All night Clarissa kept thinking about the odd place. She even remembered hearing a shriek when they left the place, and on turning back, she found nothing at all.

Next morning:

As all five of them wanted sometime to take leave from their respective offices, they decided that they shouldn’t move the next day, but the day after.

All things were set, and everybody was ready to experience a thrilling adventure. Though usually only Kate used to be a bit crazy in situations like these, and Cherry used do despise her, but now, surprisingly enough, Cherry was being a 1000 times more crazier than Kate. None of the girls contradicted her anyways, because they, sort of, understood the reason for her madness, unlike Kate’s unreasoned craziness.

Clarissa kept quiet all along the way. She had tried to warn the girls many times, not to mention the many times she had unpacked her bag to show her refusal to the idea. However, every time some or the other would repack her bag saying that she ought to come. Sarah particularly was at a loss to understand why Clare was so determined to stay back. Most of the time she was the first person to show acceptance to any kind of an adventurous trip, due to her immense interest in nature and natural things. Sarah tried to ask Clare the reason for her odd behavior, but she only never got an answer from her. She tried to discuss with Jenny, but no success at all. Instead, Jenny was rather busy all day long, and at night, she was sound asleep before Sarah could speak to her. At night, Sarah noticed that Kate was not asleep yet. Sarah approached her and said in a low voice, “Hey Kate. I need to speak to you for a moment. Come out into the hall room. Let’s not wake Jenny.” Saying so, Sarah moved out of the room. Moments later, Kate also came out. As soon as Sarah saw her, she jumped up from the sofa and blurted out, “It’s about Clare.” Hearing it, Kate stopped in mid track. “Why, what happened to her?” she asked. “Didn’t you notice her odd behavior since we decided to go there?” “The reason is obvious, sweetheart,” said Kate, relaxing herself on the armchair, “Clare is totally against the idea of entering the forest. She says it’s a haunted place, that’s why we didn’t see any birds there,” she breathed for a moment, then continued, “or animals. I don’t say she is being superstitious, though. She was right about the creeps back in our previous house. I would have agreed with her, if it wasn’t for my uncontrollable urge to explore the place.” “Are you saying that Clare is refusing to go for that reason?” Sarah was surprised to know that it wasn’t a lame joke that Clare had cracked when they were near the forest. “But we can’t leave her alone, can we?” Sarah asked. “Don’t worry. I’ve taken care of that. I told her that if in case we do fall in trouble someone must be there to protect us. She couldn’t refuse,” Kate stood up and continued, “Go to sleep. I don’t want you to keep swaying on the spot when we find something interesting. Good night.” Without waiting for Sarah to say anything else, Kate went back into the room. Sarah could do no more than go into the room to sleep.

In the morning, as the girls loaded their bags into their jeep, Cherry noticed that Clare had finally agreed to come with them. She wanted to taunt her about her change of decision, but seeing Sarah’s warning, she stopped.

As their jeep passed along the road between the dense forest, Jenny asked, “Any idea whether the place is a campers’ area or not?” Cherry answered, “We’ll find when we go there.” “So I guess we wouldn’t have to wait much,” Jenny said, excited, as the scene of the dense forest became sharper.

Having the jeep parked properly, the five friends jumped out. Having their camp bags slinging on their backs, they advanced into the forest. Kate held a handy cam in her hand and followed her friends into the forest. “A very happy good morning to you my sweet little…err, sorry, big forest, and hello friends. I welcome you to ‘Crazy Kate Show’. I’m your best friend Katherine Mckimson accompanied by Jennifer Williams, our guide,” she swung the camera towards Jenny, who waved at the camera and plucked her hat. “Sarah Hawthorne and Clarissa Wood, our health experts and mentors,” Kate turned the camera towards Clare and Sarah, who merely smiled, “and our leader, Cherry Macarde,” Kate concluded, turning the camera towards Cherry. Cherry winked into the camera. “Hey, don’t give your wink Cherry, it scares us,” Kate started. “Phil loves it, doesn’t he Clare? I don’t find a reason why it should scare you.” Saying so Cherry looked at Clare. Phil or rather Phillip Wood was Clarissa brother and was a cop. Nevertheless, he was too hesitant in dealing with women. Clare believed that this quality was a curse for him. His good looks have attracted many ladies, one of whom was Cherry, and all of them have left him in a week or so due to his lack of interest in women. Cherry, however, had sustained for about a month due to her friendship with Clare. “You still haven’t understood Phil, have you,” Clare answered, grinning. She was quite surprised that Cherry still believed that Phillip was being true to her. Cherry frowned.

