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The Miller Woods is a vast, mysterious forest that has claimed untold numbers of victims. At fourteen years old, Cory Dunn spent a night lost among its trees and was driven mad by whatever he witnessed there. Now, two years later, he’s finally ready to rejoin society…but will his new friends draw him back toward the horrors that await all who dare enter Miller Woods?

Age Rating: 18+

 

Attached by June D. Silver is now available to read on the Galatea app! Read the first two chapters below, or download Galatea for the full experience.

 


 

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1

Summary

The Miller Woods is a vast, mysterious forest that has claimed untold numbers of victims. At fourteen years old, Cory Dunn spent a night lost among its trees and was driven mad by whatever he witnessed there. Now, two years later, he’s finally ready to rejoin society…but will his new friends draw him back toward the horrors that await all who dare enter Miller Woods?

Age Rating: 18+

Original Author: June D. Silver

Cory

Monday, September 5th, 2016

There’s an excited tension in the air that I do not get. How can anyone be excited about the first day of school? The first day of a year. Early mornings, long days, endless homework-assignments.

Graduating. Ugh.

As I zigzag through the crowd of excited and way too cheerful people I can’t help but not share that feeling at all. It isn’t helping me that I’m not a morning person, at all. I’ve never been one, and I never will be.

I love the peace that the night brings. When most people are asleep, only people like me are still awake, not at all bothering each other.

But as it seems, most students around me are actually excited to go back to school again. Maybe they’re excited to see their friends again, and it’s pretty much the only thing I’m excited about too.

My girlfriend Annika came back after a four-week long vacation and it’s probably the longest I’ve ever been without her, since prior to her vacation overseas, I spent three weeks in the burning sun in Africa.

I still can’t believe dad thought we would think it would be fun to join him on one of his safari trips, visiting the wildlife, and with that, the sick animals he treats as a volunteer-vet in other countries.

Thank god he never wanted to move there, I wouldn’t be able to survive too long without my friends.

It’s been seven damn weeks since I saw my girlfriend and it’s solely the reason I’m in school early, else I wouldn’t have cared if I would’ve arrived a couple of minutes late.

Nobody gets sent out for being late on the first day of school anyway.

But as my eyes found her long ginger-coloured hair, a smile broke onto my face and all annoyance dissipated. My mood is gone like snow in the sun.

“Come here you…” I grumble in her ear as I put my arms around her, swirling her around in my arms.

Her giggle is like music in my ear, and the sweet smell of her skin reminds me of vanilla. The feelings this girl gives me are indescribable.

I can’t put them in words. It’s as if my heart explodes every thud of my heartbeat as I look into her bright green eyes, that look at me amused.

“Hi Siddey.” She hums, leaning in to connect our lips in an ever so sweet kiss.

“I missed you so much.” I mutter, leaning my forehead against hers, while keeping her close to me and in my arms.

“Ah, pooh bear, I missed you too.” She pecks another kiss on my lips. “Dad suggested you’d join us for our next vacation, because I was moody way too much because I missed you.”

I chuckle and nod with a smirk. “Same goes for my parents. Mom nearly killed me for my moods. She asked if I couldn’t book a ticket to go after you.”

“Okay, that’s enough.” Davy, Annika’s brother and my best friend, pulls her out of my arms, to replace spot with himself for a brotherly hug. “There’s another Bray that missed you.”

I can’t help but laugh loudly, slapping him on his back before shoving him aside. “Yeah, I missed your ugly face too, Dave.”

I pull Annika back at my side, putting my arm around her shoulders proudly.

“Oh, Siddey.” She turns to look at me. “Mom wants to know if you’re coming over for dinner this Thursday. It’s her birthday and she would love for you to join us.”

“Of course I will.” I nuzzle my face into the croak of her neck. “Any second I get to spend with you, is better than anything else.”

“Iew, get a room, perverts.” Amber’s annoyingly high voice sounds right beside my other ear, but it’s causing a smile on my face nonetheless.

“Amber, baby!” I call out, pulling her in a hug with my other arm. “What’s wrong? Want to smooch a bit yourself?” I wiggle my eyebrows, causing her to scrunch her nose in disgust.

“No, Sid! Gross.” She pushes herself away from me with a chuckle. “I’m sorry, you’re all cute and whatnot. But I prefer girls, remember.”

“Well, luckily you’re no threat.” I smirk, sitting down on the bench that we claimed four years ago, as our bench.

Annika claims her spot on my lap, putting her arms around my neck to give me another kiss.

“Let’s agree they’re allowed to be clingy one day,” Edward’s voice sounds amused as he walks closer. “And after that, the girls get to hit Annika whenever they’re too clingy, and Dave and I get to beat up Sid’s pretty face.”

