Best (Worst) Day of My Life
By: Christina Mink
Freya and her best friend Tish were thrilled that their parents allowed them to camp out in the woods behind their neighborhood. They never expected the night to turn out the way it did.
“Be back by Wednesday by 6:00, or you’ll be dead!” Tish’s mom shouted.
It was Freya’s first time camping with Tish, who was an expert from what he learned in Boy Scouts. She could finally stop stressing over finals and simply relax for once.
But relaxation would need to wait for a few hours since the tent she was trying to prop up suddenly collapsed on her. Freya let out a piercing scream as Tish howled with laughter. She somehow got tangled in the gray cloth of the tent. Through all the chaos, neither of them noticed the looming shadow over them and a strange lady spying on them through the bushes.
“Only a matter of time,” the stranger murmured.
Tish stopped being stupid and finally helped Freya out of the mess. He put a finger to his mouth.
“Hush, do you hear that?”
“Hmm? Nothing.” Freya replied.
“Hey, are you trying to scare me? It’s not funny, you know.” Freya said.
Just as the words left her mouth, a squirrel jumped out of the clearing.
“Ahhh, so that's what I heard,” Tish said pointing to the squirrel, “Silly me, there are no predators in this forest.”
Freya rolled her eyes and playfully smacked him. Tish was very serious with his musical studies, which was why his hearing was nearly impeccable.
They eventually set up the tent. Tish insisted that they should wait to unpack the food and supplies for later.
“In case we have to change positions,” he said, regarding why he kept the supplies in the bag. Freya didn’t question him further.
Night was approaching. They sat around a lantern and told stories. Tish told stories about monsters who lured children in the forest to eventually eat them. Freya yawned,
“Haha, that’s enough. I’m going to sleep now.”
She closed her eyes. Today was the best day of her life. She drifted away, content in the moment.
CRACK! She startled awake and saw that Tish was moving around in the darkness
“Geez, so loud,” she exclaimed.
“Hehe, sorry. It’s difficult to sleep in the middle of the woods. Don’t worry about me.”
She thought she saw a figure in the darkness. She rubbed her eyes and spotted the outline of a monster looking figure.
“Tish, run!” she screamed. They both bolted away as fast as they could. They kept running and running until they could barely feel their legs.
“Tish, do you know where you’re going?”
Tish didn’t say anything. He just stared straight ahead. Freya heard a faint whispering in the distance that sounded like a croaky old woman.
“Give her to me…or he gets it,” the voice said.
Tish grabbed Freya’s arm. He stood unmoving.
“Come on Tish. We need to move,” she whispered. She pulled on his arm, but he was frozen to the spot and as she tried to pull him away, his grip on Freya got even tighter. The shadow got closer and closer until she could finally make out what it was. It was a witch. She had wrinkly skin and sunken eyes. She was slouched over a cane and holding a book in her gnarled hand. The witch grabbed Freya and started dragging her away.
“Tish, help!” she screamed.
“I’m sorry. She was holding my father for ransom, and she wouldn’t let him go unless I brought her a young woman.”
Freya was dragged into a hut. The witch looked overzealous. “I finally get to be young and beautiful again,” the witch cackled.
Meanwhile Tish hesitantly stood to the side. This is for my father, he thought. But the guilt still ate at him.
“Give me my father, NOW,” he shouted. Then, one of the walls opened to reveal a man who was barely breathing.
The witch screeched, “Leave, before I change my mind on my generosity.”
Freya was still screaming and squirming. He tried to ignore it and leave, but the sound grated on his ears. There had to be something he could do to help her.
The witch wasn’t paying attention to him anymore. She was standing right in front of the caldron with her back turned towards him. She was too engrossed in her cauldron to notice him.
“I’ve waited so long!” the witch screamed.
He couldn’t take it anymore. He ran towards her as fast as he could and pushed her into the cauldron, and burn marks were scattered all over her skin.
“NO! I’m too close. I won’t die. I’m melting, I’m melting.”
Soon there was nothing left of her.
“I’m so sorry, Freya… It’s all my fault.” Tish untied her. Tears were falling down his face.
She grabbed him and hugged him.
“I understand. It’s me over your father, and you still saved me in the end. I’ve had enough. Let's get out of here,” said Freya.
They both left and never came back again.