Tales from Cabin Eight: The Witch in the Woods
Author's Note: This story takes place after Tales
From Cabin Eight: The Creature in the Cabin from Issue 225. You don't need
to read that story first, but it is recommended. Happy reading!
Life at Camp Scary was getting normal (well, as normal
as life at a haunted summer camp could be). After the first encounter with the
Spyder a week ago, the quartet had completely Spyder-proofed the cabin, cleaning
it as they went along. After a few hours' work, Hank, Sara, Marcus, and Haley
had made their home almost livable. It barely looked the same.
Mrs. Feign still didn't believe the children.
There was no evidence to convince her. She simply could not be swayed, no matter
how much the foursome argued with her. What's worse, she didn't trust them at
all anymore. She was suspicious of anything and everything that came out of
The disappearance of the Spyder was still on
the minds of the children. It didn't make sense at all. How could the Spyder
have disappeared right out of the cabin? Its feet were glued to a web! There
was no way it could have escaped from the trap they had caught it in. As they
cleaned up their cottage, Hank dwelled on the Spyder nonstop. He could not get
the picture of the menacing Spyder looming over him.
"Do you think someone helped it escape?" the
white Kougra asked out of the blue while they were returning from the mess hall.
Sara and Haley were discussing the disgusting food, but stopped immediately.
"Oh, Hank, we've been over this already! We don't
know what happened! Let's just drop it, ok?" Sara, a red Zafara, snapped.
"No! I want to know more about it. It's just
so mysterious!" he said, more to himself than the group.
"I don't want to talk about that monster," Marcus,
a Draik the color of the night sky, whimpered. Just the thought of it still
terrified him. "Can't we talk about something else? Like what's happening somewhere
else than here?"
"Maybe he's still in the forest," Hank said,
oblivious that the others had changed topics. He began to think of a plan to
search for the Spyder. The creature could cause too much terror if it ever returned,
Hank thought to himself. And if no one else around him wanted to help, he'd
just have to do it himself. As he thought about it even more, he realized that
going by himself would let him stand out-which he wanted more than anything.
Hank silently plotted out his ideas, and decided that he would do it that night.
The night was wild at Camp Scary. It swallowed
the day like a beast, consuming all light and transforming the landscape into
terrifying, mutilated shadows. Hank slipped out of the cabin as quietly as possible,
avoiding the creaking floorboard by Haley's bed. The door had a slight squeak,
but Hank did his best to reduce the sound. Once he had left Cabin Eight, he
snuck past the other cabins and the mess hall and stole into the woods.
Once he had entered the forest, he came to a
problem. He had no idea whatsoever where to look, or even what he was looking
for. The forest was huge, and he didn't want to get lost in it, for that was
a worse fate even than being eaten by a Spyder. Who knew what things were deep
in the Haunted Woods? Hank didn't want to be the one to find out.
As he glanced around, his eyes rested on a large
stick with a pointed end. Picking it up, he realized he could make a mark on
the trees he passed. That way, he'd have a path leading him right back to the
camp. Feeling quite the genius, he scratched a star shape on the nearest gnarled
tree, the bark flaking off easily.
Hank ventured further into the forest, stopping
every now and then to make a mark. He looked around for any sign of the Spyder,
but could find nothing. He began to think that maybe it did just disappear.
After all, weirder things had happened.
And then he saw it. It was a small cottage, only
slightly bigger than his cabin. It was oval shaped, with a miniscule chimney
churning smoke out of it. The fire flickered through the windows, casting an
eerie shine onto the trees around it. In fact, the plants itself seemed to be
on fire. Hank was captivated. He stepped closer to it, eyes still fixed to the
When he reached the front door, he stopped. He
wanted to see what was inside, but he was also slightly afraid. He had heard
the stories before, of a hut in the middle of the woods. In all of the stories,
only evil comes out of the cottages. "But," Hank thought to himself, "if I'm
going to be a hero, I need to get over my fears of cottages." So he knocked
on the door and waited for a response.
It came almost instantaneously. There was a clatter
on the inside, and a woman was shouting angrily. Hank heard footsteps draw closer
to the door, and it burst open suddenly. Standing in front of him was a stooped
old Acara, her face mutated and body skinny and fragile.
