“Another boy, another candle. Stay away from that cabin!”
“Wait, what?” Timmy asks the drunk man standing behind him. He was startled at first, and then continued unchaining his bike to head home. He had already forgotten the man’s name, most likely a nickname given to him by the other kids from the boys and girls club. That same drunk could be seen hanging around from time to time, and he was harmless, just another homeless man wandering around with a bottle of something that smelled awful, like the man himself. Timmy had always thought the man was creepy. 
On his ride home, just a few blocks from the club, the young boy thought about what the drunk had said. He knew the cabin he was referring to. It was a place of infamy, a rundown cabin in the middle of the woods. Nobody really knew how long it had been there or who the original owner was. Some said it was built by a grumpy old man who was furious when minorities started to migrate into the town, so upset he started to kill some of the kids that played around his property. Others said it was a witch, or a voodoo queen. The most famous story among the kids said it was built by a man with one red eye and one blue eye. The blue eye possessed the power of attracting a young kid to the cabin and, once he had the kid in his grasp, the red eye snatched the child’s soul. Timmy never admitted to anyone that he believed in that one the most, or how much it terrified him.
He chalked it up to another story parents tell their kids to keep them out of the woods. That made him feel better. Staying out of there was a caution to take seriously, though. Kids had disappeared within those trees. Twenty years ago, little Sammy Ryan was last seen walking into the woods by a homeless man, never to be seen again. The homeless man was obviously held as a suspect, but this new generation didn’t know what ever came of that. Timmy’s father knew Sammy; they had gone to school together. So, Timmy heard the story over and over again from his parents. His friends heard the same story from their parents. The point was to stay out of those woods. Even when all of the kids dared each other or made bets on who could step between those trees, nobody ever did. Timmy never entertained the idea.
Once Timmy was home, he laid his bike on the side of the house, took his key from his book bag and went inside. The house was dark and silent. His parents were still out. They were out a lot. Usually, he didn’t hear them come home until he was in bed. His mom or dad came into his room, checked on him, and wished him goodnight. This latchkey kid took care of himself during the week. He woke up, made himself a bowl of cereal, and then headed off to school on his bike. After school, Timmy rode a short distance down the street to the boys and girls club, and then rode home before it got too dark. He heated up whatever food was left in the fridge, did his homework, and then went to bed. His parents worked long hours during the week, finding time for family only on the weekends. It was an odd life for a ten year old, but this was his routine. This day was no different than any other, except for the strange feeling he felt once he was in bed.
Another boy, another candle. Timmy couldn’t help but wonder what the old man meant by that. Was he trying to scare me, and what about another boy, another candle? Timmy pondered on this the entire night, tossing and turning until he finally drifted into sleep. That night he had a strange dream: Standing in front of the boys and girls club, Timmy looked out past the parking lot, beyond the soccer field and old baseball diamond, and into the woods. It was nighttime, and the only source of light was the half moon. He just stood, staring. Something was calling him. Not a voice, but something wanted his attention. In a flash, he was no longer standing outside the club, but right on the tree line of the woods. 
Timmy woke up in a panic. This dream was the closest he had ever been to the woods. He wouldn’t even go near the old baseball diamond. They hadn’t used it since his father attended the club, not since little Sammy went missing. Now, it was nothing more than a half-rotten batting cage with patches of dirt. There was barely any resemblance to the town’s famous venue for America’s favorite pastime. 
Timmy thought about his dream the entire school day. It felt real. That, along with the encounter with the town drunk, started to haunt him. He went to the boys and girls club after school like normal and played with his friends, trying to forget about the drunks warning and the nightmare that followed. When Timmy went to unlock his bike to go home, the same man was stumbling down the street. He decided to take this opportunity to clear some things up. Trying to muster up some courage and a brave face, he rode up to the strange hobo. 
“What did you mean when you said that yesterday, man?” Timmy asked, trying his hardest not to look intimidated.
“What you on about, kid” the drunk responded, irritated and slurring. 
“Yesterday, man,” Timmy repeated. “You said something about a boy and a candle! Did you see something in there?”
The old man stared at Timmy a moment, first looking confused, and then his eyes grew wide, looking at this demanding young man as if he just now recognized who he was speaking to. 
“I know you, kid,” the drunk uttered. “You need to stay out of those damn woods, boy!” 
Timmy was confused. 
“What you mean, man? I wasn’t in those woods!” he responded defensively.
“I know you, kid, I seen you!” the drunk was now becoming agitated.
“Yeah, I know. You came up to me yesterday, talking a bunch of weird stuff about that cabin.” Timmy tried to match his aggression, but his attempts at intimidation were ignored. 
“I don’t know anything about that, but if you don’t stay out of those woods, red eye, blue eye will get you.” After taking a swig from his bottle, the homeless man began walking away. 
Timmy had more questions, but the old man wanted no part of it. He had not gotten any answers and, on top of that, was accused of being where he wasn’t supposed to be. This was a big deal to Timmy. He knew adults talked to that man from time to time, and if word got back to his parents that he was in those woods, he would most certainly get a scolding from his pops. Worried, he rode home, reassuring himself that he could explain to his parents that the drunk didn’t know what he was talking about. He hadn’t even remembered talking to him the day before, so clearly his memory was fuzzy. Timmy went on and on, going over different scenarios to talk his way out of getting in trouble, if it came to that.
