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The Haunted Forest
I gasped as I nearly stumbled over a massive branch that belonged to one of the redwood trees that filled up the space around me. The chilly autumn air left me shivering, but I had a feeling that I wasn’t just shaking because of the cold. Ryan caught up, and I started moving forward again, silently, each step leading me deeper into Scott’s Hill Forest. My flashlight illuminated the crinkled newspaper clipping I held. I scanned the year old article.
“Girl Found Dead in Forest,” I read. “Yesterday, October 31, 2005, Halloween night, while most children were living in candy bliss, young Dora Roberts, a high school junior and winner of the “Best Athlete” award at George Washington High School, was murdered deep in Scott’s Hill forest. Officials confirmed that Roberts was killed by impact to the head, causing her skull to-“
“Yeah, I know this, you read it like a million times. God, why can’t you spend Halloween night like any normal person? Ghost hunting? This is ridiculous.” Ryan fiddled with something in his pocket and looked thoroughly uncomfortable.
“Wait, I never exactly read you this part. I only just told you a little about it. Listen.” I skipped over some of the unimportant parts of the article and let out a satisfied sigh when I found the section I had been looking for. “Over the years, many myths have circulated about Scott’s Hill Forest, but probably best known is the Laura Scott Hill legend, for which the forest was allegedly named. Laura Scott Hill was only thirteen years old when she was found impaled in the forest then known simply as Redwood Forest. In the years that followed, locals repeatedly claimed that they had seen or heard the girl’s ghost in the middle of the night. Coincidently, Laura Hill was killed on October 31, 1974, Halloween Night, exactly 31 years before Dora Roberts’s death.”
“Yeah, I know this stuff. My God, I can’t believe you dragged me away from my nice, soft bed for this bull. I can’t believe you’re into this supernatural crap,” Ryan mumbled.
“Last time I checked, you were totally eager to come with me, Ryan, so stop complaining. Quit playing with that thing in your pocket. Darn, Ryan, you are so annoying.” I felt rather exasperated. I hadn’t seen my ghost, and I was starting to think that it was really a lost cause.
“I don’t like being called annoying.” Ryan pulled out the object he had been amusing himself with from his pocket. It glinted from the light of my flashlight, and my heart stopped when I realized it was a knife.
“What? If you need protection from ghosts, that’s not going to cut it,” I said nervously. This is crazy, I thought. No way is this happening. But, now it was all too clear for me why Ryan had been so eager to join me on a crazy ghost hunt in the forest. I looked for a path to run on, and only found bushes and trees.
“Dora was harder to kill. She was a track star, and really fast. But you, you should be easy.” He grinned, an evil horrid smile. He was enjoying my fear. He looked insane, and I realized that he was. I didn’t even want to know why he killed Dora. I just needed to leave, to get somewhere safe.
My heart was like a sludge hammer, and I thought that any minute it would beat straight through my chest. But in a second, the shock was gone, and logic filled my head. Ryan obviously wasn’t who I had thought he was. So, there was only one thing left to do, and therefore, I turned around, dropped my flashlight, and sprinted, over bushes, around rocks, dodging trees. But one of those terrible redwood branches got caught under my foot and the next thing I knew, the sky was under me and the ground above me. And then I heard a loud thump and winced as I felt sharp pain. I lay on the ground, unable to move for fear that I would further damage my scratched, bruised body. This is just some sick joke, I told myself. This isn’t reality, just a dream.
Immediately Ryan was on top of me, the knife moving in quick, steady motions, first through my leg, then toward my head. I prepared to die, saw the glint of it coming down, and squeezed my eyes shut, but it never came. I opened my eyes just in time to see the pale faces of Laura Scott Hill and Nora Roberts disintegrate into the cool night air. And a knife was stuck right through Ryan’s heart. So there really were ghosts in this forest, and I owed them my life.
“I can’t believe you’re not into this supernatural crap,” I said to Ryan’s stunned face, and felt pretty clever. Then I turned around and as I limped home, I wondered how many new legends would form when the news of Ryan’s death spread, but I didn’t care any more. I had come expecting to see one ghost, but after finding two, I had seen enough to last a lifetime.