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“Danny please slow down.” Ally said. The speed limit doesn’t feel like a limit to me as I speed down a country road. Despite all of the dangers, going fast is the most exhilarating feeling in the world. Nevertheless, I slow down. This is my 21st birthday, and I am in the middle of a trip to Japan. My parents always told me that Japan had the best woods in the world. My favorite part about hiking is it can clear your head of anything bringing you down.
I am still above the speed limit, and I speed up a little just because we are almost there. I see the beginning of the trailhead. My eyes locked on the target, I speed towards it. We are here, we are the only people around for 6 miles. Just how I like it. We begin the hike. These are easily the most beautiful woods I have ever been. The air smells fresh. Thin Path. And the only audible sounds are of the surrounding wildlife
This should be the hike of my life, but something just feels off. Everything about it is exactly how I think it should be, almost too good to be true. My sister Ally silently trails behind me, eyes scanning the forest. Paranoid, I just decide to enjoy the hike as it is. We cross a river. It looks like there once was a bridge here, but where it is supposed to be is now just ruins. There is a big, spiky rock pointed up near the far end of the river.
As a hiker, I observe small details, so I can remember small details, so I know what the hike looks like when I am walking back. We continue on the hike. For the next mile or so, everything is “normal” but after that it sounds like I hear an extra set of footsteps. I tell Ally to stop, but when our steps stop, so do its. “Dan?” Ally asks, “Do you notice anything weird about this place?”
Since the moment I started the hike, something was wrong I thought it was just me. I decide to turn around at a tree with an big X carved into it. We are about 1.4 miles from the stream according to my pedometer. We walk apprehensive of what could happen in this forest. We walk in silence. I check my pedometer. 1.8 miles. That is impossible. We have not passed the stream.
“Where is the Stream!!?!?” I shout. As I turn around to look at Ally, I almost pass out. Ally is hanging from a large tree, a noose wrapped around her neck. I break into a run. Thoughts whirr through my head most of which are different scenarios of how I may die. I reach a certain landmark. My heart skips a beat. I am at the tree with the big X. I was running in a circle.
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