“No!” Annika puts her hands on my cheeks, as if trying to protect my face. “No hitting Sid in the face.”

“Not in the face?” I frown while she pushes my face together, making me pout unwillingly. “How About no-atall?” I murmur, right before she pecks a kiss on my pouting lips, releasing my face again.

“One day, to make up for seven weeks of separation.” She winks.

“So, your place, or mine?” I wink, causing her face to flush.

“Sid!” She slaps my chest teasingly. “Don’t be disgusting.”

“What? Making love is not disgusting!”

“You know the rule, Sid.” She giggles. “No talking about it in public,” She whispers, before kissing my neck teasingly. “Mine, parents are out until late.”

“O! My! God!” Amara comes running towards us, flopping down on her place in between Edward and me on the bench.

Causing our personal Triple A to be reunited; Annika, Amber and Amara. The three are best friends and thanks to my friendship with Davy, I met Annika. Edward and Amara met because he became friends with me.

She quickly pecks a kiss on Edward’s cheek, before she looks back at us again. “You won’t believe who I just saw!”

“The most beautiful girl, after four weeks?” I frown, sending a look towards Annika, and lastly to Davy. “The Bray’s are back.”

“Oh, right!” She jumps up, quickly hugging both of them, causing us to laugh. Amara can be slightly hyperactive.

And she loves to gossip.

“Who did you see?”

“Cory Dunn.” She nods, seemingly sure of herself.

“Don’t make things up.” Annika slaps her softly. “Cory Dunn is… you know?” She turns a finger at the side of her head, indicating he is nuts. “It’s nothing to make fun of, really.”

“No! I’m not making things up! He’s in school. I saw him when I went to pick up my locker key.”

“Oh, shit.” I slap my own face. “I forgot to rent one.”

“There’s still tons available, just head over to Quinten during lunch break.” She shrugs. “Anyway…”

“You saw Cory Dunn.” Davy crosses his arms. “What’s he doing here?”

“He’s in our class. I was curious as to what he was doing here, and they told him he’s in our class. He’s joining school again.”

“But, isn’t he…” Annika repeats the movement of turning her finger in little circles, causing Amara and Amber to roll their eyes, while Davy, Edward and I can’t hold back a chuckle.

“I guess he’s better now.”

“Do you think he’s willing to tell what happened?” My eyes widened. “Maybe we can finally find out what is in The Miller Woods.”

“You and your mysteries.” Davy shakes his head, though he is definitely curious as to what is in the woods anyway.

It wasn’t a simple story of a child getting lost in the woods, spending a night in there.

Cory Dunn came running out, screaming, crying, terrified of something. Nobody was able to calm him down; not even his mom.

One story says he was hunted by a rapist, another says he was hunted by wolves. But all stories are sure of one thing; Cory Dunn went nuts and he was taken to a psychiatric ward two towns over.

And he repeatedly cried out that he wanted “it”to leave him alone.

Nobody ever found out what really happened.

And now, Cory Dunn is back.

 

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2

Sid

Tuesday, September 13th, 2016

“Don’t be mean.” Amber pushes Annika out of her way, walking over towards Cory, who just dropped a stack of papers.

Annika, Davy and I couldn’t help but laugh as his eyes grew wide and he kept muttering to “go away, not now”. He forgot about the papers for a second, staring at the wall in shock, but then he kneeled down to grab the papers.

Amara helps him stack them, handing the ones she collected to him as they both get up.

“Thanks, Amara,” he whispers insecurely.

“No problem.” She smiles. “Why don’t you come and join us for lunch?”

“Am!” Annika hisses, gesturing for her to come closer.

She rolls her eyes, pulling Cory with her. “He’s joining us for lunch, okay?”

“What?” I pull up my nose. “Really?”

“Yes, really.” She sends me a displeased look, gesturing to Cory to follow her, which he reluctantly does. But not without sending us an apologetic look. At least he knows he isn’t welcome. At least he feels sorry for it.

“There’s another dent in my rep…” Davy grumbles, before heading outside too.

“Like you had a reputation to begin with!” I call after him, before Annika and I laugh because he flips me off.

“Maybe we should give Cory a chance. Amara worked with him during Chemistry and he seems to be really nice. And smart. We could use a smart guy in the group.”

“Hey!” I pull her closer, tickling her teasingly. “I’m smart!”

“No! No tickling! Sid! Seriously! Stop it!” She tries to pry my tickling hands off her, to no avail. I’m stronger and she knows. “I beg you! Mercy, Sid.”

“Okay, but only because I know you think I’m smart anyway.”

“Oh, so, smart.” She takes in a couple of deep breaths, before allowing me to pull her in my arms, kissing her on her lips.

“I’m smart, because I fell for you, which is smart, huh?”