"What do you want?" she asked grumpily.
"Oh… I was just looking for a giant Spyder. See,
this Spyder attacked our cabin at Camp Scary, and after we defeated it, it disappeared.
So, I came to find it. Have you seen it?"
The Acara looked at him strangely. "So… you're
from that camp, eh?"
Hank nodded. The woman was scary, but Hank could
have imagined something much worse opening the door. He was somewhat relieved
to see just an old hermit and not anything else.
"And you say a Spyder attacked you?" she said,
her expression unreadable. Hank nodded again. The Acara stared at him, her eyes
boring into his. He glanced away. She was making him nervous.
After about a minute of silence, the Acara stepped
away from the door. "Would you like some tea? The water's only just been boiled,"
He uneasily entered the hut. Tea sounded really
good, no matter how creepy the lady was. He looked around. There were many dusty
bottles and beakers, covered with cobwebs, and there was a cauldron on the far
side. In the middle, a grand fire was burning, the smoke flowing through the
small hole in the ceiling.
The Acara handed Hank a mug of tea and motioned
for him to sit in what looked like a comfy chair. Hank could've sworn the chair
wasn't there just moments ago, but it felt good to sit down nonetheless. As
he sipped his tea, the woman eyed him curiously.
"So, how do you like that camp?" she asked.
"Not much, actually. It's too spooky for me,"
Hank cautiously replied. The woman began to give off an eerie aura again.
"Do you find my home spooky?" she questioned.
"A bit, yes," he said, feeling incredibly honest
for some reason. "So, do you know anything about the Spyder?"
The Acara gazed at Hank a bit longer. "I must
confess that I do."
"You do?" he asked excitedly. "What do you know?"
"That I conjured it," she said simply.
"W-what?" Hank inquired.
"I conjured him, with my wand. Didn't you know
I was a witch? I thought it was obvious," she said, a grin forming on her wrinkled
"You're a witch?!" Hank yelped, beginning to
hate ever coming in here.
"Aye, I am, and I'm sure glad you came in here.
I was needing someone to replenish my potion ingredients," she said, her evil
smile stretched across her face. She flicked her finger towards Hank, and suddenly
he was tied up in the chair.
The next morning, Sara awoke with a start. It
was barely light outside, as there was only a bit of light shining through the
crack in the door. As she regained consciousness, she realized the crack in
the door was what woke her up. She distinctly remembered shutting and locking
the door last night, so it either meant someone had broken in, or one of her
cabin mates had left. When she glanced around, she found it was the latter.
Hank was missing. She immediately called to Haley and Marcus.
"Guys, wake up!" she said, pulling her clothes
on quickly. "Hank's gone!"
Marcus groaned groggily and rolled over to face
"We need to find Hank! I think all that talk
about the Spyder may have gone to his head."
"Can't it wait twenty more minutes?" Marcus asked,
"No! He could be in danger," she said.
Haley was thinking about something Hank had said.
"I think he mentioned something about the forest last night. Maybe he went in
"If he did, he's dumber than I thought, and we
need to get moving."
The trio got dressed and left the cabin, walking
quickly into the forest, looking for any sign of Hank.
"See any footprints?"
They looked around for a few moments, but to
no avail. He seemed to have disappeared. Sara sighed and sat down. It was pointless
to go looking for someone in a forest as big as this one, and it was stupid
of Hank to go in here in the first place. The sun was now rising over the trees,
and as she looked up, she noticed a funny mark on the tree next to her. Standing
up, she examined it further. It was a simple star scratched into the bark.
She looked around to the other trees and noticed
the same shape on a few other trees. In fact, it looked like a line of trees.
"Guys! I think Hank left us a pathway!" she said
She followed the marked trees and ventured further
into the forest in pursuit of the dummy she called Hank.
Hank sat in the comfortable chair, the ropes
binding him beginning to constrict his breathing. He watched the old Acara bustle
about, preparing for the charms and spells she was going to cast. She pulled
her cauldron to the center of the room and set it on the roaring flame, which
wasn't helping Hank feel any more comfortable as it was now rather warm in the
room. He silently wished he hadn't played the hero.
"Are you ready, young man?" the witch asked creepily.
Hank struggled with the ropes, but it was futile.
