Summary: You get a new story for the first time in a long damn time. Enjoy. Basically, it's just an experience of mine, but in the form of a Sleepy Hollow fic. The antagonist in this is portrayed by PaperShredder15. Also did a little plastic surgery on the story on February 2016 since I posted it in 2012.
Disclaimer: I don't own Sleepy Hollow.
WARNING: Contains denunciation of a fellow author on this site. Just puttin' that out there.
Improved and re-posted because the admins on this site deleted the first draft.
Ichabod opened the front door at the sound of a knock. Standing on the porch was a chubby woman with spectacles and straight, dull brown hair that went to her shoulders. She stared coldly at Ichabod, who seemed to light up when he saw her.
"Hannah!" He exclaimed, stepping out onto the porch to meet her. "I haven't seen you in years! How are you?"
"I have some news for you. I heard you were here, so…" Hannah glanced around and shrugged. "I've hired a coach and can't stay long."
"Oh." Ichabod closed the door and turned back to his friend. A cold smile sat on her blotchy face, but it didn't seem to reach her eyes.
"Come." She said. "Take a walk with me." She turned on her heel and stepped off the porch, motioning for him to follow.
Ichabod shivered as Hannah began to lead him in the direction of the woods. She walked at a brisk pace and it was difficult for him to keep up.
"Hannah?" He called after her. "Aren't these the Western Woods?"
"Possibly." Hannah replied blankly, turning and casting an emotionless gaze towards Ichabod, making him fidget nervously. She turned back, lifted her skirts, and began to walk.
Hannah stopped once they reached a clearing. Ichabod stopped as well, panting from the combination of the frigid air and the brisk walk.
"Ichabod, I have something to say." She began. "I'm not sure how to say this, so I will just say it plainly." She cleared her throat and continued. "I'm not interested in being friends with you anymore."
Ichabod looked up at her and wrinkled his brows in confusion. "I-I don't-"
"It's nothing you've done, I assure you. You've done nothing wrong. In fact, you've been nothing but kind to me ever since we met as children. But I feel that you bring back bad memories and I must move on." Hannah was no longer smiling. Her face was a cold mask of indifference and her voice had become monotone and completely absent of warmth.
"Hannah, if there's anything I can do-"
"Hush. Do not call on me. Do not ever speak to me again. I will not respond." Hannah was now glaring at Ichabod. "This is the last time we will ever speak to one another or see one another. I will make sure of it."
Ichabod stared at her in disbelief. He was shocked that she would do something like this. As Hannah began to walk away, he ran to catch up with her and lightly touched her shoulder.
"Hannah, I-" Ichabod was cut off as Hannah's fat fist connected with his jaw, knocking him backwards onto the cold ground. "Damn it! What is the matter with you?"
"Get it through your thick skull, Ichabod Crane! Never again!" She shouted angrily, curling her free hand into a fist and turning on her heel to walk away.
Ichabod spat blood, sat up, and put a trembling hand to where he'd been struck. She had never hit him before, nor had she ever been so cross and angry with him.
He stood and looked around the clearing. Hannah had disappeared without a trace into the woods. The only evidence that she had ever been there were the tracks through the dead leaves covering the dirt.
"What is wrong with you?"
Angry tears stung his eyes as he began to walk back into the woods in the direction he had seen his friend storm off. She was nowhere to be seen, but that didn't faze the young constable.
Ichabod continued through the woods until twilight. It was beginning to get dark and that, coupled with the tears that he kept having to blink away so as they wouldn't flood down his face, made it nearly impossible for him to see where he was walking.
It's so dark out here... I can't see a thing. Where did she go?
"Hannah! I know you didn't just leave me here to die! You don't just do that to someone! Where are you?"
By then, the shock of the events hours earlier had been replaced by anger. But soon, anger gave way to sadness, and sadness eventually gave way to panic as he discovered that he was walking deeper into the woods.
"Get a hold of yourself, Crane…" He took in a shaky breath as he glanced around as if watching for potential threats.
"Oh!" He yelped at a sudden sound and grabbed hold of the trunk of a nearby tree. He was so startled that he didn't even notice his foot slipping between the roots of the tree.
"Damn it, Crane, get a hold of yourself. It was just a cricket." He laughed nervously. "Just… Just a cricket. No need to be scared." He sighed. "It's not like something's reaching out of the ground to grab you and drag you down, never to be seen or heard from again..." He chuckled nervously and began to step away from the tree when he felt something tighten around his ankle.
"No!" He let out a shriek of horror and fell against the tree. He crumpled to the ground in a dead faint before he realized that it was merely tree roots grasping his foot.
Night had fallen. The woods had gone almost completely dark and silent, save for the sound of Ichabod's labored, shivering breaths and the occasional howl of a distant animal. The temperature had also dropped several degrees, chilling the young constable to the bone.
