"I can't believe I'm doing this." Nathan whispered to himself.
Staring into the foreboding wooded area, the darkness and trees seemed to stretch around him. The harder he stared into the woods the darker they seemed. As frightening as it was, there was a certain allure to the darkness. Was it the mystery that it projected? Also why the inherent fear of the dark? Was it a fear of the unknown? But nothing was unknown, you turn the lights on and it's the same. Eighteen years old and still afraid of the dark, how embarrassing.
Standing with his hands shoved deep in his pockets, Nathan stood at the edge of what they called "The forbidden forest". He found it hard to look into the dark, he was afraid if he looked too long that he might see something he didn't want to. On the other hand if he looked away or turned his back to it, he wouldn't see something reaching out to grab at him. His eyes darted around, scanning each tree that happened to sway in the wind too quickly or the leaves that rustled too loudly. The Moon was full and provided plenty of light to see. Inside the woods the moonlight tore through the canopy and speckled the ground with light. Maybe it won't be so bad after all?
Bleeding from inside the forest, the croaking of frogs and the drone of cicadas could be heard. Nathan slowly felt the fear start to leave him as he stood mindlessly at the edge of darkness.
Nathan spun in place and looked immediately behind him! Right away he saw Andrew standing just a few feet away holding a small stick in his hands.
"What the fuck Andrew!"
"Haha! You should have seen the look on your face Nate!"
He could only imagine how stupid he looked, he nearly jumped out of his skin.
"What took you so long? I've been here since midnight."
Andrew shrugged his shoulders and held his hands out.
"Sorry I was hanging out with Katie, and had to explain to her what we were doing tonight. Naturally she wanted to come along, so I was convincing her to stay home."
Nathan checked his watch "12:47" almost a whole hour of standing out here alone.
"What about David? Have you seen him?"
"Nah, not since after school. Maybe his parents caught him slipping out?"
Nathan sighed and checked his watch, as if any amount of time passed.
"I say we give him another fifteen minutes before we just call it a night." Nathan suggested.
"Oh you won't be getting off that easy Nate!" David's voice rang out from the tree line.
Nathan and Andrew both turned to see David standing up from the brush and patting himself clean.
"What the hell? How long have you been laying there?" Nathan asked.
"I've been here since 11:30. I was planning on scaring the both of you."
Nathan and Andrew looked at each other in confusion. David noticed and spoke up.
"Eh, I changed my mind"
He finished brushing himself off and walked towards the others.
"Alright boys are we ready!?" David shouted as he clapped his hands together.
Nathan glanced over at the forest one more time. His eyes glazed over as the darkness scratched at his curiosity. His stomach filled with butterflies as he grew anxious.
"Nate!" David snapped.
"Close your mouth before you catch a fly, geez.'
Nathan turned back to the others and listened to David talk.
"Alright so we don't have to do anything crazy like spend the night there. All we have to do is stomp around for maybe an hour and that's it."
"How is anyone going to know that we actually did it?" Nathan chimed in.
"Supposedly there is a big old dead tree in there somewhere that everyone recognizes, we all just snap a photo in front of it and bam, should be good to go."
"I still don't understand why we are doing this." Nathan protested.
"Because it's tradition Nate! Every senior before us and the ones before them have done this." Andrew said, nudging him.
Once again Nathan looked into the dark woods next to them. It was pulling at him begging him to come inside.
"Jesus Nate why are you so scared?" David asked.
"We've all heard the stories of this place, that's why."
"And they are exactly that, stories." David said.
"Are we done here?" Andrew asked, starting to sound frustrated.
Before Nathan could try his luck at another protest, David announced it was time to go.
David took the lead with Andrew behind him and Nathan was at the rear.
Nathan had always been jealous of David's bravery and ability to just take charge. It was something he could never do. It wasn't lack of talent or knowledge, it was just some sort of mental barrier that prevented him from stepping up.
Inside the forest, the darkness felt less menacing. The forest floor had a carpet of thin fog constantly wisping around. It formed small dense pools in some areas. The moonlight that peared in from above proved to be more light than he had originally thought.
"So where is this old tree supposed to be?" Andrew asked.
"Honestly I'm not too sure, but I know it's hard to miss. So just keep an eye out." David said.
A heavy feeling came over Nathan, as if someone were sitting on his chest. His hands dug deeper into his pockets like they were searching for a form of comfort. His eyes started to move frantically all around the forest. Looking for things that just weren't there. The distant hooting of an owl and the crunching of twigs and leaves under their feet was almost overwhelming.
"So Andrew, how did you convince Katie to stay home?" Nate asked, trying to get away from his fear.
"Katie, what did you tell her to get her to stay home?"
Irritated Nathan dropped the question, and kept to himself.
Спасибо за чтение!
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