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After pounding through the biting wind and the heavy rain on my horse, I realized that I had no idea where I was. For many days, I was riding on solid roads, but those roads gradually turned into streaks of mud and rocks surrounded by hundreds of miles of wilderness. Towns turned into lone shacks, and lone shacks turned into untouched nature. It would almost be a blissful experience if it weren’t for the horrid weather.

My dear friend of years’ past was waiting patiently for my arrival, so I felt guilty after each second that I left them waiting. It didn’t help that I wasn’t the type of person to make these long-distance trips on nothing but a horse and some packed food. It certainly didn’t help that the forest was turning into a pond, and my horse had gone a donkey’s years’ old. The poor thing was exhausted, being only a single blink away from collapsing into an eternal sleep. We hoped for a miracle, and it seemed that we found one.

Through the devilish storm, I could vaguely spot some kind of solid structure. As we inched closer and closer to it, I began to make out what looked like a barn. A sigh of relief drenched my body, and we headed toward it as fast as we possibly could.

What would have usually been a one-minute trip felt like an eternity as my horse and I stumbled over dozens of stones to get there. The barn seemed to be abandoned, as there were no kinds of lighting or any signs of life. As I approached the entrance, I was hit by a rancid odor, but when a person has been traveling for as long as I had, they can move past something as minor as a smell.

The door took a bit of force to pull open, but I managed to do it. There were a few small holes in the ceiling, which both rain and moonlight poured in from. These faint rays of light gave me just enough vision to make out the silhouette of a person. The sight of it shook me a little, but my superstition subsided and I considered that they may have also sought shelter.

“Is this your barn? I’m terribly sorry for intruding, but with the storm, I’ve become lost,” I said. The rain almost became silent as I listened closely for some kind of response. None at all. My teeth began to chatter, and it wasn’t from the weather.

In a brief flash of lightning, my heart sank. In just that quick burst of light, the truth of what laid before me became apparent: the man wasn’t standing- he was hanging. In that moment, an overwhelming rush of dread pulled me back to the door of the barn. I tried desperately to open it, but it wouldn’t budge. I then swung myself as hard as I could to break the walls, but it was all to no avail. It became obvious that the seemingly ordinary barn was inescapable from the inside.

What followed was a long period of misery. I came to the realization that I would not only never see my friend, nor would I see another living being other than my starving horse. I contemplated butchering the horse and collecting rain water, but what was the point? I would only be delaying the inevitable. It wasn’t long before I found my own neck sitting in the loop of the noose. Days had passed by, but the storm did not.