There it was. That path I always wanted to travel down. I always loved hiking, and these woods had many beaten paths that just begged to be explored. I’d been down many of them, and some had gorgeous views and others were nothing more than spots that some nature-loving couples used for obvious sexual activity, judging by the discarded condom wrappers and occasional lost piece of clothing.
But this place had to be different, at least I hoped so. It was a long hike to get there, and it took me long enough to build the stamina to travel so far. Months upon months of exercise made my endurance much better and I would rarely get short of breath unless I was sprinting for long distances.
I looked better than I did in the previous months, that’s for sure. Not only that, but now I was in peak physical condition. I always wanted to look how I did at that point. I had lean muscle and I was curvy in all the right places. That gut I despised had finally shrunken away into oblivion, and I’d be damned if I’d let it return. After all, what woman wants to be fat and unhealthy?
But enough about that, let’s get back to the path. As I was saying, this place was beautiful. The trees here seemed older, the air seemed fresher, and the canopy above was so thick, hardly a sunbeam would pass through. The path itself seemed old and it carried an air of mystery that seemed to lure me in. I remember each time I would walk and catch sight of it; it always seemed to call to me.
Though I was very tempted, I knew that if I explored it then, I would be too exhausted to walk back out and get in my car to drive home. That is, until now. I was ready this time. The beckoning path seemed to lead me into nothing but pure darkness, but I knew there had to be more than that. There were probably all kinds of beautiful things waiting in that thick foliage, just waiting to be discovered. My curiosity always got the best of me. It was time to explore.
The trees were gigantic. They seemed to be nearly ancient; I knew some had to be hundreds of years old. Moss climbed up some of their trunks, only seeming to increase their age. The place seemed to be untouched by human hands if not for the scraggly trail. It seemed as though nature would overtake the bare dirt once again, soon.
For some reason, though, the occasional shiver would tease at the hairs on the back of my neck, making them stand on end. It wasn’t cold at all, though. It was at least seventy degrees Fahrenheit outside, so why did I feel so cold? I shrugged it off and decided to put on the hooded jacket I was carrying in my backpack.
I searched the area, just soaking in the natural beauty of the forest. Only then did I realize that the canopy formed by the outstretched branches was so thick that what beams of sunlight could come in were hardly any more than thin fingers that could barely illuminate the path.
I paused. Did I just hear breathing? I held my breath, checking to see if it was just my own. That seemed to be the case. I only laughed at myself for being so paranoid. But that chill returned as I forced a light-hearted chuckle.
My instincts were trying to take control. They were telling me to turn around and go back. They were telling me something was horribly wrong. They wanted the safety of the sunlight. I was an idiot. I pushed it all away. I disregarded all of those things as paranoia.
Just then, I saw a lumbering figure a few yards away, easily nine feet tall, though I only caught a glimpse. It seemed human, or at least simian. It passed behind a tree and I saw no other sign of it.
Needless to say, it scared the hell out of me. There were no apes, or for that matter, any other primates that fit a description matching what I had just seen in that area. There was a zoo nearby, but it would’ve been all over the news if something had broken loose.
I tried to convince myself that I was just seeing things, but it wasn’t working at all. My mind traveled back to all of the thoughts of Bigfoot, and how so many jokes were made about how it only exists in blurry out of focus areas, or that he, she, or it, was just someone’s excessively hairy hippy relative. I didn’t laugh, though. I couldn’t bring myself to. That invasive feeling of being watched was ever-so-present. Was I being monitored?
Now, visibility was damn near gone. Why did I want to keep pressing forth? Was I hoping to discover something? I still don’t know why I did that. I broke out my flashlight, shining it around in the thicket of trees, only to make a fascinating discovery.
There were carvings on the trees. Some of the bark was peeled off of some and primitive carvings were inlaid in the wood. What struck me as odd was that much of the art I saw resembled the art of evolution, but one thing unnerved me greatly. The final stage, human beings as we know them, was missing. Did this mean that we were just as mythological to Sasquatch as they are to us? I took a step forward to view the carved image a little more closely. A branch cracked beneath me, only causing me to let out a startled yelp.
