Biographical Fiction posted August 6, 2021

This work has reached the exceptional level
A True Story

Lost in the Pine Forest

by Sally Law

Danger Contest Winner 

My childhood home was in a beautiful little town situated on the banks of the Chattahoochee River, near the backwoods of Georgia. A dense pine forest sat in close proximity to our property which sloped dramatically. 

At the very top of the hill was a small opening which led to a clearing of tall pines, and firs worthy of Christmas decorations. My brothers were allowed there, but I wasn't. I thought this grossly unfair in my seven years. Romping was a favorite activity; and oh, how I longed to breach the opening and go there, if only for a moment.

Opportunity presented itself on a Saturday, home alone with my grandfather. Fath, as we called him, was an avid reader, and oftentimes dozed the afternoon away after a few short pages of the same hardcover novel. I put away his wire spectacles, and covered him with an afghan before I left.

Breathtaking blue skies led me up to the passage. I hesitated, but only for a minute, remembering the only rule of the house: be home by suppertime.

The first part was as my brothers described: a Christmas tree farm, if ever there was one! The scent was exhilarating. I continued in an uphill climb and reached the peak. I had never realized we were so close to the Chattahoochee. There it was before me--wide, and darkened by the copper soil.

The descent was rocky, and I wished I hadn't worn my nicest school dress and penny loafers. Once I arrived at the bottom, I turned around to visualize where I had come off, hoping to return the same way. 

The autumn day was fine, and I reveled in the glory of it as I collected a few smooth stones from the river's bed.

My eyes caught sight of a human skull, protruding from the red clay. "Cherokee, I suppose...." I picked a flower and set it near the skull, then patted it ceremoniously. "This must've been your trail of tears."

I decided to skip my stones on the muddy water as the sun tilted in the autumn sky. "Time to go!"

I wandered much farther than I had thought, and hurried up the hillside to my house. Once I reached the peak, I realized it wasn't the right path. Climbing back down, I repeated the attempt three times, each time coming upon unfamiliar territory. Everything looked the same: hilly terrain peppered with tall pine trees. I was lost! 

Panic set in with the twilight chill, my breath expelling in front of me. I only stopped to rest a bit so that I could resume. Red eyes were all around as the forest came alive with wild animals scurrying about looking for their evening meal. I swallowed hard, realizing we had wolves and coyotes here. What have I done?

Then I saw it through the trees, just as the sun was fading: our town's landmark. The old red brick mill was in the historic square, a quarter mile from my home. 

By the time I came through the door, I was covered in red clay and soaking wet from wading through Vickery Creek to the mill.

My mother looked at me in surprise. "Sister, where in the world have you been?"

"Out walking...."

She didn't press me for the full story, but I had learned my lesson well: never to do anything so foolish again. 

Writing Prompt
Write a true, short story about a dangerous situation you put yourself in. There is no
word count, just make it interesting.

Contest Winner


My nickname is sister.
Pays one point and 2 member cents.

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