It was a cold and rainy day with limited shelter to block the harsh weather. It had been nearly 4 days since Henry had last seen his town. With a lack of food and resources, his village had become desperate and sent the few men it had to explore the grounds considered to be in the "forbidden lands." Henry had heard many stories of the beasts that lurked outside and the dangers he may face in his quest for food, but his village meant more to him than anything. His family and other families depended on it. With unforgiving weather, it was essential to find the food needed to sustain the storm.
He trekked ahead, determined to find new grounds or havens for food. He had seen very few deer and even less berries and fruit to sustain even himself. The forbidden land seemed unforgiving and unlivable. It was no wonder why it had been declared as such. He continued to hack through the dense vegetation, his efforts and drive depleting with each swing until one swing showed no resistance from vegetation causing him to stumble forward with his momentum and land I his face. Agitated, he got up and threw his hatchet into the woods when he realized his odd surroundings. The land he was in appeared to be cleared and used for farming of some sort. There were many bushes blooming with fruit and other plants with vegetables. He must have been dreaming. This is exactly what his village needed.
Scanning the area, Henry searched for signs of other people. This was after all domestic food supply. Regardless, Henry reasoned he could steel some for now and then possibly bargain with them later and create trade. He walked over grabbing a handful of berries and began eating them noting how they tasted wonderful. While filling himself with the new found goods, Henry heard voices in the distance nearing his location. All of them were clearly feminine.
Realizing his odd predicament, Henry decided to hide, concluding his theft would be unwelcome by any person. After finding a bush that covered his frame, but allowed him to see, Henry ducked down and began spying for the incoming women. His goal was met as the head of one of the women became visible, followed by another, and then again, another. The three women were laughing and bantering with each other, each carry a basket with the intent of harvesting. They stopped at a distance from Henry and bent over, picking at plant and removing its goods. For thirty minutes the girls picked and picked while Henry remained motionless, watching from afar. All of them were white, with long blonde hair, wearing jackets and long pants with moccasin type shoes. After gathering enough food to fill their baskets, the three girls turned and began walking back in the direction from which they had come.
Henry hurried himself up, and quietly went in pursuit. If he could find their housing, he could better understand the community they lived in and he could grab one of the baskets. He continued to stalk them, keeping his distance to avoid detection. The weather made it difficult to see far with the fog blurring his surroundings, but eventually he spotted what appeared to be their house. It was rather large cabin that appeared isolated from anything else other than the farm. The three ladies entered, disappearing from his sight. It was dark, but he wasn't going to be able to simply sneak in and grab the food. He would need to wait until all the light in the house had been put out. Curling up, he grabbed a blanket for an extra layer and continued his watch on the house, waiting for the perfect moment.
Hours passed and it seemed the lights would never go out. But just as his hopes waned, some of the lights in rooms dissipated into darkness. Then finally the light near the the door went out. He waited fifteen more minutes before making his move. Dashing for the door, Henry stepped lightly careful not to wake anyone. As he approached the door, he noticed just how large it was, towering over twice his height, making it about 12 feet. What a bizarre construction he thought to himself. He grabbed onto the door handle, jiggling it open before cracking the door ajar, allowing him to slide inside. It was pitch black and he could barely see. Taking some cautious steps, Henry began searching for the basket of goods. He blindly walked around, with his hands as guides in front of him. Fortunately he reached a room where the moonlight seeped in through the windows, lighting the area. In the corner, a familiar form sat: it was the basket. As he bee-lined for the basket, it became apparent that everything in the house was large, not just the door. Just before reaching the basket, Henry heard footsteps from a nearby room. Panicking, he ducked into the darkest corner he could see and watched. A large form passed through the opening to his room before audibly shutting the front door. Henry listened as a bolt noise latched, meaning the person had most likely just locked it. As quickly as the person had come, the person trailed back to bed, passing the opening once more. Henry could see the face, but whoever it was seemed very tall. Almost impossibly tall, but the darkness must have been hindering his vision.
He quickly turned his attention back to the basket. Searching for a method to move it quietly, but it seemed like it was just going to require him to lift it. Planning his escape, he returned to the front, where he had entered, and attempted to open the door. It wouldn't budge. His heart pace quickened at the thought of being trapped here. As quietly as he could he searched around for another door. Nothing. There was an upstairs but he didn't want to push his luck with the creaky floor boards. Unsure of what to do next, he took a seat under a large table in the hall which was covered in silk that draped around it. Taking out his blanket he chose to close his eyes for a moment to restart his mind. After closing his eyes, he slowly and unintentionally drifted asleep.
Henry awoke startled from the loud noise. He looked around finding himself still under the table. He could hear there voices in the room across from him. "Shit!" He thought. He realized he must of fell asleep through the night and now found himself trapped in a house with unknown people. Lying his face onto the floor, Henry peered under the draped silk and searched for the women. His eyes settled on the moccasin boots he had seen before which stood before two other pairs of bare feet.
"Mah, I was out making rounds on the perimeter of the farm and found some odd footprints. They almost looked like boots, but they were so small. I'd never seen anything like it." The girl with the boots informed.
"Now Claire, what is the rule about shoes in the house! You know that's forsaken! What is our creed?" The mother fired back.
"I know, I know, I'm sorry I'll take them off."
"Yes you will, but remind me what our creed is, Claire!"
"We shall not betray the feet that carry us, the house that covers us, or the earth that feeds us. We will always keep our feet pure for our house and if we can, the earth, and lastly for us. Our feet are sacred and shall be cleaned and dressed appropriately at all times, for they are bearers of our burdens and work." She replied as though it was a recital.
"Good now take them off."
Henry watched as the boots turned in his direction and began walked towards him. They stopped just in front of the gap he was looking out from and she began unlacing them. The boots were huge. Much larger than any he had seen before. She then slid her foot from the boots, planting a pair of socked feet to the ground. One foot disappeared as she lifted it up. A sock dropped to the ground before a bare foot returned to the floor. Henry noticed something very odd about her toes however: they were painted. Each nail had been painted black which contrasted from her light skin. They were in fact extremely well groomed compared to any foot he had seen before. Almost exotic in a way. The other foot was freed from the sock before she took off back to the room.
"Okay, I'm done, but did you hear what I said?" Claire asked her mother.
A new soft voice spoke up, "You're probably just imagining it Claire. You seem to exaggerate a lot."
"Shut up Eve, it's true. We should let the others know."
"We aren't going to worry the community for a set of small footprints. That isn't worth it. Why don't you just track them and see where they went." Eve calmly retorted.
"I would have, but the rain from last night washed away some and I lost the trail."
"Girls, girls! We have work to do, so let's eat our breakfast and do our ritual so we can start!" The mother yelled.
Henry breathed a sigh of relief. He needed to get out of this house, but he also needed to grab some of the food. It seemed he would have to wait for the appropriate moment yet again.