There Is A Trail Up In The Rocky Mountains That You Should Never Hike, And For Good Reason

He winked at me before he let out a soft hiss. I turned back around and ran for what I hoped was the shaft exit. My light beaming ahead of me, my hopes were high as it looked like it was illuminating swaying trees which got closer and closer and I thought I could smell the fragrance of pine trees tickling my nose.

I could barely breath, but pushed on until that little opening in the distance seemed to never get closer again. I was running as hard as I could, pumping my legs and arms and spitting out wind, but the opening seemed to be stuck about 20 yards ahead of me until my legs gave out from exhaustion and I fell to the dirty ground.

Simply out of gas, I felt like an elephant on one of those Discovery Channel shows that finally just gave into the herd of lions tearing at its flesh and laid down, ready to give up. I closed my eyes tight and waited for the next stomach-turning monster to step up to my heap of a body.

But I never felt that presence arrive. Instead, I felt a sudden rush of cold and heard the sound of an owl hooting in rhythm as if it was some kind of woodsy alarm clock.

I flicked my eyes open and was shocked to see I was back in the woods, surrounding by the swaying trees and the pale moonlight. I shook my head for a second and sat up just a bit to gain a better view of my situation.

It first appeared I was simply in just a clearing in the woods, but a further scan revealed a sprinkling of crumbling headstones of faded cement and crosses of splintered, rotted wood all around me. I was in the fabled McCord cemetery Ezra and I had been searching for.

I didn’t even care though. All I wanted to do was go home, or die.

I was just going to lay there, until I heard the owl cry out one more time and watched it swoop down right in front of me and land on one of the crosses in front of me. Looking even more aged and beaten than Ezra did back in the shaft – the owl was missing about half of its feathers, splashed with dried blood, painful scratches and had one eye that didn’t appear to open. It stared at me from its unsteady perch until its one good eye shot a look behind me.
I followed the old owl’s gaze behind me to see I was resting just a few yards away from a steep cliffside which descended down into the great valley from which we had ascended the day before.

The owl shot me a wink with its good eye and took off back into the dark seclusion of the forest.


About the author

Jack Follman

Jack has written professionally as a journalist, fiction writer, and ghost writer. For more information, visit his website.

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