The three friends decided one day to take a walk in their town’s creepy park. It was October, chilly, and cloudy, with a hint of werewolf and bat activity. Partway into the walk, a twig snapped.
“What was that?!” Friend 1 froze and looked everywhere around her.
“It sounded like a leaf fell,” Friend 2 said.
“Are you sure? It’s not someone following us? Or some thing?”
“Pretty sure: I saw the leaf as it fell off the branch.”
“I don’t know, guys,” Friend 3 spoke up. “I’ve heard this trail is haunted.”
“Haunted?! Oh no!” Friend 1 began to run until Friend 2 grabbed the collar of her shirt and pulled her back to the group.
“There’s no such thing as ghosts,” Friend 2 said, becoming antsy at the time they were losing on their five-mile walk.
“Yes there are,” Friend 3 said with the wide eyes of conviction. “My cousin saw one once. Plus, it’s almost Halloween: ghosts are everywhere this time of year!”
“Why?” Friend 2 asked. “What does it matter what time of year it is, and why would anyone be hanging around random areas just waiting for people to show up?”
“For the first one,” Friend 3 said, “it’s because we’re coming up on the Celtic year-end holiday honoring the dead, and for the second one, it’s because they’re compelled to.”
“Yeah, that sounds about right,” Friend 1 agreed.
“Compelled to do what?” Friend 2 asked.
“…Stuff?” Friend 3 suggested.
“Guys,” Friend 2 said – they needed to get back on track here – “I will allow for the possibility of energy sticking around certain areas, `cause that’s what energy does. But it’s only an echo! You’re hearing, seeing, and being scared by an echo! It doesn’t mean anything, it can’t do anything, and there’s nothing you can do about it!”
“But my cousin,” Friend 3 put out there.
“Whatever your cousin saw, it was in her –”
“His head! His own mind created it, and that’s the only place where it has any significance!”
“He said it pushed him downstairs.”
“I hate to be the one to say this, but your cousin may be a bit of a klutz.”
“What about all those lights people see, and noises people hear, and conversations people have with the spirit world?” Friend 1 asked. “They’re all on camera!”
“Mass hysteria and tech glitches!” Friend 2 had had enough of this drivel. “There are no ghosts, there never were any ghosts, and even if there were, we’d have more to worry about from those guys over there than any non-physical beings, ever!” The three friends and the guys illegally camping in the woods waved in greeting at each other. “Can we go now? It’ll be tomorrow by the time we finish at the rate we’re going!”
Friend 1 and Friend 3 grumbled as they went along with Friend 2; they walked the rest of the trail nervously peering into the shadows around them as the sun set and the sky darkened behind them.
The ones watching over them continued their vigil.