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Author's note: Based on Lone Stones by a different author, adapted and written for my Contemporary Literature class. Original concept belongs to the author of the link above.

Forests have always been connected to stories of other worlds. The places farthest from human civilization, untouched by man, are centers for the paranormal. This story is one such occurrence.

One of my old friends, who had moved out to the countryside last year, gave me a call just a few weeks ago. He asked me if I wanted to go with him on a camping trip the next weekend, and catch up with him. He was going to bring a few of his other friends, and I decided that the trip would be a great chance to catch up and meet some new people. I told him, what the hell. I didn't have anything better to do.

The meeting place was Great Pines National Park. Despite the name, there was nothing "great" about Great Pines. The park was terribly rundown, with four cabins, one for each of us. Each was a little hovel, with no heat but a small fireplace, no electricity, and a dusty old mattresses laid out on the splinter-ridden floor.

The same night, my friend dragged us out into the middle of the woods to tell ghost stories. He's a cheesy kind of guy, who has to strand all of his friends out in the middle of the woods just to tell a damn story. We all followed him into the darkness anyway, with my friend leading the way.

Somewhere in the middle of the woods, things got inexplicably cold. It was the middle of a hot, muggy June night, but suddenly, you could have sworn it was January.

In the dark, I tripped over something and hit the freezing ground. When I got back up, I saw what I tripped over was a rock, sticking straight out of the ground. I remember thinking to myself just how out-of-place that rock was.

My friends helped me get dusted off, and fearing I could have gotten cut or infected, we all dragged ourselves back to our cabins, stayed up for just a few hours, and we all decided to go to sleep and get an early start in the morning.

That night, there was no light in the woods but the last embers from the fire I had set in the fireplace a few hours ago. Of course, I have no idea what time I woke up at. I was startled awake by a tapping at the window opposite of the bed. At the window, just outside, I saw my friend, tapping at the window with the very tips of his fingers. His lips were moving, but for the life of me, I couldn't hear him, though it was clear that he wanted me to go over and open the window. I almost did, too, but then I took a closer look at my friend in what little light was left in the fireplace. There was something wrong with him. His face was contorted and angry. His eyes reflected no light. They just looked like holes in his skull.

Fear compelled me to close my eyes as tightly as I could. The tapping on the window outside was the only noise in the cabin. I wanted to plug my ears, but I feared that any movement would cause a different reaction from whatever was outside.

After a few more minutes, the noise subsided. I didn't dare open my eyes, in case he moved from the window to my door, or the side of my bed.

After a while of silence and darkness, though, I drifted off to sleep. I woke up the next morning and almost had a heart attack, probably from delayed shock.

I told everybody about what happened the next morning, and everybody insisted that they all stayed in their cabins for the entire night, even my friend. None of them believed me, of course. They all thought it was part of the fun and games of our little camping trip. I packed all of my things and left before noon. I'll sure as hell never go back to that place again. Although, I did feel compelled to find out what happened.

After a long and utterly disturbing talk with my grandmother, who was a devout christian and a very well-read woman, I believe I have a good understanding of what happened.

Out in the deepest parts of any large forest, there are stones where nothing grows around them. Grass stays short, birds don't fly over, and the sun never shines. Even the trees seem to bend away, and the air is always as cold as ice. These stones are called Lone Stones. Lone Stones are famous for being portals to Hell. I am quite positive that my tripping over the Stone on that night caused some kind of disturbance.

My grandmother then blessed me with several prayers, none of which were completely in English, and told me rather hastily to go back home. She told me not to come back to her house for a while. I am rather nervous for the nights to come.