I’m running through the forest. Pine tree after pine tree shoots behind me.
“Ben!” I yell. Suddenly, a tree jumps out at me, and I quickly dodge it. But not soon enough. My left foot barely catches a root that is sticking out and causes me to trip. I fall to the ground. My once clean denim jeans now stained with mud...and is that...blood!? I shakily stand up and try to dust off whatever I can, but to no avail. I try to figure out where the blood came from. Nothing is hurting, other than my legs and hands, which I landed on pretty hard when I fell. I look down at the spot where I had landed. There’s no trace of blood, oddly enough. But there is something else there.
I can’t quite tell what it is. I take a step closer and pick it up. It’s a pink, silk ribbon that is drenched in dried blood. I ponder who’s this was or why this is out here. Then I remember why I was running. I was being chased by...something or someone. Suddenly starting to feel uneasy and slightly light headed, I shove the pink ribbon in my dark blue hoodie’s front pocket. But when I reach in there, I feel something else. Something...hard and smooth. I pull it out—it’s a knife that is stained in fresh blood.
My heart drops into my stomach as I realize where I am. I hear faint, quick footsteps and insane laughter echoing around me. Sensing someone behind me, I quickly turn around. No one is there. I look back down at the knife and see my reflection—my face is covered in dried blood and scratches. My hair is all messed up and something looks...off. I hold up the knife a little bit higher so I can see more of what I look like. My hoodie has mud and grass stains all over it—especially at the cuffs where I fell.
I look down and see that my hands are now covered in blood. This is also true for the majority of my pants. Where is all of this blood coming from? Something shiny reflects in the knife and catches my attention. I turn around and see something glinting from under the root of the tree that I had tripped over, just moments before. I walk over and squat down. I start to dig with my hands but stop suddenly because of what I see. It’s a golden necklace with a pendant that has a bird engraved into it. My heart starts to beat fast and my head starts to become foggy. No...it can’t...it can’t be her. I quickly turn around and frantically scan my surroundings. I sigh in relief. No one is there.
“Hi...” says a voice. I stiffen up. I know that voice.
“Miss me?” She chuckles quietly to herself. “‘Cause I sure missed y o u...”
Too paralyzed to speak or turn around, I slowly lift the knife up so I can see behind me and no one is there. I close my eyes for a second, and in an instant she is right in front of me. Her torn pink dress that is drenched in blood—both dried and fresh. Her ragged bows that decorate her dress and her hair. Her soulless black eyes that are dripping with the mysterious black liquid. I can’t speak. I can’t move.
“Found you...” she says with that same mischievous smile. I’ve heard her say that before. I don’t know what to say. She starts to approach me slowly. I try to break free of my paralysis. But I can’t. I’m trapped. She starts getting closer and closer. I see the familiar eerie glint of her knife.
“E-Emily I-I—“ I’ve regained my ability to speak, at least for now. But before I know what’s happening, she’s on top of me trying to plunge her knife into my throat. I gasp for air as I struggle to break free. Her knife gets closer and closer. I can feel my will starting to crack.
I sit up straight in bed, gasping for breath and drenched in sweat. I hold up my hands to my throat and frantically check my surroundings. No one is there. I’m safe...for now. Ever since the trip that Ben and I took into the woods on Halloween Night a few months ago, I’ve been having these awful nightmares. Every. Single. Night. A few days after Ben went “missing”, as they called it, a few men went out to the cabin to look for him.
But, they couldn’t find him. They looked everywhere but...nothing. No one could find him—dead or alive. So, when no one could find any trace of him, they just assumed he was “dead”. A few days after the men had gone back into the woods to look for Ben, we had a funeral for him—though, it wasn’t much of a funeral, since they didn’t have his body to bury. Actually, they did find something.
What they found was an old pink, silk ribbon that probably belonged to his sister, Emily and Ben’s favorite shell necklace that his grandpa gave him when he was younger. He loved that necklace, he would wear it everywhere he went. Even when swimming. Nothing’s been the same since the trip we took out to the cabin. First Ben goes “missing”, then I get these awful nightmares, and now...now I feel like something’s not quite right. Ever since the men went out into the woods, I’ve been wondering...is Ben still alive? I mean, they couldn’t find him or his dead body, so...either Emily hid him well (which I doubt, since after the “chase” she was found in the middle of the woods, sitting on a stump and bawling her eyes out. She was brought home and quickly embraced by her mom, both of them shedding many tears.) or Ben is still alive.
I get out of bed and rub my eyes. Still drunk with sleep, I stumble out into the hallway. Her face still clear in my now foggy head. I make my way to the bathroom and go over to the sink. I turn it on and splash my face with water. I do this a few times and I feel better.
“It was just a dream...” I think to myself. But deep inside, I know that he’s still out there. I go back into my room and over to my desk. It’s pretty old, but somehow its held together pretty well. I open the top drawer and quietly dig around until I touch something cold and metal. I pull it out, and in my hands is the golden bird necklace. It somehow appeared here a few nights after the chase.
I don’t know how or why, but this could have something to do with Ben. I sigh and place the necklace back in the drawer. I look over to my clock—it says 4:15. After a few minutes of debating the idea, I decide to go back to bed and sleep while it’s still dark. I get into bed, pull the blue and gray fleece blankets over me and pray that I don’t have another nightmare about either Emily or Ben.