Moomin found a stranger in the woods.
Moomin had been feeling bored again. This wasn’t so strange for the troll, Moominvalley had always been so...peaceful. Conflict rarely existed and adventures and curiosity was considered dangerous and childish.
Moomin absolutely hated it.
He would never say so knowing it would upset his mama and earn him a lecture from his papa on gratefulness.
How could they possibly understand?
Everything around Moomin felt so empty.
That’s why, on that one fateful day, Moomin fled into the forest. The forest was wild and dangerous, everything that the Moomin household banned. In the forest you could die and nobody would know till later.
Moomin loved it.
He could be himself, let out a part of himself that felt caged around his family members. He could do almost anything and nobody would know.
It was inevitable, fate even, that he met him in the forest.
Warnings for this chapter:
Minor character death
Blood and a bit of gore
It was a dark, cloudy day, a dramatic soul such as Moominpapa would even go so far as to call it foreboding. The air was heavy with moisture and the clouds were dark, threatening to rain. It was the only time Moominvalley grew dark and silent. The only sound that could be heard for miles was the wind blowing, creating soft whispers that sounded like voices. The trees had strange shadows that resembled hands, reaching out to capture anyone wandering the forest.
Moomin wasn’t afraid. He loved the silence, it gave him time to think. He thought about things he would normally never dare to in the Moomin household. He thought about the smell of rain, and wondered if it would thunder. He then imagined Sniff all alone in his home, cowering from the storm.
It made Moomin laugh. Sniff had always been such a fearful creature. Moominpapa had once told him that it was fear that helped keep Sniff safe.
Moomin just thought it made Sniff sad.
Moomin continued to walk with no destination or purpose in mind. His thoughts drifted away from Sniff and the Moomin household and instead he thought about adventure, danger, and the unknown. Moomin liked the thought of danger but so rarely did he get to experience it. Moomin wished he could feel that sense of danger that would make his fur stand on end and his ears and tail would tingle in excitement.
But it was wishful thinking at best. Nothing exciting ever happened in Moominvalley, in fact the most exciting thing that Moomin could think of was...was...that rather odd smell just now.
Moomin stopped and sniffed the air in confusion. Nothing much had changed, the air was still heavy with rain and the trees and sky were still dark. There was now just this odd metallic scent hanging in the air. Moomin thought it was familiar but couldn’t quite figure out what it was.
Curiosity was a dangerous thing, Moominpapa would say. It just led you down dark paths left untrodden. Moomin was curious though, and perhaps his papa’s advice was sound, but a young troll must learn the hard way sometimes.
The sky turned even darker and the wind grew stronger, the shadows of the trees grew and continued to reach out with their long dark fingers. The troll noticed none of this however and continued his curious journey. All the animals were hiding and silent, there was nobody there to warn the foolish Moomin about what he might find.
The smell grew stronger, it filled Moomin’s nose and made his eye’s water, not even the wind could blow it away. The smell took on a rotten stench, it reminded Moomin of the time his family found a dead rat in the cellar, only stronger and with a metallic scent. Moomin, for a moment, thought about turning back, he thought about forgetting the scent and whatever it was. But Moomin was bored and curious, a dangerous mixture, Moomin decided to keep going.
Eventually Moomin’s nose led him to a bush. There was nothing special about this bush. It contained no thorns or poisonous berries of any kind. Moomin looked around some more but was always led back to this bush.
“How odd. Why would this bush have such a strange smell?” Moomin pondered to himself.
Many would have turned back by now and left this strange bush, with it’s horrible smell alone, especially if they found it on such a dark and foreboding night. However Moomin decided that turning back now would be anti climatic and taking a look couldn’t hurt.
Moomin couldn’t hear the whispers of the trees or the warnings on the wind, curiosity is not a bad thing but it can be blinding. Moomin pushed aside the many branches and leaves of the bush, at first he couldn’t find anything and decided to go deeper. He stuck his head in the bush, desperate for any sign of an adventure, a few seconds later he gave a cry in surprise.
