It had been dark for about an hour when we arrived at the trail to wait our turn in line. We shivered in the cold as we watched groups of about a dozen at a time head off into the woods with their lantern-toting guides, listened to the distant screams, gunshots and chain saws, until it was time for our group to go. We were the last three in line, directly behind a teenager who was one of the guides.
Madi, a veteran of haunted trails and houses, was unimpressed by the creatures jumping out of the woods, and Celeste grew more and more bold as we made our way down the path. As for me - I was surprisingly calm and confident, having emptied my bladder before starting our walk. Still, I was anxious about my ankles. I knew if they were touched, all would be lost, that I wouldn't be able to stop myself from stomping violently and repeatedly on whatever made contact with my skin.
And so it was with a mind preoccupied with personal ankle security that we rounded a bend and found ourselves in the midst of a group of screaming, chain saw-wielding, mask-wearing boys. It wasn't frightening so much as it was painfully loud, and as we hurried past, the guide who had been directly in front of us paused to say something to one of the guys. She was only gone a few moments, but in the commotion, she lost her place in line to another teenage girl of similar build.
And as we (and the other teenage girl of similar build) soon learned, the guide had that specific place in line for a reason.
Along that next straight stretch, two masked werewolves were hiding, and when they spotted their mark, they pounced, knocking her to the ground as one fake-stabbed her and the other gnawed at her legs.
"Stop! You've got the wrong person!" our guide yelled.
I doubt a silver bullet would've worked faster. The werewolves immediately stopped their assault and apologized profusely as they helped their good-natured victim to her feet. She was shaken, but laughing. And impressively dry.
But if she's anything like that ankle-obsessed woman behind her on that trail, it'll take about 30 years before she goes there again.
Karin Fuller can be reached via e-mail at karinful...@cnpapers.com. Her columns can be found online at her blog on thegazz.com.