Lost in the Woods Barefoot

by Lynn WL

Author's note: In the spirit of Halloween, here's a little spooky treat for ya!

*****

I'm a free spirit. Always have been. When I was a kid I often got in trouble for wandering away from whoever was looking after me, and taking my shoes off at every chance I got and running around barefoot.

One day when I was in 4th grade we went on a field trip to a botanical garden located in a beautiful area just outside the forest. It was about 5 pm when we left to go back to town. A few minutes after we started, our bus had engine trouble. We were still in a tourist area, so the driver pulled over to a parking lot where many tourist buses were parked and called for a replacement bus.

It was going to take a while for the replacement bus to arrive, so the teachers let the kids off the bus to play outside and enjoy the beautiful scenery, but they told us not to go too far from the bus, and to stay with the group. One of them even told me specifically with a stern voice, "You got that, Lynn? Don't wander off!"

"Ok, Miss Jones," I said with a smile, but this rebellious little girl had little regards for rules. There was a stairway that went down from the parking lot to a beautiful area with lots of trees and a small lake. Being a nature lover, I immediately had the urge to head down there. I knew I wasn't supposed to but I didn't care. So I waited till none of the teachers and my classmates were looking, and at the perfect moment I disappeared down the stairway.

I met some tourists who were walking back up to their buses, and many of them smiled and said hi to me. I was in my school uniform (a white short sleeve shirt, a brown plaid skirt, and a brown tie), so they knew I was a local student. One family struck up a conversation with me asking what school I was from, and how come I was by myself. I told them I was just going to check out the lake real quick. They all told me to be careful.

Finally I got down to the lake. The scenery was breathtaking. But there were not many people around anymore since it was getting later. My feet had been cooped up in shoes all day, and they longed to touch the ground. So I took off my shoes to let my bare feet taste a little freedom before heading back up. Ahh... it was heavenly!

I saw a dirt path leading towards the woods, and I decided to walk it. The feeling of my soles touching the dirt was indescribable. It was magical. But suddenly the dirt path disappeared and the ground was completely covered with grass. I just continued walking, not realizing that I had actually entered the forest.

I was marveling at the tall trees when I suddenly realized it was starting to get dark. I looked at my watch. Oh my god, it was past 6 o'clock. I had better head back. The replacement bus was probably there already, and I would get in trouble! But wait, which way should I go? I seemed to have gotten lost. I walked in all directions but couldn't find that dirt path again. I was overcome with fear.

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