I translated from my native lenguage the following story, I tought it could have been appropriate to post it here because it was a really scary experience for me and I also hope you will believe me, after seeing the photos I got from the memory of my broken mobilephone. And as someone said me: -Trust me, you'll enjoy this journey thorugh the woods.-
It was a rainy day when I decided to take a trip in the woods. I've always been stangely attracted by the wilderness and nature so I tought it could have been a great idea to spend some days in the woods by myself.
The week before my leaving was very stressfull: I lost my dearest friend and got rejected for a job application I was really looking for, so I was constantly on the verge of depression. But one day, suddenly, a tought flew through my mind "Go to the woods". It was so stunning and intriguing yet so plain and simple it totally got me. I warned my brother and my parents the same day and started packing my things for a 3-days long trip.
My mother was pretty upset about my decision, but knowing me for about eighteen years she couldn't do anything but nodding her head in maternal concern and whishing me luck.
-My Journey-I didn't have a car, nor a motorbike or at least a bike, so I started my journey to the woods on bus. It took me almost 5 hours to go to the nearest forest, and 2 more hours of walk to reach a good spot in the middle of the woods next to a river.
I left my home at 5 a.m. so it was time for a lunch when I found my place in the deep woods. I was so hungry that I ate without even setting my camp, so I just sat on a rock, biting my cold sandwich. After the little break, I prepared my tent and started looking for some dried wood for the night. Before finding any, I had to walk an hour, almost 'till the ened of the woods. There, I found what I was searching for and even more.
Sitting on a branch on the ground was a girl with a dog; she waved at me, and so did I. I got closer to her just to get in touch, and, maybe ask her something about the forest we were in. (I totally knew nothing about the woods because I preferred chosing a place totally new for my trip to keep my mind away from my life at home)
-Dinner for Two-To break the ice, I said a simple -Hello! What are you doing here?- She watched me smiling and said -The same thing you are doing, I guess...- I sat on the ground in front of her and said -Well, I'm just taking some days to spend by myself in the woods, so do you?- She bursted out laughing -No, I'm just taking a walk with my dog! Haha! Say "hi" to this wanderer, sweety- And as she said so, her dog, a golden retriver, jumped out and strated licking my face. -Haha! Good girl, good girl... or perhaps a boy?- I asked the owner, she replied -A girl, she's a good girl!- We kept talking and patting the dog until the sun was almost gone.
At that point I asked her -Do you mind joyining me for dinner tonight since you've got nothing more to do?- She smiled at me shacking her long red hair -How do I suppose you're not some psychotic hitchhiker?- I smiled again and said -How could I? I don't even own a car! Haha!- She laughed with me and said -Just let me call home I wont come back- I asked -What are you going to say to your parents?- She smiled again -I'm having dinner with a friend-
We walked towards my camp, and there we started preparing something to eat. Meanwhile we kept talking and smiling. While we were heating the water over a small fire we've got to know each other.
Her name was Emily, she lived near the woods with her parents and she was taking a gap year before university. -So, what are you exactly doing so far from home?- she asked me. -Well, I'm trying to escape from my life... I've recently lost a friend and a good offer for a job, so... we can say I'm trying to hide somewhere to think about myself.- She stared at her feet and said -I'm sorry... I didn't want to upset you.- I nodded -No problem, I'm getting over it, you said nothing wrong.- I smiled at her and she smile back.
After a couple of minutes she said -You know... These woods are famous for a strange kind of mushrooms...- We were sitting next to the fire looking in the distance waiting to the stew to boil. -What kind of mushrooms?- I asked. -Hallucinogenic...- She stared deep in my eyes with a serious expression. -Do you want to try them?- I shacked my head, not knowing what to say -Yeah, why not? I'm just trying to escape, why not escape from reality?- We smiled at each other, and stood up at the same time -Where do we find them?- she pointed over the river -There is a little path up at north where we can cross, or we could just swim...- she said blinking at me.
We crossed the river and started walking inside the trees on the other side. -How do we recognize them?- Her dog was leading us toward a huge tree covered with ivy -Simple... They glow at night! Haha! Trust me, they're totally harmless, you'll just start to see strange colours and feel a bit fuzzy- When we reached the roots of the tree, we were rewarded by a soft yellowish light. -Take.- she said while picking up a dozen of them.
