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We Used to Go Hiking

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I met Jake in my first year of high school and we hit it off so well. We stayed really good friends through the years and we stayed in contact even after graduation, once we both went to college. We would often hang out and do so many things together as so many friends do. But there’s one thing in particular that we both shared a common interest for and we enjoyed it more than any other interest we had. That thing was hiking, which we would do every time we got a chance. We spent so many holiday breaks and vacations hiking at so many different places.

Today was no different and we couldn’t help but lose ourselves in the vastness of the forest that we are now in. We had gone to a small town with an expansive countryside nearby. The countryside was a very well forested area with hills, mountains, and different bodies of water throughout. Jake and I had come here for our next hiking expedition and we ended up going down a long dirt path which led us deeper and deeper into the area. But Jake had run so far ahead of me that I struggled to keep up.

“Jake, hold on,” I yelled.

But he just kept running and I got no response from him at all. I thought it was strange considering he normally would and it wasn’t common for him to run like that. Normally we would just walk through the area and take our time as we paced ourselves, while we enjoyed the view. But I figured that maybe he didn’t hear me and was just so excited about this particular expedition that he didn’t realize he left me to bite the dust behind him. I was a little annoyed but I could see that he went straight so I just went in the same direction, hoping that he didn’t get too far ahead.

Eventually I could just barely make out a clearing at the end of the path. As I got closer, I noticed Jake standing in right on the edge of a lake, with at least a dozen other people inside the body of water.

“Hey Jake,” I yelled.

But once again he didn’t respond at all and he wasn’t moving either. I couldn’t see his face but I could tell that he was looking out into the water and I figured he was mesmerized by the sight. The lake was rather beautiful considering the area it was in. But I was still concerned about the fact that Jake hadn’t responded to any of my inquiries within the last few minutes and I didn’t know who any of the people in the lake were... They were staring directly at Jake and they were just as motionless as Jake was, as they floated in the water.

“Jake, what’s going on?”

I tried to calm my nerves with some rationality, thinking that maybe Jake or the swimmers had somehow challenged each other in a game or in some other form. But that just seemed too strange considering that I didn’t recognize any of the people in the water and I assumed I would if they were Jake’s friends. It was certainly possible that maybe they had just met, but Jake wasn’t that charismatic that he could just suddenly make friends or acquaintances with a whole group of people in a span of a few minutes. On top of that, there was something very odd about the way they were looking at one another and the fact they hadn’t moved at all. It just looked very unnatural all around and so I decided to approach with caution, as I was worried about the whole situation.

But just as I got about halfway there, I noticed that the swimmers had brought up their arms out of the water and held them towards him for some reason. Then Jake came crashing down into the lake, towards those people. The water splashed so much that I couldn’t see the other people in the lake for a moment. But after the water had settled I couldn’t see anybody at all. Neither Jake nor any of the other people could be seen, so I assumed they were now all underwater.

I assumed it was probably just some college kid shenanigans that Jake and these people were pulling, so I just waited on land. I figured they’d probably come up out of the water in a few minutes anyways. But a few minutes passed and I still didn’t see anyone. Now I was getting increasingly more worried and I tried to calm my nerves once again, as I waited for another minute or two.

But those one or two minutes passed, and they still hadn’t come up out of the water and I went into full panic mode, thinking they may have all drowned. I pulled out my phone and called 911. I explained to them the situation and I waited for them to arrive.

It took them awhile but when they got there, they immediately started searching the lake. But that search went on for a while with nothing to show for it. They hadn’t found Jake or anybody else in in there and there was no trace of them either. They continued the search but it after it failed, they had to give it up and cut the loss.

It was a big news story for a few days, but it was forgotten in a short time. But I never forgot it and I never could, even if I wanted to, considering the strangeness of the event. How could they just disappear without me seeing them? How could they have seemingly been underwater and never show up again?

For a while I thought maybe that Jake would just come up to me one day and say that it was all just a horrible prank. I wanted to think that maybe they had just swum off to the other side of the lake and gotten out without me knowing it. But I never saw Jake or any of the others again.

After the event happened I did some research and asked around that particular area, about anything they knew of that particular lake.

They said that there had been an old urban legend about the lake and strange figures living inside of it. The legend was that these figures would attract and beckon people towards the lake, eventually getting them into the water, before they just vanish. What happens to them is unknown and there are varying theories as to where they go. Supposedly there have even been some other hikers who’ve gone missing in that area and that other people had seen some strange figures in the water.

If you would have told me something like this, years ago I would have laughed. But I don’t laugh at these kinds of tales anymore after what happened to Jake. These days I’ve stopped hiking completely and I never wish to do it again.

Written by Gabemcceldry
Content is available under CC BY-SA

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