Cassidy stumbled in the dark forest, annoyed that her new cloth sneakers were most likely getting dirty. If she’d known they’d be playing manhunt tonight, she would have dressed more appropriately in black to better hide herself, and the dirt. Although right now, she had a bigger problem than the dirt on her new shoes – she was pretty sure she was lost.
To make matters worse, she felt weird, like she was dreaming. No, it wasn’t like dreaming exactly. She was nervous and paranoid all while feeling rather relaxed. The trees looked funny too, almost as if they were alive. Cassidy was beginning to suspect some of the party snacks were laced with something. However, having never been high before, she wasn’t sure.
Why did I go to this stupid party?
Cassidy had already sent out several text messages to her friends, letting them know she was lost. Unfortunately, she hadn’t received any responses and could see her phone seemed to be lagging. She figured this particular area of the woods had bad cell phone service. After all, she was in the middle of nowhere. She couldn’t even hear her friends’ shouts and laughs any longer.
The night was getting colder, uncommonly so for mid-August in Connecticut. The paranoid-yet-relaxed feeling, had subsided and she now felt merely dazed and very tired. Maybe a rest would help. Her legs ached and her feet had started to rub uncomfortably in the new sneakers.
It was already well past midnight. Thankfully, the moon had come out from behind the clouds, illuminating the woods. In fact, everything seemed unnaturally bright for some reason, as though actual light was coming from somewhere other than the moon. Cassidy followed the source of light until the trees separated into a small clearing surrounding a circular pool; although, it was unlike any water she’d ever encountered.
The pool was barely twenty feet across, but quite noticeable, because whatever substance filled it glowed bright white. It was mesmerizing. Instead of wondering exactly what type of liquid filled this small pond, Cassidy found herself drawn to it so that soon she was kneeling right at the edge of the pool. She passed her hand over the liquid, but didn’t try to touch it. The white substance pulsed in respond to her movement, almost welcoming her.
She sat there for a long time, gazing at the glowing liquid, forgetting she was lost. But at last, her phone buzzed rudely, disturbing her trance and reminding her she needed to get back to her friends.
Just as Cassidy pulled out her phone to check the message, she heard a rustling behind her that made her head pound and her nerves tense. She slowly turned, she watched a hulking black shape appear from behind the foliage and move toward her. Cassidy had heard of bear sightings several miles from her friend’s house, but didn’t expect to come across one now. She froze, her mind scrambling for a strategy to deal with this potentially deadly situation. The best thing she could think of was stay completely still, hoping the bear would turn around and leave.
The bear stopped too, watching her warily for a moment. Then suddenly, it charged toward her. Cassidy knew she shouldn’t run, but she couldn’t remember whether to try to intimidate the bear, or play dead. In her indecision, she lost her footing and fell backward into the glowing pool.
The world vanished, replaced by complete, pure white and a feeling of euphoria. Cassidy floated for several minutes, entirely overcome with the sensation. Her friends, cell phone, even the bear in the woods were all forgotten.
Then strangely, her feet landed. She was no longer falling or floating, but looking ahead into nothing but white all around her. She couldn’t seem to go back up, because she was no longer surrounded by the liquid substance. It wasn’t a pool at all, now that she was in it. It was more like a tunnel.
Cassidy felt compelled to keep moving, almost as if the tunnel itself beckoned her further. Like it was alive. The floor and walls were even warm and soft to the touch. She passed through the serene white, as if in a dream, but like all dreams, it was soon over. The tunnel abruptly ended and Cassidy tumbled out onto soft, cool grass. Then weariness overcame her and she fell asleep.