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“Come on, you wimp,” Jason nags.
“I don’t want to. I really don’t want to,” I assert.
“Nothing is going to happen, I promise,” Sam chimes in.
The light from the moon barely shines through the thick foliage overhead. The loose wood chips on the ground crackle and groan under the pressure of my scared, trembling body. I slowly inch forward towards the rusty wire which blocks the dark path ahead of us. Attached to the wire dangles a sign that softly sways in the wind. Suicide Forest. We carefully step over the wire and immediately the environment changes. Chills fire down my spine and goosebumps slowly crawl across my body. There is something terribly wrong with this forest.
“Come on,“ Sam says, waving me forward.
“We will leave you if you don’t come with us,” Jason adds.
“Ugh. Okay, no funny business though,” I answer reluctantly.
Slowly we begin to walk down the pitch black trail. Our flashlights cautiously scan the environment around us. Horrific thoughts of suicide spirits and demons claw into my mind as we go deeper and deeper into the seemingly endless woods. We reach a part of the trail where a ribbon blocks us from going any further. I stop dead in my tracks, a wave of nausea overcomes my body. I keel over, feeling like I am about to throw up. But nothing happens.
“What’s the matter Erika, are you getting too scared?” Sam taunts. “You are always a wimp. Let’s go!”
“No, I just have a really bad feeling about this. We should’ve done more research, I don’t think we should cross that ribbon,” I answer. “People come here to die, and I don’t want to do that.”
“What did I tell you at the beginning of this. Nothing is going to happen. I promise - and I keep my promises,” Sam replies bravely.
Suddenly, out of nowhere Sam face plants straight onto the ground. He lets out a terrifying scream as an invisible force drags him into the darkness beyond the ribbon. I am frozen, paralyzed with fear for what feels like an eternity. I want to run after Sam, but I can’t will my legs to move.
“LEAVE!” a voice booms from behind the ribbon.
The voice snaps us back to reality, Jason and I quickly lock eyes and start to run. Spiderwebs, branches, and leaves swat at our faces as we blindly sprint through the dark, terrifying forest. We stop out of complete exhaustion in the middle of the forest. My heart pounds in my chest. My mind is racing. I can’t make any sense out of what I just saw and experienced. Tears run slowly down my face and I wonder if I will ever see Sam again. In the panic of the moment I look around and see that we are hopelessly lost. Somewhere we made a wrong turn as we sprinted through the forest.
I look over at Jason and ask, “ Is this a joke?”
“ No, I promise,” Jason says, his body shaking from fear and exertion.
“ Where are we right now?” I ask.
“ I have no clue.”
“ I thought you knew where…” before I could finish my sentence, I hear the snap of twigs breaking behind us. We spin around, but see nothing at all. When I look back towards Jason, he’s gone. My breathing starts to speed up again and I search the area around me for any sign of movement or for Jason but I can’t find him. I crank my head to one direction and out of the corner of my eye I see a shadow. I jerk around towards the shadow, but nothing is there. I walk deeper into the forest, keeping my eyes and head on a swivel. From the silence, a demonic laugh rings through the forest. I stop dead in my tracks. The hairs on my neck tingle and stick up as I feel the warmth of someone’s breath on the back of my neck. Out of pure terror, I close my eyes and slowly turn around.
I force enough confidence to open my eyes, but there is nothing there. I stand in the middle of the forest, scared and alone; Both of my friends have disappeared, and I am lost. My mind quickly snaps back to reality. I feel the breath on the back of my neck again. This time I quickly whip around to try to find the creature breathing on my neck. Panic overcomes my body. In front of me I see Sam. However, the thing that is standing in front of me is not Sam. His eyes are darker than the endless night and murky tears slowly drip from his eyes. We stand there staring at each other, locked in each other’s gaze.
“ Why are you doing this to us?” I slowly ask the thing.
“ You should not have come here,” it says in a deep, raspy voice. “ You don’t belong here.”
“ What did you do to my friends?”
“ He belongs here.”
At that moment sense the feeling in my legs come back to me and I turn around and start running. As I run, I glance behind me and see Sam standing there, staring at me. When I look back a few seconds later, he’s gone. I feel stuck in place, like a bug on a pin. I swivel my eyes in my head to try to get a glimpse of what is happening, but I cannot see anything. After a couple of seconds I see Sam walking around me . He looks straight into my eyes and a chill shoots through my veins. Sam starts to circle my body but this time I move with him.
In the corner of my eye I can start to see a figure that looks like Jason tied to the trunk of a tree. He seems to be unconscious, his body held tight to the tree by a rope. I try to scream but nothing comes out of my mouth. Sam slowly strolls over to Jason’s body and lifts up his head. Jason's eyes flutter open. He looks around and his eyes finally settle on me. Before he can say anything Sam waves his hand in front of Jason‘s eyes, making him fall back to sleep immediately.
Sam looks me in the eye and then looks down towards my arm. A burning pain etches its way across my arm. The pain overcomes me and my eyes slowly shut.
When I wake up, the first thing I see is the word “ SURVIVOR” carved into the skin of my arm. The sun is starting to rise on the horizon. I’m lying on the ground, covered in leaves and woodchips. Next to me I see Jason, he is covered in blood and has cuts all up and down his arms and legs. I quickly look around to see if Sam is anywhere near us. When I don’t see him I quickly get onto my knees and start to shake Jason. When he finally wakes up, I look over my shoulder and say firmly, “ We need to go”. Jason looks up at me and nods his head.
When he tries to stand up he can barely stay on his feet. I run over to him and try to support him as best I can. We stumble through the woods until we see what looks like the trail that we were on the night before. We follow the trail until we see the wire, with its sign swaying in the breeze. I help Jason over the wire and then I follow him.
I look back into the forest and notice a figure walking towards us on the trail. As the figure gets closer, I see that it is Sam. He’s limping towards us, his eyes as black as the endless night and his arms outstretched. He gets closer and closer to the wire but before he can cross it, he falls over. His body slowly turns to ash and blows back into the forest. Sam was not a survivor, maybe he belonged there.