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The night will come bite you

By , Trois-Rivieres, Canada
In spite of my constricting trachea, in spite of the fear that numbed my mind, I tried with all my will to keep going on. Stray twigs grazed my scorching skin, already covered in bruises and dried blood. I struggled to stay balanced on my two feet, for I had ran through this that hell of ashady maze for what felt like an hour. The little ray of white light projected by my flashlight was dangerously vacillating, tellingwavering, announcing me that I would soon have nothing to rely on except my aching body. Thousands of eyes were burning holes in my back, but I tried to reassure myself by repeating that they were a figment of my over-active imagination.

I was lost.

Wasn’t the toilet left of Cabin B13?

At least, that’s what Roxanne told me when I asked her. I didn’t understand how I arrived there. One minute, my twenty-something classmates and me were goofing around the campfire, intently listening to the counselors’ horror stories that didn’t make sense, the other, there was nothing around me except cold air and dark tree clusters. I passed over tons of scenarios in my head. Me frozen in the woods, me attacked by black bears, me... Suddenly, I was blind.

Mustering every ounce of courage I could find, I squinted, urging my eyes to get acquainted to the darkness surrounding me. A single tear ran down my rosy cheek, finding its way to my chin in a second. My mind and my body seemed to disconnect as the salty water slowly found its way to the ground. I was alone, cold but it wasn’t what mattered. I was scared of the dark.

Nobody knew my secret. It’s not like I wanted them to know that brave “Cherie” was afraid that something would grab her by behind in the staircase at night. That Ifelt eyes following me when I walked alone in the unlighted streets of our neighbourhood.That I avoided looking through windows at night because I was afraid I would find burning rubies in them. I had read one too many fantasy novels and seen much more late horror movies than a fourth-fourth-grader should be allowedto.

I ran into my fair share of strange happenings, especially at camps. And thatto. That was part of why I was never able to sleep next to an open window for a good portion of my childhood.

I knew that it could be explained by scientific proofs and auditory hallucinations, but aA part of me, the voice that suspiciously sounded like that old psychic woman on television, kept believing those legends.
was frightened by those occult tales. This was an irrational fear, and I knew it. Something brushed against my shoulder. Bracing myself for the upcoming confrontation, I opened my fearful eyes, ready to battle whatever evil was standing behind me. A raspberry bush.

A gentle breeze swept through my thin clothes, impregnating them with a soft autumn scent. I could hear creaking trunks, shuffling leaves and crickets singing a comforting song. If that was nature, I was willing to stop time just to relish in that moment eternally. I breathed a large, deep mouthful of air; the dark wasn’t an enemy anymore.

My brow furrowed as I closed my lids, trying to remember what I was supposed to do if I got lost. Lichen grew toward south and the cabins were on the north side of the lake. My brain on automatic pilot, I toddled on my bruised legs.

Jujube’s voice resounded through my head,the clearing, her counselor-in-chief voice in the middle of admonishing the irate children wrestling in the middle of the soccer field. I stealthly walked up to the crowd cheering the two boys and mixed up with the rest of them, my eyes now shining with content. My cheeks and legs were covered with scratches but the excitement electrifying the air was enough for me to forget about the dull ache spreading through my limbs. I had succeeded. Jumping in sync with other bystanders, I winced.

Where was the bathroom again?





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