You can never truly imagine what the worst thing is that can happen to you, until it happens.
My sweet Grace, she is was the most beautiful baby. She was my baby. She was my joy. She was my reason to get up the mornings. I now have nothing to live for.
I just want to hold her in my arms again, one last time. But my darling husband will not allow it. I need to say goodbye.
I do not think I can make myself write much more, as I feel drained, empty, like all life has been taken from my body. Plans for the funeral are already underway, yet her own mother, me, I do not get a say in the matter.
Time has passed since I last jotted down my feelings in here, the funeral was private and small with a closed coffin.
I have visit her grave every day since. I have two hours there as Andrew goes to his important gentlemen’s club between 1:30 and 3:00, which he only missed for the funeral, he even went on the day she
I laid forget me nots on her resting place today. I hope no one walks past as they would think I am mad! I sing to her, tell her things that I would speak to her if she was in my arms. I would kiss her soft forehead.
The postmortem showed up that she died of a fever in the night, information that was never passed on to me. I cannot remember much from that day, only that Andrew was blocking the nursery door, he grabbed me and took me downstairs and well, he told me. He said that I could not go and see her, that it was inappropriate for me to do so. I was so weak and I just listened to him, I didn’t move from the chair.
It is not until now that I have realised that this just don’t add up. Her teddy and blanket were missing from the cot. I asked Andrew if he knew where they had gone, but rather than giving me a simple answer, he told me I should stop dwelling on the past. He added that he might of thrown them out or that they were taken from her cot when they took the body.
I spoke to the coroners and asked them, they told me the answer I needed to hear. They do not take any personal items unless requested to. The gentleman that I spoke to asked his colleague about Grace, as he dealt with the paperwork, he said there was no teddy or blanket with her.
I put her to bed, healthy bonny and bright, with her teddy watching over her and wrapped in her blanket. How on earth did she die from a severe fever, and where did her belongings go? Why was I kept out of so much? And why did Andrew distance himself even more from me when I needed someone most?
Something is definitely not right here. But what can I do about it?
Fresh air is always needed, my dear friends spend their time knitting and caring for their husbands. I am writing this sat in the Weeping Woods, and the legend is that witches dwell here, what poppycock! It is just a bedtime story. It is a beautiful place, I come here on my own, how unheard of a young lady wondering in the woods on her own.
I am never sure as to what to write in here, I am sure Arthur had other plans for it rather than me to scribble in.
Months have passed, and I feel as if I cannot go on. What is the point?
I have never wandered so far into the the woods as I have today. The birds are chirping, and I saw a pregnant fox walk past, she froze when she saw me but I meant no harm.
The only photo I have of Grace, is one with her in my arms, I do hate myself in photographs, cameras are too honest. But I carry this one with me always.
I received a letter today from Arthur, a childhood friend of mine, really my only friend. He tells me to keep my chin up. I wish I could keep these letters, as the words in them are so warm and familiar, but too personal to risk being found.
The nursery has since been turned into another room for Andrew, he needs it for something vital I am sure. It has been painted a ghastly green shade.
Claire visits our house often now, a colleague of Andrews, they sit in the new green meeting room discussing work topics into late hours of the evening.
It seems to be on a daily basis she’s round now, it is fine by me as I can spend more time in my sanctuary. The woods are so peacefully I went to the same spot as before but no birds sang, it was silent and the feeling of safety had all but vanished.
A parcel arrived today addressed to me, I was not expecting anything, it was quite heavy. It’s a camera, it had a note that read “to capture your hopes and dreams, don’t lose sight of them.” It didn’t say who it was from, but I knew.
And here I am, in the woods again, this time accompanied by my camera. I feel better behind the camera, it is as if I’m not actually in this world, or living this life, it’s like I’m just observing it through this box. I don’t live for anything anymore but this camera gives me something to do. Something to hide behind.
I could not believe my eyes, there is a lock of Grace’s hair here I just know it’s hers I can smell her, it is as soft as it was on her sweet head, how did it get here? She might be alive how did it end up in the weeping woods I never brought her here I told Andrew because I thought, I mean, I know he is cold but she is his daughter too, I thought he would be happy or care. He snatched the lock of hair from me and threw it in the fireplace. He said it was filth! That it could have been any old tramp’s hair. Baby hair feels different, my baby’s hair feels different.
I cannot explain how angry I feel I was about to leave this morning to go back to the woods to find out what really happened to Grace and Andrew, he locked me in the study and called the doctors, he thinks I’m mad. I’m smarter than I seem and he wont keep me here for long.
I’ve been in here all night now and it has given me a long time to think and to search. My husband keeps everything worth something in here. I found that in the dresser, the draw on the top left, has a hollow bottom and there is a tiny hole, that looks like a key would fit. I’m going to find out what he’s keeping from me.