The wind died down and the forest grew eerily quiet at the troll’s outcry.
The creature, hidden within the bush looked surprised as well but Moomin figured he would be surprised as well if he no longer had a body. The head of the creature was twisted amongst the branches and leaves, still dripping bright red blood. It’s fur was stained and matted, mouth hanging open as if attempting to scream in fear. It’s grotesque tongue was hanging out, looking much too big for the poor creature’s own mouth. It was staring right up at Moomintroll with it’s dark, glassy eyes.
Moomin could feel his breath coming to a halt, his throat closing up, too shocked to scream or move. It was at that moment, he noticed the creature wasn’t alone. Trailing his eyes down, he saw at least a dozen more tiny heads hidden among the branches and leaves. All of them were stained with blood, mouths open, tongues hanging out. But most terrifying of all, they were staring right up at Moomintroll.
All of them were staring in frozen, pleading, agony with their dark, dead eyes. Moomin could only imagine what they saw right before they died.
The wind returned, stronger, more harsh than before, thunder now rang out in the valley. The crawling fear and panic that Moomin felt began to overwhelm him. He had never seen anything like this in the valley, had never heard or even read about something so cruel. Moomin yanked himself out of the bush, unconcerned if he hurt himself, and ran.
He ran and ran as the wind blew stronger and the shadows once again reached out for him. He could still see those horrible, pleading eyes in the darkness of the forest, an image that had burned itself into his memory. He could still smell that rotten stench of death and decay, a scent he now recognized but had never faced so brazenly.
Moomin ran and ran, he wasn’t even sure if this was the correct way to Moomin house but he didn’t care, something inside him was screaming to get away. That something was here, that it had killed those creatures, the forest was dangerous, nobody would know he had died here. Nobody would care if he died here.
He ran and ran for what seemed like hours until finally he broke through the trees, he could finally see Moomin house and despite all the pain he felt from running, he didn’t stop. He ran fueled by fear and panic, he ran all the way back to his home.
He had ran so fast and so blindly that he failed to notice a pair of dark red eyes watching him in sadistic amusement.
threats of death
(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)
Teety woo giggled and snickered to himself as he watched the dumb troll run out of the forest like it was on fire. He hadn’t expected it to find the heads his master had hidden, he didn’t think someone could be so dumb to stick their head in a bush that smells like death. It had been quite entertaining to watch though and Teety Woo decided to head back to his master, he hoped he would be amused as well.
Teety Woo quietly slinked through the forest, barely making a sound. All the animals avoided the creep, they could see the madness in his dark red eyes and the smell of blood that lingered on his fur. Teety Woo continued to giggle to himself, he laughed about the troll, and the foolish creatures in the forest, they were all so dumb not like his wise master.
Teety Woo made it back to the campsite of his master, a young Mumrik dressed in a green smock, green pointed hat, and a yellow scarf. His eyes were hidden under the large hat and he was shuffling a deck of tarot cards.
The wind and rain had died down for now and the Mumrik decided to continue his ritual. He knew a violent storm was on the way and had only set up his tent, forgoing a fire. The trees and wind had told him about the storm and how bad it was going to be a great time for a dark ritual, if you didn’t get caught in it.
Nobody ever listened to the trees, rocks, or plants anymore. Most creatures have lost the gift. Consumed by their own pettiness and obsessions. Mumriks are one of the only creatures left that can still hear nature’s voice, the only ones who remember and listen. Snufkin wasn’t raised by a Mumrik, having been found in a box, but nature still whispered to him and it was nature that had raised him.
Nature knew no good or evil, simply freedom and the will to live the way it wants to regardless of other creatures. Snufkin had seen nature at its most helpful, giving homes and food to many creatures. He had also seen it at its most cruel when it punished those so arrogant to believe that nature could be controlled.
