We moved here, March 1995, on St. Patrick's Day to a little cul-de-sac. A dead end area surrounded by four houses, the street ended at a big, thick wooded area. None of us know how long they've been here, but neither of us have ever gone venturing into the woods. We would only stand at the entrance and see how far we could see.
But at night, we would only gaze from afar in the driveway. The woods were dark at night, so we would never see anything in the darkness. Late at night, around midnight, I would listen to the soothing sounds outside my window. And would usually turn out the lights in my room and gaze out the window to stare at the woods, seeing nothing at all.
However, I would sometimes hear the howling of wolves and other things, while also hearing what I believed to be yelling out there. But I was never curious enough to check out my window. I just sat next to it and listened at the desk. As for me, I didn't like the dark. Not that I was afraid of the dark or anything, I just liked to listen to soothing music at night, with an acceptable volume of course. The music drowned out the cries and howls of woodland creatures, however the voices I'd hear could still be heard over the music either way. But as curious as I was, it wasn't enough to make me want to go into the woods anyway, and I was probably the only one who really heard these sounds. But it did make me wonder though.
One late afternoon, one of our neighbor had gone wondering into the woods looking for items that had been dumped out there, as he was a collector. And he would always tell us that one person's trash, was another person's treasure. And when he would return, he would always have a story to tell. One day though, he came out of the woods talking about a nice, perfectly well-crafted wardrobe that he had found in the meadow. At this time, I wasn't aware that we even had a meadow. But then again, I had never, or even planned to, set foot out in the woods anyway. Our neighbor liked the wardrobe he had found, and wanted it, but unfortunately he didn't have room for it. And everyday so far, he would go out there to see if it was still there.
But one evening, our neighbor went out there seeking the wardrobe, but he didn't return, and his wife had told us that his side of the bed had remained cold from not being slept on. The police did a full search of the entire area for two full weeks, but never found any traces of our missing neighbor at all, almost as if he simply vanished into thin air. The search went on for another month or two, until one of the detective's dog picked up the scent trail around where the wardrobe still stood, no surprise there. Our neighbor was always near that old piece of furniture; they even found some old footprints near the wardrobe, except they stopped at the wardrobe door but weren't found anywhere else.
The air grew cold as the leaves begin to fall. I gazed out of my window as gray clouds covered the sky. Winter was coming, and the weatherman had said that it was going to snow. This made me excited as any child would be, since snow days were what every young child always looked forward to, as it meant that there would be no school. It meant the same for me, but I wasn't thinking about being out of school; I was thinking about our neighbor. I couldn't believe that the police officers would just decide to call off the search.
However I found the story they told to be, strange. How could the footprints just vanish? I couldn't really believe the story they told, no one did anyway but they accepted it and moved on, but I wasn't going to just accept it and move on. Something happened to our neighbor, and when I went to play in the snow, I was going to go and take a closer look at the wardrobe.
Opening the blinds, I sit by my window and watch the snowfall while I drink hot chocolate. The snow was sticking and it looked deep, and the neighborhood kids were already out making a snowman. As for me, I was waiting until my parents came home from work. I wasn't going out in the snow until they were home. I just felt better about being outside in the snow knowing they were there, especially since I still had plans to go and check out that wardrobe that was out in the woods.
Around 5:00 my parents arrive home from work, so I grab my coat and went out to greet them, a minute later my dad records me with the video cam for a few minutes as the batteries were low. They allow me to continue playing in the snow while they were inside getting a fire going and cook dinner, I realize now that this was my chance and head towards the woods. This would be the first time I'd ever set foot in them since I moved here, so I was sure to leave pile of sticks and rocks as markers so that I could find my way back. The woods look more inviting then before with the ice hanging from the branches and the snow glittering like diamonds on the forest floor, and I got chills as I continued farther.
Eventually I finally discover the wardrobe, and I got more chills as I got a closer look. There were strange carvings on the wardrobe, with mythical creatures and some kind of large cat, which looked like somebody had been carving over it, my neighbor perhaps? Reaching out, I grab hold of the knob with shaky fingers. I did not know why I felt nervous. It was just a wardrobe, right? Ignoring the butterflies in my stomach, I open the wardrobe and peer inside, surprised to find nothing but darkness. It was strange, I thought, where was the interior within the wardrobe? There is nothing inside, nothing but a dark void.
I feel I should turn back, but at the same time, I want to know what had happened to my neighbor so I step into the dark abyss of the wardrobe's interior. Oddly enough, I step out into what looks to be another wooded area except now, snow appeared to be just covering the ground. And turning to glance back inside the wardrobe, I could see the area I had just come form, still covered in snow.
It was then I figured out what had happened: I somehow have entered another realm through the wardrobe and maybe our neighbor did to.
I feel as if I should be excited about this, but I wasn't for some strange reason. Continuing on my journey I soon come across, what looked like some sort of lamppost and decided to get a closer look. Studying it more, I realized that it was actually rooted into the ground. But as I explore farther, I am surprised when I come across some statues that are scattered around in different poses. Most of them appear to be animals, there is even a large lion that looks like it is ready to pounce. As I study each of the statues, I am surprised to see almost human-like expressions frozen on all their faces, and the lion statue appears to be really sad with frozen tears running down its face, too.
I feel sad looking at all of them, almost like they were once alive. But then, out of the corner of my eye, I see another statue among the animals and turn my head. At this moment, I feel horrified when I recognize the frozen monument. It is my missing neighbor from across the street, stuck in a frightening, pleading pose. And he has tears that are engraved into the stone itself, much like the other statues.
At that moment I hear what sounds like the jingling of bells, heading towards where I am. As the jingling got louder, I was already running back towards the lamppost and the wardrobe, too scared to look back. Whatever or whoever it was, I don't want to stick around and find out. Whatever it was that was coming probably had something to do with those statues, and I don't want to end up the same way. I don't know whether or not the jingling is following me, but it had gotten louder and I could now hear snarling right behind me and ran faster.
Finding the wardrobe again, I run inside and stumble back out into the snow covered woods, shutting the door behind me quickly. I gather my strength and hurry home, surprisingly nothing has really happened since I left, but my dad comes out to me just as I open the door to tell me that the trash collector would be coming tomorrow, and to tell me that I needed to get to bed. But throughout the night I was unable to sleep, every time I close my eyes I see the statues of those animals, that lion as well as our neighbor. All of them with engraved tears frozen on their faces, just thinking about it brought tears to my eyes too.
I awoke the next day to the sound of a garbage truck, and looking out my window I am very stunned to see the wardrobe being put in with the rest of the garbage in the truck. However, I feel very relieved as I'm watching it drive away, never again would I see that wardrobe ever again. And I've already made up my mind not to tell anybody what I've experienced. I doubt that they would believe me. It seemed like a dream almost, a dream that I never want to have again.