Willows in the Distance

March 14, 2019


Marty Bowser and Mandy Bowser were both wishing that they had just stayed at home this morning instead of joining the group of their friends for this road trip. They had already been cooped up within the Mini Cooper for six hours and still had eight hours remaining before they arrived at the tourist destination. Ever since they both got into the car they both felt suspicious about what they were getting themselves into by agreeing to go with them. Ever since they left from their house they felt unsafe because of the awful driving that their friend was doing. They had tried getting ahold of their parents by both text messages and calling but had no luck because they were in an area without cell service. At the exact same time, they turned towards each other and said, “we should have just stayed at home with mom and dad.” Little do they know that making the decision to stay at home would have been the best for them.

The sun was setting of the treelines that covered their view as they continue their long drive down the interstate. This had been the longest day that Marty and Mandy had experienced, they had been on the road nonstop for eleven hours already and still had three left to go. The leather seats that seemed really comfortable when they first sat on them now felt like cement bricks because of how far they have sunk into them. The nice cool breeze that was once blowing out of the vents in the car was now causing their hairs to stand. And the pleasant smelling air freshener was now causing Marty to have a pounding migraine. All of these things were minor problems compared to what they would face in the near future.

2:36 am… the time that the car that Marty, Mandy, and their friends were in arrived in the tourist sign in parking lot. That location was Willow Hills national park along the coast in California. The park was the biggest wild forest in the world, there was 70% of it that hasn’t ever been contained by the parks crew. No trails, rest stations, or water fountains for hundreds of acres of forest. Who knows what lies within those untraveled areas, the world may never know.

The group swung open the doors and rushed outside of the Mini Cooper to stretch out their legs since they had been stuck in the car for fourteen hours. Their first breath of fresh air seemed like heaven to them, but then the second swept into their lungs with a horrific feeling. Soon the group was coughing and gagging because of the horrid smell that they kept inhaling. No one was quite sure what the smell was that they were smelling, but they all agreed that they had smelled it somewhere before. As time passed the smell gotten worse and worse with every inhale that each person took.

Marty took lead and told the group to begin their week long expedition hike. He went up to the car and grabbed his travel pack and the others followed him like little ducklings. As soon as they made it to the edge of the woods by the mouth of the trail everyone stopped on an instant. They were all afraid to go in, but none of them wanted to say it because they felt like they would get made fun of. After standing stationary minutes that felt like hours, Mandy broke the silence and said, “well what are we doing standing here? Let’s get this show on the road.” They all began taking small slow motion steps into the forest. Within thirty minutes the group had only taken twelve steps under the canopy of the trees that towered over them.

Hours had passed and they were deep in the forest without a map and continued following the main trail. Not a minute passed without a noise happening that startled the group and caused them to stop right in their footsteps. Each noise was a different one every time, they ranged from rattlesnake hisses to large thud noises that sounded as if they were right behind them. The combination of these noises was causing the group to feel unsafe and that they were being watched.

All of a sudden they got to a dead end on the trail they were following. Marty and Mandy asked the group what they should do now. They all decided that Marty and Mandy would stay at the spot and the rest would go back to the car to get the rest of their supplies. Along their way to the car, they dropped seeds from their bag so that they were able to find their way back to Marty and Mandy. Both of them were afraid to stay back without the rest of the group, but they knew they were the only brave ones and that no one else would have. That was the worst choice that the two of them could ever make, little did they know what was about to happen to them.

The sun was setting through the trees on the forest. There was still no sign of the rest of the group. Marty and Mandy began feeling like they weren’t ever going to come back. They waited to see if they would ever come back to travel the rest of the hike with them. The midnight darkness filled the forest; there was only one light source within the forest, the fire that Mandy and Marty were using for heat as they slept. Without the warmth from the fire the two of them probably wouldn’t have survived through the night because of the strong winds blowing through the trees from the ocean.

CRACK! Marty was startled and rose up from the ground when he heard the sound of a branch crack extremely near them. Mandy was awakened by the rustle Marty was making trying to figure out where the sound came from. The two of them stand back to back and shiver in fear because they couldn’t see two inches in front of their face because the fire had gone out. Mandy scrambled for the gasoline can and the pocket lighter in her travel pack to reignite the fire so that they could see again. After finding the lighter and the gasoline she got the flame sparked up over a pile of twigs and unneeded newspapers, the papers they read while on their way to California. As soon as they looked at the fire they saw the silhouette of a face and then poof the flame was blown out from a short lasting breeze. The pair tried everything they could possibly, imagine to get the fire started again, but nothing worked.

The two began to get scared because they kept hearing laughs and footsteps for the area where the trail ended. The promise to stay in that exact spot may have to be broken soon because they felt that their lives may be in danger without any source of light and all of the noises they were hearing. The noises kept getting more frequent and louder as time progressed, it got to the point where they had to cover their ears because of how loud it was. And then within an instant, all of the noises stopped and the fire reignited without either of them doing anything to it. Now they were both screaming for help at the top of their lungs, but they were so deep in the forest that no one would ever be able to hear them. They were still trying to scream for help but not a single noise was coming out of their mouths, and they began feeling weightless. Marty looks down at his feet to make sure that his body was still intact and in one piece and the first thing he realized was that his feet were nowhere near the ground and neither were Mandy’s. Very slowly their bodies began disappearing from the feet up until they were no longer existing. That was the last time that Marty and Mandy had been seen.

The part of the group that returned to the car to get more supplies was finally leaving the car to return to Marty and Mandy. When the arrived at the beginning of the trial they realized the seeds were laying along the trial didn’t match the seeds that they dropped on the back. That made them all a little suspicious, but they didn’t think much of it and continued following the seeds. When they got to the end of the seed line they began hearing voices that sounded identical to Marty’s and Mandy’s, but they had no sight of the two of them. The voices weren’t speaking English, it sounded as if they were mumbling something back and forth to each other. So the group took off running back to the car because they didn’t want to have any part in what they were witnessing.

To this day Marty and Mandy Bowser still haven’t been seen, but they are always heard when hikers go to the point at which they disappeared.

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