I was taking a late night stroll when I heard the faint sound of crying. I jogged down the empty road, straining my ears for any hint of a voice, until I arrived at a trail of tire marks veering off into the nearby woods. I followed them with baited breath. The sobbing grew louder. 

“Hello?” I called out. “Are you okay?”

My blood turned cold when an unseen woman began to loudly wail. I ran towards her cries, tripping over roots in the darkness, until I stumbled upon a car that'd crashed into a tree. I peered inside its crumpled body and saw the mangled display of what had once been a man, his dead hands still gripping the wheel. In the passenger's seat sat a weeping woman, her hair matted to her forehead with blood.

“Help me,” she pleaded weakly. “I'm stuck.”

“I don't think I should move you, ma'am.” I pulled my phone out of my pocket, only for my heart to sink when I realized the battery was drained. I reached over and squeezed her hand reassuringly, trying to disguise my panic. “Listen, I need to head back to the road and call the police. You're gonna be just fine until I return, okay?”

She gripped my arm tightly.

“Don't leave,” she begged.

“I have to,” I replied gently. “I'll be right back.”

In a flash she grabbed me by the hair, whipped a gun out of the glove box, and pressed it against my temple.

“Take me to your car now,” she hissed.

“I walked here.” The words felt heavy on my tongue. Confusion and shock pulsed through me. “Why are you doing this?”

“No cops. The car's owner is in the trunk.”

I swallowed. “You need a hospital. You won't make it far.”

“I'll be fine. He got the worst of it.” She paused. “You seem like a nice girl. But without a ride, you're a loose end—“

I cut her off with a headbutt. She released me and I started to run, but fell to the ground when a bullet grazed my shoulder. I dragged myself through the dirt as she limped towards me, her bloodied face burning with rage.

She raised the pistol and I jammed a fallen tree branch into her thigh as hard as I could. She screamed as its splintered edge pierced through her skin. She dropped the gun and I scrambled for it before flinging it deep into the darkness.

The woman slumped against a tree. Blood gushed down her leg as she tried to pull out the branch before collapsing from the pain.

“Someone else will find me,” she said anemically. “As soon as I get out of these woods, I'm hunting you down. You're already dead.”

I rose gingerly and headed towards the road, eventually shuffling past a large sign emblazoned with a bold message.

Warning: Bear Activity is High. Hike at Your Own Risk.

I heard a distant growl. The woman began to scream.

Written by CertainShadows
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