She giggles, putting her hands around my neck to reconnect our lips. “I love you, Sid.” She whispers as her lips leave mine. “We've been together for three years.”

“I know, I’m planning a great date.” I tell her sweetly, smiling happily as I take in her beautiful face. She might not be flawless to most people, but to me, she is.

She’s not the skinniest girl, not to say she’s overweight, but not skinny either. But I love how she fits perfectly in my hold.

Her ginger hair is curly, and I know for a fact it can be really messy and untameable at times, but then she puts it in a bun and the few strands of hair that manage to escape during the bike ride to school make her look cute.

Her bright green eyes always seem to sparkle, and I love how her skin is light and how she hates the sun because she easily gets sunburned. I’m not the biggest fan of summer either, so it’s something we have in common.

The freckles on her skin make her one of a kind. She isn’t a girl that uses tons of makeup, just some mascara or whatever.

She doesn’t prance around in tiny skirts or hot pants, she wears decent clothes that make her look more of an adult. She’s sophisticated, yet casual at times.

Annika is just Annika, and it’s exactly what I like about her.

“Want to join the rest? And Cory?” I ask her after shutting my locker with a push of my hand. I turn the key while entwining our fingers, guiding her towards the door to go outside for some much-needed fresh air.

As we walk up to the rest, I notice that Davy, Edward and Amber seem to be a bit uncomfortable with Cory in their presence, but still, it doesn’t seem too weird while he’s casually talking to Amara.

“Give him a chance, okay?”

“I will, I promise.” I nod in agreement, deciding on sitting next to Cory to show her that I meant it.

She sits down on my other side, leaning her head on my shoulder in content. “I love how it’s not too hot, not too sunny, but bright enough…” She tells us with a small smile on her face.

“We should go swimming soon.” Amber suggests. “We haven’t been together with the whole group in seven weeks and we haven’t hung out with the six of us ever since school started.”

“Seven.” Amara nods towards Cory. “Cory should join us when we hang out.”

Davy rolls his eyes, Edward awkwardly looks away while pretending not to pay attention, and I shrug.

“Cory can join us, but then he has to take some stuff too.”

“What stuff?” Cory frowns, but he seems a bit relieved I did agree with Amara to let him join.

“You know, alcohol, or snacks, or spliffs.” Annika sums up casually. “And a good mood, which is compulsory.”

“I don’t drink or smoke.” Cory looks at me as if he tries to see if I dislike that fact about him.

“Why not?”

“I’m not allowed to drink with… my meds…”

“What meds do you take?” Amara politely shows interest, though I have the idea Cory isn’t excited about telling us stuff about that.

“Uh…” He drawls.

“Is it because of what happened?” Davy asks without looking up from his phone. “Like, loony-meds?”

Cory swallows, his face flushing, suddenly very uncomfortable.

“You can’t just ask that.” I snap at Davy, kicking him under the table, causing him to yelp. “That’s really immature and impolite.”

“As if you care, dipshit.” Davy mutters, rubbing his shin with a painful look on his face. “I’m just curious. He started about the meds himself.”

“To explain why he doesn’t drink.” Amara bites at him. “Jeez, Dave, grow up. No wonder you can’t get a girl to like you.”

“It’s okay,” Cory tells us before sighing deeply. “They think I’m… a loony. So, I have to take meds that keep me sane.” He explains.

“They think you’re loony, but you disagree?” Annika frowns. “They did explain why they want you to take the meds, right?”

“I know what I saw.” Cory suddenly snaps in anger. “They can tell me all I want, I’m not crazy.”

“So…” I drawl, lolling my head a bit. “What is it that you saw?”

“It doesn’t matter.” He tells me in a defensive manner. “It’s in the past and I want to keep it there.”

“That’s so mysterious. People think you got raped.” Davy leans on his arm, seemingly a bit bored because Cory isn’t giving us any intel.

“Guys, we’re not talking about that. Cory doesn’t even know us.”

“I wasn’t raped. And I didn’t see any wolves. And I didn’t see a murder happen.” He debunks some of the rumours that started to make their appearance again since he showed up in school last week.

“Those stories are based on guesses. It’s not true.”

“Then tell what did happen, and people will stop gossiping about it.”

“They’ll think I’m crazy if I do so.” Cory shakes his head. “It’s in the past, now drop it.”

“People already think you’re crazy.” Edward tells him matter-of-factly, finally turning to look at Cory. He gets a slap from Amara, scowling in return. “What did I do? I just told him the truth.”

“I don’t think he’s crazy.”

“Neither do I.” I shrug. “I’m just curious by nature.”

“Then go and see for yourself.” Cory snaps at me, getting up from his seat. “I don’t want to talk about it.”

