Bridget did not have a mother. Bridget assumed her mother was dead but she did not really know if this was true or not. Her father refused to talk about her mother and no one in town seemed to be willing to say much of anything on the subject.
She was quite lonely. No one wanted to play with her although they did enjoy taunting her. “Hey Bridget. My dad says your dad is a dirty drunk. Is that true? Tell us Bridget. What, the cat stillllll got your tongue?”
Her father did not seem to like her very much either. She loved him and tried her very hardest to make him happy. He did not often bother to speak to her except to tell her what to do. If she spilled something or did not have dinner ready for him he would yell. “Why don’t you say something? Just say anything.” If he’d had an extraordinarily bad day he’d whack her with his worn out leather belt. She was old enough so that she didn’t cry much anymore. The worse pain came from feeling unwanted.
Bridget was not afraid of The Dark. She found herself drawn to its shadowed nature. One day when she was nearly thirteen years old she walked all the way up to the edge of the forest to see what she could see within those shadows. As she was scrutinizing its denseness she suddenly felt a hand on her back.
Bridget screamed and as she whipped her head around she came face to face with a boy. She knew him from school. No one ever spoke to her at school so it was very strange to her that he should start and even stranger still that he should know her name.
“Hello Bridget. Whatcha doing here? Aren’t you afraid of these big scary woods?” he said with a light smile splayed across his extraordinarily handsome face.
He was one of the more popular boys at school and a baseball star. Each time he hit the ball and it began its perfect flight overhead the crowd would begin to chant "Cookie Cookie Cookie."
Bridget felt a bit like the deer in the headlights and knew that whatever she should say or do the outcome would be the same. The car would hit her. So, she said nothing. She merely shook her head.
“You know that you’re not allowed to be so close to the forest but then neither am I. I also shouldn’t be trying to talk to someone like you so I guess I’m twice as bad.” Again he grinned and Bridget felt her heart lurch up at his expression.
Cookie asked Bridget if she would like to go into the forest with him. “I am dying to know what all the hullabaloo is about and I don’t believe the bogus stories about the Lost Ones.“ Come on Bridget. Come inside of The Dark and explore it with me. It’ll be fun.” he urged.
Bridget could not say no to him. She had never felt so happy as when he grabbed hold of her hand and pulled her in. They began chasing one another and when he caught a hold of her he pushed her down, fell upon her with all his weight pressing his nose into the crook of her neck. “You smell so good Bridget. Just like a beautiful girl.” When he said such things, her heart would ache in a way she had never experienced before.
He pushed his lips onto hers and again she felt delirious. She felt in a dream. He held her to him kissing her with the branches spinning around above them. He began to touch her under her shirt and it felt good. “Oh, your beautiful red, hair. I wonder what your hair down here looks like.”
His hands roamed over her private area, a place she had been told to always keep covered. He cupped the bone between her legs and rubbed his fingers in circles over her panties. It felt so good that she did not want him to stop.
No one had ever touched her there and it had been made very clear to all that if a girl let a boy touch her on her privates before she was married she would be considered soiled and be cast out into the Dark as a Lost One. So while she was feeling ecstatic pleasure, she also felt quite uncomfortable, a terrible sense of foreboding and shame.
She did not know what to do but she could not imagine asking him to stop so she let him put his fingers inside of her. She let him pull down her panties with him on top of her. They were rolling in the dirt and he was kissing her while unbuckling his belt.
Stroking her hair he whispered “If you let me put my penis inside of you I know it will feel so good. Please let me just put the tip inside, ok?” She could feel his hard flesh rubbing against the inside of her thighs and she felt so excited and nervous and confused and in love. She loved him so much that she would let him do whatever he wanted to her.
And so he did. It hurt her a lot but she did not make a sound. He was not so gentle and became frenzied as he burrowed his penis inside of her. She closed her eyes, tried not to think of all the dire warnings and simply loved him. When he stopped he laid his head down onto her shoulder.
“That felt so good Bridget. I know you won’t ever tell anyone we did this together.“ Cookie gently kissed her, stood, pulled up his underwear and pants, buckled his belt, wiped the pine needles, leaves and dirt from the front of his jeans and said “I have to go home or my mom will be pissed at me. I will see you at school tomorrow but I can’t talk to you. Try to understand.” He ran off quickly leaving her standing alone at the edge of the forest.
The next day when she went to school she had a black eye. Everyone stared at her except for Cookie to whom she was unseen. After school she ran up to the edge of the forest and stood there wishing that she could disappear. But, she also wanted Cookie to appear. To comfort her and to explain why he had to ignore her at school. She wanted him to provide her some solace from the hurt. He did not show up that day, or the next. At school he continued to not see her.
Each afternoon Bridget found herself at the edge of The Dark just hoping he would come searching for her. As the days passed into a week and her black eye turned yellow and the week turned into a month and the bruise vanished completely she realized that he might not ever speak to her again.
After a month she began to wander into the woods by herself without much thought as to where she was going. Each day she chose a different route to tread down. With this passage of time and reckless movement through the Dark Bridget felt altered.
Cookie showed up at the edge of the forest one day. He said that he had not meant to abandon her for so long. He wanted to kiss her again. He held out his brown paper bag to her. She so badly wanted to eat whatever it was that he was offering to her. But, she did not.
Nor did she return home that evening. She strayed even further into The Dark. There was nothing all around her but dimness filled with malevolent sounds. She perched down barricading her back against a tree and cried herself to sleep.
The next morning she awoke quite thirsty with a large root digging into her back. She knew where she was but had no idea of how to get back home. This thought did not make her terribly unhappy. In fact, she felt a bit freed. That morning she flicked beads of water off of leaves with her tongue and carefully collected Blackberries from amongst their prickly thorns. As dusk approached she scouted out a fallen tree that looked like it might offer some covering so she picked up branches, stacked them all the way around the tree, covered the branches with ferns and crawled into her cave.
Bridget awoke to a hand shaking her foot. She opened her eyes groggily and saw an extremely dirty person giggling at her. Two brilliant blue eyes seemed to explode out of all of that dirt. It was incredibly tall, its clothing was in tatters and it wore no shoes. “Hi, my name’s Will. What’s yours?” he greeted her in a perfectly normal sort of voice as though he was not at all surprised to find her here alone in the L of The Dark, hidden under a fallen tree.
That day she explored the woods with him. He pulled her along down hidden trails made by the animals to show her the birds, deer and rabbits that did not scurry away from them. He talked all day long. She thought that perhaps it was because he had not spoken to anyone in a very long time. She understood very well what this felt like. As he spoke she recognized him. She saw in him parts of herself and because she admired him, she began to admire herself. She had never really liked herself so this was a new feeling for her. When she looked into his cerulean blue eyes she saw herself reflected and she appeared quite sparkly and shimmery.
That evening Will took her even deeper into the forest. “I want to show you the Willow Grove where I live.” They ran through the forest skirting around giant Weeping Willows that provided shelter. They rolled in the leaves that had fallen in blankets upon the forest floor.
“I’d love it if you’d stay for a spell with me in the willows.”
“Oh Will, I would like that very much.” She said aloud.