Welcome to the third story of the Spring Horror Collection for 2022, where Haunted MTL’s writers craft original tales of terror that’ll grow on you. Check with us all week for new stories.
For more original stories, check out Haunted MTL’s Original Creations.
My favorite jacket, a jean jacket I bought years ago that I have since decorated with patches and pins and printed fabric, is the first thing to catch my eye when I slide open my closet door. The weather is warming up and I haven’t worn it in months, but I love to touch it, explore all the different pieces of art sewn onto the lapels and pockets. It reminds me of the rainy overcast days on which I wore the jacket.
One of those days in particular was in April last year, when I went hiking with my friend Jackie. The trail was difficult, the kind littered with rocks and soaking mud puddles. It was actually a rather horrible day to go hiking, but Jackie insisted and I’d been needing to get some fresh air after a few weeks of being a recluse.
The worst part about hiking in these specific mountains is not the steep, slim, rocky trail, nor the ankle-deep mud, but the snakes that pop up out of their little holes in the mountain sides. They’re essentially harmless, meaning they’ll bite but their venom isn’t poisonous to humans. Nevertheless, they’re sneaky enough to catch you off guard when they jump out at you from their little hiding spots.
About an hour into the hike, it started to rain and the path became so slippery and muddy that we had to take baby steps. I took a knife out of my pocket and held onto it, just in case.
“Jackie,” I said after half a mile. My voice echoed across the mountains. “This is ridiculous. Can we please look for cover or just go back?”
“But we’re so close to the top.”
“This is dangerous! We need to do something.”
Jackie sighed and nodded her head. “Fine, let’s find cover.”
But it turned out that looking for cover became just as difficult as climbing up the mountain. On one side was a massive hill, and on the other side was a steep slope that ended in an abyss of trees.
There was nowhere for us to go.
“I don’t care anymore,” I said. “I’m heading back whether you come with me or not. I’m sorry Jackie, but it’s just not worth it.”
I started inching my way back down. I could feel Jackie stare daggers into my back, as she does when she’s pissed off. But after I took a few more steps I heard her let out a large huff and follow me down. I kept digging my knife in the hill and watched the mud crumble down.
Suddenly a snake flew in front of me and I couldn’t stop myself from screaming and jolting back in shock. Everything happened so fast that, until it was too late, I didn’t realize how close Jackie was behind me. She rear-ended me, which caused her to fall. I whipped around to see her laying on the ground, her head on a rock, blood pooling her face, my knife piercing through her eye.
I screamed her name, tried to see if she could breathe, but there was nothing. She was gone, and I didn’t know what to do. It would be impossible to carry her back. I should’ve run down the mountain and called for help as soon as I had service again. But another part of me was angry. None of this would have happened if she had listened to me earlier and we just went home as soon as it started raining. And why was she so close behind me anyway? You need to give people you’re behind a little space no matter where you are, especially on a mountain as steep as this.
I shoved down the idea that this wasn’t Jackie’s fault, that her wanting to try hiking a little further didn’t mean she deserved to die, that we both should have been more conscious about the snakes, that it wasn’t her fault that nature acted against our expectations. I had to shove all that down, and still, to this day, I swallow those thoughts. Otherwise how would I be able to live with the fact that, out of sheer hatred and anger, I pushed Jackie’s dead bleeding body down the steep mountain and into the abyss of pine trees? I wouldn’t be able to live with myself if I realized my anger had, once and for all, gotten the best of me.
After I pushed her, I watched her roll. Her body slammed into trees, hit rocks, she just kept going and going. I walked down the mountain, grateful for the emptiness of the trail and that no one seemed to want to try hiking on this obscure mountain in this terrible weather.
When I reached the end, I called 911. I cried that I left my friend after she refused to go back home with me. I told them I didn’t want to risk my life and I needed to do what was best for me. The dispatcher was very calm and collected, proving their experience with tough situations. They didn’t find her that day, and the search and rescue team told me to go home because there wasn’t anything more for me to do.
When they finally found her body two weeks later, it was rotting and molded, moss-ridden and covered in ants. I was never suspected of foul play, not that I ever thought I would be. Jackie was my best friend, one of my only friends. I wish I had a better reason for doing what I did. I’m sure she would have wished I had a better reason, too.