You might say that getting lost somewhere is some kind of an unscheduled, unusual and often exciting adventure. Yet, often we do not see it that way because of different reasons, one of which is the waste of time finding the genuine destination.

Have you seen the movie Wrong Turn (the first was always the best for me)?

On a specific road that was divided into two more, which would you choose? One led to somewhere familiar while the other claimed to show you a quicker way. Sometimes the choice is clear. Sometimes, the allure of discovery beckons.

One stormy day last year, I was ushered in to this scenario. In some way, it was my fault that I ended up in the situation.

The road leading home was imprinted at the back of my head. I’ve walked it a thousand times so I knew it by heart.

Then, the other road was more or less like a new path that was created by people sneaking to the forest searching for firewood. I had not tested going in, though many times I was intrigued to check it out.

My guardian angel was probably asleep because all I heard was the invisible imp egging me to risk taking the unfamiliar tour. 🙂

It was slippery; the rainfall had not stopped. Walking with my slippers was not  an option so I took them off and walked barefoot.

A minute to my swatting insects and warding off clinging vines, I found a narrow clearing. In the middle was a small mound of earth which looked more like the mythical abode of elves in fairy tale stories.

Automatically, all my senses were alarmed; superstitious beliefs circled my head. I was not about to test the mysterious but then I wasn’t retreating quickly. I was curious as (wet) cat.

Suddenly, a flash of a presence moved out behind the mound. I slapped my face twice to check if I imagined the event:

What was that? Was it an elf?

A part of me wished to go back while the other wanted to stay. Coward was not my middle name so I elected to watch the mound for more activities, if there were more later.

Someone from behind tapped me on the shoulder. Frightened, I almost fell on the ground to protect myself from any attack, from humans or from the netherworld.

“What are you doing here?” an old man asked me. He had a plastic bag that contained crumpled paper and matches. On his other hand was a bottle of what  I suspected as kerosene.

“What are you doing here?” I sounded silly asking him his own query..

“Making charcoal,” he replied as he went straight to the mound.

I tried to warn him but he was already kneeling behind the mound where I thought I saw something unnatural.

“Damn animals!” he swore. “They took the wood out again!”

What? Animals? Did I hear him correctly?

The old man looked at me without emotion but his words were marked by concern.

“Go home! You’re soaking wet. You’ll get sick!” he advised.

“Thanks a lot,” I smiled, banishing my thoughts of encountering other-worldly creatures.

I retraced my way back to the only path I knew by heart.



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