As I hid behind the bush, I peered out cautiously, scanning the area for any signs of danger. I had been on a solo hike through the dense forest for hours, and the last thing I wanted was to be spotted by someone or something that could pose a threat to my safety.
Suddenly, I saw movement out of the corner of my eye, and I jerked my head back behind the bush, heart racing. For a second, I thought he could actually see me, whoever he was. But as I looked harder, I realized that it was just a deer grazing in the nearby clearing.
I breathed a sigh of relief and reached slowly for my camera. The deer would make a beautiful portrait for my cabin. Continuing on my way, I felt more at ease knowing that there weren’t any immediate threats. But as I walked, I couldn’t shake the feeling that I was being watched. It was a gut feeling that I couldn’t ignore, and I knew that I needed to be on high alert.
Just then, I heard a twig snap behind me, and my heart leaped into my throat. My hand was on the knife strapped to my side. I whirled around, ready to defend myself, but all I saw was a pair of curious eyes peering at me from behind a patch of ferns. It was just a small fox, but in the distance I saw a shadow. A large shadow!
I was deep into the woods at this point and a bit disoriented. It wasn’t clear to me if this trail would lead back to civilization soon or not. I just knew that I had to stay ahead of the shadowy figure. My heart was racing as I stumbled over branches and tripped on uneven ground. Sweat poured down my face, and my breath came in ragged gasps.
The woods had grown increasingly dense as I ventured deeper. Suddenly, I heard a rustling sound that seemed too close for comfort. I turned to look and saw a dark, shadowy figure moving quickly through the underbrush.
Fear gripped me, and I knew I had to keep moving. I glanced behind me, but the figure was still there, chasing after me. I tried to pick up my pace, but my legs felt like lead, and I stumbled again, nearly falling.
My heart was pounding in my chest, and I could feel the sweat running down my back. Finally, I saw a glimmer of light in the distance, and I knew I was close to civilization. I pushed myself harder, ignoring the burning in my legs.
As I burst out of the woods and onto the dirt road, my heart was pounding and my legs were trembling from exhaustion. I had been hiking for hours, far longer than I had anticipated, and my water bottle was long since empty. I collapsed onto the ground and breathed in the fresh air, feeling relieved and thankful to have made it out of the woods in one piece.
As I looked up, I saw the small gas station across the road with a deli inside, and I knew this was the right spot. I stumbled to my feet, feeling grateful for the sight of civilization, and crossed the road. As I entered the gas station I tried to portray the image of a seasoned hiker. Feeling a wave of relief wash over me, I sunk into a nearby booth. I was finally safe.
Sitting in the deli, eating my sandwich and sipping my soda, I couldn’t help but reflect on my foolishness. It was naive to ignore my mother’s warnings about hiking alone, and I had paid the price for it. I vowed then and there to never make the same mistake again.
Taking my receipt, I looked down at my phone. Finally able to get a signal, I smiled to myself knowing that my mother was right all along. She really did always know best.
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*This was in response to the Three Things Challenge , Fandango’s One Word Challenge and it was originated for the JSW Prompt 3-20-2023 but I blew way past the 300 word count limit. Oops. You can click on the links to learn more about either prompt. 🙂 #hreethingschallenge #3TC #FOWC