Okay here’s a strange turn of events. Georgia woke up in the woods last night. It’s never happened this late in the year before, as far as we know.
She had to walk all the way home, naked, in December. She ended up having to go to the hospital for hypothermia, which really sucks because that definitely means there’s no hiding it from the cult. Apparently the doctors demanded to know who brought her out there, but she obviously couldn’t tell them.
By the time I made it to the hospital in the morning to see her, she felt much better and mostly just wanted to get away from everyone fussing over her.
“Fucking finally,” she sighed when I showed up. “I swear to god if one more well meaning person comes in here wanting to know who brought me out there…”
“Yikes,” I said, climbing up to sit cross legged on the end of her bed. “At least they’re taking this seriously I guess.”
Georgia glanced at me and then back down at her blankets. “What was it like for you?”
“Like, was there… was there something out there? In the trees?”
Our eyes clicked together for a long moment and I remembered the woods with total clarity: look, there was totally something out there.
There’s something in our woods. That’s what the coven said in November. That’s what Madelyn said that day in the bathroom, the morning after she woke up out there. That’s what Tilly and I said to each other, and that’s what Georgia’s saying now. That day in the bathroom, Madelyn was going to tell me everything. Idk how I know that, but I know it, just like I know that she tried to tell me the day before, too, that day she came over to my house when I was suspended. She wanted to tell me. That’s why she was being so weird.
And when it was time for her to tell me, she started with: there’s something in the woods.
What the fuck is in the woods?
So there I was in the hospital, having a groundbreaking realization, but before I could speak at all Georgia abruptly looked up over my head.
“Hey sweetie,” my mom said in her soft nurse voice. “There are some agents here that want to have a quick word with Georgia about her experience last night, so —”
“Agents?” I asked, twisting to see. Two people in suits were crowded in the doorway behind my mom. “Like —?”
“I’m Agent Steva,” said the first, a woman. She was small and maybe in her early thirties. “And this is Agent Mulligan. We’re with the FBI. We’re just hoping to understand what happened to you in the woods last night. So maybe we can have a moment just us —”
This was supposed to be my dismissal, and I was already sliding back off the bed when Georgia said, “Actually, Shiloh woke up in the woods, too. Months ago.”
My mother blanched. I quickly looked away from her.
“Oh,” Agent Steva said, glancing at Agent Mulligan. “Well then we’d like to hear from both of you.”
My mom stared at me. I could feel her eyes boring into me.
“If you wouldn’t mind excusing us,” Agent Mulligan said to her and I heard her hesitate for an agonizing moment before she finally left the room and shut the door behind her.
And then it was really, really quiet in that little hospital room.
“We just want to understand what happened to you,” Agent Steva said. “Do you mind if I sit?”
Georgia shook her head and Agent Steva pulled the chair around to face us. Agent Mulligan dragged one over from the other side of the room. Agent Mulligan was also probably in his thirties, and handsome in a soft sort of way. He had downy hair and very brown eyes.
“Why don’t you start from the beginning,” Agent Steva said.
“You won’t believe me,” Geogia said, and I thought Agent Mulligan smirked just for a second.
“Try me,” he said, leaning forward.
So Georgia explained what happened to her. It was just like what happened to me, except colder. She woke up feeling safe until she realized how cold she was, then noticed she was not at home, and then the panic set in. She had to walk out of the woods in the dark. She ended up knocking on someone’s door and they called an ambulance for her.
They took notes on all this.
“Alright, thank you so much,” Agent Steva said. “That’s perfect. We’ll be speaking to other people who experienced the same thing over the several days.” She stood up, clearly ready to go.
Agent Mulligan though, leaned in. “And when you were out there, did you notice anyone else?”
Georgia hesitated. “I —”
“Sort of,” I said for her. I remember how hard it was to try and explain what it felt like in those first few days after waking up out there. “There’s something out there, but we don’t know what it is.”
Agent Mulligan seemed to accept this but Agent Steva remained neutral.
“What kind of something?” she asked.
I shrugged. “I don’t know.”
“But you’re certain there’s something out there,” she said.
“Yeah,” I replied. “And the local sheriff is in a cult that kidnaps girls and chains them up in the old Coven homestead.”
This was followed by silence.
I shrugged. “You’ll see,” I said. Georgia laughed, half stunned half gleeful. Then the doctor came in with Georgia’s parents and the agents departed.
“Maybe someone will start taking this seriously now,” Georgia said later, when we were home sitting on her bed, flipping through magazines.
“I doubt it,” I replied.
Georgia shut her magazine and looked at me. “We should do something,” she said.
“Like… someone’s gotta stop all these monsters from hurting people, right?”
And at the time we both laughed at the idea of us patrolling the streets like snapping like we’re in West Side Story, swinging bats and wearing cat-eye glasses. But like… I mean she’s right. Someone’s got to do something.