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Wrong Place, Wrong Time

by Paige Turner 2 months ago in fiction
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A camping trip gone wrong

Wrong Place, Wrong Time
Photo by Simon Berger on Unsplash

The cabin in the woods had been abandoned for years, but one night, a candle burned in the window.

John Axelrod lit the candle himself, then rubbed his hands together putting them to his lips blowing warm air on them trying to warm them up. He lowered his hands and rubbed them quickly together shivering.

It was late fall, night was coming quickly and it was cold in the forest. The only item he had on him was his orange prison jumpsuit. The material was old and thin, worn out by the prisoners before him.

He knew the cops were looking for him, had been for 3 days now. He was low on energy, hungry, wet and on the verge of hypothermia.

He picked up the candle stick on which the candle burned and held it up looking at the cabin.

He could tell it had been abandoned for sometime now. There was no furniture, no bathroom or sink, the wooden floorboards were warped and creaked under his feet. The wooden roof sagged in the middle from the many years of rain and snow. Despite its dilapidated state, it was a shelter.

There was a small fire place on the other side of the room, and he thought about getting some wood and starting a fire, but on second thought, the police would for sure see the smoke, he couldn’t risk it.

He decided he will call this place home until he felt it was necessary to leave and continue his journey escaping law enforcement.

On the other side of town Roger and Anna had finished packing their supplies to go on a camping trip. They both got into their car and closed the doors.

“Got everything?” Roger asked and he put the key into the ignition and stated the car.

“I hope so” Anna replied.

They had been looking forward to this trip for over a year now. They were both avid hikers, and made it a point to visit all the national parks in that star before their tenth year anniversary, which was only two years away.

Roger pulled out of the drive way, pressed on the accelerator and the car sped off.

They both anticipated the trip, the trails at Lake point view was supposed to be the best in the state. There were waterfalls, fields of flowers and trees as old as the town they lived in.

Roger was a novice ornithologists, he had just started last summer, and was determined to become an expert.

Anna simply loved nature, when she was younger her family would take trips every summer to different campsites and they would sleep in tents, roast marshmallows and tell scary stories while they ate.

The drive wasn’t too long, when they pulled their car into the parking lot they were surprised that no other car was there. They got out and stretched their legs, but they didn’t waste any time. They quickly unloaded the car, which was basically two large rucksacks that contained all they needed for the trip.

With the rucksacks securely faceted to their backs and the car locked, they headed for the trail.

They had chosen the perfect day to hike. The sky was light blue the bright yellow sun shined above and there wasn’t a cloud in the sky. They walked for a few hours enjoying nature, looking at the trees and their large green leaves, the geese and they swam on the lake. They took in deep breaths filling their lungs with fresh air, getting rid of the city stress.

Anna took out a map from her rucksack and compared it to where they were Roger looked over her shoulder and pointed to the place they wanted to set up camp at.

“Should only be a few more miles” he said.

“I’m sure there will be a sign soon” Roger said adjusting the rucksack then continued walking down the path. Anna folded the map and put it in her pocket.

Roger was right soon enough they did see a sign letting them know they were headed in the right direction. Only two miles left to go. Roger looked at his watch. They were making good time, it was not even one o’clock yet. They had only been walking for four hours.

Finally making it to the camp site they dropped their rucksacks and looked around. It was a flat area with grass all around and trees surrounding them. By this time they were far from civilization, and deep in the woods. This was exactly where they wanted to be.

With their tent set up and a small fire started they sat down for a quick bite. They wanted to continue to hike for a few more hours before the sun began to set and they’d have to return to camp.

As they are a few pieces of jerky, trail mix and nutrition bars Anna felt the hairs on the back of her neck suddenly stand up. She felt like she was being watched. She quickly looked around, but saw no one.

“What is it Anna?” Roger asked

She turned to him, “I feel like we’re being watched” she whispered. Roger smiled.

“Your being paranoid, the woods will do that to you. Relax there is nothing but us and the wilderness.”

“Could be a bear” Anna said still feeling anxious.

“You’re right it could, but we have bear repellent and we’ll do what we can to ward them off”

Roger closed his rucksack, stood up, “ready to go exploring?” Anna turned to him unable to shake off the feeling but nodded, yes. She stood up as well clowning her own rucksack. They both put their bags on their back and secured it. It was much lighter now that their shelter was set up. Together, hand in hand they set out for an adventure.

