#193 – You are hiking through the forest, when you come upon a tree with a hug hold in its side. It is the entrance to an underground passage. You go inside.

No Idea why I’m feeling like digging through this. It might be because I want to write, but I’m a little scared of my poor neglected Adette. More on that later.

 

Bright sunlight still filtered through the large oval shaped hole behind me. Before me, there was an endless bark lined, almost – dark. The inside of the tree wasn’t cold or hot but somewhere in between. It wasn’t frightening. It wasn’t damp. It simply smelled pleasantly earthy.

With one last look over my shoulder I stepped forward into the velvety darkness. After a few steps, I turned around only to discover that the opening was gone.

Darkness closed in around me. Rich blackness wrapped around me. I blinked but couldn’t see any difference between my closed eyes and the corridor.

After several long moments of blinking like an idiot, I began to see a faint light in the distance. With nothing else to guide me, I moved toward the faint light. At first it didn’t seem like I was getting any close, and then, I’d blink and seem twice as close as before.

Well before I thought I’d reach the passage, I found myself at an entrance a similar shape to the one in the side of the tree. It’s gently pointed oval tip sloped down and around a framed picture of the woods I’d only just left behind.

Hesitantly, I stepped over the familiar threshold into the very same woods I’d just left. My pack was still resting beside the thick base of the tree exactly where I’d placed it. I reached down and retrieved it from the leafy ground and hefted it over my shoulder. Leaves crunched beneath my boots as I stepped a bit farther back from the opening.

I thought it’d disappear but it stayed, gaping silently, in the side of the tree. Birds chirped and crickets whirred in the shrubs encroaching on the trees. With a shake of my head, I turned my back on the hole and trekked back the way I’d come.

Sunlight filtered through the burning fall leaves above sheltering me in a shimmering light. The air was scented with leaves just beginning to decay. Something was nagging at the edge of my mind. I couldn’t put my finger on what it was, so I continued my trudge back toward where I’d left my car.

Long after I thought I’d reach my car, I stopped to look around me. That’s when it occurred to me. The only sounds I heard were bird and bugs. There was no distance sound of the nearby road.

“You’ve got to be kidding me,” I said to the woods around me, “I can’t be lost. The parking lot was easy to find. There was a path and everything. Wait.” I paused and squinted into the dying light. There’d been a giant oak tree. I scanned the horizon and chuckled when I made out the huge canopy I’d recognized earlier.

Maybe it was because I’d almost become lost, but I found myself picking up the pace. Just before the clearing I came upon a thickly woven set of bushes. Instead of going around, I pushed my way through. Branches snapped in my face. One raised a long welt across my cheek. My foot snagged and I went tumbling the final way through and into the clearing.

The oak tree towered over me and the clearing, but where there’d been a small, flat, lined expanse of asphalt was nothing but bare earth covered loosely with leaves.

“Where the heck is my car?”

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