By Morgan Hannah, Life & Style Editor
The darkness is so pure, darker than anything I’ve experienced before. I cannot help myself. I am unnerved. It’s cold too. And damp. Each surface I grasp at is slick and difficult. I want to call out for the creature to make sure I’m not alone, but a part of me wonders if I’ve been led into a trap. A chill runs across me like an itch I cannot scratch. I cannot tell if it’s just me shaking or if it’s the mountain that’s shaking—like a body quivering in the cold. I wish I could reapply the layers I peeled off earlier, but I cannot see nor do I trust my surroundings, which are narrow and only seem to be growing more narrow the further into the mountain I tread.
My breathing is quick and painful. Count to ten, then repeat… Vibrations, like a steady drum, pound below me in sync with my rapid heart rate. When suddenly, a bright light shines in the distance as if there’s a crack in the base of the mountain. I pause and hold my breath, listening. The sounds of carefully placed feet navigating the terrain ahead of me give me hope that I’m not alone and that I’m almost out of this. Following the sounds, I wander closer and closer to the light, my raw fingers grasping at the slick stone surrounding me and pulling me forward. The air that hits my face once I break free from the stone is so sweet and fresh—then very soon after it starts to sour like spoiled milk, and I wrinkle my nose. A flash of green catches my eyes and I can feel my jaw drop and knees grow weak. Wobbling, I crash into the wet stone beneath my feet.
“What the hell…?”