They returned to their campsite with smiles on. Roger had seen two different bird species that wasn’t in his birding journal.

Anna stopped dead in her tracks and her smile quickly disappeared when she saw a footprint in the sand at their camp. She looked at their camp set up and didn’t notice anything that was different right away, but she felt something was off. Roger sat down on his seat pad in front of the fire pit and began to start a fire. He didn’t notice Anna, he was still on a bird watching high mumbling to himself something about birds.

She looked around the forest for the culprit, again feeling eyes on her. “Roger we should go.” She said shakily.

Roger looked at her and his smile began to fade, “why? What’s wrong?” She pointed down, “there’s a footprint here”

“What?” Roger stood and walked to where Anna was standing. Roger looked at the footprint. He put his foot next to the print, rogers was noticeably smaller. “Someone was here” she whispered to him. Roger shrugged, “that could’ve been there a long time, even before we came.” Roger went to go back and start the fire.

“I don’t like this” Anna said holding herself continuously looking again around the forest.

“It’s fine, you’re being paranoid. Come sit by the fire, we’ll have something to eat and you’ll feel better.”

Roger got the fire started, the wood burned and made a crackling noise that reverberated through the forest.

Roger got up walked to her then hugged her tightly. “Look we have everything we need here, if you don’t like it we can leave, but we have been looking forward to this trip for over a year. I don’t want to get home and then you regret leaving.” Anna looked into Rogers eyes. She knew how much he wanted this. He talked about it almost every day since they planned it.

She also knew that they did have protection, they brought a revolver with them, and a hatchet. She sighed, “okay fine we’ll stay but if I see anyone that’s it we’re leaving!” Roger smiled big, “that’s my girl!” He patted her on the shoulder. “Come sit with me.” He said waking back to the fire. Anne sat down watching the flames dance. Roger went into the tent, and Anne heard some shuffling, “ahh man” Roger exclaimed. “ what’s wrong?” She asked her heart starting to pound harder. “I forgot to pack my jeans and jacket” Roger said coming out of the tent. He sat down next to her, “ all I have is a sweater. I was sure I packed it.” “Someone could’ve taken it” Anne got a sudden chill down her spine thinking someone was going through their things while they hiked. “Or I just forgot it Anne” Roger said rolling his eyes. Anne stood up and went into the tent to look around. Things looked out of place. She looked through Rogers clothes, she was ninety-nine percent sure he packed it, but they weren’t there. Then she began to look for the hatchet. She unpacked it from her rucksack and left it next to their bed, but it wasn’t there. Her heart began pounding through her chest. She looked frantically under clothes and blankets hoping that she was mistaken and would find it, but the hatchet was no where to be seen. She went out of the tent, “the hatchet is gone” she told Roger “maybe you forgot to pack it” Anne shook her head, no. “Roger I remember putting it in the tent” Roger turned to her. “You think someone took it?” She nodded, yes. Roger scoffed turning back around. “Coke on Anne, stop being so paranoid. I didn’t see you pack the hatchet and I didn’t see you put it in the tent. What do you think some crazed killer is out here taking my clothes and stealing your hatchet so he could come kill us?” The hairs on the back of her neck stood up. Silence fell between them. “Yes” Anne finally said.

Anne sat next to him, “ can you take out the revolver, just in case?” Roger turned to her, “ I didn’t pack it” “what? Why not?” Roger sighed, “ we never used it, and we packed so much stuff I didn’t have room.” Anne rolled her eyes and folded her arms over her chest, “I wish you told me that before we left, I would’ve packed it.”

Night came quickly and in the forest it was pitch black. Still sitting in front of the fire Roger yawned turning to Anne, “ ready to go to sleep?” He asked when his yawn ended. Anne was scared to go to sleep, despite the many hours that had passed. Regardless of her weariness she stoked the fire until it was only embers then climbed in the tent after Roger. Roger fell asleep almost right away. She could tell by the rhythmic sound of his breathing. Anne couldn’t fall asleep, she strained her ears trying listen to the sound of rustling leaves or snapping of a twig, but there was nothing like that. Eventually tiredness overcame her worry, her eyes became heavy and she drifted off to sleep.