“Yeah, funny guy. They fenced the woods. Nobody is allowed in…” Davy rolls his eyes in annoyance.

’…or out.” Amber mutters. “We tried.”

“You shouldn’t.” Cory sighs, sitting back down. “I started having… nightmares. And I never feel as if I’m alone. I can’t explain it. I can’t sleep without the medication, and even then, it’s hard to go to sleep.

The dark is my enemy and I’m scared shitless half of the time. Trust me on this, you shouldn’t even want to go into those.

***

“We have to find a way to get in those woods,” Davy tells me as soon as he caught up to me running the compulsory laps during soccer practise.

“Forget about it Dave, not going to happen.” I shake my head shortly, before focussing back on my breathing, and mostly controlling it.

“But dude, you love a good thriller.”

I nod in agreement, smirking at the thought of actually finding a way to get into those woods.

We should’ve sneaked in years ago, when the fence around it wasn’t finished yet. When they still had guards invigilated the direct surroundings.

But we weren’t even 15 back then, too young to be allowed to go out late at night. And during the day, it was too easy to be spotted by trying to get in.

Believe me, we tried.

We used different tactics, like playing soccer close by, kicking the ball into the woods. When we wanted to go in “to pick it up”, they told us to get lost. The ball is still in there somewhere.

We tried to let the dog of our neighbours run in, but the coward stopped at the edge of the forest, refusing to run further.

I tried to tell them I lost my non-existing baby-sister and that she might’ve ran into the forest, but they simply called my parents to ask about a baby-sister. We got a fine and a firm warning to beat it.

And with every attempt, we saw the fence getting closer and closer to fully build up. And then, one morning, I drove by on my way to school and suddenly it was finished.

Now the fence is about five meters in height, there’s power on the fence, there’s barbed wire on top and behind it. There’s no way you can easily sneak in, before the guards would be there to find you trying to get in.

We even considered to dig a tunnel, but since we had no idea how to not end up getting buried alive, we let that plan sail, admitting defeat.

But Cory Dunn showing up in class made our long-desired dream light up again.

We want in, no matter what.

I might not be too excited about it, but it’s simply because I don’t want to get my hopes up too high.

“Sid, we have to find a way. Cory’s not going to give in.”

“I don’t even want him to give in.” I answer in annoyance. “If he doesn’t want to talk about it, then stop asking him about it.”

Davy had been bugging Cory about it nearly the entire day. Eventually, Cory left us because he rather sat alone, then having to deal with whiny Davy.

Amara got angry, which lead to Annika being annoyed because Amara chose Cory over us, and then she refused to hang out because I didn’t instantly pick her side in their trivial fight.

Girls…

“It’ll ruin all the fun once we get in the woods. If we ever get in, and we already know what scared him, it won’t be as fun anymore.”

“But we’re never getting in the woods, you said so yourself.”

“I’m not saying never, just not soon. Maybe when we’re a little older. Maybe when one of us is rich enough, we can go skydiving, landing in the forest on purpose…” I bring up one of our old, fantasized ideas.

Davy chuckles and shrugs. “Well, let’s try and graduate first, huh?”

“Ugh. Graduation.”

“Hey, we have months left. Don’t worry.”

“I don’t. I just don’t like the idea of graduating. Real life will start after graduation.”

“I thought you hated high school.”

“I hate college even more, I think. Think about having to work to pay rent and whatnot.”

“Oh, dude. Way to ruin the mood.” He hits me in my shoulder right before we stop running as we finished the laps. “I will come up with an idea to get in.”

“Fine, let me know when you came up with a realistic plan.”

“How about buying a huge trampoline and jump over?” Edward appears next to me, chuckling over his own stupid idea.

“And break our legs when landing. Sounds like a solid plan.” I laugh along with him, shaking my head in the same time. “We could crawl our way through the forest, people will for sure think we’re crazy then.”

“Most people that know about our obsession of getting into the forest already think we’re crazy.” Davy shrugs his shoulders, simultaneously telling us he doesn’t care what others think about it.

“Did we see it right? Did you guys hang out with Cory Dunn during lunch?” Joseph and his best friend Geronimo stop by our sides. “Is he as crazy as people say? You know, talks to himself, or to nobody in particular.”

“Amara is adamant about making him feel welcome,” Edwards grumbles annoyed, since it’s his girlfriend who forced Cory’s company upon us.

“We haven’t caught him talking to himself or whatever.” I shrug it off. “He seems kinda nice though. I didn’t mind him hanging out with us.”

But in all honesty, I really want him to at least give a hint about what happened to him, so I know whether or not to let the wish to get into the forest die out or not.

Little did I know that faith is about to help us a hand to give us exactly what we want.

 

Read the full uncensored books on the Galatea iOS app!

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