Wrong way | The Ink Well Prompt

"Not all trips end well", that's something they told me when I was little and I never paid attention to it... Now I remember it and I will never be able to give the reason to that man in the store, since this adventure was more expensive than I thought, than any of us would have thought. My legs tremble, they can't walk anymore and I don't blame them; they did more than I thought possible for a normal person... Thirst and hunger don't let me think clearly anymore, my body weighs me down to the point that nothing matters anymore and any place would be good to lie down and die so I can rest like the others. Listening to the movements of those damn men, they found me again, I think this is it for me... Now is when I ask myself how did we end up this way?

It all started with the plan to make our last trip before we all split up, as we would soon be starting college and more than one would be leaving town, others would be leaving the state and Martin had opted to become an army officer. None of us said it out loud but we all knew that this might be the last week we would all be together, so we decided to go on one last adventure, one last memory before our lives changed; now that I think about it I feel it would have been better to have listened to him and Ronny and Diana and stayed at the festival instead of going further afield. On our second day of travel, we were told that off the beaten path, there was a town that would light a cross at this time of year. The cross of All Saints they called it, that those who left a candle at its base could make a wish that could be fulfilled if we complied with the rites they asked for... At that moment it seemed a good idea to pay attention to the old man with a beard and a look lost in time who told us how it was and his wish was fulfilled.

"The candles are an offering to the ancient lords of these mountains and if you comply with their rites, your greatest wish will come true" he told us, with that he had already convinced us all "I only advise you that when you get to the next intersection, take the new road, it is longer but... It is more recommendable for you".

At that time we didn't understand why he gave us that recommendation, but with map in hand we bought everything we needed and started our journey in the cars. When we arrived at the intersection we could see the source of the two roads, but the new road had a huge log blocking the road. Our innate leader, Dario, was in adventurous mode and opted for us to take the old road, as it was shorter and although there was no place to sleep at night we could camp next to the road... That decision would condemn us to a fatal destiny which we still did not know. After several hours on the road it began to get dark, and we decided to camp in a small clearing in the middle of the road to be able to rest and as soon as the sun came up we would continue on our way to reach our destination before the next sunset. The tents were set up, the rum did not run out and the food was heated by an improvised fire... Nobody noticed how quiet the night was, quieter than usual. No one noticed the shadows moving among the trees or the branches breaking at the passing of unknown beings. How sorry I was that I had agreed to get into that car that Monday morning.

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Image from Pixabay

"I'm not going to study anymore" Luis began to speak "Dariana is pregnant and we need to start producing money. My uncle gave me space in his workshop to start next week" poor Luis, he thought his family life would start soon, if only he had known....

"It's the best for you" Yanella interjected "I don't want to leave but here is not the career I want and that's my real..." I stopped listening to her at that moment, my priority was another one really.

Hanna, that girl with golden eyes and cinnamon skin that since first grade stole my breath, would be going to the same university as me soon and I was more than determined that she would finally notice me. And at this moment, with rum in my head and her body next to mine warming up in front of the fire, I thought it was the best time for a loving declaration before reason returned to my brain. I was just focusing on her and how her legs were wrapped around mine, how her shoes were mistaken for mine and in the background a Mark walking towards the campfire with a happy face with a bag of English sausages. It was all perfect.... Until a wooden spear pierced Luis' chest and between screams and screams the sausages fell to the ground and our life was transformed into a complete horror story.

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Image from Unplash

Before I knew it, men in old cloth suits and rudimentary weapons were running around us skewering and slitting the throats of men and women alike. Dario pulled out his regulation pistol and started shooting at everything in sight, Marcos used his kitchen knife to pierce the chest of the man he had tackled in revenge for Luis, Juan was turned into a human target and several arrows pierced his chest before I knew what was happening. I only thought of running, of fleeing with Hanna to a safer place. For a moment I thought we would manage to escape, until a spear in the back of the woman I loved and the memory of how far we were from the nearest town ended my hope. She looked at me, knowing she was doomed but at the same time hoping she could do something... I could only run in the opposite direction thinking that I wished life had been a little less cruel to this group of young people with longings and dreams ended by mountain men intoxicated by ancient legends.

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The original photo belongs to the friend Jose Medina

The sounds became more distant. At some point I stopped hearing the shots of Dario's gun and the screams of my friends who by now must have been sobbing bodies on the ground or prisoners for some pagan ritual long forgotten by civilization. On my way I found Diana's corpse, with a spear in her stomach and a sad face that only reflected the terror that must have been tattooed on my face as well; one of her shoes must have been lost in her fall and watching her was when I went into a trance mode where I lasted running for hours as if I knew where to go, going through bushes and running away from every sound foreign to me. It was here that I came to my senses and realized that I could not keep running anymore, that my legs could not take any more and that my soul was just asking for rest. Just when I heard the screams of those terrible men, I observed in the distance a cross illuminated by spotlights and a town as close but at the same time as far away as the sun. At that moment I remembered the reason for this last trip and before anything else happened, I looked at the cross, thought of my friends and closed my eyes wishing that we had not listened to that old man with his legend of wishes fulfilled and wax candles.

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