Hitchhiker Cindy and I continued traveling along my usual path toward the center of California. I still wasn’t sure if I should drop her off in the first town outside the mountains of the Grapevine and continue further north heading home, or just take her all the way to Oregon. I was still concerned for my safety at this point because I really had no clue as to who she was or what she was capable of, and any attempts of finding out these facts seemed to be dragged out and hidden behind this strange story she was telling me.
“Is this story describing what happened to you in the woods or something?” I asked the hitchhiking storyteller.
“No. No, but it relates to me and why I’m here right now,” my passenger said. “Just keep listening and I promise by the time I’m done everything will make sense.”
The woman in the bright blue cotton dress stood up slowly and tried making her way to the edge of the woods. She had no clue as to where she was heading, but she assumed that she shouldn’t stay in the woods if she wasn’t sure anyone knew she was actually in the woods. She looked down at her cold bare feet and wondered why she or anyone would ever walk into the woods without shoes and she became concerned. Was she running from somewhere in a hurry? Where was she running to?
She motioned herself to walk in the most straight line as possible and to mark the trees she passed by with the same rock she found behind her bleeding skull by carving an “x” into the tree trunks. The ground eventually showed signs up sloping downward and so she followed the terrain downhill until she stumbled onto a stream. It took several hours of trenching barefoot through the cool woods, but she followed the stream for miles until it met a road crossed it.
At the base of the hill, just beyond the road, laid a grassy lawn with a large wood cabin-like house facing the row of trees she walked out from. The woman obviously didn’t remember if she knew the house sitting in front of her, but without any shoes, no supplies, and a massive head wound she figured she couldn’t be any worse off by knocking on the front door.
She eventually made her way over to the house to make herself known to any inhabitants of the house. The door swung open after the second knock she made on the door and a tall man with black rimmed glasses immerged to give her a huge hug.
“Oh my God Sarah!” the man said. “You’ve never ventured off for that long before! I’m so sorry. I don’t ever want to lose you.”
“Um,” was all Sarah could muster. She had just learned her name, but she couldn’t remember anything else attached with it. The past was an enigma and she couldn’t grasp what had happened to her before she found herself in the woods. “I don’t remember anything.”
The man looked down to inspect Sarah and realized she was holding a bloodied rock. He watched as she reached for the back of her head to show him the blood slowly seeping out of her skull. “Oh my goodness we have to get you to a doctor!”
“Yeah, I’m aware of that, but I still don’t know who you are,” the woman now called Sarah said.
“Sarah—it’s me—I’m your husband James!”
Read the story, “Shock Wave,” every Wednesday.