It was a bedtime tale told only at the bequest of a brave child. Some parents even used it as a threat to keep their children at bay, but even then it was a rarity. When a parent said to their child, “If you don’t clean your room Viola will come to take you away,” a prayer was uttered afterward, those of a certain faith would cross their chests in hopes that certain ears did not catch the threat on the wind.
Over the years the disappearances near the old orphanage had not gone unnoticed. It was a threat, but the legend of Viola the child snatching demon had become more than just a superstition, for Red Rock, it seemed real.
When Jamie asked his mom to tell him Viola’s story before bed on this particular night, it was understandable why she was hesitant. To her it was more than just a story, but in the end she yielded. Bending over her seven year old son in his small wooden bed she tucked his comforter tight around his body. She kissed him on the forehead and sat at the edge of his bed with a palm resting on his stomach. He looked up at her, brown eyes wide and expectant. The light from his bed side lamp flickered in the dark.
His mom began the story she knew from her own childhood, “Once long ago behind the old orphanage a girl was wandering alone. Seeing a path that led into the forest, she decided to go that way, though she had been told many times not to venture into the forest,” his mother stopped for a moment. Emphasizing how the girl had been told not to do something, and eyed her son who was listening. He looked at her and nodded. Then she continued with the story, “The girl, Viola, didn’t like to listen to anyone, so she went anyway. She had heard there were many dangerous things that lived in the forest. Viola wanted to see them for herself. When she had gone far into the forest strange sounds began surrounding her on all sides. They were not any noises of animals that she had ever known before. Viola wasn’t frightened. She instead, did the one other thing she was told again not to do, she went off the path.”
Jaime’s mother patted him and her eyes narrowed; she was getting nervous, but he urged her to continue. He knew the good parts were coming. “Viola continued walking toward the sound closest to her. That was when a demon, some think a witch, popped out of the underbrush and grabbed her pulling her deep into the forest where she was never heard from or seen again. But, you can still see her some times when there is a full moon or the night is clear, wandering near the forest. They say that she haunts the orphanage and the forest around it, looking for children to snatch. Children who don’t listen to their parents, or wander too close to the forest.” Jaime’s mother looked out the window near his bed nervously. Then she silently said a prayer. Jaime’s eyes had closed already. She was glad for this.
Maggie the little girl from three houses down went missing a month ago. Jaimie might think it was just a fun bedtime story, but for the parents and towns’ people of Red Rock it was more than just legend.