It was when nature was at its most cruel that Snufkin saw the true beauty of it. A beauty that Snufkin brought with him everywhere he went, like an infection it stained villages and valleys in bright reds and yellows. Mumriks being the closest creatures to nature knew no good or evil, merely freedom and mischief.
Snufkin finished shuffling the tarot cards and placed them on the ground where he had a small cloth set up. Snufkin placed one hand on the deck and closed his eyes, he called out to the spirits his guides to show him his near future. An eerie wind suddenly blew around Snufkin, it whispered to him, not once disturbing his cards. The blood he spilled and the creatures he had returned to nature had been accepted, the spirits were watching and were pleased.
This was a ritual Snufkin performed when he traveled to a new place. He would offer the spirits payment in blood and they would in turn guide and protect him. Killing wasn’t something the Mumrik batted an eye at, indeed he even took sadistic pleasure in it.
Unraveling a creature, seeing how they tick and using their possessions and obsessions against them, it was something that even Snufkin could fail to describe. Teety Woo watched him silently, he didn’t dare interrupt his master, he had done that once before and paid for it in blood
The wind died down and Snufkin opened his eyes, he fanned the cards out and picked three at random. The three cards were facedown in front of him, Snufkin turned the first one over, using his left hand, this card was to represent his past.
The card was the ten of swords in the upright position, this card was not surprising at all, considering his past and the actions he had taken, this card was the one he probably pulled the most.
The second card was his present, Snufkin turned it over to reveal the hermit in an upright position. This card was also very common for Snufkin. Snufkin chose to be alone, he liked being alone but he was not lonely. Introspection had given him wisdom that many creatures envied and he would never give that up.
The third and last card however was the truly head scratching one, this one indicated his future and he had pulled the lovers card in the upright position. This was..odd. Snufkin frowned while looking at the card. The lovers card usually meant relationships and finding a partner, two things Snufkin avoided at all cost.
Snufkin’s frown deepened and he briefly wondered if he messed up the ritual or the spirits were playing a trick on him. But ever since Snufkin started these rituals his predictions always held to some sort of truth. Snufkin hasn’t always interpreted them correctly but he wouldn’t just pull a false card in the wrong position. How else was he supposed to interpret the lover card other than a relationship though?
Snufkin eventually just shook his head and placed the cards back into the tarot deck. He was still confused but it wouldn’t help to overthink it either, he decided he would leave it up to his guides and deal with it when it comes up.
The wind and thunder returned as if sensing the completion of the reading, Teety Woo cautiously slinked closer to Snufkin. He had seen his master perform several readings and he was almost always satisfied with them but this one, this one had caused such a strange reaction. Teety Woo wondered what Snufkin had seen but chose not to ask, traveling with Snufkin he had learned there was a time and place for questions and talking.
Snufkin glanced at Teety Woo and gave a small nod, this was the signal that Teety Woo could talk. Snufkin was a peculiar sort of person, he preferred not to even know the name of the location they were staying at. If he were to recount his tales, he could speak of mountains and fields but could not tell you what they were called. Teety Woo never bothered to tell him either, instead Teety Woo would spy on others, park keepers and anyone that Snufkin would like to mess with.
They were usually fillyjonks and hemulens that were in some way destroying or tainting nature. Other times they were creatures used in dark sacrifice, this time however Teety Woo spoke of another creature. This one pure white, round, curious, and in Teety Woo’s opinion rather stupid. Snufkin listened, he was good at listening, the story amused Snufkin and he made a note of the creature. Snufkin wouldn’t seek it out but if he was so easy to scare then he might be fun if Snufkin were to run into him.
Teety Woo had another laugh at the dumb, white thing before moving on to the usual. A fillyjonk who had a garden with some miserable children, a park keeper whom Snufkin would surely visit, and a police station that was small and miserable. Snufkin nodded, he would have his fun in this valley before moving on.
“Are you quite done Teety Woo?” Snufkin asked, his voice both deep and light. A voice that was easily carried on the wind but held such weight to be heard.