In bed, Timmy thought about the drunk’s accusations. What was he talking about? He remembered his dream, remembered almost walking into the woods the night before. He thought about the dream over and over, until he finally passed out. This dream started where it ended the night before, with Timmy standing at the edge of the woods. They were dark and lonely. Tree branches stuck out like sharp weapons to fend away intruders. The woods were silent; the wind was blowing, but the trees and leaves stood still, holding their breath and waiting to attack anyone who dared to trespass. Timmy took tiny steps forward, creeping into the forbidden lands. Step after step, cracked branch after crunched leaf. The moon was illuminating a path through the holes of the forest’s split ceiling until the trees created a canopy over Timmy, blocking out what little light there had been. Timmy was unsure if his eyes were even open, or was it really this dark? He stumbled along, completely blind, until he finally saw something. A small light flickered, deeper in the woods. It seemed as if the light called out to him. Closer and closer Timmy came until he realized where it was coming from. The cabin. A candle was burning inside. 
Timmy abruptly woke up. His parents were finally home, getting ready for bed. They came in to check on him, but he pretended to be asleep. He would not sleep much the rest of the night. 
Timmy could barely focus the next day at school, and he was called aside by his teacher, Mr. Rome, to see what was wrong. He kept quiet. Then he decided to ask about Sammy Ryan. 
“Little Sammy!” Mr. Rome sounded weirdly excited. “Terrible thing with that kid.”
“Do you know what really happened to him?” Timmy asked.
“Not really, other than he was a real latchkey kid, parents always worked . . .” 
“From what I remember,” Mr. Rome went on, “he was killed by a homeless man that used to hang around.” 
Timmy was shocked. “I thought he went missing in the woods?” He was sure of it. “He went to that old cabin, right?” 
“Oh, no. They tore that thing down years ago, way before that . . .” Mr. Rome assured him. “A bunch of parents burned it down after Robert Turner.”
“Robert Turner?” 
“Yeah, he was my age. We went to school together. Real funny kid. We used to run around in those woods during baseball games at the old diamond . . . One day, we were playing hide and seek, and no one could find little Robert . . .”
“Thought he was just too good at the game, until the parents started to worry. After a few days the whole city was in a frenzy, and then they stumbled upon that old cabin . . .”
A sudden wave of sadness came over him as he remembered his late friend. 
“Man, it’s been years since I thought about little Robert,” he said, sighing.
“What happened to him? Did they find him in the cabin?” Timmy was intrigued.
“No, just his clothes. He’d for sure been in there, but they never found his body, just everything he was wearing the day he went missing.” Mr. Rome sat up, rubbing his eyes. They may have begun to tear up.
“His parents went mad, got a few of the other parents together to go and burn that cabin down.” Mr. Rome glanced away, watching some kids who were getting loud in the classroom. 
“You see, Timothy, it seems that almost every generation a kid winds up missing in those woods, and for some reason it always circles back to that cabin. Even my parents, at the time, told me of a kid their age that went missing. As far as I can remember, the same thing happened for generations upon generations, since this town was stumbled across. There is no real explanation. I wish I could give you answers, but sometimes strange things happen in small towns.” Mr. Rome finally stopped.
“It’s red eye, blue eye, isn’t it?” Timmy asked.
He didn’t get an answer from Mr. Rome, who was interrupted by a fight in the class, but Timmy kept thinking about how none of it made sense. Every generation in this town had a kid go missing. They all were last seen in those woods. He’d yet to hear anything about one of them being in the cabin. Timmy had never even seen the cabin for himself in real life or known anybody brave enough to go in the woods. He had always thought the cabin was still there. Everybody did. Nobody, until Mr. Rome, had said anything about it being burned down. 
Once frightened, but now fed up, he decided that this obsession would need to stop. Was he conjuring up his own nightmares? Worried about some fairy tale that had no substance? The sun was out, and there were dozens of kids hanging around the boys and girls club after school. It was a Friday, so more kids were out than usual on this beautiful day. It was one of those days when no bad things could ever happen. This made Timmy feel better, more at ease. He knew what he had to do, and this was the perfect day to do it. Timmy locked up his bike and set his book bag down, asking a few kids to keep an eye on it. 
One of the girls in the group that Timmy asked to watch his bag spoke up. “Why? Where are you going?” 
Timmy side-eyed the group, puffing up his chest, with all the confidence he had . . . “To the woods!”
The persistent young man marched across the soccer field and through the old diamond. The group of girls followed him, attracting a small crowd of kids. All of them were in awe at the pure bravery of this once-frightened boy. Timmy grew more confident with each step. He was going to be the one. Finally, someone had the balls enough to walk into the woods. 
A couple of kids taunted him . . . “He won’t do it. He’ll chicken out!”
A couple kids tried to warn him . . . “Don’t do it man! Red eye, blue eye’s going to get you!”
Timmy was unfazed, reaching the entrance of the forest with the gang of onlookers. Puffing his chest once more, he walked into the forbidden woods without looking back or breaking stride once. The other kids were amazed. Some cheered, some grew worried. One even went running into the boys and girls club to tattle. Timmy knew someone would tell on him, but he didn’t care. He wanted to find out what was really going on. He was tired of the mystery, the scary stories, and he wanted to see if the cabin was no longer there. He needed to know that the old drunk was just rambling on. That even Mr. Rome didn’t know what he was talking about . . . He would get to the bottom of it. Then he could tell all of those other scared kids that there was nothing to be afraid of. Everyone watched as the forest swallowed Timmy, till he was no longer visible to the other kids, who were too scared to enter.
As soon as one of the club staff was alerted, he ran out and dispersed the crowd. He yelled out into the woods for Timmy. Timmy didn’t respond to the shouts, and he couldn’t be found when the staff went looking for him. There was no sight of Timmy when the town formed a search party. He was never seen again, but they did stumble on that cabin. The old foundation at least, from what was set aflame years ago. A part of the burnt frame was still standing. Lying in the ruins of the old cabin were little Timmy’s clothes, what he was wearing the day he went missing. Lying on that pile of clothes was a half-burned candle.
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