Chapter 3 – The Miller Woods
Saturday, September 17th, 2016
We crawl the first couple of meters, but as soon as bushes take away the view of the fence, we get up and walk further into the woods.
“We’re here.” Edward takes in our close surroundings, but i bet he can’t see much, since there isn’t much light in here. The moon is almost completely behind the leaves of the threes and it’s hard to look where we are walking. I hand out the first set of flashlights. We have three spare ones and our phones that are all nearly completely charged.
“But let’s agree on using one at a time, only when necessary.”
“Got it, save the battery.” Davy nods, grabbing his phone. “But let’s take a picture to prove to the girls we were here.”
I smirk, posing next to Edward, as Davy holds out his phone to take a selfie of the three of us. At first, we just smirk daringly, but soon, we pull scared faces, funny faces and we end up having to hold back our laughter, not wanting to alarm anyone that we’re here.
“Let’s go and find out what is so scary about the woods.” Davy pulls out the map he has in his backpack, a compass and turns on his flashlight, dotting our entry point on the map. He’s been a boy’s scout for years, so Edward and I let him guide us into the woods further, every so often leaving a trace in a tree with bright coloured fabric that we rip off an old shirt and mapping the spot on the map to know where we are.
We’re no fools. We went over this again and again, coming up with safety precautions and whatnot to make sure we’d be able to find our way out again.
For a while, all we do is play boy scout, making our way over to a mapped lake in the midst of the forest.
“This is boring.” Edward complains with a whiny voice as we stopped again to map our location. “It’s just a forest. Nothing scary about it.”
“I know, right?” I whine along with him, holding the flashlight for Davy to place a dot on the map. “What caused Cory to freak out and end up in a ward for over two years?” I kick away a stone in annoyance.
“So far, I would say the doctors are right and he is a loony.” Davy agrees with me. “This is nothing special. At first, I thought it was because it was dark and all, but we can even see the sky over here.”
Davy is right, as the forest opened up after the first 100 meters of dense leaves functioning as a natural roof. But we hardly need our flashlights anymore.
“Let’s take another bunch of pictures as proof.” Edward grabs his phone, snapping some photos of our surroundings. “At least we have documented proof this forest is plain simple bor...”
There’s a cracking noise not too far behind him and he silences instantly, as I move the flashlight away from the map and towards the spot. “What was that?”
“Sounded like someone stepping on some twigs...” Davy slowly got up from his seated position and all three of us now shine a light in the direction of the sound. There’s nothing there.
“Eddy, you fucking idiot.” Davy scowls, shining towards his feet. “You’re the one stepping on twigs.”
I chuckle as I notice the broken twigs under his feet. But then the sound is back, now close behind me. The three of us swirl around on our feet, shining the light in three different directions, lighting up about a vision of 5 meters wide.
“I swear, I wasn’t moving.” I already defend myself, but Davy’s eyes tell me he knows I wasn’t moving. He seems excited, while I feel a bit restless. Maybe coming here was a bad idea.
I have a really bad feeling right now.
The sound is back in it’s original spot and as the three of us turn around again, I feel as if we’re being watched.
Then, there’s the sound of a girl giggling, causing my heart to skip a beat.
“What the...?” We’re now standing back to back, while Davy moved to put the map in his backpack to have his hands free.
“Did you hear that?” I whisper, wanting confirmation about what I heard.
“Is anyone there?”
The cracking sound seems to be further away, nonetheless sounding in front of me again. I can’t help but frown since there’s nothing to explain making the sound.
“This is weird.” Edward mutters, now obviously getting a bit uncomfortable. “Maybe we should call it quits.”
“Go home...” I fill up the blank he left in his sentence.
“What?” Davy scowls. “We’re finally hear and we’re already scared by some stupid noise? It’s probably the wind.”
“Dave, there is no wind.” Edward grumbles under his breath. “I don’t know about you, but I don’t want to end up like Cory.”
“Cory is probably a pussy and his words are what is scaring you right now. Stop being a pussy. We wanted to go to the lake and we’re almost there.” He looks at me and since it remains silent in our surroundings, I calm down again. “What are we? Pussies? We know there’s nothing there.” Davy scowls in the same time I was thinking that we made it up. He nudges me. “We wanted this for years. Nothing happened.”
I bite my lip but slowly nod in agreement.
“What? You want to stay?” Edward sends me a scared look.
“Yeah, dude,” I answer with a nervous chuckle. “I want to see the lake. It’s said that it’s really beautiful and we’re here now anyway.”
“I’m not staying. I want to go home. I’m going home.” He pulls his backpack up from the ground when Davy grabs his wrist.