“Yes, this valley is so wonderfully cheerful but I have heard their lies, seen their obsessions and greed. This one that we have captured, the small smell one for instance is quite pitiful, wouldn’t you say master?”
Snufkin looked at the creature Teety Woo was referring to. To call this creature a thing would be accurate but would also not give the full picture. It had coarse, greasy, black fur, at least Snufkin assumed it was fur, all over its body. The thing had clearly never washed a day in its life and smelled like garbage that had sat out in the sun too long.
Snufkin had found the thing rifling through his supplies when he had left to get sacrifices, the thing tried to run but that was another thing Mumriks were good at catching prey. Snufkin had half a mind to drown the disgusting thing, he had bound and gagged. Its struggling was beginning to annoy him.
Instead Snufkin pulled out a knife, it was a simply looking knife with a golden handle, it still had the blood of the creatures he killed earlier on it. The thing watched the knife with poorly concealed horror and Snufkin took great pleasure in that fear. He knew a few knife tricks and flipped the knife around as he talked to Teety Woo.
“What should we do with our uninvited guest?”
“Perhaps we should stab him and use his blood as a sacrifice?” The deranged Teety Woo suggested. He hated this strange stinky thief and would love to watch him die.
“No, I think the spirits would curse us if we used his blood, perhaps we should hang him and leave him to rot?”
The thing was trembling now and looked to be on the verge of crying, Snufkin had no doubt it would be begging for it’s life if he hadn’t gagged it. It filled Snufkin with anticipation, he loved watching things struggle before they die. It was a reminder that life was fleeting and should be cherished.
“Wonderful thinking master. Let him return to the dirt where he belongs.”
Snufkin stopped twirling his knife, got up and slowly began to walk to the creature, watching the fear in its eyes. Snufkin raised his knife, the wind picked up blowing harshly, the thing closed its eyes and a knife flashed as a boom of thunder rang out across the valley.
Fun fact this was suppose to be part of a longer chapter. Basically this is only a piece of what I have written up and as I was going back over it, I realized something. If I included the next bit it would have been very jarring. Like the next chapter begins with Moominmama making soup. So I decided to split this. Sorry if this part is lacking because of that. I realize I kept people waiting for over a week and again I apologize.
Still I hope you like and I will have the next part up soon.
Now another quick thing, this chapter uses a headcannon that both me and the fandom kinda had. The being Mumriks or rather Snufkin and the Joxter are creatures close or directly connected to nature. This is not exactly a new line of thought and I am not the first to use it certainly. There are many fics with Snufkin being a spring deity in some form.
I decided to go with this because not only is it a cool idea but I also wanted it to help explain Snufkin a little. I don't go into full details here but I got plans on how to use this aspect of Snufkin. I also hope I wrote Snufkin well in this chapter and kept most of the traits he has in the black sun au.
Also if your wondering why Snufkin is described as having green clothes instead of black like the au, don't worry I hope to address that later.
Anyway thanks for reading. This part was a bit of a struggle for me and I can only hope it came out well. Any feed back is much appreciated.
Moominmama was in the kitchen stirring a pot of warm soup while Snorkmaiden set up the kitchen table. Thunder sounded outside and Snorkmaiden took a worried glance out the window. Moomin had suddenly left with little explanation and it had worried Snorkmaiden greatly.
She had also felt left out and a bit hurt, Moomin and her had known each other their entire lives. She thought they were close enough that Moomin could talk to her. They were dating after all and Snorkmaiden hoped to be his wife someday.
Snorkmaiden sighed, she had wanted to go after Moomin but Mama had told her that Moomin just needed some fresh air. She found it strange but she listened to Mama. Mama was wise and patient, she was many things that Snorkmaiden admired. She could only hope to be as patient and kind as her one day.
A bang suddenly sounded in the Moomin household, Snorkmaiden jumped nearly dropping the bowls in her hand. Mama dropped her spoon and rushed to the front of the house to see what was the matter. Lightning struck from outside, casting shadows as Moomin stood in the doorway, breathing heavily, his eyes big and bulging, he looked utterly terrified.