Her dog started growling qiuetly while we were heading back to the river. I watched back to the trees, and saw nothing but blackness -Did your hear something?- I asked Emily, -She's usually afraid of this side of the river, I don't know... animal instict.- We walked faster and crossed the river.
When we got back to the tent, nothing was missing nor there was signal of something strange. "Everything went better than expected" I tought. -Now... what do we do with them?- She smiled and said -First we wash them and then we leave 'em close to the fire to drye out. After that we smoke them... Do you have a can, so we can make a bong?- I pointed my tent -Better... I've got the bong!- We started laughing and washing the mushrooms.
As soon as we finished the full moon was up in the sky. She mumbled -That's the best we could hope for! With that mood we'll be able to see everything around us. Trust me, you won't forget this night.-
When we reduced to bits the last mushroom and finished the stew, I got in my tent to take the bong. We sat on a dead tree and started to heating the river's water again. -Ladies first!- I said aiming in her direction my bong -Such a gentleman!- she laughed and then inhaled a long, deep, breath of burning mushrooms pieces and tobacco.
We took countless bits of smoke, and after just a couple of minutes we were completely lost. -Wow... They're incredible!- I murmured out of breath, she crawled next to me to share the blanket -I told you so...- she humbled at me. -You know... even if we met just today... I feel like... I don't know- I whispered a soft -Yeah, I know... I know...I'm pretty friendly- We started laughing softly. We saw incredible things: we lost our minds looking in the eyes of a howl, we admired the water changing colour while the fire danced and many other things I will never forget. Towards the 2 a.m. we fell asleep in my tent and kept dreaming strange visions: we were surrounded by creatures of strange shapes and colours, they chanted and howled to us and then we passed away. We woke at 3 p.m.
And the, there was just fog.
When we woke up, we drank a lot of water and felt fuzzy, but that nice and peaceful sensation ceased to exist in almost a minute when we saw the thick fog around us. -What?.. What's going on?..- I asked -Yesterday was such a nice day... How could... the fog?- Emily opened her eyes wide -What?..- We got out of the tent -Akira! Akira where are you?!- Emily started to sob towards the fog. A distant whining came to our ears. -Did it came from over the river?-We panicked, we didn't know what to do, Emily shouted -We have to find her!- I looked aroud -Ok, maybe she crossed the river the same spot of yesterday.- I started backing my things and closing my tent -We need to move quick and we may need some equipment, but it's better if I take everything- Emily nodded in apprension for her Akira. We moved quicly and reached the river's path -It's a bit muddier than yesterday, we should see some traces.- And so it was. They moved right to the deep of the wood. -Let's go- said Emily.
We entered the forest and kept shouting Akira's name. -Akira! Where are you?!- Emily was almost in tears but then we heard a soft bark behind us. We ran towards it, but we couldn't find the dog. Again we heard the barking sound and again we ran toward it. We did the same thing over four times before we heard something different.
We knew something was odd. But maybe it was all fault of the fog if we couldn't find Akira. Maybe we kept running in circle, but something was too strange and out of place. How could it possibly be? We kept finding traces but they kept leading to nowhere. We stopped next to a tree, to take breath from the continuous running. Emily was soaked in tears and sweat -Where is she? Where is SHE?!- We sat down, our backs on the ivy when we saw something moving. -Akira! Come here sweety!- But before we could jump on our feet and start a sprint toward the shadow in the fog, there was another movement on the other side of the first one -Akira! Akira stop, come at me!- And as soon as we started feeling a sensation of dread and doubt, the shadows started to multiply around us, storming in the fog.
We were surrounded and cornered. We didn't know what to do so we kept our backs to the trunk of the tree. A low but fierce howling assaulted us. It was everywhere. In the bushes, on the branches, in the fog, in our minds. At this point something inside of us snapped. Our basical insticts emerged as we ran toward the fog, too overwhelmed by fear to think where to go, or to stay unite. I lost sight of Emily after a couple of meters from the tree but I kept running. After fifteen minutes of semengly endless run I stopped under two broken trees that made a shelter like a tunnel. I hid in there and waited.
It took me five minutes to regain my breath, but not my sanity. I kept shackling and trembling for almost half an hour. But I couldn't control myself. I was too afraid to move but I couldn't stay there until the fog raised. So I tried to shout at the top of my burning lungs -Emily!.. Emily!.. EMILY!!- But the only thing that granted me after that, was a swarm of yellow eyes, rising from the fog around the trees.
