Night in the woods | Teen Ink

Night in the woods

May 13, 2022
By annastesia-ballew, Olathe, Kansas
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annastesia-ballew, Olathe, Kansas
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Author's note:

I am 15 and a freshman at Olathe Northwest 

“I’ve been waiting for this trip forever, thank god it’s finally time,” Daisy says as she packs hers and Karsons Duffle bags full of swimsuits and towels in the car. Karson smiles at her, but nobody else even acknowledges her comment. Bella and Ross are next to put their bags in, then finally Cody and Lila. “Let's get this shit going, I'm not tryna be driving all night,” Karson yells back at the rest of the group. “Give me a sec, I need to go get my lucky shark tooth,” Cody yells back. Karson rolls his eyes 

It was almost impossible to drive through the thick fog on a pitch-black night. “Karson how much longer until we get there?” Daisy asks. Karson lets out a yawn and after analyzing the time responds with “We still have 2 hours but I don’t think I'm gonna make it, and it looks like nobody else will be up for driving.” Daisy looks around to see everyone in the back sound asleep on one another. “Just pull over to the motel over there,” Daisy suggests. Karson looks at her with his eyebrows furrowed down and a scrunch forming above his nose. “Daisy that's basically in the woods, plus we are dead ass in the middle of nowhere. Do you trust that?” 

“Do you have any other options?”

“Motel it is,” Karson says as he pulls the car into the parking lot. They both look back at everyone in the car and then at each other. “Do we wake them up?” Daisy asks. “Just leave them, they seem fine. We can get a room in the motel and come back in the morning before they even wake up,” Karson says.

The motel room was dark and had a broken AC. The bed was rough with stained sheets and multiple holes in the wall. Daisy takes a deep breath “It’s only one night” she whispers to herself. They try to settle in but it wasn’t easy. The wind was restless and you could hear all the animals around. “I don’t think I'll be able to fall asleep tonight Karson,” Daisy says as she shakes Karson’s shoulder. He slowly turns around, “Do you want to go for a walk or something, I bet it feels nicer out there than in this janky room.” Daisy walks to the window and peaks through the white blinds. The outside looked cold and dead. Just a bunch of trees in the pitch black and the sound of random bugs. “You aren’t scared to go outside right now,” she asks still looking through the window. Karson shakes his head and starts for the door.

“See, it’s not so bad now is it?” he says as they walk around. Daisy rolls her eyes and continues to cautiously walk through the crowded path. *Crunch.* “What the hell was that,” Daisy yells as her eyes widen. “Just relax, you know how many animals are out here? We are in the woods, you’re gonna hear a branch crunch,” Karson says. They continue on their walk, and the heavy winds start to pick up. 

“Ok I think it's time we head back,” Daisy says.

“Oh cmon, it’s kinda nice out here.”

“I’m getting tired, and I'm getting a bad feeling.”

“You’re just overreacting but whatever let’s head back,” Karson says as he starts to turn around. The walk back was longer than expected but finally, they were back. Karson reaches for the room key but comes to a sudden pause. He frantically moves his hand through his pocket then stops and looks at Daisy and asks, “Do you have the room key?” She looks confused and responds with, “No? I thought you did.” Karson continues to scramble through his pockets and does a whole patdown. 

“I don’t have it, it must’ve fallen out somewhere,” he says. 

“Let’s just go ask the front desk for another one”

“Do you know what time it is? It’s almost 3 in the morning, they aren’t gonna be there”

Daisy looks at her watch and immediately her stomach turns. The wind is getting louder and the weather is dropping. “All we can do is go back out in hopes to find it,” Karson says. Daisy looks at him with displeasure, “can we just stay in the car tonight,” she asks. Karson looks at the door to their room and back at Daisy and replies, “The keys are in there.” Daisy puts her hands over her face and slowly crouches down. “I do NOT want to stay out here all night, let’s hurry up and go back to look for the key. As soon as we find it we are heading back,” she says. Karson nods in agreement and they turn back around. 

The walk seemed longer than the last, but no key insight. They searched and searched but it seemed that it wasn’t going to appear. Daisy looks around at the unfamiliar scene and says “I think we’ve gone too far, we must’ve missed it.” Karson doesn’t look up from the ground and replies “we’re fine, let's keep going. It’s gotta be around here somewhere.” They continue to frantically search the woods and pick up anything that looks close to the key. Nothing. No sign of the key and there was a long night ahead. 

The wind grows and it seems like the farther they go the more trees appear, making it harder to know where they are going. “We are going back, I don’t care if we have that stupid key,” Daisy says to Karson. She storms off, making the assumption that Karson would follow. She doesn’t turn back, in hopes to get out of the woods as fast as she can. Every corner she turns looks exactly like the last. Getting annoyed she turns around, but to her surprise, nobody is there. “Karson?” she shouts but no response. Goosebumps form as the fear overcomes her body, again she shouts, “This isn’t funny, where the hell are you?” but the only response is the harsh 3 am the wind.