He lifted his head with a startled gasp. He had no idea where he was, and no memory of what he'd beed doing, and he was aware of a pressure around his foot and ankle.
Ichabod looked down at his leg and attempted to wrench his foot free from the roots. The events of the last few hours slowly returned to his memory as he worked, but he forced them back. For now, he had to focus on getting free.
After a few more minutes of struggling, he was able to remove his foot from the tangle of roots. It had become quite sore in that time, but he figured it was nothing much more than a mild sprain.
"Ow..." He gingerly stood up and rolled his foot back and forth. It hurt, but not so much that he couldn't put any weight on it.
You're fine, just focus on getting back before someone comes looking for you.
Hannah chuckled humorlessly to herself as she stalked out of the Western Woods under the cover of the darkness. It had worked.
I can't believe he fell for it. I always knew he was stupid, but this was just too easy.
She pulled her cloak around her and yanked the hood over her head as she heard faint noises coming from the Western Woods. The sun had long since set and she was beginning to wonder why Ichabod had not followed her.
"It would've been just like him to get lost." She thought aloud with a dark chuckle. "So stupid. Never knows where he's going, and too stubborn to ask for directions."
She scoffed, turned away, and crept back through the darkness to her home without another thought of the constable.
Ichabod drew in a deep breath and opened his eyes. He was lying on his back in a bed with clean sheets while Katrina Van Tassel sat watching over him. His clothes were gone, and in their place was a nightshirt.
"Katrina?" His voice barely came above a whisper. His throat was sore.
"You're awake." Katrina offered a faint smile and smoothed his dark hair away from his face.
"How did I get here?"
"I don't suppose you remember. You weren't making much sense. You were very chilled and you were limping. You were alone and when we tried to ask you what happened, you wouldn't stop talking about the Western Woods. We bound your ankle and then you went up to bed without saying anything else to us."
"Oh." Ichabod reached down and touched his ankle. It was tightly bandaged and it no longer hurt to touch. "My foot must've caught on something."
Katrina smiled briefly and helped him into a sitting position. He leaned on the headboard heavily and closed his eyes with a heavy sigh.
"Did someone hurt you?" Katrina asked softly. "You're bruised." Ichabod lifted a hand to his jaw and felt the spot where Hannah had struck him. Indeed, it felt bruised and it throbbed under his fingers. Tears welled in his eyes at the memory, but he blinked them away before they had a chance to build.
"If I may ask, what were you doing in the Western Woods?"
Ichabod gulped and sighed shakily. "An old friend stopped by." He began. "We went to the woods."
"I can remember her saying that I bring back bad memories and she never wants anything to do with me again." His voice wavered and he put his face in his hands so Katrina wouldn't see the tears beginning to stream down his cheeks. Katrina moved closer to him, put her arms around him, and let him rest his head on her shoulder. He took in a deep shuddering breath as she began to run her thumb in circles on his arm.
"I know it hurts."
"Yes… Yes it does." He sniffled and dried his eyes. "You don't just leave someone to die in the woods. You don't just drop something like that on somebody and expect that they don't react. Why would anybody think that doing something like that is an appropriate way to end anything?"
"No, you're right. That's a bad thing to do to someone."
"Yes, it is. You'd think she'd know that." Ichabod looked up. "It's not how this works. That's not how any of this works."
"You're right." Katrina nodded sympathetically.
They sat in silence for a few moments.
"I need you to tell me something." She whispered in his ear. "Who is this woman you spoke of?"
"Her name is Hannah Gullery-Gibson." He turned to face her and a pained expression flitted across his features. Katrina could tell it was hurting him quite a bit to say her name, but he continued before she could stop him. "She has brown hair to her shoulders and eyeglasses-"
"You don't have to describe her for me." She interrupted. "I know her. She's lived near us for years."
His breath hitched in his throat when he heard this.
"She lied to me." He whispered to himself. An angry flush crept into his face.
"This must come as quite a shock to you."
"Yes, it does. I'd had no idea that she'd been here all this time, and she didn't even bother to tell me. She hasn't written in at least 5 years. She hasn't responded to any of the letters I've sent to her. I should've known this was going to happen." He sighed in irritation and pinched the bridge of his nose.
"I don't think anybody would've been able to see this coming. We do not live in an age where we can know these things immediately just by sending a message and getting an instant response."
"I'm aware of that." Ichabod sighed and looked up at her. "I know."
"I'll see what I can do about her tomorrow." Katrina patted his shoulder.
"No, I'll do it. You shouldn't get involved." He leaned forward and put his head in his hands. "It's my problem, I'll clean it up."
"All right." She nodded. "But right now, you need to get some sleep."
"Fine." He laid back down, pulled the covers up to his chest, and sighed. "Good night, Katrina."
"Good night." Katrina got up and blew out the candle on the nightstand. "Sweet dreams."
And thus ends the first chapter.