“Moomin!” Snorkmaiden gasped out.
“Moomintroll what on earth is the matter?” Moominmama asked completely worried.
Moomin quickly closed the door and leaned against it, too tired to speak. Moominmama rushed over to him, she quickly began to guide him to the kitchen table. Snorkmaiden finally shaking off her shock, pulled a chair out for Moomin.
If Snorkmaiden had been worried before, she was now almost sick with it. So many questions buzzed in her head and she wanted so badly to ask but held her tongue. Instead she went to the kitchen and poured water into the kettle. Moomin would no doubt be in need of tea, after being out in the cold and coming home like...that.
Snorkmaiden could hear the sounds of Moomin breathing heavily in and out with the occasional cough. Mama was gently talking to him, telling him to breathe slowly. By the time Snorkmaiden got the tea and set it down in front of Moomin, he had begun to breathe a lot easier.
“There my dear, make sure to drink it up, I am sure it will make you nice and warm.” Mama continued to soothe.
Moomin took long sips from his tea, the tension from earlier was slowly disappearing. The only sounds that could be heard in the house was the wind, rain, and thunder from the outside and Snorkmaiden could hear the bubbling of soup in the kitchen. One might have been tempted to call the scene peaceful if it wasn’t for the question left still hanging in the air.
What had happened to Moomintroll?
As soon as the tea was gone and color had returned to Moomin’s face, Mama gently held one of his paws.
“You don’t have to tell us if you don’t want to Moomintroll but I think it would ease your mind if you told us what happened.”
Moomin froze whatever color and warmth that had returned to him was suddenly gone. The thunder let out another deafening boom, it was closer than before. The wind gave a frightful howl that shook the windows and Snorkmaiden felt another shiver run up her spine.
Moomin looked so utterly frightened and he quickly shook his head. Mama gave him a hug and gently rubbed his back, calming him back down.
“Alright my dear, why don’t you go to bed, we can talk in the morning.”
Moomin nodded and got up from his chair, slowly walking towards the stairs that lead to his room. Snorkmaiden wanted to protest, she wanted to grab Moomin and yell at him, anything to get him to tell them what had happened. But she didn’t. She watched as he quietly went up the stairs and disappeared.
Mama went back to her cooking and Snorkmaiden resumed setting up the table, putting away the bowl and silverware meant for Moomin.
“Where is Moominpapa? I thought he would be down here after all that noise.” Snorkmaiden asked Mama.
“Oh he is in his study, he must be quite absorbed in his work, I imagine the thunder makes it hard to hear as well.”
“Oh.” Snorkmaiden was secretly glad, Moominpapa wasn’t a bad father but he was not very good with sensitive subjects. He believed a firm hand was necessary when the situation instead called for warm reassurance.
Snorkmaiden could only hope Moomin will be okay.
Moomin’s bedroom was dark with the sound of the wind rattling his windows, his rope ladder banged against the house and the boom of thunder. The once comfortable room now just felt cold and threatening, lightning flashed making shadows and strange shapes appear on the walls. Moomin swore he saw eyes in those shadows.
He wanted to run back downstairs, he could always tell Snorkmaiden and Mama that he had just been startled by an animal. Moomin couldn’t bring himself to go back down though, he was exhausted and wanted nothing more than to sleep and forget everything that had happened.
He stumbled into bed, the blankets and pillow was soft and warm but it didn’t stop the shivers running through his body. Moomin closed his eyes, he tried not to think about it, but he had always been curious and right now his mind was alive with questions.
Who or what killed those creatures? Why would they do that? Why hide them in a bush? Is whatever killed them still in the forest?
Was it watching Moomin?
