The Red Line by Jacob Osterhaus - 206 Word Stories - Bag of Bones Press


The Red Line

by Jacob Osterhaus



Around branches, through thickets, and down dark paths, the red line wound. It was a deep crimson in color, the hue of blood and roses. It was hard to miss, but drew the eyes of children in particular.


No one knew when it had appeared, but the whole village had early memories of parents warning them to avoid the strange red string. And everyone could remember perfectly the first time they’d seen it as children. They remembered it calling to them, and now they warned their own children about it.


It had to be old, ancient, and yet its color never faded. It popped to the eye against the drab grays, greens, and browns of the fields and hollows it passed through. The surreality of it begged to be investigated. Fingers longed to touch and pluck at it, to feel its texture, if for no other reason than to verify its solidity.


That, however, was unwise. “Touching leads to tasting,” as many old women of the area liked to say. Not actual tasting, but the sentiment was true. First a child would touch the thread, then they’d follow it, and it would lead them into woods. The local cemetery held many generations of small empty boxes.




Jacob Osterhaus is a nerdy gentleman of middle years. Loving father, generous gamemaster, voracious reader, and aspiring author. While he has not yet been published, Jacob is often found tapping away on his latest attempt into the realm of writing.


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