Allison woke in a cold sweat with her tears still freshly on her face. She took in a shaky breath before another flood of tears fell from her eyes. It had been that dream again, the same dream she'd had for the past month. I can't even escape it in my dreams, she thought grimly. It had been a month since her long time boyfriend, Alex, had died in a car crash. She had always assumed it was her fault, that if he hadn't been driving to see her then he would still be alive.
Her dreams had been plagued with macabre re-creations of the crash that had claimed Alex's life. Each time it seemed darker and more gruesome. She shuddered as the image of his lifeless body in it's casket at the funeral came into her mind and even more tears began to fall. Time hadn't even begun to dull the pain and it seemed to her like it grew with each passing day. After a while she finally managed to cry herself back into a light sleep.
As the sun started to pour into her window she awoke. She sat up in bed and pushed her auburn hair out of her face before taking a deep breath and sliding out of bed. It was Saturday and she wouldn't have the distraction of school until Monday, she sighed at the prospect. It meant having to find something to do to keep her mind off…. She stopped her process quickly. Jesus, she thought, it's already starting.
She looked longingly at the picture frame on her bedside table. The picture had been taken outside the local movie theater; it was where her and Alex had gone on their first few dates. This particular picture had been on their third date. The movie had been terrible and Allison had hurt her ankle getting out of the theater. On top of that it had been cold and damp outside, but Alex still insisted on taking a picture. Allison always thought that her hair looked terrible and that she had smiled weird, but Alex had insisted on keeping it. Then she looked over to his side of the photo. His brown hair was an attractive mess, his brown eyes held that look of lazy satisfaction (and love. Always love, she thought), but what always stopped her in her tracks was his smile. He was always smiling. When he was happy, sad, content, in pain, always. It was one of the things she loved about him. He was an optimist through and through. She smiled and turned to leave the room. For some reason that was the only picture of him that she could look at without crying. She closed the door behind her and walked downstairs.
It was still early, which explained why the house was quiet. Otherwise her parents and younger brothers would have been up having breakfast. Her family had treated her like a leper ever since Alex's death. They avoided making eye contact with her and on the occasions they did talk to her they were always short concise sentences. It wasn't bad enough that she had lost her boyfriend, but now her family too?
She grabbed an apple off the table and walked out the back door. She closed it behind her and made sure it was locked. She took a bite out of the apple, more to hear the sound of it rather than the fact that she was hungry. The morning air was too quiet, even the birds seemed to be far off in the distance. Allison shivered against the autumn wind and reached for the dog tags around her neck. Alex had given them to her back when they first started dating and she had never let them get too far from her ever since. Autumn had been Alex's favorite time of year. She fought back the lump in her throat and started walking. She figured that a walk in the woods would help clear her head. It always had in the past.
She had always liked the woods, it was a place of peace and order and fall had brought out a beautiful array of leaves. The leaves crunched under her shoes as Allison walked in between the trees. For so long she had been afraid of the woods behind her house, but after Alex had taken her walking through them she had become steadily more at ease with them. Now they were almost like an old friend that could commiserate with her. She took a deep breath and let the cool air fill her lungs taking in the smells around her. Nature had always been beautiful to her; it had just taken a little push to get her out into it. She took another bite of the apple and kept walking.
Thoughts of her and Alex flashed through her mind as she walked. So much had happened in these woods. Their first kiss behind an old pine tree, the stump where they had been when he first told her he loved her. She chuckled as she walked past the tree he had fallen out of while trying to show off. She could still remember the scene like it was yesterday.
"Babe get down your gonna hurt yourself!" she called.
Alex just chuckled and climbed higher on another branch. "You're kidding right, I'm a pro at this."
Allison shook her head. "Babe I'm asking nicely, please?" she pleaded.
Alex laughed harder then. "What, do you think I'm gonna fall or…" before he could say the next word the branch in front of him broke and he lost his footing.
He fell down and hit the ground hard and just lay there for a moment. Allison was about to run over and check on him until he started laughing.
"Owww." He moaned still laughing.
"Well babe I warned you didn't I?" Allison chuckled leaning down to kiss him on the mouth.
Allison felt a tug around her neck and felt the dog tags snap open and fall to the ground. She quickly turned and saw them slid into a pair of bushes and she quickly dove in after it. She wasn't going to lose those dog tags no matter what.
She pushed the bushes aside and climbed through searching the ground for them. She finally came out the other side and looked around. She was in a part of the woods that she and Alex had never explored. Allison slowly stood up and saw the dog tags lying in the center of a clearing surrounded by a circle of trees.
"Now how the hell did you get over there?" she asked walking towards them.
She stopped in the middle of the clearing and picked of the dog tags and making sure they were safely back around her neck. Luckily they had only popped out and nothing had broken. She breathed a sigh of relief. She was about to head back home when she noticed that all of the trees had a pattern.
The one in front of her had a large painted Easter Egg on it, another had a large bight green Christmas tree, but the one that really got her attention was the one with a large Pumpkin on it. All of the doors had shiny gold knobs like a door handle. She walked over to the pumpkin on and wrapped her hand around the knob. Allison tried to turn it, but it wouldn't budge. She sighed, Halloween had been Alex's favorite time of year and the door reminded her strongly of Halloween.
She shrugged and turned to leave when she heard the door open behind her. Before she could turn she felt a thick vine like object wrap around her waist. She looked down and saw that it was pure black. Another one wrapped around her arms and she was swept off her feet and into the door. She saw with horror as it shut behind her and then everything went black.