This is actually based on a true story. I don’t remember how old I was when this happened, but I know I was in elementary school, and the fear I felt is still very clear in my mind. I also don’t remember what inspired me to write this, but, again, I liked how it came out.
Have you ever felt so small, where the world swallows you whole, where everything carries on as if you’ve never left? You know the area well, the trees, the paths, the sky, the air. Nothing’s different, and yet, none of it’s familiar. You trailed off without even realizing it was too late.
How could you let this happen? What happened to the path? Where are the mountains? Were you supposed to walk towards them or away? You think of what else your parents instructed you to do in case you got lost. Nothing comes to mind. They never had this discussion with you before. Why? You just turned ten. You practically grew up in the woods, but that doesn’t mean you know how to navigate your way through them.
The thorn bushes start to constrict you the further you go. It’s harder to turn yourself around. You’re afraid of getting your eyes poked out, getting holes in the jacket your mom just got you for Christmas. Whatever move you make is the wrong one.
At some point, you give up. You, at ten years old, realize you have to just stop. “Mom!” you yell. “Dad!” No reply. The air that carries your voice to the mountains and back is blocked by the trees all around you. There are so many trees around, and none of them are climbable. The odds are clearly not in your favor.
You’re going to die here. No one’s coming; no one can hear you; no one will know you’re gone. You made it ten years. That’s it. You’re going to be a kid forever, which isn’t a bad thing, but you think back to that day in the bathroom where the weight of what death meant hit you and you sat on the toilet crying, hoping that day would never come, and here it is.
You scream louder and louder. Why won’t anyone answer? Someone had to hear your voice, the pure terror in every ear-piercing scream. Your mind tells you someone’s on the way, someone has to be on the way, but that there’s no way anyone would ever find you here; it’s impossible to find someone so small in an area unimaginably vast.
You’re cold and tired of standing in the same spot and your throat hurts. You keep yelling and finally someone hears you. It asks where you are and what happened and are you hurt and you say you’re fine and you’re lost and you need help. “Keep talking to me,” the voice tells you, as it actually gets closer to you. Any minute now, they’ll be here, and you’ll wonder who’s watching over you.