Into the Woods


Allison Colyn

Icy fingers grip my arm in the darkness. I turned around, but nothing was there. All I could see was the towering, snow-covered pine trees above me through the shadows created by the moonlight. I circle around myself still not seeing a soul besides myself. I look at the deep snow-covered ground and my footprints behind me. There are no other footprints besides my own. The wind begins to pick up and I am left shivering due to the cold and my own paranoia. I continue on my path trying to think nothing of it. I must get to the cabin. I am led in my path with nothing except the moon. I hear nothing besides the wind and my own thoughts. It seems like there’s not a living thing out here besides me. I look forward, hoping to see something new, some different scenery. I am left disappointed. All I can see in the distance is trees after trees. For miles there are pine trees everywhere, all covered in a thick white blanket. I can feel the frost forming everywhere on me, my eyelashes, my coat, my gloves. I can’t escape it. The coldness haunts me. I have to get to the cabin. I feel a tug on my coat and I am pulled back in my tracks. I spin around, gazing at the world around me. I see nothing except for trees, more and more trees. I cover my face with my hands, grasping on to what I am feeling. I don’t understand and am so lost. Who is this person following me and how is it even possible I haven’t got a glimpse of them? I turn back around and pick up my pace. It’s hard to move fast in this thick, two-foot deep snow, but I go as fast as I can. I have to get to the cabin. The path almost seems like it was made for me. The trees surround every side of me except the opening that is straight ahead of me. As I keep up my steady pace I turn and look back every few minutes to see if I can get a glimpse of whatever seems to be following me. When I look back each time I start to notice something, something strange. The path behind me disappears. I still see my footprints in the white powder, but the trees almost close in behind me. The clear pathway I once saw is gone, disappeared. I’m starting to feel strange, panicking at the unknown. I must get to the cabin. I walk a little faster, still not to a run but definitely the fastest I’m able to walk without losing my footing. I focus on the small, but clear pathway ahead of me. I still turn back every once in a while, but the same thing keeps happening. The trees are closing in on me. As it keeps happening, I turn and look back even more often. It’s freaking me out and all I want to do is get to the cabin. I look back and back and back, and then I realize something. The trees are closing in on me faster, faster than before. They are getting closer each step I move forward and surrounding me even tighter. I never see them move, but every time I turn back and look, the trees are getting closer and closer to me. I start to run. I run as fast as I can, but the faster I run the faster the trees are moving in. They are trying to trap me, enclose me so I can’t get to the cabin. I run even faster. All of a sudden something shakes my shoulder with a hard push and I fall right into the snow-covered ground. I quickly get up and continue on my way because I know nothing is there. Nothing is there besides the trees, the endless amount of trees that consume my every move. I look back just once and the trees have reached even farther upon me. I run, I run as fast as I possibly can. I have to get to the cabin, the cabin will save me. All I can do now is look at the path ahead of me. As long as I focus on the path ahead of me, the path behind me won’t bother me. Even though it’s catching up, I run with all of my might. I see ahead of me light. For the first time on this long journey, I finally see a light that’s not the moon or the sun, it’s human-made light. I didn’t even know I had it in me, but I ran to that light like I’ve never ran before. That’s all I need, all I need to escape this miserable place I’ve been in. Each step I take in the deep, deep snow is one step farther to the light, to the cabin. I am almost there, probably a quarter of a mile out. Just a couple more minutes of running, and then I’ll be safe. I can hear the trees closing in behind me. The shifting of the roots, the rustle of the leaves, the snow shaking violently off the branches with each time they move closer. I don’t need to look back anymore, I can tell how close they are based on how loud the trees are. They are close, too close for comfort, but I’m more focused on the cabin now. I can finally see the cabin. It’s small, but the wooden paneling and the smoke coming from the chimney feels homey and inviting. As I reach the driveway I dive for the door, desperate to get in. It’s locked. I turn the handle and keep turning the handle, but nothing’s happening. There’s no other door and no windows, the only way in is through this door. The trees are catching up, they’re surrounding the entire cabin and keep closing in. I’m panicking, I don’t know what to do. The door handle won’t budge, but I keep trying. Every twist of the door handle is faster and more aggressive each time. Out of nowhere, I am pushed with a force I’ve never experienced so hard that I bust right through the door. I fall so hard to the ground that the world goes black, but just for a second. As I open my eyes I am in a completely new world. My mom is standing over me telling me to wake up. I blink a couple of times, trying to grasp what just happened. “Winston, I’ve been trying to get you up for an hour now. I have been calling your name and even came into your room and shook you three different times within the hour trying to get you to wake up.” I get out of bed, ignoring what she says and I look out my bedroom window. Snow is falling, white little specks fill the brown, dead ground with a fresh white blanket.