He was stuck. And about to be made into potions, no less. The witch flicked
her finger and the chair began to levitate towards the cauldron. Hank began
He was just about to drop into the pot when the
door burst open. "Stop!" Sara shouted as she ran in with Haley and Marcus on
The Acara turned around suddenly, and Hank was
flung across the room, still tied to the chair. He screamed, but it was muffled.
If the witch was surprised, she didn't show it.
Calmly, she said, "Well, hello there, children. I take it you are also from
Sara nodded. She glanced at Hank, who was lying
in the corner, the chair overturned. She frantically looked for a way to save
them. This would be the second time that she saved the group. She didn't want
to make a habit of it.
"So, would you like to join your friend here?"
the witch asked, putting on an overly sweet smile.
Marcus whimpered. He slid behind Haley and cowered,
which was difficult for him, considering he was twice as big as the Shoyru.
Haley, despite being frightened herself, silently reached back and clasped his
claw. Marcus relaxed a bit, Haley's arm comforting him greatly.
Meanwhile, Sara had formulated a plan. She inched
her way along the wall, all the while talking to the witch to keep her unsuspicious.
"So, Ms…er, Witch, why are you keeping Hank tied
up?" she asked casually, as if she knew this frightening woman all her life.
"Oh, I don't think we need to make small talk,
dearie. And get away from those potions!" the witch said, cackling. Sara sighed.
Oh well. It was worth a try.
"You three. Come here or I'll make you," the
Acara said, her sugary voice dropped. Silently, Sara, Haley, and Marcus came
"Now you'll do as I say, or your friend will
get it. You will leave here and never come back, got it? The Kougra is mine.
Don't expect to see him again. I've needed some dried Kougra paws, after all.
Now leave!" she screamed.
The threesome looked at each other fearfully,
and turned to leave. Hank's eyes widened. They weren't going to leave him, were
they? He struggled in the chair, his grunts muffled.
The three filed out of the cottage silently,
first Haley, then Marcus, and finally Sara. Just as the door was about to shut,
Sara turned around, her rosy red tail whipping through the air, and threw a
vial filled with a lime green liquid towards the witch. She screeched as the
potion hit the floor, exploding in a cloud of emerald smoke around the Acara.
Sara dashed back into the hut, blindly searching for Hank, for the smoke had
now expanded throughout the witch's home.
Sara found the chair where Hank was tied in.
She fumbled with the knots, but she was unable to untie them. She grabbed the
chair and dragged it through the cloud, searching for the door. Yelling for
help from Haley and Marcus, she pulled Hank through the small doorway and into
the forest. The Shoyru and Draik grabbed the chair, and together they dashed
away from the cottage, which by now had exploded in a burst of jade flames.
When they thought it was safe, they set the chair
down on the leaf-covered undergrowth and began to loosen the knots attaching
Hank to the chair. When they removed the cloth in his mouth, he gasped and took
a few deep breaths.
"Thanks," he managed to say between the gasps.
"What the heck were you doing out there in the
first place?" Sara yelled.
"I… I wanted to find the Spyder," he said.
"Why? Was it really that big of a deal?" she
"No… I guess not, but it just bothered me, that's
all. I wanted to find it," Hank said. He didn't say that he really went in search
of the Spyder because he wanted to be the hero. He knew Sara would really blow
up if he said that.
"Well, don't do it again. I'm not going to save
your sorry butt next time," she said.
He nodded. He didn't want her to save him again
anyways. He'd be too embarrassed.
"So, did you find it?" she asked.
"Find what?" he replied, puzzled.
"The Spyder!" she said, exasperated.
"Oh! The witch sent it," he said, happy to know
something Sara didn't.
"Well, I don't think we'll be bothered by her
for a while," Marcus said happily. "Now, who's up for some lunch?" he asked,
his stomach rumbling loudly.
The group began the trip back to the camp, unaware
that someone was watching them a few yards back. The Acara left her hiding place
from behind the tree, and muttered to herself:
"On the contrary, little Draik. You will be bothered
by me for the rest of your time at that camp!" she said with a smirk on her
wrinkled face. She turned to return to the wreckage that was her home. She needed
to plan out her next attack on the foursome that had ruined her plans twice,
and she'd do everything in her power to stop them.