Running Toward the Pit

by Skye Drey

    The thick canopy of the forest trees were reluctant to let the dreary October light, if the sun had decided to make an appearance, shine through their leaves. Water was dripping from the tips of the leaves and wetting the forest, giving a dense growing of trees in the distance the feel of an underground cave. A surly wind weaved through the branches of the trees making them shake and rattle as if they were not covered with a warm shawl of bark.

A small girl, Anya, slowly ambled between the trees looking for any sign of life, but it was silent. She stopped under a tall menacing tree and looked in every direction. Emotions rapidly flashed across her face: fear, confusion, bewilderment, and relief. She would look behind her every few seconds as if to make sure that she was truly alone in the dark covering of the forest canopy. Turning her head to the side she listened to the melodic sounds of the trees and the wind trying to detect any danger that might be heading her way.

"What are you waiting under that tree for?" Anya turned around to see another girl, smaller than herself and obviously younger, staring at her with wild eyes from a crouched position ten feet away. "Why don't you just go back? It's a lot safer there with him," the wild girl hissed. Anya knew the voice, hidden under the rasp of a sore throat, and edged away from the surreal figure glaring at her.

"I had to leave," Anya said quietly, "I would've died there. I had to leave."

"You'll die out here," the wild girl shrieked, jumping at Anya and landing in crouch at her feet, "What makes you think you'll make it out of here?"

"You did it," Anya retorted trying to make her voice sound angry to scare the phantom away. "You got out and you're all right! I had to leave. I had to get away."

"I was foolish for leaving! I should have stayed, but I left and I got lost out here like you!" the wild girl snapped standing up from her primitive posture.

"You couldn't have gotten lost!" Anya yelled desperately. "You've been gone for months. You had to have made it home! You have to know where we are! I can't be lost!"

"I made my home in a ditch right after I left! I didn't get much farther than you before I paid the price for leaving!" The wild girl screeched walking towards Anya. She backed away as she saw the skin peel off of the girl's face; the skin that was left on her body turned black and the air began to reek of death. Anya backed into the tree that she had taken shelter under before and stared as the girl changed in front of her eyes. The wild girl went back into the crouching position she had appeared in and crawled backwards to her original location, her fingers and toes sticking to the ground when they were placed.

The wild girl stopped under a dense gathering of trees and sat down. Anya stared at the corpse in her cave-like habitat, vomit creeping up her throat. A twig snapped behind her and Anya whirled around. Nothing was there. She turned back toward the corpse but it was gone. Alone in the forest, rain dripping from the leaves of the canopy, Anya stood under the tree and looked around with fear.

Another twig snapped in the distance and Anya ran. Jumping over the roots and the rocks, she ran, looking back every few seconds. She ran blindly through the drops of water and tall menacing trees thinking only about getting as far away as possible from everything she was afraid of. She looked behind her again and tripped over something on the ground. She fell through the darkness for what felt like an eternity before landing against the ground with a crack. Her leg throbbed with pain as she looked up and saw the canopy of the forest six feet above her. A twinge of pain shot through her leg and Anya clutched it moaning in agony. She looked around the ditch she had fallen in and her gaze became fixed ahead of her. Staring back at her with a smile on its face was the skeleton of small girl, a wild girl. Anya backed as far into the edge of the ditch as possible and stared back at the mocking skeleton. She curled into a ball on the ground, as much of a ball as she could, and began to cry. That ditch was her home now, and she wasn't the only one that lived there.

"I shouldn't have left," she lamented quietly through her tears. The skeleton of the wild girl glared her with a mocking, contemptuous smile frozen on her face.

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