Fall has finally arrived. The trees are starting to turn beautiful colors. Oranges, yellows and reds taking over for the green landscapes. The sky even seems to glow brighter. Then there is a refreshing crisp air taking away the heat of summer. Time to bring out the hoodies and light jackets. Turn off the A/C and let nature cool down the house for you with the windows open. The leaves crunch under your feet as you stroll along the sidewalk. Children raking the leaves together, getting the piles big enough to jump in. Its such a wonderful season.
It’s also time for pumpkin farms and apple orchards. Pumpkin seeds, pumpkin pies and Apple pies. Eating while wrapped up in a cozy blanket by a roasting fire. A nice cup of hot chocolate warming up your hands. I love being able to go out and pick apples and pumpkins. Orchards are my favorite place to go on a cool fall day. After a long stressful day of work, being able to go out and pick some delicious apples. Amazingly juicy when you bite into them.
This weekend I’m taking a friend with me to go apple picking, for the first time of the season. We have plans to make apple pies for a gathering we will be having. She has never been apple picking before, so I’m planning a fun trip for her. We will go early in the morning to find all the best apples before anybody else gets there. I know she’s not much of an early bird, but for this she is okay with it. I go shopping the day before to make sure we have all the supplies we need to make the pies. I want to be able to start right away.
I jump in my old pickup at the crack of dawn and head out to pick up my friend. She has a cup of coffee in her hand, and she’s bundled up. She hops in my truck with a yawn. I can’t help but laugh at her. I’m wide awake and ready for the day. The drive to the orchard isn’t far, but its long enough for my friend to take a nap. It took me a minute to realize she was asleep after I had been talking for a few minutes. I shake my head and let her sleep. I pull into the drive of the orchard and park. I gently try and wake her up. Its harder than I thought. I end up shouting her name, and she wakes up with a jerk. I’m glad she wasn’t holding her coffee cup, it would have been everywhere.
The owner of the orchard comes out from the barn and waves to me. She is also a friend of mine. We’ve known each other for a while now. I met her through my mother when I first started apple picking with her years ago. She doesn’t open to the public until later, but she always lets me come when I want. I grab the baskets out of the back of my truck and pull my wagon out. The baskets go in the wagon, and we head out to the orchard, my friend slowly walking behind me. The wagon bounces over the uneven ground. Once I start weighing it down with apples it won’t bounce as much.
We continue to the back of the orchard, a part not many people walk out too, my friend complaining the whole way. She doesn’t mean it, but it doesn’t stop her. Like I said, she’s not a morning person. I can’t help but laugh, unfortunately she doesn’t find it funny. Then when I tell her to loosen up, she chucks an apple at me. This makes me laugh even harder. We start a food fight with the apples. Not the good ones, ones that have already fallen to the ground. We both run to hide behind the trees as cover, apples splattering against the trunks. I still get some of the juices on me seeing as the trunks of the apple trees aren’t very thick.
Then my friend starts to scream. A horrible, gut wrenching scream. I race over to her, not caring if I step on some rotting apples. She has a hand over her mouth and tears starting to well up in her eyes. I come up next to her, asking her what's wrong. She is panting hard and she begins to stutter, she points instead. I follow her finger and what I see makes me want to vomit. Resting up against an apple tree is a decaying body. It’s face looks like animals have been picking at it, along with other parts of its body. The clothes is ragged and ripped, the weather has done lots of damage. It looks like it’s been out here for a while. The smell soon hits me and I have to turn away.
I try pull my friend away from the sight, I need to call the authorities. I have never seen such a thing out here. I look around, my eyes avoiding the dead and something else catches my eye and this time I do vomit. My friend tries to help me, she’s shaking trying to hold my hair back. There’s another one, it’s face is unrecognizable and there is barely any flesh on the body. It has to have been out here longer. Animals and the weather have not been kind. How many bodies are out here? Does the owner know? I have too many questions. I wipe my mouth with the back of my shirt, I couldn’t care less right now. We leave the wagon behind as we run back to the beginning of the orchard. I have never run to fast in my life.
I pull my phone out and try to dial the police. Unfortunately I don’t have service out here. No one ever does, it’s like a dead zone out here. Apparently a literal one too. We get back out the where the truck is and I head towards the barn I know there is a landline in there. I’ll be able to call from there. I see the owner walking towards us, she looks concerned, and she asks us if we’ve seen a ghost. We are beyond pale and sweat is dripping down our foreheads. I try to tell her what we’ve just found, but most of it comes out a jumbled mess. Her contorts into anger and she mumbles something to herself. I look at her, confused. I tell her we need to call the police. I head into the barn to do just that, but I never make it there. I should have never turned my back.
I wake up with a headache and my arms and legs tied. My friend that came with me is next to me, also bound. Apples are stuck in our mouths with tape over it. I feel like I’m choking, it’s hard to breath. My friend isn’t moving. I can’t tell if she’s dead or not. I’m hoping she’s not. I look around me and see I’m in a stall and I’m covered in hay. I try to get out of the ropes, but it’s no use. It’s tied tightly around my wrists that it digs in more while I struggle. Suddenly the stall door opens and standing there is the woman who I thought was my friend. She’s smiling at me. It only scares me more. I don’t know what she is going to do to me. I don’t want to find out. Unfortunately for us, I doubt anyone will notice us missing right away. The party isn’t until tomorrow night and they know that my friend is with me, so we should be fine right. Though when they do figure out we are missing, who knows if I’ll be dead or not by then.
We were just supposed to go pick some ripe, juicy apples for pies. We were going to make them together. I was excited to show my best friend my recipes, but now I’m going to get her killed. If she’s not already dead. She still isn’t moving and I can’t tell if she’s breathing. Tears silently glide down my cheeks and I squeeze my eyes shut. The owner stands there laughing at me. It’s a evil, nasty laugh. One I’ll ever be able to get out of my head. It makes me feel worse about this situation. I never thought this would happen to me, but it is and I don’t know what to do. There’s nothing I can do. I’m going to die. I already know it and I didn’t even get to say goodbye.