It was dark. I had made the conscious decision to open my eyes, but it didn’t make any difference. The darkness that surrounded me was worse than anything, everything. With my sight stolen, my mind started to race, and questions flooded my head. Where was I? How had I got here? Is there a way out?

It suddenly dawned on me that I was in a lying position. Not only that, but I was in a tight space. I attempted to stand – I could barely move my knees an inch. I mustered up the strength to lift my right hand above me and with a simple action came a terrible and horrific realisation; I was in a coffin. Sweat poured profusely, my teeth rattled, and I was suddenly aware of the temperature. The heat. It was overwhelming and quickly a throbbing developed in the back of my head and whilst the darkness remained all my other senses were immediately robbed.

Of course, it would be unfair if I didn’t tell you the full story; I’m sure you are curious to find out how I ended up in this living nightmare. It all started very innocently, work was beginning to get the best of me, and I had decided to take a week’s vacation.

With the world as my oyster, I began doing my research into the many forests across the country aiming to pick out the most unique one. I came across parks that sprawled for miles, boasted of the most diverse wildlife and even found one that had a maze that according to the website ‘no-one had ever conquered’. “Average,” I thought to myself; I needed one which was different. Needless to say, in the days that followed, I stumbled across a Reddit page that described a forest park located in North Dakota. The glaring red sign caught my attention. I clicked on the website for the park. ‘Clones Forest Park, arrive never return.’

In all honesty, I was intrigued by both the name and the simple yet blunt description of the park. I scrolled down to the bottom of the web page and was greeted by three images of the forest park. The were grainy which surprised me – not a very good way to attract the public. The images displayed an overgrown forest with a small trail that seemed to run straight through the middle. Whilst it didn’t look too different from your average national park, the secrecy and the unknown factor of the whole thing played a major part in encouraging me to pack my bags and set off for North Dakota.

Driving from Ohio to North Dakota was quite the commitment and throughout the journey I questioned myself as to if this was really worth it. After what seemed a lifetime, I finally arrived in the town of Alexander which was the nearest town to the forest. I pulled into the first grocery store I saw in order to buy supplies. When I walked in, I was struck by people around me moving at a slow pace – like robots in need of a battery charge. What shocked me the most however, was the way they looked at me. It was as if everybody in that store realised that I wasn’t from this neck of the woods and they were angry about it. This spurred me on to purchase my items and return to my car as quickly as possible.

I drove for another hour before reaching the entrance to ‘Clones Forest Park’. The drive was peaceful, and I hadn’t witnessed another form of life since the grocery store ordeal. I was curious as to what this forest park had in store and my curiosity only increased when I drove through the front gates to see the road end abruptly only to be replaced by a thick tree line. I noticed a small gap between the trees and a signpost which read: ‘The End Begins’, followed by an arrow which pointed towards a small trail. The forest looked reasonably normal and the only strange things were the sign and the fact that there was no other sign of life besides myself. Myself.

I gathered my supplies, began down the trail and immediately became aware of both a temperature and lighting change. I noticed it had become undoubtedly colder and darker since entering the forest but put it down to huge trees that flanked me and the fact that it was coming into the winter months. I continued down the trail, picking up pace. I really had no clue where it led, and was prepared to camp overnight but due to the surroundings. I thought that if it came to that, there wouldn’t be much room to set up base.

It was getting late, and at around 7pm the sun had gone down and complete darkness fell upon Clones Forest Park. I decided to slow down and began thinking about turning back because honestly, I just didn’t see this forest park getting anymore interesting. The setting was identical to what it had been when I entered and there was no sign of the trail coming to an end.

That’s when I heard it. The loud scraping disrupted the eerie silence that I had become accustomed to. I stood still and listened intensely. Every five seconds a loud scraping sound pierced the air. I was slow to turn around but when I did, I wish I hadn’t. About 50 yards down the path stood a figure. They too were still and focused straight ahead. I sharply turned around and started walking at a quicker pace further up the trail. I was nervous of this person but that wasn’t what filled me with fear. No, it wasn’t the fact that suddenly a person had appeared out of nowhere – what gripped me was the fact that I recognised him.

‘It isn’t real.’

My mind kept playing this sentence over and over like a broken tape recorder. My thoughts were quickly dispersed as I was forced back into reality by the rapid scraping of feet along the path directly behind me.

I turned back once more and saw a young man of medium build looking right back at me. I tried to rationalise what I saw once more but there was no chance in fooling anyone because what stood there inches away from me was: myself. It was me. But not a mirror image like we are used to seeing. This was a living, breathing carbon copy of me. The only difference was the look in its eyes. It was evil. I knew its intentions immediately, no words exchanged – nothing. There could only be one of me – right? I soon found out the answer to that question.

The way he approached me brought my grocery store experience rushing back to me. He moved and acted just like them. They were all–

That’s when he struck. I don’t even remember what he used. I’ve just opened my eyes for the first time and have been greeted with a darkness I’ve never experienced. It’s warm. Too warm.

A thought just crossed my mind. I’m never going to return. They were right – arrive never return.

Oh and last thing. That’s not me.

Written by Thejg123
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