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Chapter 1:

The pine forest is on the other side of the hill, past the wire fence. You can see the dark outline of the trees in

the silvery moonlight.

They tell us not to go there, and I don't go there.

But I want to know what's in al those trees. What forbids us to go there.

They tell us not to go there but I want to go there.

I look around and finally fall asleep, looking up at the cold crescent moon shining bright in the sky.



Chapter 2:

I am pulled awake by the sunlight seeping through the window, hitting me in the face. I blink, trying to get the sun out of my eyes. Rolling over, I look at my clock on the table next to my small bed. 7:34. I sigh, and walk out of bed. Winter's cold this year, so I pull on my boots, brown leather with fur lining. Touching the scars on my face makes me wince. I can't remember how I got them, but for some reason, I feel pain whenever anything touches my cheek. I draw my hand away. Out the window, I can see the snow. The forest is covered with snow. I walk outside. My boots crunch in the snow. New fallen snow. It stretches across the pretty hills and is even brave enough to fall lightly on the intimidating dark pines of the forest, but the soft white blanket has changed to an icy gray as it reaches the forest, securing my point that everything about that forest speaks of darkness, hollow... secretive. I stare out at the snowy trees. What is behind all that? Just a small fence separates me from the forest. A law seperates us, too. But if I could just see what was in there, I would be happy. I'm always told I'm to curious. I can't go a day without asking at least one question.

My friends will be up soon. Sure enough, I see them coming over the hill to meet me.

"Thinking about the forest again, Anna?" Nate laughs. "No," I say, but the guilt in my voice gives it away. "You know," Nate says, "Maybe we coud do it. The 3 of us, go find out what everyone's always scaring themselves over. There's probably nothing scary in there."

"Yeah," Trillium puts in. "You think we could do that?"

Nate sits down in the snow and plays with is scarf, twisting it around his finger. "You know something? Maybe we can." he grins playfully. "You guys aren't afraid of the dark, are you?" Trillium flicks his head and he shuts up. "Where's Callon?" I ask.

"Not here," Nate says.

"We know," Trillium points out. Yeah. He's doing other stuff."

We knew that was Nate's way of saying, "He'd never approve of our idea of going to the forest, so I ditched him back at the house."

Callon, Nate's 11-year-old brother, was more mature than Nate, I always thought. Sometimes it seemed ike he was the most sensible out of all of us. Nate was right. He'd never approve of running off to the woods.

"You know we can't just drop everything and go to the woods," Trillium says. "Yeah," Nate says. "Guess not. Let's go. But I feel like if I can just see what's beyond those woods... I would finally feel..." He struggles for the right word. "Free."

I know exactly how he feels. I want to know what's past all those conifers.

But I know I can't. I don't know how I know. I just know.

It is forbidden.

Just before we leave I think I hear something from the woods. A voice, calling to something. No, not calling. Singing. I hesitate, then I look back over my shoulder at my friends and run towards them. I want to go to the woods but how can I, if I'm too scared? Everything about it, its strange rustling noises, its dark, unmoving pines, is scary. The mist, seeming to glow, staying the same, colorless thick, cold mist throughout the days and nights, it all scares me. But I know that if I can only just get past those woods, I... I don't know. I just feel like if I do, I'll have accomplished something important in my life. I feel like I need to see what's beyond those woods.

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