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On February 8th, 2011, a group of hikers were found dead on a trail near a small rural town in Montana. The three victims were Dennis Rice, Myrtle Willis, and Edmund Barrett. At the scene, rescuers found a small notepad near Myrtle’s naked body, presumably containing a journal. Here are the final entries in the journal.
February 2nd, 2011
Just talked to my boyfriend today: we’re going camping! I’m so excited because I haven’t gone camping in forever. The place we’re thinking about is quite a drive away, but Ed insists that it’s a beautiful place. “Kind of like Yosemite, but not in Wyoming,” he says, “and it doesn’t have all of the touristy crap.” Ed always had quite a sense of humor.
February 3rd, 2011
We packed everything we needed for the trip. We’re heading out tomorrow pretty early. Ed says that we’ll, “get the best spot,” but I don’t believe him. Everyone who’s going camping is probably at Yosemite not too far away. Ed tells me that we we’re out in bear country and that we had a good chance of getting mauled. Whatever.
February 4th, 2011
It was extremely chilly this morning. It was about five below, and we had to wear like seventeen layers of sweaters. We picked up Dennis around 5 AM and headed out to the camping grounds. I mentioned how chilly it was, and Ed just told me to, “Man up.” He is quite the man, I should say. The last thing he would want is to be emasculated.
We got there at around 9 AM and set up camp. The tent was a little bit troublesome since there was a layer of ice from the snow last night. The guys must have slipped about a dozen times, and I cried laughing each time. We’re going hiking tomorrow. Dennis seems to be very excited, but I’m not. I like camping for the relaxing and reading I do at the campsite, but Dennis and Ed have the “spirit” of camping, I guess you could say.
February 5th, 2011
I woke up in extreme pain. To my horror, Dennis and Ed were lying dead on the ground next to me. I had no idea where I was or how I got here. All I remember is hiking and then, all of the sudden, passing out. My legs are broken. I can’t move anywhere. The cell phone I had wasn’t in my pocket anymore, so I couldn’t call for help. I tried desperately to move, but I couldn’t because of the agonizing pain. It was so sharp. I’m struggling to write this right now. I know, I don’t have my priorities straight, but what else can I do? The coat I was wearing was gone, so I was shivering and freezing. The blood spilling from my abdomen didn’t help warm me up at all. Is this how I die? I guess I have to crawl. Crawl somewhere. Maybe there’s a rest stop a couple hundred miles away that would be more than happy to help.
In the meantime, I managed to rollover to the other guys’ coats. I put one on the ground and one over me. Thankfully, Dennis kept a safety blanket and a bottle of water in his coat. I know that I probably won’t starve to death out here. I just have to wait until someone notices that we’re gone.
I’m writing in this journal to pass the time. It’s not like I can seek shelter or do anything. I just hope either someone finds this or I read it after surviving the ordeal. I’m going to sleep now. I don’t know how easy that’s gonna be. The wind chills are pretty bad, and so are the pains in my leg. I guess I’ll just wait until I’m too exhausted to stay awake.
February 6th, 2011
I awoke to find my “shelter” missing. I don’t know who or what did it, but they did. They took the coats, the safety blanket, everything, including the only water I had. Now I’m royally fucked. I guess it might have been some other stranded asshole, or a bear wanting some water. I don’t know.
The pain is still persisting in my legs. They make a sort of cracking sound every time I move them. The pain makes me scream deafeningly loudly. But that’s a good thing; I would like someone to hear me so they can rescue me. But, then again, not all humans are altruistic like that. They would pass it off as some sort of bad fall, and that my hiking mates would be quick to help me in my plight. Little do they know…
I’m lying in the snow right now. I make snow angels to pass the time because fuck it, I’m dead anyways. Well, more like half snow angels, because if I move my legs, it kinda hurts. It must have snowed a little last night. I can tell because of the little powder layer on the top of the old, more packed-in snow.
