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The first thing I heard was nothing. Nothing but deadened silence. The air surrounding me was cold and heavy, thick with an impenetrable fog. I dared take a step forward, hearing the deafening crunch of the leaves beneath my feet. I feel disoriented, not knowing where I am or how I got here. But alas, here I am. The only choice I have is to continue forward, hoping to find some hint of civilization in this dark forest.

As I continue forward, the fog begins to thin...but only a little. I look around.Through the still dense fog, I can begin to make out the dark silhouettes of this forest: tall, slim trees towering over me in every direction, vines snaking around the trunks and limbs. The visible foliage seems wild, chaotic and untamable. I continue on, the leaves still making loud crunching noises beneath my feet. Soon the noise became background noise, an expected ritual of foot meeting leaf, again and again. I fell into a trance-like state, soothed by the rhythmic sound of crackling leaves.

“How did I get here?”, I wondered again. The more I asked myself this question, the more my head began to ache. Suddenly, I was awoken from my trance-like state, alarmed by a sound so eerily familiar: laughter. I looked around, but again, all I could see was the dense fog and the silhouettes of the trees. Surely, there could not be anyone living in this dreadful place? But..I was also walking a clear path through the forest, which seemed to have been cleared by people. The path seemed interrupted only by the occasional tree roots and the weeds peaking through the soil. This path hasn’t been trekked in a long while..I must have imagined the laughter in my state of solitude and loneliness.

A dark shadow crosses my peripheral vision, to the right of me. As if someone had run between the trees in the distance. I hear the vague sound of laughter again. It fills the cold air with a hint of happiness and hope, but as quickly as the hallucination appeared, gone was that warm feeling of laughter. Surely, I was hallucinating now. But just to be sure, I called out to the figure of which I had glimpsed. “Hello?” I called out. “Is anybody there? I need help. I’m lost.”

My voice echoed through the trees and faded, swallowed up by the endless void of forest that surrounded me. No one answered my call. I was all alone. I continued on, walking in hushed silence for about ten minutes. The fog began to thicken once more, clouding my vision further. I began to feel claustrophobic as the fog clouds closed in on either side of me, constricting the path ahead of me. I began to walk faster. Surely the forest would have to end soon? It cannot continue on forever...Can it? The temperature began to drop. The once chilly air began to get colder. I wished I had brought a jacket, but there was no way I could have known I would have ended up here. I don’t even know where ‘here’ is or how I got here. The events of my past seemed too blurry to recall. It’s as if my memories all floated away into the clouds of fog that still surrounded me.

Suddenly, ahead of me, I see a silhouetted figure cross the path. I jumped, alarmed, my heart beginning to race. My breathing became more shallow. I called out once more. “Hello?”. Still no answer. I quickened my pace until I was going at a jogging pace. I had to get out of here. This forest was messing with my mind. The cold air began to seep into my skin, making it feel as though my limbs were being slowly encased in ice. The simple movement of walking forward, or rather, jogging forward, became a chore; my movements were stiff. Each breath was harder than the last one, more labored. I had to slow down to try and catch my breath. But the fog made it seem as though all the oxygen was sucked out of the air. Yes, this place was definitely getting to me. Out of nowhere, a chill spread up throughout my body, my hair standing on end. It’s as though my body’s sixth sense were activated, acting before my other senses had time to take in the surroundings.

A piercing scream filled the air. Someone was screaming, off to my right. Screaming for help. “HELP ME” the voice screamed. “PLEASE, SOMEONE”. My heart continued to race, the cold air seeping into my bones. Could I be imagining this? “HELP, PLEASE”. Yes, it must be my imagination. “I BEG YOU PLEASE”. My heart was beating out of my chest: thump thump thump. The voice kept screaming. “HELP PLEASE”. Thump. Thump. Soon my head was pounding, as though my brain were punching into my skull in an attempt to escape its eternal prison. “HELP”. Thump. Thump. What if this wasn’t my imagination? Someone could be in trouble? Thump thump. Before I could change my mind, I bolted in the direction of the screaming voice.

I stumbled through the dense forest, tripping over loose rocks and large tree roots. Vines seems to grab at me as I run past, eager to drag me down and keep me from reaching the voice so desperately in need. “PLEASE SOMEONE”. My breathing is heavy, labored by my stumbling and sprinting. I need to get to that voice. I have to help them. Thump thump thump. A few minutes pass by, but it feels as though it has been hours. Hours of the piercing cry for help, hours trying to reach the one so desperately in need. I see a silhouette in the distance, which grows bigger as I run towards it. It’s the frame of a young girl. The screaming voice begins to change its message. My head is pounding. “WHY DID YOU DO THIS TO ME?” Thump thump thump thump. Is this voice real? Or is it in my head? My thoughts and the screaming voice become indiscernible. My head is throbbing. The pain is unbearable. I can’t think straight. The cold is overtaking my body. “HOW COULD YOU? IT’S ALL YOUR FAULT”. Thump Thump Thump. My head is pounding. My body begins to ache. I can’t breathe.

Thump thump. “YOU”RE FAULT”. I can’t breathe. I can’t think. Thump Thump. My vision is growing dark. Flashes of light begin to appear before my eyes, the dark silhouette in front of me beginning to fade. The dense fog surrounds me, and I black out, smothered in a sheet of icy coldness. More flashes of light. A loud crashing sound. My head feels as though it is going to explode. The pain in my body is unbearable. My heart is racing. Thump thump. Everything is cold. I hear whispers in the darkness. More flashes of light: red and blue. I hear a sound in the distance, like a siren. More whispers. Then suddenly, complete darkness. Complete silence. My body grows numb as the cold envelopes me once more. I hear a long beeping sound. Thump. Thump. Silence.

I open my eyes, my surroundings slowly coming into focus. I’m laying in a white bed, in a white room, surrounded by white machines making strange beeping noises. I must be in a hospital. I feel a dull pain in my head, the rest of my body numb. The air is cold, sterile and clean. The events which transpired begin to come back to me in blurred, horrifying images. My head begins to pound again, as I flashback to red and blue flashing lights and blaring sirens. Thinking back even more, I remember the loud crashing sound, a girl’s voice screaming for help before eventually fading out. I think back even more, my head pounding. My heart begins to race again. Laughter. She was laughing. Everything is still blurry. What happened to me? What happened to her? Pain shoots through my head spreading to my chest. My heart burns.

Just then, the door opens. A kindly woman dressed in a white lab coat walks in. She looks tired, but tries to give me a warm smile. I open my mouth to speak, groaning in pain. I couldn’t muster a single sound. The woman frowned, knowing what I wanted to ask. “You’ve been in a coma for three days. You were in an accident.” An accident. That’s right. We were driving home in the dark, laughing about the day's events, when a dark figure appeared in our path. I swerved, then CRASH. Screaming. Lights. Sirens. Pain. Silence. They found me in the wreckage. But they never found her..

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