By Makayla Swanson

As I draw my bow ready to make my move on the unsuspecting doe, I can’t shake the feeling of a set of eyes on me. I shrug it off, but I can feel it watching from the shadows waiting to strike. Just as I go to move in, I hear a twig snap and the hair on my neck begins to stand straight up. The panic sets in, and I know it’s time to run. I know I’m no longer the hunter but now the prey. 

I begin weaving through the trees trying to put as much space between me and IT as possible. But it stays close. This once familiar forest turns into a labyrinth. I can feel the trees shifting. I’m no longer sure of my direction. I feel it creeping up behind me. I look back and see a black entity that has no identifiable features. This creature is unworldly.

 My adrenaline finally starts to kick in. Just as I begin to get far enough away. I’m met at a crossroads. Do I go left or right? I’m unsure. I can’t afford hesitation so I just stick left. The further I travel  the more I notice the path growing darker and darker. I listen for the footsteps but I hear nothing. The forest is silent. I can’t even hear the leaves rustling. 

I pause to catch my breath. I survey my surroundings and a glint of light catches my eye. I follow it deeper into the path. As the light begins to grow, the sound of the birds chirping, leaves rustling, and tiny animals scurrying around returns. With the growing light, the noises amplify and become deafening. 

Everything is spinning. I can feel myself losing balance. I lose consciousness and wake up in my room. I walk into the kitchen still in a daze. I look at my father who is sitting at the kitchen table reading a newspaper. I sit across from him and lay my head on the table. I’ve never felt so exhausted. This once comforting place feels draining. 

I can’t explain it but something feels off. I know I’m just being paranoid but that dream felt so real. I sit deep in thought until I feel a hand on my shoulder. It has a sort of familiarity to it. The hand is warm and open. I look up to see who the hand belongs to, and I see my mothers face looking down at me. I pull away. Fear and anxiety courses through my body. My mother has been missing for over 7 years. It was at that moment I knew I never made it out of the forest, and I never will.

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