***backstory: When I was growing up, I did not live in a house that had a backyard. We had a deep dark forest that stretched out for miles until it hit the highway. My friends and I would spend hours when we were little voyaging through this forest, but as the sun went down we would have to run home or we would be lost forever because it got so dark. One day we stumbled upon a broken rope swing dangling from a branch over a creek in the forest of the backyard. It had just stopped raining and the cloud were all foggy and It was sort of hard to see in the backyard forest. I ended up swinging on the rope swing and falling on a rock where I backed out and can’t remember how I got home. This is the story I made up regarding my voyage back home.***
Running and running through the darkness just to find a bit of light. I see nothing. I hear the howling of my fears inside my head telling me “You’re not going to make it, die.” I stumbled over a tree branch earlier and my knee is bleeding pretty bad, but I’m shaking too hard to stop running. I can’t see and I think i’m going crazy. It would be any second until I get eaten alive by a wondering neighbor turned zombie from the moonlight. How many hours until the sunrises? I don’t know if I can make it in that time. Running around still trying to look for a hiding spot until I see a small wooden bridge that must have been to cross a small creek. I can barely see anything, but feeling the wood makes me feel so much comfort that suddenly I forget how dark it is. Crawling under the small abandoned bridge feeling that the water that was once probably there is just a puddle of dirt and despair.
Deep breaths, in and out, I tell myself frantically. I’m okay i’m okay i’m okay. I felt a large rock behind my left foot, and quickly grab it just incase any zombies want to try me tonight. This rock won’t do much, but it might give me a chance at hitting them and getting to run a few seconds before getting an arm taken off. My knee is still bleeding, and I’m starting to lose feeling of it. I can’t tell when sunrise will be up, but maybe I might actually make it through the night.
All of a sudden I hear leaves crackling. Trying to calm myself down from screaming in terror I dig my nails into the skin of my arm. the noise comes closer….closer…..closer. Grabbing my rock for protection I crawl further into the underneath of the bridge until I hear a soft, “Annie?” I slowly crawl out of the darkness of the bridge and say, “hello?” I’m not Annie, but the sound of another humans voice was enough to comfort me into telling her to come here. “Annie?” She keeps asking while her voice is crackling with fear.
“I’m not Annie, but you an hide with me here until sunrise.”
Her eyesight must be better than mine because she doesn’t have trouble seeing in this dark ass forest like I do. “How can you see so well? I can’t see much,” I explain to this new girl. “My parents would make us do our homework in the dark because we couldn’t pay for electricity before everything happened…I guess I got good at it.”
I ask her who Annie is, and she explains it’s her little sister that got lost after they had an encounter with a zombie and had to run away. “I ran so far I lost track of her. If she’s dead it’s all my fault and I will die knowing I sinned and lost the only good person left in this world.” I try my best to comfort this strange new girl, and tried to calm her down as best I could. At this point we were both shaking..maybe because of the darkenss, but maybe because we were so excited to not be alone anymore.
“Please don’t leave me,” I beg her.
We made a pact to stay together until sunrise, and I told her we could look for Annie once we knew all the zombies were away from the day.
I found out her dad was one of the main men who tried to create poison to stop the apocalypse.
“He tried to find solutions at work with the others. The poison was too strong, and when he tried to cure beginning patience they would die. Shorty after seeing so many people dying from this he started to go crazy and committed suicide. He didn’t even leave a note.”
Her story made me hold my breath and stop shaking….because for the first time in a long time I didn’t feel alone and I held her while she silently cried out her frustration. It’s a hard world we live in now, but knowing I had that girl help me through the darkness of this forest made everything better. I debated whether or not to tell her the truth about what happened to my father, but I was scared if she knew she’d run away and never come back.
……..to be continued.