Lost in the Woods This work is considered exceptional by our editorial staff.

May 13, 2010
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Jane was staring ahead, and no matter how many steps she took, it was always the same thing, trees everywhere. The evening had started as a simple hike, but an argument with her cousin and little brother had led her to a different trail. She had only gone a short distance before deciding she should go back for them. She began to walk back down the trail, and of course, it had started to rain. Now, she was wet and cold, but she knew she could not leave her cousin and little brother out in the rain. So she pushed onward through the horrid weather.
After walking a while, she looked around, confused, trying to analyze where she was. She looked closely at the trees as if they would whisper where to turn now. The property her godfather owned was a hundred acres; she assumed that was not such a large area and continued to walk. It grew dark outside and she wondered if her cousin and little brother were at the waterhole yet, or if they had turned back.
As it got darker outside she came up to a spot that looked very familiar. “Oh no,” she said. She had been walking in circles for the past hour. She could feel the icy wind creep up her spine. The water dripping down her hair onto her face constantly reminded her that it was still raining. It was at that point that she figured she should turn back to where she thought the cabin was, to just tell her father and godfather that her cousin and little brother were still out on the trails if they had not gotten back yet, although she figured they had turned back with it raining and all. She turned around, took a couple deep breaths and continued to where she hoped the cabin was. She was now on a trail with fencing to the left, so she knew she was near the property’s border. If she just followed the fence, it would lead her back to the cabin eventually.
She heard a noise, the sound of a stick breaking. She looked around and saw a pit full of sticks to her right. She took only five more steps before she realized what had made the noise. It was then she saw the coyotes, right there in front of her only about twenty or thirty feet away. They were staring right at her; she was frozen, just as they were mesmerized by this same dangerous gaze. There were about six of them, but she continued to stare one in the eye.
She could feel him now, the reaper at her side. She was sure she would be breaking out in tears any second now, but she was too concentrated on those horrific eyes to cry. She remembered the pit to her right and compared what would be a worse death, falling into the pit or being torn apart by a pack of wild animals.
Without thinking, her instincts led her one slow step to the right and slightly back. She was not sure what it was she was doing: trying to run away or trying to get closer to the pit. She could feel every nerve in her body tighten. This was it. She was not the kind of person who believed in God, but she could not help but pray quietly at this point. Her words were not audible.
She had still not broken the stare with the pack leader when suddenly he turned away. The coyotes all looked to their left with their ears perked up. Jane then looked to her right and heard just a faint sound. She looked back at them. They continuously glanced from her, back towards the sound, and back at her again. She was then slowly backing away, still staring at them, and the one that had stared at her before did the same but remained still.
It was then that she felt something she had not felt at all that day: safe. She was not sure why, but for some reason, she felt as though the coyote had let her live. His eyes seemed stern, but true. As he promised protection, the others turned away. She stopped walking backwards and felt peace as the last coyote, her coyote, dropped his head and turned away, leaving her alone. She took this incident as a sign. The coyotes were telling her to go back. So she did; she turned around as they had and went back down the trail.
She was so focused on the event, she did not even realize she was now soaked. The noise she and the coyotes had heard earlier grew louder, and she looked in the direction of the sound. There was a trail. On the trail she saw her father drive by about a hundred meters down the other way. She screamed for her father and then she heard someone call, “Janey!”
She looked to her right, back up the same trail the coyotes had moved toward and saw her god-father. “Uncle Nick!” she yelled, “Uncle Nick!” She ran toward him and jumped into his arms.
Her uncle called her father on a walky-talky and carried her back to camp. They were right, she thought, as she was being carried. The camp was down that trail. It was only a couple hundred meters away.





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