Chapter 5 – Friends by faith
Wednesday, September 21st, 2016
I’m moody, I want to lay down and sleep, and I want to be left alone. My head hurts, I haven’t slept – I skyped all night with Davy and Edward because they too couldn’t sleep. I leave a light on because Cory warned us, the dark is now our enemy.
The line between awake and asleep, the grey area in which you’re not awake, but not completely asleep either, is when trouble will start.
We can’t keep it up and stay awake until the end of days, but let’s say I’d like to postpone whatever ‘trouble’ will start as long as possible.
I’m a zombie, and not solely because I haven’t slept much since Sunday during the day, but also because I have a minor concussion and I didn’t take enough rest so far.
I stayed home on Tuesday but being home alone – even during the day – makes me restless. I feel as if I’m never really alone and every time I see my reflection in the mirror, the marks on my throat remind me that Cory warned us we will never be truly alone anymore.
I regret our actions, more then I regret anything in my entire life. But then again, so far, nothing happened to either three of us, and now, three days ahead in time, it starts to feel like a distant dream in which only the marks on our skin, the pictures on out phones and the memories in our minds are signs that we were in the Miller Woods.
I don’t remember saying a word so far today, and I’m getting increasingly more annoyed by Annika’s worried looks and her constantly asking me if everything is okay.
Cory wasn’t in school this morning and I can’t help but feel relieved to see him arrive during lunchbreak. I don’t know why, but I feel safer with him with us.
And I’m not the only one, because Edward and Davy keep seeking his company too. We’re probably the most boring group in school to hang out with right now, as the three of us hardly speak a word, and Amara and Amber still seem sceptic about what we’ve told them so far.
Amber even said to Annika that she feels as if we messed the pictures up ourselves, and said we could’ve easily marked ourselves. Amara thought we’re solely keeping the story up because we want to mess with Cory, and the girls are now in their first ever fight.
Amara apologized for her thoughts, seeing she knows we didn’t make it up because she knows us well enough to know something is off with the way we behave.
“I’d kill for some sleep.” Davy mutters, his head resting on the backpack that is in front of him at the table. “Just… for two days straight.”
“Then go to sleep.” Amber rolls her eyes and shakes her head. “Nobody’s forbidding you to go to sleep.”
“I know that!” he hisses angrily. “Can you just… not stick your nose into my business? And if you don’t believe us, then why the hell don’t you go into the Miller Woods yourself? The fence is still out for the duration of the reparations.”
Which is true since they can’t put the power back on as long as people are working to repair it. And apparently, a new five by five-meter-wide fence couldn’t be fixed in a matter of three days.
The army is still guarding the forest and I can’t help but wonder why it’s so important to the government to keep people out of the forest.
I did research, and there’s no real explanation for them to guard the Miller Woods, other then the fact 13 people disappeared, and Cory and a girl named Kim that is now in her twenties, both came out screaming in agony and fear.
Cory knows Kim. She reached out to him when she read his story and apparently, she’s his only friend.
Though I do consider him a friend too. He could’ve easily avoided us after we ignored his warnings, but he decided to help us with the best of his abilities.
He gave us minor intel on what happened to him, which is somewhat the same as what happened to us. A bunch of weird unexplainable things, followed by him never being sharp in a picture, and a girl named Angie haunting him ever since.
We tried to take his picture, but it wouldn’t focus on him; as if he wasn’t in the picture and the camera was only able to focus on other things beside or behind him.
The same goes for Davy, Edward and myself; we’re blurry in every picture.
“Cory!” Davy perks up as he feels the former taking a seat in between us. “We were worried, where were you?”
“Bad night…” he mumbles ashamed and insecure.
“I have another question.” Edward leans forwards in his direction, behaving as if we’re going to talk about top secret stuff. “Sorry for all the questions…”
“It’s okay, I get it. I wish I would’ve had someone to ask questions to too.” He smiles carefully. “And it’s kind of nice to have some people who believe me.”
“Yeah…” Edward clears his throat. “How do you know this is Angie? How do you know who Angie is? It’s only eyes -,”
“-two dots of light.” Amber cuts him off.
“Yeah, two dots of light, in a forest where nobody ever comes, on a night that the power in the entire area was out. But yeah, lights. Because we can so easily explain what source is behind them.” Davy sarcastically sneers at her.
“Yeah, because explaining them as eyes of an invisible girl called Angie makes so much more sense.” She again rolls her eyes.