Every creak in the house suddenly felt loud and echoing as Moomin cowered under the covers of his warm bed. The night was long and Moomin couldn’t move from his bed, a bed he knew could offer little protection but was warm and comfortable all the same. Moomin eventually fell into a restless dream filled sleep, as the shadows continued to watch.
Moomin was back in the forest...at least he thought he was. The sky was a bright almost a blinding shade of yellow. The sun (Moomin knew it was a sun because that’s how dreams worked) was a dark void like black. It appeared to be melting, staining the bright yellow sky in an all consuming darkness.
Trees encircled Moomin, they were black and jagged, tall and sharp. Moomin feared if he walked too close to them, he would be impaled on their branches.
In fact it looked like they had already impaled something and it was dripping blood.
Moomin didn’t want to look up, he didn’t want to know why. But this was a nightmare and against his will, he slowly looked up, his eyes widening in horror. Impaled on the branches were the heads of those creatures Moomin saw in the woods.
They looked different, their fur had turned black but was still stained with dried blood. Their mouths were hanging open but their teeth were much longer, sharper and stained red. The teeth looked much too big for their own mouths and their gums were ripped open as a result.
Then there were the eyes.
Those horrible, pleading, fearful eyes had been transformed into something much worse. They were bigger, much too big and were a dark hideous red. They stared down at Moomin, not with fear but with pity.
There were no sounds in this forest, no animals talked to each other, and no wind could be felt. It was an eerie stillness that felt horribly out of place. It was shattered when a loud ear piercing crunching sound rang out. Moomin recognized the sound when he had accidentally broke one of his arms, it was coming from above him.
Moomin stared in horror as the heads began to move all at once, their jaws going up and down, ripping their gums further and dripping fresh blood down the trees. They began to speak all at once, their voices distorted and low like they were whispering. Moomin could hear them as if they were screaming into his very soul. Their terrible words sent chills down Moomin’s spine.
Once we were one but now we are dead.
Killed by a Mumrik, we are now red.
Let our heads be a warning to you
Trust in a Mumrik and you are through.
His voice and his music may allure
But rest assured, he will make you impure.
He played us for laughs, he played us for fools.
Oh that Mumrik he is most cruel.
Be warned of his heart so black
Or you may find a knife in your back.
The words were repeated over and over again, each time more violent than the last. Moomin tried to cover his ears but to no avail, the words were burned into his mind, piercing his brain like a thousand knives.
He swore his ears were bleeding.
It just wouldn’t stop.
He wasn’t sure when he started screaming.
Was that another voice?
What was it saying?
Was it saying anything?
Moomin wasn’t sure anymore.
He just wanted it to stop.
He wanted to…
“Moomin, wake up!”
Moomin’s eyes shot open and he bolted into a sitting position, his throat was sore and he felt he couldn’t breath. His eyes began to water and before he could control it, he began to cry. The rain and wind had stopped, the shadows were no longer watching and the house was still. Moomin sobbed as warm arms held him, as a soft voice whispered that everything was going to be okay.
Mama had heard her son’s screaming and ran to his room as soon as she could. It breaks her heart to see her son in such a state, so she held him. She held him for a long time and would continue to hold him as long as he needed her.
Moomin eventually began to calm down and she laid him back down on the bed, pulled the covers back up and spoke to him softly.
“Don’t worry my precious one, go back to sleep I will be right here.”
Moominmama kept a warm hand on Moomin’s head and right before he drifted off to sleep, he couldn’t help but wonder.
What is a Mumrik?
I forgot to mention this but my family actually owns and uses tarot cards. We only use them sometimes and just to see our futures but if you were wondering why I was specific on the position of the cards that is why.
In readings the cards being upside down or right side up is important because it gives the cards new meaning. If a card is pulled and it's reversed then that usually means something bad but not always. I actually encourage to look up the cards meanings as it can be rather fascinating.
Anyway thanks for reading, this chapter and the I guess poem was created a while back and I have been waiting to show you guys. I changed up a lot of things but the poem is larger the same from when I first wrote it. I hope you enjoy it.