Immediately, nurses came into her room and began calming her down.

“Where am I? What happened?” she cried. One of the nurses crouched down so that she was eye level.

“You, your brother, and your parents were in a car accident, honey,” the nurse said.

“Where are they now?

“Your parent’s didn’t make it. And your brother is in a coma,” the nurse said and held the girl’s hand as she started to cry. The girl remembered her name. It was Allison. Of course she had remembered her name. Why wouldn’t she remember her name? The girl cried at the loss of her parents and the thought of her nine year old brother in a coma. She remembered her brother’s red hair and freckles. She remembered playing tag with him when they were kids. How could this have happened to her? What had she done to deserve this?

Allison recovered and was eventually allowed to visit her brother. She cried at the site of his frail, skinny body on the hospital bed. The nurses gave her some space and waited outside of the door. Allison kissed her brother on the cheek. Her brother, David, muttered something. Allison couldn’t make out what it was. She leaned closer as he muttered something again and felt something deep inside her recoil in horror at the four words.

“She keeps us here,” her brother said.

The woman beneath the grass awoke as her rotting flesh began to burn the soil around her.


Note: You are not logged in, but you can still leave a comment or review. Before it shows up, a moderator will need to approve your comment (this is only a safeguard against spambots). Leave your email if you would like to be notified when your message is approved.







Is this a review?


  

Comments



User avatar
350 Reviews


Points: 14340
Reviews: 350

Donate
Sat May 30, 2020 10:06 pm
mellifera wrote a review...



Hey aeternum! Hope you don't mind if I drop by for a review today :)


Green grass was the only thing she could see, stretching out in all directions. The clear blue sky seemed to stretch out in all directions, and it seemed to be never ending.


I highlighted two parts because there's two things here I wanted to address. One, you said here that the only thing she could see was green grass, but the next sentence is the description of the sky overhead. If she can see the sky and the grass, the grass isn't the only thing she can see.

Second, you want to avoid repetition in your prose because it's distracting from the story! You describe "stretch/ing out in all directions" for both the grass and the sky, which is both repetitive and doesn't really make sense since they aren't (I think?) stretching into each other.

Perhaps, instead, something like "Lush grass surrounded her, spanning around her without end. The sky was clear and bright and disappeared on the horizon without break."

It was light out, despite lacking a sun.


oh!! I love how casually you throw this in here. You don't draw a lot of attention to it, you just put it in and let it be unnerving, which is very good for horror!!

She opened them again and stared out into the endless sea of grass and open sky.

She once more found herself staring at the empty blue sky and she swore it stared back.


You describe the same thing twice in both lines here? An example of changing this could be: "She opened them again, and found that nothing had changed around her.

She turned back to the sky, the empty expanse of of blue without cloud or sun, and she swore that it stared right back at her."

In the example, you don't describe her looking at the sky twice! (but good job on the "it stared back" 10/10 creepy I love it)

The girl turned around slowly in a full circle, until she thought she could see a tiny dot in the distance. The girl walked towards the thing in the distance.


The second sentence of this reads funny to me and I can't put my finger exactly on why? I think it would be more expedient (and less distracting!) if it was just "She began to walk towards it." Plus, then you don't have the repetitive "in the distance".

She found herself enjoying the feel of the green grass between her bare feet and for the first time noticed she was wearing nothing but her pajamas. The girl tripped over something and fell into the soft green grass, her toe throbbing in pain.


I was going to mention that, unless the grass was different coloured, you don't need to mention it's green (why I changed it from "green" to "lush" in my earlier example!) because grass, unless it's dead or something's gone horribly wrong, is generally green. If you really want to mention that it's green, establish it once, but don't keep repeating it!

She stared at the blue sky and she swore it stared back.


I know I've been harping on repetitiveness through this review, but I appreciate this call back to the earlier mention of this before!

“Oh! Sorry, I forgot you can’t see in the dark. Here!” the boy said.


How can he have "forgotten" that she can't see in the dark if she's done nothing to indicate that she can't see, and it's only been seconds since he dragged her down here?

She could tell that he had lost someone important to him.


How? When someone's face falls or they look generally bummed out, I wouldn't automatically assume they had lost someone important to them?

The girl gave him a look. Why didn’t he go with her. He seemed to understand and gave her a small smile.


That should be "Why didn't he go with her?" since it is technically a question!

Then, the tree flung her into the sky. The girl tried to scream as she went airborne, but nothing came out. She was only met with blue. The sky stared at her hungrily. Her vision went black. The girl slowly regained consciousness. She was lying down in a bed. The girl looked around. It was a hospital bed. She felt like screaming. She didn’t know why, she couldn’t remember the reason if there was one, but she let out a loud scream. Immediately, nurses came into her room and began calming her down.


This has a lot of potential to be a really good paragraph. There's a lot of individual good lines here, but it's so clunky and all of them are so short in this paragraph that it's very choppy to read. I'd suggest trying to combine some of these lines, or expanding on them, so that you smooth the flow of this paragraph!


Again, I know I harped on repetition a lot, but I also really like the one sentence about the woman repeating itself and changing ever so slightly throughout the whole story! It definitely lends itself to the creepy atmosphere. However, outside of that line, who the woman is and what she does is never really expanded upon? I think you could have done a lot with that, and made the story even creepier if there was some consequence to Allison crying on the woman's grave/generally the woman ever making an appearance outside of those lines. The ending does suggest the woman is awake and planning to do something, but since it's unclear whether David is trapped in that other world (because he's in a coma and not dead), it's not clear whether he is in danger of whatever the woman is going to do. Plus, how long has he been in the other world? He seems largely familiar with it, but I can't imagine he's been asleep longer than she has (unless he went there first for whatever reason).


I really like the subtly of describing David, first as a stranger and then as her brother! I caught on immediately, and it didn't feel forced or pushed onto me, so good job there!


You could use work on repetition (there was another place where "dark" crops up three times in the span of just two paragraphs!), especially to spice up your description with variety, but otherwise it's an intriguing story! What it the shiny black creature? Who is the woman and why does she keep children? Are there other children there?

Anyway, hopefully some of this was helpful to you! If you have any questions, please feel free to let me know!

I hope you have a wonderful day :)




User avatar
5 Reviews


Points: 93
Reviews: 5

Donate
Tue May 05, 2020 3:25 pm
cjcassidy wrote a review...



The tension is real. You really captured a true dreamscape. Where things only just barely make enough sense, yet you don't question it. Where you have no control. How as soon as you wake up you have a vague sense of recollection but it slowly drifts away. One thing you may want to look at is the creature. It's made clear that it's separate from the She they talk about but I'm unsure what the purpose of it is besides to provide immediate danger to the other characters. It may be that you need it to progress the story but I don't know if it's totally necessary. Otherwise it was a wonderful story filled with lots of good tension.




aeternum says...


I appreciate the review! All of my stories I write are connected, so that creature may show up in another story. I have already mentioned some things about this place in another story. Cheers!




I don't do time.
— Liberty