By Virginia Riley
PRESCOTT, AZ-The horror story contest has come to an end. With the closing of the contest the winner has been announced as Kalani Prince. For those that could not make it to the reading on October 31st here is the winning story.
A typical day for Natalie consisted of waking up around 9 a.m., working until 4 and going on a hike afterwards. To her, it was never that exciting. This one crisp October night changed it all.
Her boss was in a particularly bad mood tonight. He decided to take it out on Natalie by making her stay and work late. Although she didn’t make it home until 7 that night, something inside of her urged her to go on Natalie’s routine hike on the Cedar Forest path. There was an odd feeling in the air, but she just blew it off as nothing.
Her Nike’s crushed the orange leaves along the path. It felt like she was in a movie. Little forest animals creeping around didn’t faze her, but the large gusts of cold wind did. The reason she took a hike here every day was to relieve her stress, and it wasn’t working for Natalie on this evening. Just in the distance, she could spy the end of the trail. She felt a weight lift off of her shoulders. Traveling towards the place she parked her car, she realizes that she can’t find it in her regular parking spot. Being the sophisticated women she is, Natalie thought the best idea would be to walk to the nearest gas station. Of course, her phone didn’t have any service in the woods, so she decided to hurry.
She calculated that the gas station was about 2 miles away. Although she was tired and hungry, it was her only choice. Halfway to Natalie’s destination, things started to get strange. Not like the guys wearing short-short kind of strange, but a scary and creepy kind. She swore that there was someone walking behind her, and that she could even feel their warm breath make the hair on the back of her neck stand up. When Natalie turned around, all that was there was pure darkness.
Seeing the Shell gas station up ahead made her ecstatic. Running to it was the only option in her mind. Sadly, it was completely vacant. She almost forgot to call the police, so she did immediately. Since it was already midnight and the men in blue suits had nothing else to do, they said they would be there in a matter of minutes. Minutes seemed like hours to Natalie. For an empty lot, it sure made a lot of scary noises.
As soon as the police got there, the interrogation and unnecessary questions began. Natalie tried to answer them to the best of her ability, but she honestly didn’t know half of the answers that they wanted. She couldn’t think of anyone that would want to do something like this to her. Really, she didn’t know many people or have many friends, besides some from work.
After all the questions and confusion, they said they were done. She didn’t understand what “done” really meant, but she was tired of questions. Tired of being scared, tired of being there, and just plain tired. The rather corpulent officer, munching on a chocolate sprinkled donut, offered her a ride home. Before she could give a direct answer, Toby drove up. It was a little odd to see her co-worker just randomly show up, but at the time, she didn’t really think about it. Still shaken up from the previous events, she went over and talked to him. As soon as he asked why she was there, Natalie told about all the crazy events going on during the night. Toby, being the genuinely nice guy he is to her, offered a ride home. She felt more comfortable being with a friend than a cop, so the invitation was accepted. Off they went, and her night was, finally, about to be over. Or so she thought.
The police officers were on their way back to the station. Little did Natalie know, questioning people wasn’t anyone’s favorite thing to do. Alongside the road was a car, matching perfectly to her description. Surprised that it was just sitting there, they quickly went to investigate. The doors were locked, so the men decided to search around it first. Just slightly underneath the driver side of the car laid a black wallet. It was obvious it didn’t belong to a woman. They gently opened it, and what was inside really frightened them. There were many, many pictures, all of the same person. That person was Natalie. Determined to find out who it was, they searched for a card of identification. It just so happened to be Toby White, the man who took Natalie home.
Although everyone was eager for this all to be over, it had only just begun.