There’s something about moonless nights. Those nights where it’s so dark and there’s little aid from natural light. It’s on those nights that one might feel more cautious, more guarded. It’s on one of those nights where someone would try to be more alert.
Of course, this isn’t nearly as necessary if you live in the city. In the city you have lights that keep everything lit. It certainly isn’t a night to roam around the forest or the beach.
It’s on this night that I find myself alone, lost in the woods.
It wasn’t a great night for it.
The woods already keep out so much of the light from the moon. There is no artificial light to help one find their way out. All you can do is keep warm and safe. Even the respite of a clearing isn’t of any real use on a night like this.
So, what should I do? Should I keep walking? Should I find a place to take shelter until the morning sun?
I honestly have no idea where I should go or what I should do. I have no business being out here in the cold and in the dark.
I guess the better story would be how I found myself out here with no means of my own.
I wish I could tell you that tale, but I can’t seem to remember how I came to be out here myself. All I know is that I have a splitting headache and I am utterly alone.
Alone, save for the creatures that inhabit these woods… the wolves, coyotes, bears…
It certainly doesn’t bode well for me.
I take a deep breath as my fingers caress the cold, hard rock that I found myself waking on. It almost feels like I was meant to be a sacrifice.
But if that were true, where did everyone go? Why am I still alive?
My fingers continue to fumble over the rock, almost as though it were the only thing I have left…
Actually, it might be all that I have left.
My brain madly rushes to recall anything prior to this moment. But try as it might, all it does is draw a huge blank.
Why am I out here? How did I get here?
Even as I say these aloud, there is no one there to answer. No one there to give me any idea of who am I, how I got there, what do I do.
I sit for a moment as I begin to panic. It then dawns on me that I have no idea what time it is. Even if I could tell time by the placement of the moon in the sky, there is no moon for me to do so with.
I sigh plaintively as I look around. There are trees as far as I can see. Trees… and try as I might to make out figures in the dark, all I can see are these damned trees.
I realize that all I am clad in are my undergarments, nothing more. As mortifying as it would be to be outside in my underwear, I realize that there’s no one here to care or judge. For a moment I feel relief, if only if it’s for that moment.
I finally slide off of this rock, feeling the prick of pine needles beneath my feet. I hear them gently crack with every step I take.
Even though I have no idea where I am, going somewhere, anywhere would be better than staying here.
I slowly make my way through the trees, the tall towering trees standing almost as in judgment of my situation. Trees that would normally feel almost pastoral. But on this night they feel menacing and cold. I could find no comfort within these trees.
I hear a loud snap behind me.
I stop dead in my tracks, trying to keep the amount of sound I make to a minimum.
I jerk myself around to face whatever danger might be lurking behind me.
A deer looks at me before running off back into the trees.
I breathe a sigh of relief as I see the deer disappear in to the dark… the ever pressing dark.
I continue to walk as quickly as possible, letting my feet be stabbed by the multitudinous needles that break under foot. Trying to find something, anything.
I realize that I hear a brook not too far in the distance.
“How did I miss that before?”, I wonder as I start to walk in the direction of the running water.
It isn’t long before I find the source of the noise, a forest creek.
I take a deep breath as I walk closer to the water. I suddenly realize that I am incredibly thirsty.
How long have I been out here?
I make it to the creek, letting it’s cool water flow gently over my feet. It allows for some comfort from the pain the needles inflicted upon them. I realize that the air I am breathing is fairly cold. I haven’t had time to focus on how cold it was outside. Now that I can stand here, I can feel the cold penetrate like thousands of microscopic daggers.
I shiver and rub my arms to try and maintain warmth.
I walk back on the shore to take a moment to think. I kneel down on the leaf-strewn shore. Pine needles poking my legs as I take a moment to think.
Then there is a thunk, like the sound of freshly dead meat being cleaved by a butcher.
There is no pain as I lurch forward. My body falling limp into the creek as the blood begins to pour from my body.
The last thing I see in the reflection of that creek is a man pulling the hatchet out of the back of my head as my blood begins to color the water. There is no sound.
And then there is nothing, just darkness.