Anne felt her chest tighten as she was gasping for air. She couldn’t stop herself from questioning what mess she got herself into.
This is not the first time Drogo’s nose caused her trouble, but something was different about this time, and it made her feel unsettled. She felt nauseous and shaky as she peered down the 8-foot plunge at the bottom of the stairwell.
Not A Happy Birthday
Anne Reyneke recently celebrated her 40th birthday. Her family threw her a big birthday party and attempted to make her day as memorable as possible. It was, however, a gloomy day for Anne.
Life seemed meaningless at that point. Exiling the ghosts of her unfulfilled dreams and aspirations had previously been a source of stress for her. It appeared to be getting worse, nearly suffocating, these days.
Running Out Of Time
During her 30’s, Anne felt full of life. Life was full of promises, and she felt like she had all the time in the world to reach her goals. Her dreams now felt hollow whenever she thought about them.
She felt like she had no more time to do everything she wanted. The feeling was not present three months ago, but that was because Ted was still around.
Who Was She?
She looked at herself in the mirror, noting all of the changes her body endured. Her once big blue eyes were now dull and without sparkle. She had deep dark circles underneath her eyes. She could barely recognize the woman staring back at her.
She believed that she was a smart and independent woman who did not need the company of a man, and it pained her to admit that she missed him more everyday.
Out Of Nowhere
Anne and her boyfriend, Ted Rawlins, sat down one evening to talk about their five-year plan, and out of nowhere, he broke up with her.
To be truthful, things had not been going well for the two of them before the breakup. They were growing apart and were at different places in life. Whatever the reason, she was thankful that she still had one friend.
Her Best Bud
Drogo had been Anne’s best friend for over a year. She went through many changes in her life, but Drogo had always remained a constant. She cared for him more than anything in the world.
He had big brown eyes and a furry brown coat. He was her loyal labrador, and she could not imagine life without him. He was an older dog, more than 9-years-old, and his health was rapidly declining. Anne was terrified.
Anne was going through a lot, and Ted consumed her thoughts. She enjoyed living in busy New York, but she knew she needed to get away for a while.
Despite several nasty processing plants along the way, the Appalachian Trail’s 100-Mile Wilderness route was ideal. On the other hand, Anne had another reason for needing to go.
Combining Her Passions
Anne wanted to merge her two passions as a travel writer and a supernatural enthusiast. Anne was fascinated by stories about hidden staircases in woodlands. Some of the stories were terrifying, while others were absurd.
The conspiracies ranged from spirits to alternate dimensions. Anne was skeptical about the stories, but she had to find out for herself. Anne packed as fast as she could and began to make her way to the trail.
An Odd Sighting
When they finally arrived in the forest, it was surrounded by beautiful greenery. Anne, on the other hand, felt an overwhelming heaviness in the air from the time she and Drogo walked in. Inside, it looked thicker, and she felt quite alone.
They arrived at a meadow after three hours. Anne couldn’t believe what she was seeing. It was a weird stairway just resting there near a small creek.
She Had No Other Option
Anne cautiously neared the staircase, and Drogo became restless. He raced up to the stairwell and refused to come with her when she called for him.
He appeared to be concentrating on something, Anne observed. Even though all the bizarre legends cautioned against ascending woodland staircases, Anne had no option but to follow Drogo up.
Something Was Wrong
The moment Anne reached the foot of the top of the staircase, she knew something was not right. Drogo began sneezing and shaking his head feverishly. That’s when it hit her.
It started with a foul smell. She felt disoriented and unbalanced. Anne felt herself panic as she found herself hovering over the edge and facing an 8-foot drop.
Falling to her knees, she literally crawled down the stairs, and Drogo followed. Back on safe ground, Anne’s head cleared, and then she noticed it.
Miles through the trees was the distant outline of a paper mill. Being higher on the staircase had placed her directly in line with the toxic fumes that had been wafting through the air.
The Myths Debunked
The fumes still burned her nose and lungs as Anne got herself and Drogo as far away from the spot as she could.
She saw the funny side now and at least knew that there was no such thing as haunted forest staircases. As the fumes finally began to clear, Anne’s mind began to as well.
Clarity At Last
All the excitement with the staircase had cleared Anne’s head quicker than expected. Her panic had caused her to evaluate who was truly important to her—only her family and Drogo had come to mind.
It was the shot in the arm she needed. She now knew she was finally ready to put Ted behind her and move on.
Getting herself and Drogo to safety, Anne looked forward to finding some warmer accommodation and beginning her travel blog.
Later that night, while curled up under a comfy hotel duvet, Anne couldn’t help but smile at the experience. She had learned a good lesson; internet myths were never what they appeared to be.