“Oka Doka,” chirped Kate and proceeded further. “Whoa!” she exclaimed waving the camera in front of her to capture the view, “isn’t that a spooky little…err…big thing?” She looked at her friends and sang, “I think we’re gonna have some fun.” None except Cherry gave a reaction and scowled, “Let us have some fun alright. You’re disturbing us.” Kate didn’t take any heed of what she said and continued with speaking to her imaginary viewers. Some time later, she switched off the camera lest she should lose track of the others in her excitement.

A long way into the forest, after walking for a long time, they finally found a small clearing in the middle of the forest. The place was scattered with empty coke cans and plates. Cherry said, “So someone has camped here before. We shouldn’t be worried now, I guess.” Jenny shook her head and walked forward. She stood on the cleanest spot of the clearing and announced, “Miss Jennifer Williams has found her land.” Cherry cried out, “But that’s the spot where I wanted to have my tent.” “Finders are keepers. You lose, I win” Jenny smiled. Cherry scowled and started clearing a small area at the corner for herself. The other three did the same. Soon the small clearing had the perfect look required for the TWITCHES camping area. Drinking some water from her bottle, Cherry proposed, “Let’s explore this place.” Jenny nodded while Kate opened the handy cam to show her acceptance. Sarah nodded and looked towards Clare, who was too busy in her own thoughts to answer to what Cherry had just said. Sarah nudged her to which Clare started, “What!?” She looked at her friends, then continued, “Yeah, it’s…it’s a very good idea. We should start now.” A moment later, Cherry nodded. They took three water bottles; Kate took her handy cam while Jenny took two packets of potato chips.

As they walked into the forest, marking the trees as they proceeded, Cherry asked Clare, “Why do you like to believe that Phil doesn’t be true to me when he gives his opinions?” Clare smiled and said, “Sweetheart, I know him better than you. He’s my brother after all. And why would I want to lie about my brother? You must understand at least now. He is not interested in women. That’s the reason why I’m not that conscious about my looks. Whenever I try to be so and ask him things related to this, he changes the topic to my job. We both have been raised up in the same manner.” Cherry lowered her head. Not wanting to hurt herself more, she went back to join Kate who was walking behind the other four to have the scene recorded better. Cherry looked into the small screen and exclaimed, “I’ve never seen a better recording than this. Where the hell have you learnt to make it so cool, adventurous and realistic?” “From me,” Kate answered, smiling.

Walking down the leafy ground of the forest, Cherry realized that her shoelaces were open. She sighed and looked at her friends moving away. None of them had noticed that she had stopped. Deciding to join them after tying the laces as they shouldn’t take much time to tackle with, Cherry leaned to tie the laces. As she did so, she suddenly heard a strange sound above. She looked up towards the sky to see what it was, but couldn’t make out due to the shining sun which was just overhead.

Meanwhile, as Kate followed her friends, she noticed something on one of the trees. She exclaimed, “Hey, there’s something there! What do you think is it Cherry?” Hearing no reply, she turned around to look at her. But there was no Cherry following them. Kate called out to her friends. Jenny said, “I thought she was with you.” “She was. I don’t know how I lost track of her,” Kate murmured. “How can you be so careless?” Jenny exclaimed. “She’s not a baby. She must be waiting for us. Let’s just stop arguing and try to find her.” Saying so Sarah traced her steps back.

They kept searching for Cherry. An hour passed, but they couldn’t find any trace of her. “Let’s just not lose hope,” Sarah encouraged her friends. But not until the sun was about to set, plunging the forest into darkness, that Kate noticed Cherry’s leg sticking out from behind a bush. Sensing that something must be terribly wrong, Kate went up to look at her. Her heart jumped up to her throat and she stared in disbelief at the body. Seeing her stop, Sarah came up to her and asked, “What’s the matter?” She followed her gaze. When she saw what had shocked Kate, her hands jumped up to her mouth and she let out a gasp. Jenny and Clare ran to where Sarah and Kate were standing. Seeing the horrifying scene, a scream escaped Jenny’s mouth, but Clare only stared in disbelief.

Aren’t you curious about what they saw? I wouldn’t have wanted to tell you about it, but as a reader you ought to know about it, and as an author, I’m bound to let you know about it.

On the floor, Cherry’s body was lying there with her head neatly sliced into two halves down to the neck, longitudinally. Her eyes were looking into nothing, and it was evident that she had noticed the thing that killed her before she died.


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