“Amber…” Annika sighs tiredly. “We have four friends telling us it’s true. And I think it’s safe to say we’ve been friends long enough to know they’re telling us exactly what they saw and heard. Can you please be a little more open to their side of the story and try to support them?”
Amber closes her eyes, takes a deep breath and groans. “Fine, I’ll try. But if this is all a joke, then I will ruin your lives.” She points especially towards Davy. “I’m serious.”
“And so are we.” I push her pointing finger down, turning towards Cory. “How do you know it’s Angie?”
“Because…” He takes Edwards phone from him, showing me the picture. “I see her fully. You only see eyes…”
But as I turn to really look at the photo, I see her too. Not just eyes, but a dark mass in the form of a body. A girl, wearing a dark dress, with short black hair touching her shoulders.
And then I remember the vision of a girl floating in front of us as Davy and Edward tried to drag me out of the forest, and I know it’s her. It’s the same girl.
“I…” I squeak, and Cory instantly snaps his head towards me. “I see… It’s a girl…”
Cory’s eyes widen, and Davy and Edward lean over the phone to take it in again.
“It’s just eyes…” Davy whispers confused.
“You’ll see her, soon enough.” Cory whispers with a hoarse voice. “When did you first see her?” He looks at me curiously. “Did you lose your consciousness in the woods?”
“I… yes…” I mutter insecure. “I think I saw her right before I blacked out.”
“You saw her!?” Davy hits my shoulder and I scowl in return. “Why didn’t you say anything.”
“Because she only presents herself to those who are tipping over to sleeping or unconsciousness. For weeks, I thought I made things up, because it always felt like a dream.” Cory admits with a shrug.
“And she came up to you and introduced herself as Angie?” Amber still sounds as if she doesn’t believe us.
“N-no…” Cory’s voice barely a whisper. “I… she… she sends me messages or something… I don’t know. I can’t explain. I dreamed about her, and when I woke up, I just knew she had to be Angie.”
“This is weird.” Amber rolls her eyes again. “I’m gonna sit with Jenna and all…”
“Wait, you’re not going to tell them about this, right?” Cory stares at her in horror. “Don’t… you shouldn’t…”
“Chillax, baby.” She laughs at him. “I’m not talking about this. People will think I’m crazy too.” And with those words, she leaves.
And I can’t help but feel a bit insulted in the least because she just insinuated we’re crazy.
And maybe we are. Maybe we shouldn’t listen to Cory. Maybe he’s just getting into our heads.
But that still doesn’t explain the marks, or the push I got, or the fact I now clearly see a girly figure in the picture that apparently only Cory and I see.
“How long do you have before you have to be home?” Cory follows me towards a bench park where we agreed to sit down to talk about things for a bit. I’m still grounded, and I’ll be grounded until we manage to pay of the damage to the fence. So, probably until my mid thirties.
Which ruins any opportunity to meet up with Cory outside of school. Unless, like today, a teacher is sick and we are out of school one hour early.
“Four,” I grumble in annoyance, sitting down with a sigh. “Thanks for wanting to talk to me.”
“Seemed like you could use someone who’d listen.”
“And tells me what it is that will happen if I go to sleep. Because I need to sleep. I’m losing it.”
“Well, it’s not like you can’t sleep. It’s just… I see her in my dreams a lot. That’s how it started. Hallucinating because of sleep-deprivation could be one explanation, but nowadays, I sleep enough to rule that out.” He chuckles awkwardly.
“What do you see? Tell me.”
“Okay.” He nods, grabbing two cans of coke, handing me one. “For starters, do you know what lucid dreams are?”
“Eh, something with being awake, but then again not?”
He smiles, shakes his head and shrugs. “It’s a state of dreaming in which you are aware of the fact it’s a dream. In a lucid dream, you get to decide what you do in the dream. You can learn how to fly and all. Next question, do you know what sleep paralysis means?”
“Not being able to move, still feeling as if you’re awake?”
“And in some way, you are awake, but still can experience a dreamy atmosphere.” He nods and smiles again.
“And why is this important?”
“Because that’s what will happen. You’ll get very vivid dreams, lucid dreams on some occasions and sleep paralysis right before you fall asleep. And that’s when you meet Angie.”
“You’re scaring me already.” I stare at him with wide eyes. “You’re telling me I’ll be paralysed when she shows up? And I can’t do anything?”
