Deep in the rocky terrain, steep sleek hills and quiet winding waters lies a cave. A cave of mystery, hidden deep inside its forbidden walls. At night, the town’s people hear mysterious but blood curdling sounds from the forbidden cave. No one has ever dared go inside because they know if they do, they may lose their lives trying to escape. People have said that a Lady of Corruption lives inside protecting something, but no one knows what it may be. They even say at night she comes out to hunt, some of the town’s people have tried to see her and trap her but all have failed. Only a handful have made it out alive to tell the tale.

“Holden stop it, It’s just an old wives’ tale”, said Avery in an annoyed tone. Holden rolled his eyes at her comment then walked up to her from where he was sitting at the campfire. “Why, are you scared of her”, said Holden teasing her. “You okay there, love birds?”, said Hailey from behind Avery. “Don’t call us that and yes everything is fine”, Avery said as she gave Hailey a hug. “Where have you been?”
“I’ve been collecting firewood for the past half an hour, did you not hear me?”, Hailey asked.
“Oh yeah I did, I just forgot. Sorry”, Avery replied. “I’ve just been busy dealing with him”, Avery stuck a thumb in Holden’s direction. “Hey I have an idea; why don’t we go and see if she really does exist?”, Holden suggested. They all looked at him unbelievable, all but Zane. “Yeah we should”, Zane said as he put his elbow on Holden’s shoulder. “We might want to go when we are a little more prepared, you know, so we might have a chance to survive if we do see her”, Grayson said with a little nervous laugh.
“Ok then, scaredy cat, we won’t go tonight then, happy now?”, Holden asked. Grayson just continued staring at his book pretending like he didn’t hear a word.

Later, while they were fast asleep in their tents, a loud crash came from outside. At first, none of the kids heard it but when it happened again much louder this time, it woke up Avery. It gave a chill up her spine. What was going to happen next, would she be taken or would she just be scared for nothing because it was just Holden playing tricks on her. “Hailey, Hailey, I think something is outside”, Avery uttered timidly, waking Hailey up who opened her eyes and started to rub them. “Is it not just a rabbit?”, Hailey said sleepily. Avery looked at her slightly annoyed, but this was not the time to fight with her, Avery thought. After a few seconds, Avery decided to call the boys as quietly as possible. They should be able to look out there without being seen. Another ruffle came from the bushes outside and Hailey now believed there was really something out there and it was definitely not a rabbit!

But before Avery hung up on the boys, outside the tents went awfully quite suddenly. Something was not right. Avery carefully dropped the phone on the ground and started to stare in tentatively at the tiny opening of fabric moving in the wind, as the boys were trying to say something to her but she was not responding. She slowly started getting up and reaching for the zip to open it. “Ave”, Hailey said confusedly as she reached for Avery’s shoulder. “Where are you going?” Avery didn’t respond to anything Hailey was trying to tell her. A recognisable voice came out of nowhere, it was Holden’s, as he continued to try and get Avery’s attention with little success. “Avery, what’s happening?”, Holden called again slightly confused. “Hey, say something to me, I’m talking to you”, Holden said a little frustrated.

As Avery kept on walking to the tent’s entrance, she saw someone; someone that seemed familiar yet didn’t know from were. She had long beautiful black hair that shimmered in the moon light, pale skin like snow with an unusual ancient mark on her right wrist and on the other arm was covered from her elbow down like it was corrupted by something. Her eyes were a colour of a flaming sunset, so beautiful. They had only made eye contact for just a second when she ran away, deep in the woods. Avery just kept on staring at the direction the mysterious woman had ran. Then, suddenly, Avery fell to the ground unconscious. Without thinking, Holden picked her up and brought her into the safety of the tent.

A little while later she awoke. “Thank God, you’re awake finally”, Holden said slightly relieved but tried to sound annoyed at the same time. “Yeah, I’m alive, were you expecting me to be dead or something, what happened?” asked Avery sleepily. “You went into some kind of trance for a few hours”, said Hailey. “And Holden stayed by your side the whole time, we didn’t even need to ask him to; he just offered.” While she was saying this, she had her elbow on his shoulder and nudged him a little. Holden looked at her like he was going to make her pay for what she just said. “Hey Hailey, can we have a little chat soon, if you don’t mind,” Holden said as calmly as possible as Hailey gulped. What would Holden even do to her, it was not like him to just abandon her in the woods, Avery thought.

