We hiked; enjoying the October sky and the scent of clean brisk air with the leaves crunching under our feet. What a glorious day to be outdoors.
After half an hour of walking and admiring the bright autumn colours, we found a picnic table to sit and have our lunch. I am such a slow eater that Kelley and Stacey decided to go check out the waterfall while I finished. The three of us shared meals regularly, though usually they patiently waited and chatted until I took my last bite of food.
Finally, I crushed my garbage and placed it in my back pack for disposal later. The girls still had not returned. I searched around for them and wandered toward the waterfall; my fingers beat a staccato rhythm in my pockets. I wondered if they were hiding and playing a joke on me. Kelley usually led these excursions and I had no idea how to get back to our starting point.
A rustling in the trees told me I wasn’t alone. “Where are you guys? Let’s get going.” Instead of my friends rushing out of the bush pleased that they had pulled one over on me, an animal thundered out of its hiding spot. I had just enough time to note its appearance before it charged and headed right to me. It was a strange beast, the size of an antelope with antlers but the body of a rabbit. Though terrified, the word jackelope popped into my mind surprising me that I could think at all. The jackelope acted like a 40 year old woman with PMS. Behind every myth exists a layer of truth. Perhaps these animals really did exist; if not, than I truly was hallucinating. It looked nothing like Steve Martin in bunny ears.
My heart leapt into my throat and my stomach recoiled as I raced deeper into the forest with the beast following. After a while, I don’t know how long, all I heard were my deep gasps for oxygen. Maybe the “thing” had tired of the game and gone away seeking other entertainment. I took a minute to rest on a rock and wished for a sip of water to ease the bile taste on my tongue, but I didn’t dare use the time to dig in my pack for the bottle, which I had stupidly not placed in the side holder; my tormenter might return at any moment. I don’t thrive well on chaos and this situation was getting to me. As the thought bubble burst in my head, he (or she) appeared veering to my left. I sprang up from my seat, as if it were a hot potato, and headed in a different direction. I simply moved, not caring what course I took as long as it was away from the monster. So disoriented was I that I believed I noticed an octopus blending in with the trunk of one of the large trees I passed on my mad dash. I must’ve covered a lot of ground and reached the other side of the park from the waterfall since I could see the road leading to the beach.
Tears of frustration, mingled with sweat, rendered me blind. I looked up, using my fist to clear my vision, and recognized what appeared to be a clearing ahead. I raced toward it with my back pack bouncing and the gleam of hope in my eyes. I stood still and turned my head to the left and right. I was out of the woods. Literally.
My sweat dried skin felt cold and clammy. Letting my knapsack slide off my shoulders, I dug out my light-weight red cloak which acted as wind and rain protection. I pulled it over my head. My ‘little red riding outfit’ Stacey called it. I was going to kill her for this prank. I turned around to ensure that the beast had really disappeared.. What the hell!? The autumn foliage I expected to see had vanished and in its place snow blanketed the woods. The woods that only moments before had released me.
Bent over, my hands on my jean clad knees, I inhaled deep lung-fulls of air through my mouth in an attempt to steady my breathing and my booming heart.
I raised my head but my mind still couldn’t comprehend the vision in front of me. Not only did I not see my friends, but the chirping birds and skittering squirrels were also absent. I saw no evidence that the forest I know I hiked in only a short time earlier ever existed.
Branches in the trees did not crack, the wind did not whisper, silent snow lay empty of any trace of life.
I should have submitted this last week
Blogophilia week 7.5 – “Thriving On Chaos”
(Hard, 2pts): mention Steve Martin in bunny ears
(Easy, 1pt): include a “Hot Potato”