OCtober Day 27: Chrysalis

Despite my sorrowful adventure in the Grey Forest, I didn’t feel ready to leave Mistwell straight away. Couldn’t quite put my finger on the reason why; pity for the poor deer person, a fascination with the village itself, or perhaps the nagging feeling I was going to miss out on something if I left too soon. Even disregarding all that, maybe the elders would appreciate a hand from someone of relative youth. I say that, despite the fact I’d glamoured myself to look closer to their physical age. 

To my luck the local tavern still had free rooms in the back. They hardly got guests anymore due to the village’s reputation. Perhaps occasionally you’d see a passing traveller, I was told, but little more than that. Even rarer still would you see anyone younger than their thirties roaming around. Some of the rumours surrounding the place spelled out danger for the youth unfortunately. Children, teens or young adults playing around in the fields or forest years ago and going missing, the barkeep told me over a drink. It hurt so many of the folks around here. Families fearing for their safety quickly packed up and left, one by one. After some time, all that remained were the elder townsfolk, the ones without relatives, or the sick who were stuck at home.

How shocking it was then, when one day a young man fresh out of custody came to roost. Gossip spread quickly around the neighbourhood. Some were concerned about having a ‘delinquent’ milling about, whilst others were simply curious why they picked here of all places. Myself, I theorised the answer to the latter would be a combination of cheap rent and an inability to move back with family. The situation as a whole fascinated me. Thus, I must admit I smuggled myself in with the group of old ladies who came to watch him arrive.

On the day came a dark blue car, with a van in tow. We were all sitting in Mrs. Adley’s front lawn for morning tea, observing as two burly men exited the truck behind to begin unloading things. From the car stepped out a woman I’d seen wandering about a couple of weeks ago. I didn’t catch her name, but one could assume she was in charge of the young man’s case. Speaking of the devil, he eventually shuffled out the other side of the car. Once he stepped forwards a bit to look at the house we could see the new villager properly.

He seemed fairly tall for his age. Between us we couldn’t agree whether he looked to be in his late teens or early twenties. Quite pale skin, defined by muscles and littered with scars. Eyes a soft, misty blue, like the lingering wisps of fog. His hair was fluffy, maybe a little ratty from a lack of brushing. The colour was a fading white. He wore just a scuffed pair of jeans, trainers and some old t-shirt with a funky centipede design topped with a leather jacket. Hands were shoved firmly in the pockets. Shoulders were hunched. As his eyes scanned the area he seemed to notice us, and quickly snapped his head back to the ground, stomping off to find his things. The woman escorting him looked our way. Just as it seemed she was going to approach, the young man started screaming about something.

“Hey fuckheads, be careful with that!” 

Attention shifting to the truck, the white haired boy just wrestled what appears to be a cage from one of the larger men. He was breathing heavily, eyes wild. Our staring only serves to make it worse.

“What? What you looking at!?” He yells at us.

The woman diverts her attention, rushing to his side. I’m not sure if the other ladies are able hear the conversation, but I certainly can.


“They were gonna hurt my bugs!”

“Come one, we’ve talked about this. You’ve been making really good progress” she comforts. Her voice is soft, like melted caramel. “Let’s take a deep breath”

Chrys complies, calming down after a moment. He looks at the woman, then at the men.

“S-sorry” he mumbles.

“And to them?” she says, pointing at us. 

He groans, but turns to us.

“Yo, sorry for startling you. Uh...have a nice tea?” he shouts.

Most of the women seem a bit perturbed, though not Mrs. Adley, as cheerful as ever. Since her throat is a little weak, she flashes him a thumbs up in return. 

Chrys mutters something like “just let me handle the cages” before pottering on inside with the one he’s holding. 

The rest of the move wasn’t especially notable, so the tea party wrapped up like usual and we all went on our way.

Since then, Chrys turned out to be a fairly amicable neighbour. Everyone’s fear of the delinquent subsided when he turned out to be a talented mechanic, and not too bad with art or gardening either. Maybe the peace and quiet had been good for the young lad. 

But, I noticed what he got up to when he wasn’t around. The bug loving boy would scour the cloud for new insects and plants, then wander into the dreaded grey forest. Every time he came back fine, and I would wonder what he was doing there. Over time he began leaving the house less and less. Though, I thought I’d seen him sneaking into the woods at night a couple times. Despite the thickness of the fog, I could swear that something was off about his silhouette. So, I continued to stay.

I stayed right up until the disaster. 

And that’s when I saw them.

Whatever was in that forest, it had leaked into the village. Plumes of mist coiled around the homes of the town, twisting people, choking people...killing them. The ones who survived the eldritch mess were shells of their former selves. 

Through the grey they came running. Chrys, now sporting a fresh pair of moth antennae, holding hands with the deer person from before. I kept my distance, observing as the pair swiftly realised the horror that had struck the village. They laid down flowers for Mrs. Adley, then packed up some essentials in a van. Finally, and painfully, together they released Chrys’ collection of insects, knowing they could not bring them all. They did, however, keep one strange looking moth in a small cage. 

As the van screeched away, desperately trying to escape the slowly creeping power at force, I lingered in the wake. I sat down amongst the insects, the family, that Chrys had left behind. 

Once again, all I could do was cry. I wished them well, but I mourned that I could help them further in this ceaseless tragedy.

At least they had each other though. That was a start.