“Rule number one, stay together. We’re not letting you go out on your own. What if something happens?”
“Like what, Dave? You said so yourself, there’s nothing there.” He makes a grand gesture in annoyance. “I’m leaving.”
“No, you’re not.” I agree with Davy. “I’m sorry dude, but I’m not letting you go out on your own, and you’re not ruining this for us.”
“What’s there to ruin? A fucking walk through a fucking boring forest in the middle of the fucking night?”
“If you find this forest boring, then why leave like a scared little chicken?” Davy sends him an annoyed look. “You were the one that kept talking about this, ever since Cory reappeared back in society. And now you want to go back because of nothing?”
“Let’s go, Dave. He’ll follow us anyway, because he’s too pussy to go out alone.” I pull Dave in the direction we need to go to get to the lake and with an annoyed groan, Edward follows us, now with a displeased frown on his face.
“We’ll go to the lake, take some pictures and then head back, okay?” Davy tells him in an attempt to make him stop pouting because he lost an argument.
“Fine, lake, pictures, back.” Edward agrees, not all too happy about it.
We walk further in silence, but I think we’re all a tad bit more cautious and paying attention to our surroundings. Since Edward refuses to walk in the back, I sacrifice myself, but now with a second flashlight lit to feel a bit more comfortable. Eventually Edward decides to keep me company by walking next to me, with Davy as our guide.
We reached the lake without any more trouble, relieved because we made it in less then half the time we have in the forest before the sun will start to rise and we have to be out and back home.
We made sure the hole in the fence was big enough for us to be able to crawl through again, even if the power would be back on.
We’re not stupid, we know the power outage will be temporarily.
Though none of us has a signal on our phones, which might indicate it’s still out.
It could also mean there is no phone reception in the forest.
Neither of the scenario’s feels great in case something would happen and we need help.
We sit on a flat area next to the lake, staring over it towards the other side, while taking a break to eat something.
“Did we take a spliff?” Davy leans forwards to look at me, as Edward sits in between us. “We should totally get high right now. That would be funny.”
“I took them.” I smirk, retrieving the two spliffs that we still had left from my backpack.
“You want to get high?” Edward scowls, shaking his head. “No way, dude.”
“What? Nothing happ…”
There’s a gush of wind that silenced Davy’s protest, causing us to sit up straight in surprise. It’s not so much the gush of wind, which is a totally normal thing to happen outside. It’s the fact only the trees close by are affected by the wind; the rest of the forest remains silent.
“That’s a bit weird…” I mutter, turning to look behind us. There’s no wind anymore, no sounds of rustling leaves.
“We should go back anyway.” Edward’s voice shakes a bit and I notice he has goose bumps, right before he pulls down the sleeves of his sweater.
“Take pictures.” Davy pads his knee. “And we’ll head back.”
We put our stuff back into our backpacks, one by one posing in front of the lake for a picture. I take Edward’s picture and Davy’s, before posing myself.
I smirk towards the camera, making a peace sign with my fingers, and Davy joins for another picture together, when Edward’s face pales, staring towards his phone.
“Eh, guys…” He squeaks nervously. “Maybe we should go back, now.”
“What’s wrong?” Davy and I walk up to him, and he turns his phone with a shaky hands, showing the picture of the two of us.
I think my heart stops for a second as I notice a dark mass on the right of me in the picture. It’s in the edge of the screen, about a meter away. But what creeps me out more, is the next picture, in which it is gone, but the entire picture is sharp, except Davy and I; we’re a blurry colour mess.
“Let’s go, now.” Davy sounds a bit panicky and I totally feel him right now.
“Lead the w…” There’s a cracking sound above us and in unison, the three of us look up, right in time to see a branch breaking of a tree, plunging towards us.
We scream and jump aside. As I land, I feel as if something pushes on my chest when I try to get back up and breathing suddenly get’s harder.
My throat and neck start burning, and I grasp for air, grabbing hold of my throat.
“Sid!” Davy calls out, running towards me, grabbing my arms. “Stop choking yourself! What’s wrong!?”
The feeling of being choked stops, right before I release myself because he pulls away my hands.
“Auch, fuck!” Edward hisses, grabbing the back of his head, while Davy and I turned to look at him right in time to notice a small rock falling to the ground behind him.
“The hell…?” Davy’s eyes widen and for exactly three seconds, we all stare towards each other in shock.
“Right now, I think it would be a great idea to get the hell out of here.”
Davy and Edward nod in agreement, the former helping me back on my feet. We grab the flashlights, and run in the direction we came from.
I think we’re all panicking right now, and I’m trying not to think about what the hell just happened.
