My family has owned our farm for over a hundred years, ever since the end of the first world war. When my great grandfather bought this land it was wild and untamed, but after lots of hard work and blood, sweat, and tears, he was able to mold the land into something that could provide for him and his family. However, there was one exception to that rule, a field that my great grandfather abandoned long, long, ago. Over the years the abandoned field was eventually reclaimed by nature and by the time I was born it had grown into a patch of woods. When I was a kid I would always ask my dad and my grandpa why we had the woods and all they’d say in response was a cryptic “the land was no good”.
So, this story took place when I was 17. I had my girlfriend over and we were walking around the farm when she asked me about the woods. I gave her the same excuse the other men in the family had given me but when I told her that the land was no good she just smirked:
“The woods scare you, don’t they?”
“What? No, I’m not scared of some stupid woods,” I laughed a little nervously,
“Sure,” she rolled her eyes a little, “I bet you couldn’t walk through them you little scaredypants,”
I laughed, “Yeah, what would you do if I did,”
“Anything you want Jamie,” she flashed a cheeky grin and before I knew it, I was walking through the woods.
Now, obviously, the woods were more then a little unnerving, when you spend your whole childhood afraid of something its going to creep you out whether its actually scary or not. However, being the bold, and horny, teenage boy I was, I continued on. After a little bit I started to relax, it was just a patch of woods after all, and the tall trees almost seemed to provide me with a sense of security. Which is probably why I was so unsettled when they went away.
I had come across a small clearing and it bothered me from the start. Whereas the rest of the forest was full of the ambient noise of nature and wildlife there seemed to be no sound at all in this clearing. Even the wind had died down. As I walked into the center of the clearing I heard the sound of a woman sobbing. I called out to my gf, “Jen?” but there was no response.
Thinking it was just my mind playing tricks on me I continued towards the other end of the clearing. The whole time the sobbing was getting louder and louder, though still quiet and restrained. When I got to the end of the clearing I noticed a tree that looked a little off. I went up and examined it and saw that it had grown around something in the ground. At first, I thought it was a chunk of fence or something but the more I looked at it I realized that it was a cross.
I turned around only to find myself face to face with a young woman. Her teary eyes looked me up and down and she started crying again, “I… I’m sorry I failed you John, I’m sorry I’m broken.”
I didn’t know what to do, why was this lady in the woods? At the same time she seemed to be in a really rough place. I put my arms around her and told her that she hadn’t failed anyone. “You don’t mind if I’m broken?” “Of course not” I said, still not sure what was going on. She gripped me tight, “liar” she whispered into my ear as she disappeared.
I looked around, trying to figure out what happened. Regardless, I had had enough of the woods and I quickly sprinted out and went back to my house where my girlfriend immediately yelled at me. You see, the woods isn’t all that big, and any average person should be able to cross it in about half an hour at most. Apparently, I had been gone for nearly three times that and my girlfriend was convinced that I was trying to scare her. My dad came into the room and asked why I was out for so long and I explained what happened to them both.
My dad turned pale and motioned us to join him in the attic. There he pulled out an old photo album and asked me if the photos were of the girl I saw. When I told him that they were he told me the real reason why they let the field grow over. My great grandfather’s first wife was infertile, and while great grandpa never thought of leaving her, she wasn’t able to handle the thought of not having kids. Obviously at that time having children was extremely important for taking care of the farm and ensuring that people had care in their old age. As a result, the guilt of not being able to have kids put her in a great depression that ultimately led to her killing herself in that field.
At first my great grandfather kept farming the field, having her buried at the nearby church. But he quickly found that whenever he worked that field things would go wrong. Equipment would break, horses would refuse to enter, crops would die for seemingly no reason. Eventually he came to the conclusion that his wife would not let him have the field and thus he placed a memorial cross where she had killed herself and left the field for nature, and her, to reclaim.
Now obviously that creeped me right out, but over the years I moved on and tried to put it out of my mind. The reason that I’m thinking about it again, and why I’m posting it here happened about a week ago. Me and Jen stayed together and now we’re husband and wife, and for the past two years we’ve been trying to start a family. Last week the doctor told us that I was completely infertile.