The forest. The mysterious place. Where no one comes out alive. Because once you go in there, there’s no way out. You’re just trapped with the stench of the rain and the dead bodies from the night before. But, you want to go in. You tell yourself no, no! You can’t resist. You know it’s dangerous, because of the beast that lives there. But it’s luring you in, like a worm on a hook. “Come here, it’s beautiful” it says. And you’re fighting the force.
Daddy told you never to go in there, but he didn’t help the urge by going himself. I ponder where he went that night. He kissed me goodnight and left my room like nothing was wrong. I can remember it like it was yesterday.
Sitting on the edge of my world, I overlook the entire city from my backyard. Or my father’s backyard. This is the furthest out I have ventured since dad disappeared. Mainly because I’m afraid to go anywhere else. And it’s nice up here; being able to see anything and everything.
My bare, pale feet dangle off the balcony that once belonged to my father’s room. Now that he’s gone, this is no longer his room, and therefore no longer his balcony. As I sit there swinging my feet back and forth, a chilling breeze runs over my legs and feet, just enough to give me goose bumps. It’s a calm life without Dad around, but I do miss him. Sometimes I wonder if it was an act of suicide. He could be dead for all I know, I just hope he isn’t.
The forest is so provocative sometimes. Her leafy lingerie, whispering “Come here. You know you want to.” And yes, I do want to, but there’s a beast in there, that may or may not have taken my father’s life, and I would not mess with any beast like that.
The occasional bluebird sings it’s little song from the forest, but all in all it seems frightening. Truly, I don’t think I could guess about what kinds of creatures and plants are in there. Things that could probably devour me alive.
The edge of the forest is a very beautiful place. So green and luscious with vines and statuesque trees. And the forest goes as far as the eyes can see. So thick, almost no one has made it through. For some odd reason, I have the urge to follow my dad’s footprints through the forest. But you and I both know I couldn’t make it too far.
As I sit there on the balcony, swinging my legs, my thoughts start to go off track. Not that they were on any track at all, but they seem to get distracted. But it’s hard to focus at all when there’s no making you stay that way.
As my mind wanders off, I find myself into the kitchen of my little shotgun shack to make lunch. I never used to eat anything during the day, but I realized I have to look out for myself. The kitchen counter is scattered with various types of fruit, as well as a loaf of white bread and a jar of jam. I open the bag of bread and take two slices and put them into the toaster, still with some drowsiness in my eyes. I wait until the timer dings and carefully take the toast out and plop them down onto the paper plate. Classy; I know. I spread the jam on, still feeling the heaviness of my eyelids.
The outdoors is sticky and hot with last night’s lingering rain smell. The sounds of the forest are scary, but there are some beautiful sounds in the midst of the chaos. The edge of the forest seems beautiful, but I will not be fooled. The deeper you go, the worse it gets. The most vicious beasts live on the inside.
“Why can’t I go in?” I say with a sigh as if someone will hear me and care. I want to find my father. I want to hear his voice again. I know where he is, it just scares me to think about him not being there anymore.
After that scary train of thought, I decide to take a shower, because I probably smell like a mixture of the rainforest and other shit. The water coming out of the showerhead is cold, but at this point I’m used to it. The cold water on my skin creates a strange shiver reaction up my spine.
“Today’s the day.” I say as if I’m rebelling against someone telling me not to. I look myself in the mirror with a strange new confident vibe. I think about what could be in there. Beasts I could never defeat. But Dad used to always say “You never know what’s out there until you go.” I keep those words in my mind as I pack up as much as I can in my backpack.
I go through my checklist one more time. Cash, medicine for anything imaginable, clothes, soap, toilet paper, notebook, pencil, knife, and multiple disposable cameras. Oh, and snacks, and many plastic bags, for whatever I want to preserve. And one more thing, maybe two. A sleeping bag, first aid kit, and extra provisions.
I start out the door, knowing this could be the last time I walk out of my little shotgun shack. But I remind myself that I’m doing this for Dad. I take a sip from my water bottle and quietly say, “Here I come Dad. Don’t you worry your little head anymore. Your little girl is coming for ya.”
I feel so badass. Going to look for my father in the middle of the most dangerous forest on the planet. Of course on the other hand, my head is going crazy with my last possible words. “I love you, Dad.” I say like he is standing right in front of me. He always seemed like he was there for me, even when I knew his mind was somewhere else. He managed to keep everything running, even though he was a single father. That’s why I’m doing this. To save my savior. Because he’s done so much for me.
The roads are dusty and scattered with trash. I decide to take the roads for as far as I can, then go into the forest. Surprisingly, it’s not as frightening as I suspected. The edge of the forest is beautiful, in fact. The roars of the creatures echo off of the forest floor. This amplifies the sound about one hundred percent, creating an earsplitting racket.