The Dark Forest

This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places and incidents are the results of my imagination or have been used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual events or locales or persons, living or dead, is entirely coincidental.

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1. The Campsite

On the 23rd of January, 2009, I, Megha Deol, set off for a camping holiday to Vadkhal, Maharashtra from Mumbai, along with two of my friends Rose and Minisha. We wanted to celebrate Minisha’s 25th birthday, which was on the 24th of January, in a unique way. The man who rented us the campsite, was insolent. We didn’t like him but since we were hard pressed for time, we didn’t bother to consider the other available options.

We reached the forest where our campsite was located. While we were setting up our tent, we could sense some movement in the forest. It appeared as if some people were moving about with weapons. Dusk had set in, so nothing could be seen clearly. Suddenly, I realized that I had left one of my bags at the camp office. I decided to go back and get it while my friends set up our tent. By the time I returned, it was pitch dark. On reaching our tent, I realized that my friends were not there. Their bags were only half unpacked and a mysterious silence engulfed the place.

I was too scared to move. Eventually, I summoned the courage to venture out of the tent, with my torch. After walking for about 10-15 minutes, I stumbled upon something and fell down. The next moment, I realized that my friends were dead. They had been murdered and their bodies had been mutilated. Words can’t describe the multiplicity of emotions I experienced at that time. My best friends were dead. I stood there petrified.

After some time, may be half an hour, I felt a hand on my shoulders, which woke me up from my stupor. My heart skipped a beat but somehow I managed to turn around. It was my boyfriend. What was he doing there? I collapsed in his arms.

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