Your bestfriend is like a drug. They tempt you with ideas and trick you into forgetting about the consequences, influencing your mind and rooting devious schemes into every action made.
Or at least that was how I described my best friend. She was a wild and to my horror adventurous girl. She pushed me against my limits and made me experience the “joys of life” even though I would much rather stay at home, buried deep under my silky sheets with my phone screen marking the words ‘Wattpad’.
I never found interest in many things in my life. I was happy enough to say I at least had a favorite color, not much else interested me.
Especially the outdoors.
But that of course didn’t stop Liza from dragging me out of bed on a bright Saturday morning and forcing me into some hiking gear she bought.
Her words that morning would forever circulate in my mind like an overbearing song that just wouldn’t stop playing.
“We’re going hiking to see the garden of the wolves. You can’t say no! I took your phone and you won’t get it back until we’re back home.”
The smile on her face was so broad that it reminded me of the Grinch who stole Christmas. Undeniably proud of herself.
There was a brief moment where I threw every curse word known to man at her in an attempt to discourage her from taking me but it was futile. My heart always gave in to the people I cared about. Maybe I was gullible? Who cared. As long as it wasn’t dangerous I didn’t really mind keeping her company.
Scratch that... I did mind. My precious time that could’ve been spent reading was spent doing something tiring!
Even staring at her pitifully the entire time we were preparing didn’t affect her decision in the slightest, not that I was surprised.
The thought of hiking made me depressed though! I could barely handle being in a public area with overflowing people and now she wanted me to be in a forest overflowing with trees and animals!? I’ve read enough stories to know the ridiculousness of what happens in a forest. Too many scenarios were flashing through my mind. Kidnapping, animal attacks, serial killers, and the list went on...
Yes, I may have been a bit overdramatic but who wouldn’t when it came to hiking of all things? Even the word alone caused my heart to weep in despair.
Unfortunately, for the sake of getting my phone back or so I liked to tell myself, I appeased to Liza’s wild side, gave in and dressed into the clothes she supplied to me.
Now, two hours later, I found myself trudging begrudgingly through the tall trees and moist dirt with an excited Liza leading the way, map in hand.
The forest of Sylia was a sight for sore eyes with it’s rich vegetation, adorable critters and vibrant colors, but the rumors surrounding the village for many years have managed to keep the people at bay.
It was the first thing Liza and I discovered when moving into the superstitious town a few months ago.
Of course, as a proud wattpadic, those stories would have piqued my interest if my life was humane but unfortunately my life have been terrorizing enough as it was. There was something different about reading something and actually seeing it for yourself. I’d rather stay far away from it as reality could be quite a bitch.
The stories did not deter Liza in the slightest. She was a huge fan of historical backgrounds and resolutions. I guess that was the reason why she took up the position of a history teacher in training at the Syril Falls High School. She knew more history than I did and I guess that was because I was more into the fantasy aspects of the world instead of historical fiction.
Now looking at the forest that Liza dragged me into, I wished that I had stayed away from those fantasy novels. Too many scenarios came into mind as I eyed all the dark corners, the greenery and the fallen branches that I tried to avoid tripping over.
My muscles cried in distress as my feet trudged the muddy pathway up the hill and deeper into the shadowy depth of the forest, my hands resting on my hips as to keep me from falling from exhaustion and strain. Sweat leaked from my pores as the heat scorched my skin and the adrenaline pumped through my body.
This was complete and utter pain! How Liza could take this much pressure on her body, I had no god damn idea. I was near ready to collapse and turn back.
My thighs were throbbing, my clothes were soaked, my body was slouched in exhaustion and my skin was itchy!
“Are we there yet?” I whined in frustration.
Liza laughed from a couple paces ahead of me and turned to throw me a lopsided grin, her hazel eyes sparkling mischievously. I couldn’t help the dread that built up and whispered that I was in for disaster.
“Soon! Aren’t you excited to see this? Not much people walk this path. They’re too superstitious of the garden to even enter these parts of the woods.”
I rolled my eyes and grimaced at the mud that clung to my sneakers, shaking my foot a little, “Yeah I wonder why you aren’t as smart as those life respecting people.”
She snorted, “You need fun in your life, you’re boring.”
“And you need Jesus but you don’t see me complaining.”
