Stay on the Beaten Path

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Several days ago, I came into possession of a camera, small enough to fit snugly in the palm of my hand, I found while exploring the forest our town shares with Cornwall. The contents are endlessly disturbing and have been the source of my nightmares since, so I warn you to turn back now if you wish to save yourself from a similar fate.

No? Well, at least my conscience is clear.

I have managed to stitch together a story from the videos I found on the camera in the hopes that it will provide a greater understanding of the horrors it has bestowed upon me.


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ACT ONE

The camera clicked on and focused on a young man seemingly in his mid-twenties whom I now know to be Corden.

"Alright so. I left Cornwall earlier this morning and have reached the edge of the forest it shares with my destination. It's a rather long hike, so I'm all prepared to camp." The camera shook a little as he directed it over his shoulder, to the rucksack he donned. "If all goes well, I should be sipping a margarita by the docks sometime tomorrow afternoon."


ACT TWO

"What are you doing?" asked the little girl whom the camera was now pointed at. She was leaning lazily on the trunk of a tree and came off as rather puzzling to me. On my first watch I had no idea why a little girl would be out here on her own. But of course, this was no ordinary little girl.

Corden replied from the other side of the camera, "Oh, I like to record what I do, especially when I'm travelling. I'm going on holiday to the town on the other side of this forest. How come you're out here on your own?"

"Oh, alright.
"You know, if the next town is your goal, you might want to take the more beaten road. I would advise against going further into the forest, you know." I initially didn't make much of her ignoring Corden's question, but that was clue number one of what was to come. Corden evidently didn't think much of it either, for he too shrugged it off and went on.

"And why would that be?"

The girl's eyes adopted a far-off, widened look as she began to narrate. "Come nightfall, the forest will be drenched in a darkness like any other you've seen before, and the Vânător will start on its hunt. They say it stalks its victim to rattle their nerves before ripping off one limb at a time and feasting on the flesh in front of the screaming human."

The story chilled me, but Corden seemed unfazed. He chuckled, "And who might this "they" be?"

The look in her eyes suddenly snapped back to normal, replaced with a childlike innocence. "You know - people. Old folk. People who have been around long enough to know this stuff."

Corden laughed at her dismissively. "If everyone's dead, they wouldn't have any way of knowing this stuff, now would they? Doesn't matter how long they've been around."

The girl shrugged. "Okay, your funeral. But you've been warned."


ACT THREE

The camera was much shakier when it turned on this time. Corden was shivering and he seemed unable to speak much. The first two acts of this story had been filmed under sunlight, but its last whips had now seemingly given up on their effort to penetrate the dense tree covering, and the moon had swung up in the sun's place. A strong breeze billowed and Corden's clothes whipped around his body, hugging his frame tight.

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