I just try to keep running as long as possible, following Davy, who holds the map and compass in his hand to guide us back down somewhat the same path.
“I... ne-need… abreak…” Edward calls out, completely out of breath. “I can’t…” I no longer hear his footsteps and as I turn around, he is bend over, trying to catch his breath. Davy and I run back to him, pulling him forwards.
“Let’s at least keep moving.” I suggest, while we walk further with Edward in between us. “Are we still going in the right direction?”
“According to the map, and the fact I recognize some parts, we do…” Davy drawls nervously.
“I hear a but, what’s the but?” Edward presses out in between gasping for air.
“The fabric… it’s nowhere. I tried to find them…” He gestures towards a group of five trees that are nearly in a perfect circle. I remember we stopped here to take a leak because I couldn’t hold up any longer.
I also clearly remember tying a piece of bright yellow fabric onto a low branch.
It’s not there, and it’s nowhere on the ground either.
“But we’ve been here…” I answer hesitantly. “We took a leak there.” I gesture towards a tree, that is still a bit wet at the bottom, as prove we actually had been here on our way in.
“Exactly…” Davy takes in a deep breath. “Let’s just follow the map, okay?” We keep walking until Edward taps our shoulders again.
“I’m good… we could run again.”
Davy and I nod, and with Davy ahead of us we start running again.
I guess all three of us want to get out of here as soon as possible.
We shine lights towards the ground to make sure we’re not tripping over anything, but still, even I’m absolutely sure there’s nothing on the ground in front of me, I feel my ankle getting stuck, as if grabbed, and I trip, planting my face on the ground with a loud groan.
Edward stops running right away, and Davy about three meters further.
“Get up. Sid, get up.” Edward yanks my arm and as I get back up, there’s a new gust of wind, a stronger one, and I see it surprised Davy. The map flies into his face and he quickly moves to grab it, but another strong gust of wind sends it flying up in the air.
“No!” I call out in shock, knowing it is our way out of the forest. “Get it!”
We run after it, looking up to follow it.
“Wait! Stop!” Davy calls out loud, causing Edward and I stumble to a stop, watching the map disappear into the darkness. “Don’t run after it.” He grabs our arms, yanking us into the other way. “We have to walk straight ahead, in that direction.” He points somewhere. “I recognize those trees and bushes, and we’re nearly there. I think it’s safe to say there’s something really off about this forest and it’s trying to get us to get lost. We’re not falling for it. Forget the map. I have the compass and we need to walk to the North-East…” He silences as soon as he watches down to the compass, that is now spinning around like crazy.
“No. Fucking. Way.” I whisper in shock, an even a bit in appreciation because damn, this would be awesome in a horror movie.
But this isn’t a movie. This is us, lost in the freaking Miller Woods.
Obviously haunted down by something.
“Dude…” Edward’s eyes widen as he shines a light towards me. He yanks my collar down. “Your throat is red dude.”
“What?” I touch my throat confused, staring at him questioningly.
“Auch!” Davy cries out in anger. “I think I got scratched.” He holds his neck with a hand and an angry look on his face. “I’m so done with this shit. We’re going, in that directions.”
“And we’re running, now.” Edward nods, pulling me to a start, while Davy again takes the lead. Edward soon again falls a bit behind and this time I’m the one hearing him trip and fall.
I swirl around, scared, tired, annoyed because I just want to get the hell out of here but something won’t easily let is leave.
“Dave! Stop!” I call out, running back towards Edward. But right before I’m able to reach him, something pulls him away from me by his feet and we both scream in fear. “Ed!” I call out, wanting to grab his hand, when a huge force on my chest sends me flying backwards away from him. Davy just came running back and I see his eyes widen in fear as I fly backwards.
He grabs Edward’s hand, as I’m confused about what just happened. One moment I was running, the next, I’m on the ground and damn, does my head hurt.
“Sid?” Davy’s voice sounds distant and I groan, wanting to grab my head, but it’s hard to do so as the whole world is spinning.
“Grab his arm, we’re almost there.”
I can’t even make out which of them is speaking right now. But I feel them grabbing my arms, lifting me to my feet and supporting me while hurriedly walking further towards what we believe has to be the edge of the forest.
I try to stay conscious, paying attention to our surroundings. But I’m dizzy, nauseous and I feel myself slip away in a darkness.
A darkness that I don’t even mind right now because anything is better then experiencing any of this for a second longer.
But the last thing I see, scares me the most of all; as I further slip into the darkness, I see a vague figure of a girl in a small distance. It’s as if she’s floating in front of us, about ten meters away.
And then everything goes black.