Oblivia decided that a walk in the woods was in order that day, mainly because she had nothing else to do and the woods were just standing there, waiting to be walked in. The sun was shining, the birds were chirping, the insects were biting, and all was right with the world.
As she came upon a quaint little footbridge that practically screamed “Kitsch!”, someone else literally screamed at the far side of the crossing. Oblivia noticed that a river troll was trying to drag a jogger by the foot into his under-the-bridge lair, and was not being too gentle about the whole thing.
“None of that!” Oblivia chided in her disciplining-children voice as she walked over the bridge and stomped on the troll’s fingers. “Hands to yourself, if you please.” The troll gave a yelp and slithered back to his den of iniquity.
“Oh, thank you, thank you, thank you!” The jogger shook Oblivia’s hand vigorously. “I thought I was a goner!”
“Yes, perhaps a warning sign should be installed – I’ll be sure to speak to the ranger office before I leave. Enjoy the rest of your run!” And Oblivia continued on her way: she had five miles to cover on this blue square trail and she had lost time already.
Around mile 3.3, all sounds of Nature ceased abruptly as she entered a tranquil field. The sun was covered suddenly by cumulonimbus clouds and a mysterious fog rolled in from out of who-knows-where.
“Interesting,” Oblivia observed as she continued her brisk pace past a random ancient burial plot. The chill increased to the point where she had to pull her hoodie over her head; she wished she retroactively had thought to bring a heavier jacket, but that may have made her uncomfortably warm and sweaty later. Dressing for spontaneous walks in the park is not to be done carelessly, she thought as ghost hands reached out to her.
“Oh my – coming up on your left!” She remembered to call out at the last moment. In all her musings on trail-walking attire, she had almost neglected trail-walking etiquette. That would be forgivable in an amateur, but not in a seasoned pro such as herself.
“I’m coming for youuuuuu….” The ghost moaned after her.
“Oh, that’s all right, I’m headed in the opposite direction – thanks!” She had not quite heard what the figure had said over her own thoughts, but ending with a “thanks” usually settled things for good.
Approaching mile 5, she saw at the top of a hill a bunch of teenagers running haphazardly in all directions. Does the high school cross country team have a meet today? She wondered this before noticing that the kids were not in the best of shape, nor were they wearing anything that resembled any kind of uniform.
She then saw that they were followed by an immense figure dressed as a clown, who was giggling and honking a horn as he ran after first one teen, then another. A unique way to motivate them to exercise, she thought. “Go get `em!” She cheered and clapped her encouragement at them.
The clown stopped short when he heard her, then turned and ran back into the woods. Oblivia ran after him: “Wait, Coach, you’re the last hope these kids have!” But he was gone.
Seeing as the teens were all gone, too, Oblivia decided to finish her walk since she was nearly at the end of the trail and the sun was almost set. Reaching the parking lot just after the moon had risen, she enjoyed the ambient sounds of wolf howls, mountain lion roars, chainsaws, and panicked human yells. “Ah, Nature,” she reflected. How relaxing.
However, she almost had a heart attack when she got into her car and saw that the gas tank was almost empty: “Aiiiiiii!!!!”