Hello. I saw this challenge for the first time and it simply looked too good to resist! The word limit was around 700-1000 words which I went over (only by a bit though…) And I loved the picture prompt as it gave me many different options. To go back on the prompt click here.
Thanks for reading. There’ll be another post up soon.
I hope you will enjoy:
The air had a cold bite to it and it put my nerves on edge, along with everything else. I rubbed my hands against my arms, trying to create some warmth to no prevail.
It was dark, and I could make out the half-moon hiding behind a leaf from a tall branch. The night seemed endless and it gave me chills from the inside out. The sky was dominated by twinkling stars that resembled specks of glitter in the sky. I never forgot how many stars you could see out in the country.
I kept on thinking that I could hear something rustle in the bushes, or the faint sound of footsteps thudding towards me but nothing was there. My brain was on overdrive, making up sounds, sights and constantly making me think: why did I do this?
I tried to keep myself occupied but there wasn’t much to do in the middle of the forest, especially when you couldn’t see anything. I didn’t want to go on my phone too long as my battery was on three percent. I felt spooked and I had half a mind to leave right then but, I wasn’t one to break promises.
There was the sound of the steady hum of cicadas that made my mind travel to when I was ten and a cicada had landed on my arm, making me go ballistic.
No, I scolded myself. I mustn’t let my mind wander, I had to be on full alert.
I checked my phone from inside my pocket. It lit up, making my eyes blink.
How could he take so long?
This wasn’t any way to treat a lady, I thought to myself before mentally laughing. Kyle definitely wasn’t any gentleman.
The air seemed to be getting colder by the minute and I regretted my choice of clothes. A tight long-sleeved crop top with a mini skirt; the outfit had looked cute when I wore it in front of my mirror half an hour ago but, it wasn’t like he would see what I was wearing anyway.
My legs were freezing and I moved from left to right, trying to get some life back into them. In the mornings here the sun would blaze down on you, making the top of your head scorching to touch and your clothes stick to you in a very unattractive way. I had forgotten how different the nights were.
I was stationed by an old wooden gate that was in poor state and was hidden from most angles until you went up close. Not many people came here, there were a lot of ‘danger: go back’ signs but I had been to trips here for years, and this place was as safe as could be. Kyle and I had nicknamed it the ‘hidden gate’ a few years ago when we first spotted it.
My first trip to the Endergale Ranch was back when I was an infant. Kyle’s dad owned it and my parents had been high school friends with his for ages. Kyle had always been one of those cool and rude guys that were a year older than you and you couldn’t help but have a crush on. I had liked him for years and we had finally started dating a few weeks ago, on my fourteenth birthday.
My trips to the ranch became further and further apart due to my parents and his having a lot of falling outs. This had been my first trip back here in two years.
Out in the darkness, minutes felt like hours. I risked another glance at my phone.
He said that he would be here by 1. I quickly texted him:
Where r u??? By the hidden gate.
Suddenly, there was a light I could see bobbing in the distance. It came closer, and Kyle’s face came into view. He was grinning at me and I could feel my tensions slip away.
“Kelsie, you’re always so early.” His voice was no more than a whisper and I could feel myself start to blush.
How come he always made me feel embarrassed?
“Well… you said you would show up some time between 12:30 and 1:00. You’re totally late.” My voice defensive.
“Anyway, why did you want to meet here?”
“I needed some alone time from my parents.” He said, turning his phone back on so that his face became illuminated in a creepy white light.
He kissed me for a few seconds, but it felt like no more than a peck. There was no rush, no statics of electricity running through my body, nothing. Even so, I could still feel my face go red.
“Let’s go this way.” Kyle told me, pointing at the hidden gate
“Alright. I guess.” I replied, apprehensive.
We walked backwards towards the hidden gate. The vegetation of the forest had taken over the gate until it was more moss than wood. It had sunken into the ground from years of mud and dirt pulling it down. I tried stepping over the wooden heap but, my foot got stuck on something and I nearly tripped, making the leaves beneath my feet rustle and crunch loudly.
I regained my footing at the last second and made it to the other side of the hidden gate. I waited for Kyle who had the phone light; mine had officially died.
As he stepped over the gate, the light from the phone shone over what had made me trip. My heart beat quickened.
“Wait.” I told Kyle, my voice deadly serious.
I grabbed his phone and directed it towards the thing I had tripped over. It was a packet of cigarettes, half full. It looked it had fell out of someone’s pocket on the way through here. They also looked new; there wasn’t any dirt or grime on top of the cigarettes or the packet at all. Kyle and I didn’t smoke. We had tried to a couple of years ago to ‘be cool and edgy’, but we couldn’t stop coughing and it was horrible.
I glanced over at Kyle. His eyes were wide with concern.
“You didn’t try smoking again, did you?”
“No. No one could’ve been here, my parents should know…but…” He spluttered, at lost for words.
Suddenly, the forest seemed much creepier than it had a few moments ago. All of my initial worries crept back on me.
What was I doing here?
Fourteen years old, in the middle of a forest in pitch black darkness with my boyfriend of three weeks.
I couldn’t help thinking at that moment that I was pretty much a cliché horror film in waiting.
What if I the noises I kept on hearing while waiting for Kyle to arrive weren’t in my head?
“Let’s g-” Kyle’s whisper to me was interrupted by my scream.
There was a man in a black hoodie running towards us.
Without a thought, we both ran for our lives while screaming in terror.
If only the ranch houses were closer to the hidden gate. If they had been, our parents would’ve heard our last screams, our last attempts to escape.