Maggie woke up on the ground, cold, wet, and groggy. She stood up in the middle of a dark wooded area, surrounded by nothing but trees and blackness. The dark was so thick, it was like a living presence around her. She fought hard against the blackness trying to penetrate her conscious.
Suddenly, she felt the hairs on the back of her neck stand up. She had a sensation that someone was reaching out to touch her, through the thick, black air. Startled, she jumped up and started running. She had no idea where she was, or how she had gotten so deep into the woods. All she knew was that she had to find Alice, and find her way back to the maze.
The night had started innocently enough for Maggie. She and her best friend Alice had gone to the haunted corn maze, just like the year before, expecting to be startled and surprised by people jumping out at them around corners, and chasing them through the maze’s winding trails. This year’s theme was Night of the Zombies as one by one, the volunteers turned from regular people into the undead, and chased the laughing and shrieking customers through the tall corn.
It had been unseasonably warm for October, but as a rain storm began to blow in, the temperature dropped quickly. Maggie had given her pink hoodie to Alice, since Alice was in short-sleeves, but the wind had picked up and the air turned colder and colder, and Maggie wished for it back. Holding onto Alice’s hand, they ran through the maze’s trails. The maze turned every which way, seemingly going in circles like a never ending loop. The rain falling in heavy sheets left people scrambling for exits. Maggie and Alice tried to follow them, but each time they turned a corner, they seemed to be alone. The maze seemed to be closing in on her.
Suddenly, Maggie felt Alice’s hand drop away from her own, but when she turned around, her friend had just vanished. She felt dizzy and had a strange, tingling sensation in her hand. Maggie’s eyes frantically searched for her friend, but the rain came harder, and the maze’s walls seemed to be closing in. She saw eyes peering from behind the stalks of corn and there was a loud roaring in her ears, that seemed to come from inside her own head. Maggie shook her head, trying to expel the deafening roar, and ran her fingers through her hair. That’s when she noticed her hand was bleeding. Somone, or something, had bitten her! Dizzy, terrified, Maggie tried to call out to Alice, but her mouth was so dry. She couldn’t make the words come, like silent screaming in a dream. Then, all went black.
That is all Maggie remembered as she continued running aimlessly through the darkeness, her mind trying to make sense of it all like a jigsaw puzzle missing half of the pieces. She heard footsteps following her, matching her pace, but when she looked back, it was too dark to see. The darkness was enveloping her as she ran, swallowing up the trees around her. She continued to run, tripping, disoriented, unable to distinguish left from right.
Suddenly, the forest opened up into a clearing, and the moon illuminated the ground. She spun around, frantically trying to see who was following her. A figure approached, slowing down, breathing heavily. Maggie, too tired and scared to run back into the darkness, waited as the figure approached. The silhouetted figure grew closer and Maggie recognized the pink hue. It was her sweatshirt, the one she had given Alice earlier. She cried out for Alice and began to run faster toward her, salty tears streaking down her face. She ignored all questions racing through her mind as she was now less than 10 feet away from Alice.
“Alice, we have to go, someone is out there,” Maggie said as she embraced her friend. Relief flooded over her, but that relief quickly turned to searing pain in her neck. She pulled away from Alice, and stared straight into Alice’s dead, sunken black eyes. Alice stared right back at her, but it was as if she was looking right through Maggie, no recognition. Alice’s mouth was filled with Maggie’s blood. Maggie put her hand to the hole in her neck. She tried to stop the blood from pouring down her neck, as she stumbled backwards, falling to the ground. Alice moved toward her, slowly. Her eyes, fixed, Maggie’s blood trickling down her chin, covering her hoodie in red streaks. Maggie knew that Alice was dead. Unable to move, the blood draining from the hole in her neck, Maggie let out a final, gurgling plea, “Alice, please! No.” Alice knelt over her, grotesque and soulless, teeth bared like fangs, and Maggie finally succumbed to the black night.