This had to be a joke. I had to see what was behind this. I continued. The terrain began to grow a little more difficult to climb, but I had to know. That was either my best or worst trait. If something intrigues or interests me, I must get to the bottom of it, even if it’s the last thing I do. I certainly don’t feel that way anymore.
Soon, I felt that chill again. I was being watched, and that was clear. Rustling sounds weren’t heard, but maybe whatever was watching me had lived here since the beginning of its time. One thing began to confuse me, though. Another source of light was nearby. There was a dull, yellow glow to it. It appeared someone had made a fire nearby. Maybe I could ask them for help finding my way out? I was definitely lost by now and it was probably dark, even outside of the woods, at this hour. I could also smell meat cooking, only reminding me of how long it had been since I’d had a good meal. I turned off my flashlight, following the dim light.
I decided to look into this further, walking as quietly as I could until the fire came into sight. It was a rather small fire, but what I saw frightened me. There was a whole group of these simian bipeds, fitting the classical description of Sasquatch, gathered around the fire. They seemed to communicate in grunts and guttural vocalizations, but it wasn’t so much their presence that frightened me. It was the meat they were preparing.
A sharpened stick was driven through what had obviously once been two human legs, arms, and a torso. The head appeared to be missing. The grunts suggested they were communicating, but I found myself stumbling backwards in terror. My flight reflex was taking over. I could fight my instincts as much as I wanted to, earlier, but this time, I’d let them take control. My heart was racing in fear and I span around, only one way left. I was going back the way I came.
Now, with my flashlight to guide me, I had to find my way out. Running on adrenaline alone, I was terrified, but I knew that getting out of here could be a life or death situation. Once I had made it back to the strange carvings, something made my heart feel as though it was about to leap through my chest.
Leaves and branches were snapping. I was standing still.
This only made me start running again, faster this time, but was there any hope for me? Whatever it was knew this forest better than I did and there was no time for me to summon up a little plan to “outsmart” this thing. All I could do was hope I was in better shape than it was. It was in pursuit of me, but fortunately, I seemed to be a step ahead. There was no way I could lose it in the forest, but at least if I made it back to civilization, it would probably flee. After all, what’s more dangerous to a beast than a group of intelligent prey?
I could see the opening to the path I had entered from, and somehow, it was still just barely light outside. The fiery glow of the sunset was lighting the sky and casting a tangerine glow over everything in sight. I would’ve taken pleasure in the beauty of it if I wasn’t so positive I was being chased. My legs were carrying me as fast as they could and I was finally into the clearing and on the beaten trail that others before me had worn. If I knew anything right now, it was that I shouldn’t look back. I had to keep running, find my way to the car, and drive home.
I didn’t even listen to find out if I was still being followed. My red sedan came into sight and I quickly swung my bag off one arm and tugged the keys from the outside pocket, unlocking the vehicle and getting inside, just hoping I heard nothing. Before peeling out of the stretch of country road that led me there, I saw one thing in my rear-view window…
A bipedal simian, akin to the missing link, covered in dark hair with a sloping forehead could be seen bearing its teeth, as if challenging me. When the engine to my vehicle started and I revved the motor, the primitive beast fled in what might’ve been terror. It was a quiet drive back home.
After I finally got the chance to get inside the house and relax, I began to realize something.
Sasquatch, or Bigfoot, whatever you want to call the apparent missing link between humans and their simian cousins were always thought to be peaceful, but several people disappear every year and are never found. Yes, there are many reported sightings of such beings, but did you ever think that they haven’t been collected by scientists and researched because so few have lived to tell about them? I don’t know if I’m correct, but the human remains roasting over that fire suggest that I am. Is it possible that this strange race is jealous of humanity for its advanced technology?
I may never know, but I can tell you one thing. I’m not about to return to that path to find out.
Written by Shinigami.Eyes