I ran. I simply ran. I was again in the hands of my primal instict that shouted in my ears "RUN!" I kept running inside the tunnel of broken trees and branches until I found an exit to it. I fell in a mud pit, right out of the tunnel. I tried to move but I was stuck in the liquid soil so I simply collapsed exhausted. My peace didn't last long as I saw something moving in the mud "Snakes!" I tought to myself, but then another tought, even more terrifying flew in my head "Roots!" I was blocked in a pool of mud with my leg struck in a bunches of roots! I tried my best to escape from that intricate tangle but my movements just made it even worse.
I rested there, covered in mud and stems for something like and hour. When I tought I gained enough strenght I pulled my leg out of the mud pit with all of my force. *KRUNCH* It was the sound of my leg breaking. I was breathless at that point, but with the help of stamina and adrenaline I dragged myself out of that mess, and fainted on a mattress of dead grass.
I don't know how much time I spent unconscious, but I think when I woke up, it was the last day of my excursion in the woods.I knew that because my watch displayed both the time and the day: it was Sunday, my last day. With all of my will, I stayed up. My leg didn't hurt that much, probably it was just a bad fracture, but when I moved a step forward, I changed my mind. I fell again to the ground. Again breathless I started to crawl toward a pile of broken bushes where I sat.
I spent almost two hours, searching in my rucksack anything useful, but there was nothing! I was in tears when I found my mobile shattered in my pocket. Again I tried my best and with all of my will I repositioned my bone at his place. It took me fifty minutes to regain breath and bound my leg to a branch.
When it was 7 p.m. I was finally on my feet, wandering through the forest.
I was really scared of wandering in the fog with a broken leg while hunted by creatures I didn't even seen. So I tried my best to move as quickly as possible from a shelter to another during my escape from the woods. When the sun was almost settled I was granted by a sound that I recall as a holy signal: the soft and slow waving of water.
The last meters I spent on the other side of the river, I spent them running and aching.
When I reached the other side, the safe side, the fog was less thicker than the past day, but I preferred to keep my guard. When I reached the place where I set my tent the first day, I felt a sense of dread and a chill running along my spine. I looked around ready to run even if I had my leg broken. I heard a low growling, like a hum, and then I recognize it -Akira!.. Are you there?- The growling ceased and was followed by the sound of tail hitting the ground.
I slowly crawled out of the forest, guided by Akira. It took me almost another day to reach a hospital, were I received all the medications I was needing. I stayed there in a comatose state for almost two days while the hospital called my relatives to tell them where I was.
When they came to my bed, accompanied by a Cop my mother was in tears -What have you done?!- I didn't know what to say, and so I remained silent. The cop asked them to move out of my room because he needed to talk to me. -So... How are you?- I nodded my head -I've seen better days...- He glanced out of my window, right to the woods. -Where did you found the dog, son?- I scratched my head -Am I in troubles?- He smiled, a familiar smile -No, no... It's... It's just that the dog belonged to a girl, it was my daughter's dog.- I asked -So... you must be Emily's father...- and then I almost jumped out of the bed screaming -Where is she?! Is she Ok?! We were in the woods, and the fog, the smoke, we run, we lost each other and... and!- He smiled politely at me -My daughter is dead... She died in the woods an year ago, and we couldn't find her body. She went out with our dog: Akira, and never come back; since that day, our dog kept going to the woods... in search of her... searching for my daughter.-
We spent the following hours discussing everything that happened, trying to sort it out. Emily's Fathers somehow, trusted me, and my crazy story, and decided to take a small group of people with me in the woods where we walked again my tragic path in the woods. There we found Emily's bones in the pit of mud, in the middle of the forest. The doctors said that, after analyzing her bones they found an incredible dose of psilocybin, usually found in non lethal doses in a special kind of mushrooms that grow in that forest. She apparently committed suicide while exploring another world, with the same kind of mushrooms I took with her that night.
Everyone told me that I must have been hallucinating everything, somehow, I must have known Emily and while I was hallucinating I must have immagined her in a form of Cathartic ghost to expurgate my suffering. They told me I must have been surrounded by wolves that night, because apparently a small pack of them had moved in the forest. But there is something I hadn't told them. They think I mistaken the glowing yellowish mushrooms for eyes, but I swear to god. They blinked. They blinked at me, staring into my soul like Emily's did the night I met her in this forest.