The doctor arrived and asked me how I felt, and asked me to tell him what I told Andrew. I told him that I had not eaten much that day and must have been delusional. He suggested that I eat more today to keep my strength up and that I should stay in bed for a couple of days.
It is very tiresome just laying here but I must, to keep Andrew at bay.
Finally today I can go back to the woods. Nothing. I saw nothing and felt nothing.
I WILL NOT GIVE UP ON YOU GRACE.
Perhaps someone stole her, and has been keeping her in the woods, maybe that’s why I’ve been drawn to going there recently.
I feel quite sick. It’s that fox I saw before but she’s dead. Is this a warning? Surely a dead fox in the woods is a common sighting. I cannot think straight anymore. Is it an omen? Or simply a dead fox?
Andrew is off on a business trip at the weekend, so I will use this time, to find the key to the secret compartment in his draw, or I will break it open.
Hairpins come in ever so handy. I’m sitting here on the floor, rummaging through his pap…
I don’t know what it is but it looks like blood, it is a star, a five point star and there’s a signature at the bottom, A J Connelly better known as my husband, Andrew.
I cannot confront him about this, he will simply snatch it away and pretend it is nothing but who can I go too?
I wrote to Arthur and asked for his advice
He says by the description of it, it sounds like a pentagram and that I should seek local knowledge, ask visitors who I see in the woods. Find out the history of the area.
This is quite a daunting task because I don’t know what sort of people I will come across.
I’ve not ventured too far into the woods today as I need to stick to the busier paths. A gentleman and his wife walked past, but I left them in peace. I need to tread carefully if I ask the wrong people the whole town will think I am mad. I will try again tomorrow.
I am now back in the warmth of my bedroom, after talking for hours with, he didn’t tell me his name, I never thought to ask. I could not take him seriously at first. He asked if I knew of the three witches that own the woods. He called them the weeping witch widows. It sounds like a silly rhyme, I told him that I had heard of the fairytale and he laughed at me but continued with his story.
“there was a young woman who loved her husband passionately but his eyes would always wander, and one day she had, had enough
He was watching a girl through the trees, she was undressing, his wife caught him and dragged him to the girl. She shouted ‘Look at the joy you give him! He’s been watching you prance around.’
The girl looked at him, straight faced, she got closer to him and plunged a stake through his heart. The woman who had just witnessed the fate of her poor husband ran for her life back through the trees.
she went to the exact spot everyday to find the girl, one day she heard laughter in the distance, it was her. But she was not alone. She too had a husband, they were walking along hand in hand .
Jealousy and anger exploded in the women and she ran at them. She plunged the knife intended for the girl, into her husbands heart.
The two women heard voices in the distance so they ran. They were bound to one another by the deadly secret of the crime they both committed. They walked deeper and deeper into the woods, where they stumbled upon a hut made from logs and twigs. They went inside and never came out again.”
I was perplexed, did he really expect me to believe this? He saw the look of confusion on my face, and he went on to say,
“Not many folks know the rest of the story, they believe that’s the ending there, but in that hut they were greeted by an old hag, a witch, who wanted their youth and beauty, and bound them by blood to her. They have lived in the woods ever since, the two younger woman have fun by taunting men, by teasing them and trapping them, and on some occasions they would bring them back to their guardian as a sacrifice. They were taught the old ways, of voodoo and blood magic.”
Even if that man was mad, what could I lose by showing him what I found. I handed over the paper with the star on.
I won’t ever forget the look of horror on his face. He confirmed that it’s a pentagram, and added that it was a blood oath binding a mortal to their promise of a sacrifice.
He left promptly after that, but he filled me with more questions. And now sitting here recalling it all, what if my husband was in the woods, and what if those girls, those witches taunted him and dragged him back as a sacrifice, but he exchanged his life for that of my daughter?
I can’t inform the police, they will just laugh, it is on me to do something about it.
I found a strange straw dolly hanging from a tree in the woods today. I ripped it down in anger. Could it be that, that old man is just playing tricks on me?
Back with my camera again, I found her teddy and blanket, it was in the middle of a circle in a roofless hut, with strange hangings on the branches, if this all wasn’t weird enough, the candles were still alight when I first saw it all.
I have brought my darling’s teddy and blanket home, they were warm when I picked them up. She’s out there, I am certain.
My brain is telling me that this is all wrong, that it is all some elaborate dream. But my heart, my heart is beating so fast for Grace.
I confronted him. I kept the oath hidden away, and he denied everything of course. I then told him that I have the oath, and I am ready to destroy it. He dropped to his knees, and sobbed at my feet.
He blubbered that the witches grabbed him with their claws, that they tortured him and tied him to a post, ready to be burnt alive. He said that his only way out of the woods with his life was to promise them his first born daughter.
How can a man stoop so low, putting himself first. Saving his own skin. Putting his life before his own daughters. Before my Grace’s life.
How did I end up with such a cruel man, and given such a dreadful path to follow?
I am going back to the woods.