I’m also quite hungry. To some people, if two dead bodies were lying next to them, they would think it was a gift from the heavens. But I haven’t turned yet. Like most people, I’ve said that I would never turn to cannibalism in a crisis such as this one. However, look at the people from that one flight that crashed into the mountains. Talk about desperate! At this point, I’m not going to say I won’t fall prey to that human instinct to eat. Who knows, though? I might be out here for a month. Then again, without shelter…
I’m starting to panic. As I wrote that last line, I realized the severity of the situation. My face is frostbitten, hypothermia is probably setting in, and I have no water. This is the holy trinity of how to die in the wilderness. I need to do something. Up to this point, I had been writing the whole, “Well, I’m dead,” thing as a joke, but now I think it’s true.
I should stop thinking negatively. I’ve got lots of layers on and a sock hat to cover my face from the cold. Surely, I can survive a couple of days without water. Although, I’m so thirsty I’m tempted to eat the fucking snow, but that would just hasten my demise by making me colder.
I’m exhausted and can barely keep my eyes open now. Fingers crossed that I survive till morning.
February 7th, 2011
All my clothes are gone! Thankfully, I did wake up and survive the night, but all my clothes are missing. Someone must be trying to murder me, I’m sure of it.
Without the shield of clothing, I lay naked against the cold snow. Hypothermia has set in for sure. I have severe shivering. I’m hyperventilating. I have all the signs.
I forgot to mention: they left the notepad here. I don’t know why. If they wanted to get away with this crime, they would surely take it with them.
I don’t have much else to write about. The peeing has stopped; it was pretty much the only thing keeping me warm. That was probably too much information.
I know that a lot of people think that people who write journals up until their death often write in a sad manner. I don’t think that’s any fun. I’ve always been a positive person. Even right now, I think that someone is sure to find me within the next couple of days. I’m sorry if these entries are making me seem like I don’t know what’s going on, because I do. It’s just that I want to pass the time and have a little bit of fun. It is getting more difficult, though, as my whole body hurts from frostbite and broken bones.
I’m extremely tired. I have no clothing, no blanket, no coat, nothing. I’m going to pile snow on top of me to hopefully insulate my body heat. Fingers crossed, again.
February 8th, 2011
I feel warm! It’s nothing to get excited about; one of the extremely late stages of hypothermia is an overwhelming warm sensation. I know I’m going to die tonight. At least I’ll be in some degree of comfort when I pass away. I can barely think as I write. I feel myself drifting.
I did make a horrifying discovery today. I rolled over to my husband, Ed, to see if he had anything. I checked his coat pockets. Nothing. I checked his pant pockets. Nothing. Then, I opened his backpack, and there was this little box. I opened the box.
It was a diamond ring.
He was planning to propose to me! I started crying, but no tears came out. It just sounded like a bad hiccup. I was broken. I loved Ed so much, with his cheesy jokes, amazing smile, and those enthralling blue eyes. Sometimes I would just stare at his eyes while he smiled and talked to me. He would notice my trance, and he’d often snap his fingers and say, “My eyes are up here, buddy.” It always cracked me up. It goes without saying that I would’ve said yes in a heartbeat. We were already talking about having kids and were in the process of moving in together. I can’t… go on…
I’ve given up. I’m spending what is, presumably, my last minutes on Earth writing. I love writing. I was in the process of getting my first story published before this fiasco happened. It’s a cute story of two lovebirds who meet in an unlikely place. I would recommend it, but, you know.
I’m losing control. I can’t feel anything anymore. I also notice that my hearing is fading, as well. I feel like passing out. It’s an indescribable feeling. I know, it’s a bad practice to have something “indescribable” in writing because it’s just lazy.
I can hear dogs. Dogs barking. I think that I’m hearing things. I also hear people… people looking for me. No, it’s in my head. I’m dying, it’s getting to me. My vision is starting to fade, I’m getting lightheaded, my ears are popping very loudly, my heartbeat is decelerating…
Fingers crossed that it’s over soon…