Daisy aimlessly wanders around the woods, not even knowing if she is getting closer or farther from the motel. “Where are you Karson?” she thinks to herself as tears roll down the side of her cheeks. Not knowing where to even go, daisy comes across what looks like a campsite. She runs toward it in hopes that she could find campers that know their way around these woods. “He1- OH SHIT,” she says as she trips over a hidden tree stump. As she tries to get up she's stopped by the aching pain in her ankle. “You’ve got to be kidding me.” She has realized that there is nothing to do other than carry on and try to find help. Her ankle had started to swell but the initial shock of the pain was going away and she decided to hobble up. She works her way over to the campsite, knowing that if anyone was here she would’ve already scared them off with her scream. “Hello?” Daisy yells. No response. As she debates whether or not she should look through the tents, noise breaks out from one of them. Her head quickly turns to look back to the supposedly empty tents. 

Her feet move slowly from one end of the campsite to the other, not sure of what she’ll find. She takes a brief pause before she reaches for the crinkled orange cover on the tent. She pulls off the cover, “What the f*ck.” She pulled off the cover to see three mice eating what looks to be some type of corpse. It was too deformed to tell if it was an animal or a human, but Daisy didn’t wanna stick around long enough to find out. She attempts to run but with her swollen ankle and the wind pushing against her, she couldn’t make it far. She keeps stumbling and tripping over anything in her way. 

Daisy sits on the ground in the woods, without having made it far from the campsite. She realizes the pointlessness of running, so she heads back to the campsite in hopes the corpse was just an animal in the wrong place at the wrong time. She sits on a log acting as a bench and decides to look around. The site seemed relatively deserted but she found a tiny pocketbook that the log had been sitting on. As she opens it she realizes it was a journal that these campers must have kept while on their trip. She reads the first page:

  March 16th, 2022 

Day one. 

           Today we went on a walk through the woods and everything seemed pretty normal.  Throughout the night we kept hearing these abnormal sounds but the winds are also very strong so it was hard to tell what it was. We will be experimenting more tomorrow throughout the night, after all, they say it only comes out at night.

“What do they mean by that? Only comes out at night?” Daisy says to herself as she turns the page to find out more information. 

March 17th, 2022

Day two.

     It is currently 2 in the morning and things have picked up fast. We started hearing voices outside at night, and a tree had fallen inches away from our tent, almost crushing us. We don’t know what the powers have in store but we will be leaving at sunrise tomorrow.

Daisy shakes as she turns to the last and final page. The page had what looked like dried blood smeared over it, and the handwriting looked different than before. 

I don’t have much time. Andrew and I tried to leave but there was no way back, we always ended back up here. I hid in the tent waiting for Andrew to come in but he never did. When I went back out I saw him laying down with his neck twisted around. Oh no. I have t g-

The words are cut off and the rest of the pages were blank. “Who are these people, what is this place”

The night is still young and Daisy can’t stop shaking. “There has to be a way out of here,” Daisy says out loud. The wind gets lighter and all Daisey hears is the repeating words of, “There's no way out.” The words fill her head and drive her insane. She falls to her knees with her hands wrapped around her head crying out for help. 

The noise stops and in the distance, she could hear someone yelling “DAISY IS THAT YOU?!” She sits up and wipes her tears, “Karson?” She stands up on her busted ankle and limps over to the direction of the yelling. “Oh my god Daisy are you ok? We need to get out of here ASAP,” Karson says. Daisy nods her head with a smirk to reassure him that she’s ok. Karson smiles back, “Ok let’s get out of here.” Karson starts to run and Daisy does her best to keep up. He turns around to check on Daisy but doesn’t realize there was a sharp tree branch he was running into. 

“Hey Daisy, you goo-”

“WATCH OUT” Daisy yells as he runs full speed into the tree branch. The sound of the branch impaling Karson was almost as horrifying as watching it happen. Daisy gasps and falls to the ground once again but this time with heavier cries. 

Run. All she can do is run. “Push through the pain, Cmon daisy you need to get out of here.” The mixture of sweat and tears on Daisy's face makes it hard to see, but she is determined. “I AM LEAVING AND YOU’ 'RE NOT GONNA STOP ME,” Daisy yells as she runs through the woods. She anticipated the harsh wind or something unknown to start happening, but in fact, it was quite the opposite. As she looked over she saw the sun about to rise. She continued to run, faster and faster with each step. “What is that?” Daisy runs over to a large piece of blue plastic that she sees lying on the ground. “The key card.” Daisy was close, very close. She continues to her room with the key card in hand, and the pathway starts looking more and more familiar.

“I DID IT!” she cries as she makes it to her door. She swipes the key card but it doesn't work. “Must be dirty,” she says out loud. She continues to try by it keeps declining. “Cmon you stupid thing work!” Suddenly Daisy hears a familiar sound, the wind. It starts picking up like it did before and she is frantically swiping the card. She turns around to see a gust of wind rushing towards her. The defining howl of the wind made it so that you could barely hear the thud of Dasiys body hitting the door as her lifeless corpse fell to the ground.

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