Short Story: The Girl in The Forest

On a lonely afternoon, I was driving back to my house after being at a party with my friends. I had the windows closed and the radio off. The only noises I could hear were those of my car's engine and the wheels bumping across the road. Despite the dullness of the long road from my friend’s house to my home, I admired the beautiful sunset and the trees I saw on the route. The orange sky changed to black with radiant white spots and the light of the full moon shone my way along with the lights of the car. I’d forgotten how far away my friend’s house was, and I was getting more and more tired.

After a while, I glanced at the time display and it showed 8:00 p.m. My eyes started to burn from lack of sleep. I battled sleep and forced myself to open my eyes though they begged to be shut. On one occasion, I briefly fell asleep. The sudden yank of my steering wheel to the left and the screech of my tires made me bolt awake. I stepped on the breaks and came to a violent halt. I breathed heavily and looked around. I saw a sign indicating the "rest area". it pointed to a narrow path on a slope near a leafy forest and thought to rest for a while to avoid an accident. I found the area suspicious, but I had no other choice. I was the only person there, not even a security guard, but there were an ATM, toilets and vending machines. Despite this, I set out to sleep an hour and a half to follow my path and not arrive later than usual. I parked my car, reclined the seat, lowered the windows a little so that the wind kept me cool, and then closed my eyes.

I couldn’t hear anything but my breathing, which oddly enough, made me fall asleep faster. Though I was drifting to sleep, I had a bad feeling, and so, I got up, tilted my seat to the front, and opened my eyes. I glanced at the clock again: 8:40 pm, I rubbed my eyes and looked around. I grabbed my phone and called my parents to tell them about my situation and let them know I'm fine. After the call, I tried to rest again, but this time, I heard a voice in the dark forest shouting: "Help!".

I jumped in fright and searched for my pepper spray in the door’s compartment.

"This must be my imagination, it has to be because of my lack of sleep… I'll pretend I didn’t hear that and I’ll just rest.” I muttered to myself sleepily. It didn’t happen... "Please, someone help me!” Exclaimed loudly a what it seemed to be a girl’s voice. Her voice… I could feel how anxious she was… I could feel her fear.

My heart was beating fast, my hands were shaking and my anxiety was starting to take control. I got out of the car though every instinct in my body told me not to. I shook with fear as I walked towards the dense forest darkness. I used the light on my phone to illuminate my steps and see what was around me. I heard and felt movements near where I was standing, and there she was.

Her complexion was tanned, with black and curly hair, and dressed in a school uniform. She looked back while running and not noticing what was on her way. Two suspicious men were chasing the girl while one of the had a gun in their hand. What was common yet peculiar of the three of them was their transparent appearance, and especially the paleness of the girl, as if she were a spirit. When I saw her pass, I felt chills when I noticed her fearful eyes and face. I was paralyzed and simply did not have words because of how scared I was. I ran back to my car and dialed the emergency number, but the cell battery ran out. I did not know what to do at that moment and it gave me hysteria, but I breathed deeply and was able to calm myself. Even knowing the danger the girl faced, I decided to continue on my way home since, the feeling of what I perceived, was not of this world. I arrive at my house at 11:20 p.m., placed my shoes in front of the door, walked to my room and fell straight to my bed, trying to forget what happened tonight.

It’s been a week since that strange and terrifying encounter. It still arose in my mind the moment when I looked at the girl’s eyes, but I tried to forget it as much as possible. It's Friday morning so I started my routine as usual and decided to have a coffee while watching the local news on TV. "We start with the headlines. A 10-year-old girl named Abigail Hernández died tragically at the hospital last week’s Friday in the afternoon after being found nearly dead in a forest. Apparently, after leaving her school while waiting for her parents, two men appeared trying to kidnap her and the girl ran into a forest. The men, who are part of the most wanted criminals by the police for kidnapping, shot the girl in her torso and left the scene. A local couple who were doing their daily walking heard the shots and saw the girl struggling to survive. The girl was quickly taken to the nearest hospital, but unfortunately, the girl died 30 minutes after the misfortune." 

They showed a picture of the girl, and yes, it was her, the girl from the forest. My cup of coffee fell near my feet, dirtying the white and bright tiles of the floor. I got a sudden headache and I said to myself repeatedly: "Please... please tell me this is just a dream". And that's how it was. I got up with drops of sweat falling from my forehead and began to write my nightmare in a notebook I had, describing everything that happened from the beginning to the end. As I finished writing, I got out of my bed and was heading towards the door, to prevent my nightmare turn into a reality.