König was a smart young lad, his teachers said as much. They said he understood the concepts they taught him very quickly. This however would not save him from his own ignorance. König was very excited when his school announced that they would have a camping trip in the Teutoburg Forest. He was an avid fan of history and he knew that Herman the German led the Germanic tribes to victory against the Roman war machine here. He knew the phrase “ varius give me back my legions” too well and he was excited to visit a place of such history.
The trip went normally, they packed into vans with camping gear and volunteers mainly parents of the students drove them there and would help watch over them. He was perhaps a bit sad when his parents said they couldn’t go that they had to work that weekend. Soon the sadness was forgotten as the vans approached the camping site. The site chosen was a little closer to the forest and had a little less luxuries, obviously the school didn’t have unlimited resources and choose this as the best place financially. König did not care however, he thought it was better that they were much closer to the forest.
The first day was sent with some typical school activities. Things like roll call, assigning spaces for tents, explaining the rules, safety lectures, things like that. Then was setting up the tents, although his friend could not go he was happy with those he was going to be next to. He did not have many friends but he did get along with everyone. After that was dinner then the scary stories next to the camp fire, he had heard them all before. Creepy monsters in the woods, things that kidnapped lost children in the forest, murderers in lurking in the shadows. He scoffed at the idea that something like that could exist.
He woke up a little stiff from not being able to get used to sleeping on the ground. Funny thing he loved the outdoors and nature but in this respect he did not enjoy camping. All that was forgotten about when the teacher and volunteers announced they would be taking them on a morning hike. They ate breakfast got some water in their canteens and were off. While they walked the volunteer leading them explained the rules of the hike. König did not pay too much attention, he had heard it all before. Don’t go on your own, don’t lag behind stuff like that.
They walked through the forest and König tried to guess the names of all the plants he came across. He knew most of them but every once in awhile he had to check his wildlife book for the name. He didn’t notice that he was walking too slowly or that they had left him behind. He did however see a large hedge in front of him. He thought it was ridiculous that something like that was here, it was not a native plant. He stepped closer, he knew it was suspicious but his curiosity was getting the better of him. He wanted to see what was beyond it, on the other side. Was it a maze? He pondered this as he went into the hedge, deeper and deeper. Soon he was lost wandering around endlessly without hope of finding an exit.
He wanders for what seems an eternity before coming out of the hedge finally. He collapses on the ground tired as can be. König looks around this wasn’t the forest anymore, the sky was dark but somehow there was enough light for him to see mostly fine. The buildings in the distance all looked like Victorian mansions and he felt chills seeing the decorations. Pokes of bones arranged in pyramids, hedges cut to look like grotesque creatures, what looked like statues of things not quite human. “Hello there” a high pitched infantile voice said behind him. He quickly turned to see something he never thought possible.
Before him a tall slender almost skeletal figure with pitch black eyes, long thin sharp teeth and long pointed ears. A fair folk was standing in front of him and he was still freaking out. He got up and ran away from the Fae who followed at a relaxed pace. He kept running but little by little the edges of his vision blurred. His legs finally gave way and he fell down again. The Fae caught up to him after a few moments, “my, my such energy you have. I may find something for you to do yet. My name is Clancy by the by a pleasure to meet you my new pet.” By that point he had finally succumbed to exhaustion.
When he finally came to he was surrounded by darkness, the floor was cold and felt like stone. He felt around in the dark, the walls felt the same. He used the walls to guide himself forward trying to find the door. The door was closed and locked, he pushed it but it was solid and left him no chance to force it open. He struck the door several times yelling loudly to be let out but no one responded to his yells. He kept this up for hours it seemed with no response, finally he felt down at the foot of the door crying. He kept this up for several days or at least that’s what it seemed to him in the dark without the sunrise and sunset to give him a sense of time.
Days turned to months and months to years. Little by little he became more comfortable with the dark he felt safe there but the nagging feeling like he shouldn’t be here like he belonged elsewhere remained. After 30 years had past something peculiar happened, the door that had kept him imprisoned for so many years just opened on its own. He opened it slowly as if what he was doing was taboo. A small amount of light came through the door from a tiny gas lamp built into the walls of the hall. He recoiled at the light, so used to the abyss that was his cell. He freezes there for a few tense minutes as his eyes adjusted to the light. He looked around the interior but it looked like no one was there and the nagging feeling returned. He looked for an exit and found a staircase leading upstairs. He took the chance and went up there, he found it seemed abandoned. No one was there not Clancy nor any of his servants, strange but he did not ponder it too deeply.
He ran to the front door and left the mansion. He looked around for the hedge but could not find it so he kept running to what seemed like the outskirts of the city. He started to remember why he wanted to leave, his parents, his friends he was not supposed to be here and he knew it. Before he noticed he was in the hedge again running, but he was not tired like before. He ran as if chasing a fleeting memory, chasing his parents, his friends, his life. He couldn’t remember their names but their faces where in his mind and their warmth in his heart. Finally he exits the hedge and breaths a sigh of relief but when he looks around he begins to panic again.
He was not in the forest, this was a city and the people here spoke English. Just where the hell was he?