“Well… no.” He sighs. “It’s scary, and I still don’t always know how to fight it. Most of the time I try to ignore it and go to sleep. It helps that I have medication that speed up the process to fall asleep, so I mostly fall asleep anyway.”
“I need those meds.”
“Yeah, soon, you do. Because you won’t be able to hide it when you keep walking around like a zombie.” Cory awkwardly scratches his head. “In my lucid dreams, I feel safest, because I get to run away, fly away, kill her if needed. And then I’m safe until I wake up again.”
“Okay, so, run away, fly away, swim away; anything to get away.”
“And kill her when she won’t stop haunting you down. You just have to imagine any sort of weapon in your hand. She really dislikes knives. They’ll scare her off in itself.”
“Knife, got it.” I nod, sighing in relief because he’s handing me tools to sleep a bit more comfortable. “But if this is it, she is in your dreams and you get to kill her so easily, then why did you spend two years in a ward.”
“Because, and I don’t know how to prevent it from happening, she will eventually appear when you’re awake to. She attached herself to you and she grows stronger the more scared you get. The more you see her, the more you respond the her, the stronger she gets.”
“What, are you telling me you see her during the day too?”
He swallows, but then he shrugs. “I hear her. I don’t see her.”
“What, like, does she talk to you?”
“She keeps trying to lure me back into the forest. Keeps telling me to come out and play hide and seek.”
I choke on a sip of coke, staring at him in shock. “Why don’t you just tell her to back off and how you can’t go back into the woods?”
He again clears his throat awkwardly. “There’s a way in.”
“There’s a way in. I was in the woods this summer.”
“Are you deaf?” he chuckles, I think trying to lighten the mood by joking around. But this isn’t a joke. “She showed me, in my dreams. It wasn’t a lucid dream. I woke up, and I was in the woods. There’s an old empty building. It’s not big, I think it belonged to the rangers or whatever. There’s a tunnel.”
My eyes widen, and I don’t know how to respond to this new piece of information. For years, we tried to figure out a way into the woods, and we’re going to have to pay for the damage to get in, and now I find out there’s a tunnel?
“I woke up and then remembered how Angie guided me to a building and through the tunnel. I almost panicked, but since I’ve been in the company of Angie for years already, I managed to keep calm, go back through the tunnel and go home.”
“And where’s the entrance? Where does it start?”
“The basement of the old abandoned mill just outside of town.” He sighs. “And I’m only telling you this because I know Angie will eventually show you the way anyway. Just promise me you won’t go back in there by free will.”
“What, hell no!” I call out. “I’m never going back in there, ever again. I’m no fool.”
“Good.” Cory nods, pleased with my reaction. “And promise me you won’t tell anyone.”
“Not Davy and Edward either?”
“I already told Edward all of this yesterday. He invited me to his house to talk. He has cool parents for not grounding him as bad as you and Davy are.”
“Yeah…” I roll my eyes. “If only he would be willing to pay off the damage to the fence… he has plenty of money and he understood why we did what we did.”
“But then you guys wouldn’t learn anything, right?”
“Right.” I roll my eyes because that’s exactly what Annika and Amara said when we complained about Edward’s dad refusing to pay at least Edward’s part.
“To me, and I know because I know what is happening to you, you’re already punished enough. But nobody believes you.”
“So, like, that Kim is really the only one who believes you?”
“My dad doesn’t think I’m crazy either, but he has a hard time believing my stories. And I haven’t talked to either of my parents about it in a year. He just desperately wants my nightmares to stop.”
“I assume your mom wants the same?”
“Mom and dad divorced over differences, mostly about me. I haven’t seen her in months. She has a burn out and she’s refusing to see me, my dad, or my sister.”
“You have a sister?”
Cory, bites his cheek and frowns, opening his mouth to talk, closing it back up with a confused look on his face.
“What? What’s wrong?”
“Well, I kind of assumed by now you guys would’ve figured out Kim is my sister and she’s the reason I went into the woods in the first place.”
Call me shocked easily, I again choke on a sip of coke, deciding on not taking any more attempts to drink until Cory is done telling me his story. “Kim is your sister? I thought she reached out to you…”
“Yeah, she did. Because she was…” His words falter, and he suddenly seems emotional. “She got lost in the woods, was taken to the ward because she refused to speak after that and she reached out to me because nobody believed her story once she started talking again after nearly six months of silence. And to find out if she was telling the truth, I went in myself. I wanted to capture evidence to help her prove she wasn’t crazy.”