The kids had all agreed to go on a hike the day before, except for Grayson who had not much of a choice. At around nine o’clock, they set off on their adventure into the woods with Avery and Hailey at the front and Holden not too far behind them, Zane and Grayson were behind Holden by a few metres. Once the children had walked for four kilometres, they decided to rest on some boulders close by for a few minutes to catch their breath before they went back down again. It was then that Zane saw a cave. Grayson saw Zane looking at something so he walked up behind him and asked what he was looking at but when he saw it, he was speechless. “A cave”, Grayson murmured. “Who is that coming out over there?”, as he was pointing in the direction he saw something moving.

Something looked back at them and winked at Avery and then vanished in thin air. All of them were very confused by that weird event. Then Avery started to walk towards where the mysterious figure was. When they thought they finally arrived at the place, Avery started looking around for something and found a necklace lying on the floor. She picked it up, put it on herself and once again she started walking, a little faster this time. After a while, they reached a place that was surrounded by trees in a circular formation, with a dark pedestal in the middle and a stone on it.

At this point, with Avery not responding, the others were starting to get really worried with her unusual behaviour. Avery slowly walked up to the pedestal and reached out to touch the rock. As she was only a few centimetres away from it, a mysterious silhouette appeared. It was the Lady of Corruption that Holden had talking about previously. It looked like she was egging Avery on or something, the kids didn’t like it at all, so Holden tried to step forward to grab her but instead he was pushed back like there was a wall that was in front of them. Hailey started yelling Avery’s name to get her attention but the invisible wall seemed to stop all sounds from outside coming in.

“Well, hello there!”, the figure said in a mysterious tone. “I see you must be wondering who I am but you must have heard a lot about me already. My name is Lela, the Lady of Corruption and I know a lot about who you all are since you have entered my land.” “Prove it then Lela if you know who we are!”, exclaimed Zane frustrated. Lela exclaimed “The girl by my pedestal is Avery Harvurs, Hailey Rodurs is on the left of Holden Kalsky and to the right of him is Zane Zephar and Grayson Glaze. Is that enough proof for you Zane or would you like me to say some private things about you that the others don’t know yet?”.

Holden had a thought that Lela was trying to get in their heads and he didn’t want to be a part of it anymore. He took a few deeps breaths then started to walk up to the wall, he was going to rip it apart, wanting Avery out of there as soon as possible. Holden grabbed his Swiss army knife from his pocket and started to stab it into the wall and dragged it down with all him might, slowly ripping a hole in the wall.  The hole soon became big enough to fit him through but he only had a few seconds to do it as it was fixing itself fast.

Once he was through, he started running towards Lela with full rage on his face, he was going to stab her, hoping it would bring Avery back to reality. He was only a metre away from her when Lela signalled Avery to go between them both. Holden stopped in his tracks just looking at her, he was lost inside his frustration, torn with confusion, and terrified with desperation. Lela had Avery under her control but how and why? Avery twisted his arm so the knife was pointing at his chest slowing puncturing his shirt, he grabbed her wrist trying to stop her but he was too scared he may hurt her if he used too much force. “Avery, talk to me, show me that you’re still in there please,” Holden said trying to stop himself from sobbing. She just looked at him with sheer anger on her face.

Holden closed his eyes and gave in to her, he was going to let her kill him. Avery took in a deep breath, extended the knife then stabbed it into his chest, twisting it as he groaned from the pain. She pulled the knife out of him as he fell to the floor then forced it into him again. Just then, she came back to reality, realising that she was killing him. She dropped the knife and fell to her knees taking a hold of Holden’s dying body in her arms. “Holden please don’t leave me, came back to me,” Avery begged with tears falling down her face. Holden died, and Lela vanished with an evil laugh.