Status: Complete - February 22, 2018

Haunting Grey



My dad's voice is in my ear—worried, shaking, and confused. I left my head to look at him, and he's staring at me with glassy eyes.

"Travis," he says again. Then: "Natalie's not here, son. Don't you know that whatever you're seeing, is all in your head?"

It's all in your head.

That's what she told me.

I lay back against the pillows. My head aches and my mouth tastes bitter. There's something nagging at me—something I didn't think of before.

"Why did she look like that?" I ask quietly. "Her face."

"What are you talking about?" Dad's eyes narrow as he leans back in the chair. Then he nods. "You said her face was different. That's because the woods twist the person they take away. It taunts you. But I promise you, we never found her body."

I don't know whether or not that's supposed to be comforting, so I don't say anything. There is so much about this that doesn't make sense still, but I'm too tired to ask anymore questions, so I close my eyes. All I want to do is sleep.

But the breaking of my heart keeps me awake.

"You called me," I say softly, opening my eyes. "You told me they found her body."

His expression cracks me in half.

"I never called you, but I should have. When the police came to tell us that Natalie was officially dead, you took off. I should have stopped you, but I knew you needed time. I knew you'd gone back to the woods. You wanted to look for her, because you didn't think they were doing their jobs correctly."

I wait for the rest, sure I know what's coming.

"I fell asleep waiting for you to come back. Then someone called me. I thought it was a dream—I could have sworn it was—because the person who called, she sounded like Natalie. She told me you were hurt, that you needed to get to the hospital."

I press a hand to my head. I remember him telling me this already. That was real.

"The coma—" I start to say, but then the memory begins.