Chapter 1: Prayer
~“For a new wave, one must go.”~
Welcome to Kiaronna, an area located on the endless Mount Takao. My friend and I flew for eight hours to get here. It’s a vacation, so we decided to come here and hike to a lodge. We got lighters, lighter fuel, tents, water, canned tuna, canned fruits, thick sleeping bags, and batteries. We heard that it is going to be pitch black at night, so we got searchlights with a range of 300 to 400 meters. We carry those in hiking backpacks, making us look like rucksacks on boots with goggles on.
We park near the path that should lead us to the lodge that we booked for the night. The hour hand strikes eleven as the full moon glares at us, providing nothing more than a dark light. We parked at a further spot from the cabin just for the sake of a sweet victory whenever we got there.
We turn off the roaring V8 of the mighty Chevy Silverado and jump out from the high sides, suddenly, the temperature slams us back into discomfort. “I already miss having my ass warmed by the seat, Jason!” Complains the fat old lazy lump of a man, with coffee on his inch-long untrimmed beard, trailing down his belly that seemingly has a bowling ball stuck in it, as he scratches his inch-long black hair with silver patches. “At least I won’t miss smelling the sweat seeping out of your crack, Hugh!” I say back to him. We both giggle at each other as we rub our hands to warm them up for the gloves. Right after we put on the gloves, the searchlights are broken out by the worst explorers in history.
Mine is just a simple black light with a handle put on the side. I simply flip a switch to turn it on, and point it at Hugh’s hand, which is currently holding a green plastic alligator that is the size of an average boot, with a bulb in its mouth. He presses the nose’s tip to turn on the light. It isn’t normal light. It’s literally purple. Impressed, I tell him, “You moron!” - “What? I got a searchlight too.”
That’s when it hits me. That is not a searchlight, it’s a child’s UV light. “That is an ultraviolet light.” I correct him. “Yeah… you use it to search for certain… ~bodily fluids~. That’s what a searchlight is… Isn’t it? Do you get it? Search - Light.” asks the imbecile.
About five seconds of freezing both figuratively and literally, I stutter out,“Y-you know what-... whatever. We can use that in the cabin to make sure we don’t sleep on other peoples’ ‘~bodily fluids~.’ I quote him. “Gotcha!” he says, with a grin as silly as the alligator’s, only with an open window in the teeth.
And so, we set ourselves on the way. Ahead lies about four kilometers of a snowy path that will engulf our feet, upto our calves. Just in case we need to stop and get a fire going, we got an emergency axe to gather firewood, and a steel plate if we shall cook something on it. Lastly, we’d be hunting for our own food, so we got an airsoft rifle with lead bullets, and a recurve bow with six arrows.
As we walk, we appreciate the beauty of the place by gawking at it. A snow-covered wooden path with rods on the sides exactly three meters apart, and one constant black silk-smooth rope curls from one pole’s top to another. On the right side of the fence is a decline around ten metres low, and on the left is an ascent that is around fifty meters high. You won’t be able to climb it if you are like us, the worst adventurers that even the history books were too embarrassed to mention. You will need a climbing ax, a guideline connected to the top, and zero dead weight (or someone who looks at you with a third eyeball through the window of their teeth).
Now, it’s twelve-thirty at midnight, that is when the cabin is just in sight. Not able to hold it in anymore, “I am gonna take a leak before I begin leaking. Wait for me.” I announce. He turns his back to me and stands there in the position of a Queen’s Guard. “Roger that, sir!” he shouts gently. As soon as he does, I turn away from him, stand near a tree and relieve myself at the root of that tree.
I close my eyes and hear the stream run down into the snow. The ticklishness in my bladder begins to reduce. And then, a small warm breeze runs down the left side of my neck. All of it feels so delightful-...
The breeze stops momentarily and begins running again.
“Someone’s breathing down my neck!” My mind screams at me. I freeze in my own urinating body, with a head that I don’t see hovering above my neck. Slowly I work up the courage to rapidly turn around towards the face and punch it.
So I jolt my head to the side of the breeze and launch my fist at it. However, all I punch through is air. I open my eyes to see that there is no one there. But what I also see is that there IS no one there. Hugh is gone, probably hiding. Panicked, angry, and with every muscle on my fingers twitching, I call out, “Hugh! This is not funny.” I get no response, so I walk over to the path.
There is nothing there. But the corner of my eye spots something odd in the snow. I walk towards it to see Hugh’s UV light dropped on the floor. With my nerves shooting bad feelings up and down, I call out again, and again. I get no response.
My left foot twitches. I ignore it. But it happens again. Then, again. I move it, hoping it stops, but I see something. A drop of fresh blood, staining the snow. So fresh, it still seeps into the snow, spreading like a drop of red dye on cotton.
I quickly pull out my phone and call the police. But, no one answers. Losing hope, I begin desperately screaming with wrinkles on my face getting deeper. “Hugh! Call out!” I repeat at least a hundred times.
Each time was like a prayer. It just went unanswered, diffusing into the skies.