The man in the blue jacket 

Spooktacular Story 4

click to enlarge features_featurestory4.jpg

Well, I am definitely never going to be able to sell my car now. The crater-like holes carved into this old logging road are forcing me to slam into the ground, ruining my shocks, or undercarriage, or whatever it is potholes wreak havoc on. I glance at the dashboard clock: I'll only have an hour to run before the sun sinks behind the mountains.

My mother's voice creeps into my head, "Bear spray? Bells? A cell phone, at least?" I forgot all three. I was more worried about bears in the months leading up to my move to Whistler than I am now.

"There's just black bears," everyone says with a dismissive wave. "You'll see them everywhere. They're usually harmless."

I am pretty certain that, statistically, I am more likely to veer off this horrible road and over the cliff to my right than I am to be eaten by a black bear. Probably. Maybe. Either way, I'm not turning around now. I spot the parking lot at long last, pull in and dart out of my car, anxious to catch the last bits of daylight.

It's empty for such a warm Sunday. There are only two other cars in the lot. As I set off down the trail, past the last-chance outhouse and massive pile of boulders, I see two couples trudging back up. We smile at each other. I forgot what it was like to live somewhere where people say things like, "Good morning!" without some sort of ulterior motive, like convincing you to buy a handbag you don't really need.

But it's just the trail and me now. My treaded shoes make a satisfying "crunch, crunch, crunch" on the rocks and roots while the river rushes by. The trees are already casting dark shadows across the mountain. I am alone. I am a wild animal. A deer, maybe, jumping — no, skipping! — through my forest home. I spot a path that leads down to the noisy, impossibly beautiful river and, despite the setting sun, turn down it.

I marvel for a moment at the pale blue depths, winding through the valley. Meandering down the rocky shore my heart rate begins to slow, sweat dries and I remember the 10 km I still hope to traverse today. I turn around and look for the opening that snakes back up to the main trail, but I can't seem to spot it. It's as if the underbrush swallowed it up while I had my back turned. Maybe it was further down the river by that boulder — though I don't remember walking that far. I keep going, at a more frantic pace now, head darting up and down, scanning the steep bank. Suddenly, I spot a man in a blue windbreaker with long grey hair. He flashes a toothy grin that makes my stomach feel uneasy.

Speaking of Halloween, Spooktacular Stories

Comments

Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

Readers also liked…

Latest in Feature Story

  • 25 Years On

    From a small skiing group to one of the town's biggest annual events: the evolution of the Whistler Pride & Ski Festival
    • Jan 19, 2017
  • New year, new you

    With the dawn of a new year comes the resolutions. Sure, but if you want to change or tweak your life, your habits, or pledge to eat more kale, there are ways to help you succeed.
    • Jan 15, 2017
  • 2016 Year in Review

    • Jan 8, 2017
  • More »

More by Alyssa Noel

© 1994-2017 Pique Publishing Inc., Glacier Community Media

- Website powered by Foundation