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The Abigail Woods are home to many things. Animals. Hiking trails. Punks. Ghosts. Isn’t that what lured you out here? These woods always feel like home. You’ve been struggling to get home for a while now. And here you are.

The old house lies ahead. It brings back so many memories as you stroll to the front door. “I’m home,” you announce to the darkness upon entering. Darkness welcomes you in. The living room is as you remember. The TV in the corner. The old sofa. Family photos carefully arrayed along the wall like an art exhibit. And the comforting smell of the woods mingled with cigar smoke.

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You head into the bedroom and lie down for a quick nap. It’s been a long day, and you’ve been running all over trying to get home. You earned a rest. The quiet takes you in, and you breathe in the silence, drifting down the river to dream.

A heavy crashing sound snaps you awake. You sit up and see a shadow standing in the doorway.

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This isn’t your home. You don’t belong here. The shadow stares back, then disappears. Gathering your courage, you bolt for the door and out to the trail. What strange idea possessed you to go to sleep in that bed? Why did you even go inside?

You have to get home.

On the path, you sprint towards the parking lot. You’ll make it this time. No more diversions. Even as the footsteps approach from behind, you ignore them and keep going.

“Stay,” you hear. Foolishly, you stop and glance back.

Original photo by Florian Olivo on Unsplash.

Of course, it’s there and coming for you. What is it? Is this the fate of Abigail? Is she lost in these woods for all eternity, trying and failing to get home? Is this why ghosts are always in such distress? Does that mean you’re dead? It’s only a dream. If you can just get home.

You turn and run again.

You wake. It’s the cave this time. You stand and brush yourself off, wasting no time to wonder how you got here. A soft, female voice calls to you from the dark. “Home” is the only word you catch. No one is ever there. But you suspect that Abigail’s spirit is near, asking for how to get home. If you can get out, you might help her find peace. Somehow.

You go to climb, but the shadow looms over the lip of the cave. “Home,” it says in a low, inhuman voice.

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“Who are you?” you say. “What do you want?”

You wake again. Back on the trail. There’s no point asking questions anymore, and you run.

You’re always running. You’re always tired. You have to get home. Someday.

If you can just get out again. There must be a way out. Maybe… if you started over…

The End

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