She laughed and ran ahead, shouting over her shoulder, “Meet you at the entrance of the cave!”
A groan escaped my lips as she slipped out of view. I shouted, “What freaking cave!? I don’t have a map for this forest!”
No response came back and I begrudgingly found myself running at full speed to catch up with the high spirited donkey. My muscles were just about ready to give up on me at this point.
Through my mini pauses and multiple swear words from stumps and branches I stumbled over or crashed into, I finally caught up to Liza as she leaned against a tree that stood near a dark entrance into a hill. A bottle of water resided in her hand.
I glared at her once I caught the smile on her lips and tugged the bottle out of her hands, all the while mumbling nonsense beneath my breath. Words along the lines of ‘this was not how I imagined my Saturday morning going. Liza would definitely regret this’.
“your welcome,” Liza muttered begrudgingly.
“You don’t deserve my thanks after the suffering you’ve put me through today, look at my hair!” I exclaimed, my breathing heavy as I tried catching my breath after that running marathon.
I pointed at all the leaves and shrubs that got tangled into the slanted bun that was just about ready to topple off my head.
She glanced at my head with a blank look, “that’s your typical hairstyle on a Saturday.”
I stuttered angrily, “without the muck in it!”
“Oh really? What about all the cotton that gets in your hair because of that stupid pillow you refuse to throw out.”
Offended, I placed a hand over my heart, “that pillow have been with me for years! I cannot abandon it or its pillow titti!”
Liza rolled her eyes, “you are so dramatic. No one plays with their pillow tits you weirdo!”
“Of course you do, you’re weird. No one even calls it pillow titties.”
“You’re one to talk. What about that old pacifier you carry around in your bag. I bet you have it in that little travel pack of yours,” I retorted.
Liza narrowed her eyes, “that pacifier is my good luck charm and you know it!”
“Well that pillow is my comfort so if it goes so does Mr. Pacifier.” I couldn’t help the smugness that seeped into my tone.
Liza gaped at me as her cheeks heated, “that’s not fair!”
“Nothing ever is.”
“Don’t forget who has your phone!”
I narrowed my eyes in caution, “is that a threat?”
Liza smiled cheekily, “not even close.”
This was ridiculous! I groaned and lightly kicked the tree that stood beside me.
“Kick it harder love.”
I shot her a harsh glare, “Suck my toe.”
“You know you love me.”
I sighed and closed my eyes, tilting my head backwards as I allowed myself to calmly analyze my surroundings. The sun kissed across my face in brutal, harsh rays as the moist air gently ruffled through my clothes and soaked up all the sweat that gathered.
The trees danced with movement as critters sang and went about their day, unaware of the two girls standing within their territory or maybe they were aware but couldn’t do anything about it. They were simply helpless... helpless...
A memory flashed behind my lids.
Crimson red oozing from the flesh....fire raging....terrorizing screams for help....lifeless eyes staring at the helpless little girl....torture.
I clenched my fist tightly at the memory, my nails digging into my palm as I tried to will it all away. It took a while before I slowly released my clenched fists, opening my eyes to gaze at the concerned eyes that swallowed my face whole.
A shaky breath escaped my lips as I tried but failed to push the images away. I had no idea what triggered this feeling but I suddenly felt reluctant, an unease snaking its way into my stomach and clenching around my heart.
I ignored Liza’s curious gaze and eyed the gloomy cave cautiously.
The blood in my veins unexpectedly heated up as the hair on my arms stood at attention.
The cave was like any other cave I’ve ever seen on Liza’s unfortunate expeditions before. This one was big. The mouth gaping open similarly to that gigantic worm I saw on that SpongeBob episode last night. That alone should give me signs of foreboding.
The sound of water dripping onto the ground could be heard as the wind blew through the cave and gave it a voice. The rocks that formed the opening were weathered with age and clinging to them with their dear lives were the moss and dirty old vines. Two giant trees stood tall on either side of the entrance, a clear dirt path paved between them as if someone had been coming to make sure that the wild forest didn’t eat up the cave and block our entrance.
“I thought you said no one comes out here?” I asked in confusion.
Liza eyed the cave curiously, trying to see what I’ve found such interest in.
“Its true. The mayor established that it was illegal to enter the cave due to the strange disappearings that occur whenever a villager enters these depts.”
My stomach instantly dropped.