She suddenly woke up, her eyes shot open. She looked up and there was a man standing over her, she screamed as loud as she could. She sat up and turned to Roger, he didn’t move. Before she could scream again the stranger grabbed her by her hair and pulled her out of the tent and shot her to the ground. She rolled in the dirt, not having time to defend herself the stranger grabbed her again and dragged her to a tree. He tied her up with some rope around the tree. She screamed as loud as she could but she knew no one would hear her. The stranger went back in the tent and dragged out Roger who looked unconscious. The stranger tied Roger to a tree next to Anna. The sun was barely up and she could only see outlines, “what did you do?!”She screamed “Roger! Roger get up!” Tears streamed down her face, she was so scared and confused. “Please let us go!” She pleaded over and over again. The stranger came up to her and hit her with something hard and she passed out.

John Alecto’s paced back and forth while the two people where knocked out and tied to a tree. He got a shirt and ripped it then tied it around their mouths to muffle the screams when they wake. He had to think of something and he had to do it quickly. He looked at the man slumped over. He saw John in the forest when he was collecting money or for the fire. What if he had alerted the authorities already? Yea hat if they were on the way right now? He looked down at the hatchet in his hand and wondered if he should just get it over with now? He shook his head knowing he wouldn’t be able to do that. He sat on their mat in front of the fire pit and waited until they woke up and the sun was up.

When they both woke they were still tied to the tree Anne looked over to Roger and saw the large cut on his head and the dry blood in his hair and down his face. Anne looked around and didn’t see anyone, maybe the stranger just left. She tried to loosen the bindings but they were to tight. She as she was about to scream she heard a rustling in the forest and a man appeared. He was wearing Rogers clothes and had their hatchet in his hand. He pointed the hatchet to Roger, “I’m going to untie you. I don’t want any funny business, okay?” Roger nodded, yes. The man walked over, bent down and untied Roger. “Stand up” the man said, Roger obeyed. “We’re going to talk a walk, you will walk ahead and I will tell you where to go” Roger nodded. The two men disappeared into the bushes. Anne didn’t know what was going on. She wiggled her arms, her body, pulled and the bindings, but nothing gave. She was stuck there.

She waited for what seemed like for ever. She then heard the rustling of bushes and the man appeared without Roger. She lost it. She started screaming, crying and pulling frantically on her bindings. She man bent down in front of her. “We’re going to take a walk. I’m going to bring you to your boyfriend. No funny business.” She stared into his dark brown eyes, Anne knew he was lying. Roger was dead. She thought as the stranger untied her bindings, she could run. The chances of getting away were slim but she has to try. She thought about Roger, what if the man wasn’t lying, would she be risking his life trying to save hers? But what if she was able to get help. The bindings loosened. She got up then ran. She ran as fast as she could. She didn’t get too far, the stranger caught up to her and tackled her. She hit the ground hard knocking the wind out of her chest. Laying face down in the mud the stranger stood up, raised the hatchet and came down. All she felt was pain in her ankle. She couldn’t tell if it was chopped off or simply broken, but the area was burning. She screamed out in agony. “I told you no funny business” the man said still standing over her. He pulled her up and put her over her shoulder. She couldn’t stop screaming, she never felt pain like that before. The pain made her nauseous and she threw up over his shoulder. The man didn’t stop, he walked back to where she was tied up against a tree and through the forest. He walked for quite something. She was fainting in and out from the pain that continued to throb.

Eventually he stopped walking and dropped her, that’s when she saw her mangled food, it was hanging on by a tendon. She saw where the ankle bone had once connected to her leg. She stared at it, in a daze not sure if she was really looking at her own foot.

In shock she looked to her left and that’s when she noticed the cliff. She looked down and saw Rogers body. Terror over flooded her. This was her end, this was how she was going to die.

The man paced back and forth behind her mumbling to himself. She thought about running, then remembered her mangled foot. The man stopped mumbling to himself and without any warning he pushed her. She quickly slide off the cliff, her body falling into Rogers.

They never caught John Axelrod, and many to this day swear that he still lives in that forest. He waits for campers, and kills them for their things. Legend has it you can see the skeletons of Anne and Rogers over the cliff, if you dared enough to go into the forest, find the cliff then look over.

fiction

About the author

Paige Turner

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