the lady in white – the chase

Mothers and fathers warned their sons of her. She was said to chase boys thru the woods who dared to wander outside the firelight. Especially at night. At first, she was just a thing, just outside their vision range. They would wonder if that bit of white was a skirt or some piece of lichen. Perhaps a flower.
Then they would feel as if they were being watched and start to jump at the smallest noise. Laugh at themselves for it. But gradually their fear built.
Then her skirts were everywhere and even the bravest boys would start to run. And some of them swore they heard footsteps, chasing after them.
Of course they ran faster…
Some remembered the stories of her at this point and slowed down, to laugh at themselves. Some went running into the camp to hide behind their mother’s skirts. Their usually tender hearted mother would laugh and remind them of the tale. But it was cold comfort and rarely soothed their fear.
In their fear, some boys got lost and ran thru the woods. A mad kind of running like demons were after their soul. They ran until their heart exploded and they died. They were found the next day, when the adults came searching for them. The telltale sign was that their hair was pure white. Their eyes were wide open as if they saw a horror. And saddest of all, they were usually within a few feet of one of the outlying shelters. It was only thru the stories of the boys who returned that the adults could piece it together.
Just the boys who were coming of age seemed to interest the lady in white. She seemed to enjoy tormenting them.
And the adults, even the ones who had been chased when they were younger, would ask why these boys didn’t just call out. Why didn’t they remember the story and take the advice of staying near the camp, or traveling in pairs. She preferred boys who were alone.
But no, like all of their age, these boys thought they could cope. Or that they would never be scared by such a lady. Soon people noticed that it was the most vocal brave hearts who were found dead. To be mourned by their families and friends.
On the day of their funeral rites, their mother often swore she heard a woman’s laugh during the eulogy.
Men would often beat down the woods and bushes late at night to see if she was real and if they could chase her out. But she was never seen by them.

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