Never Know Who You Will Meet in the Woods

The perfect campsite exists deep in the woods, surrounded by trees in full bloom and a lake visible for miles. The site can offer pleasure, but also the unexpected. For one family, Adam, Sarah, and their six-year old son, David, in the midst of nowhere was an unanticipated experience, starting to unfold.

The family happily rushed, to unpack their SUV and set up the tent. The relaxing vacation had begun. Continuing the day was like any other fun filled day, boating, fishing, swimming, enjoying their time away from the city. Around five-o’clock, the scent of barbecue filled the air. When the family was just about to have dinner, a noise startled them. Foot steps were heard coming from behind the trees. Someone or perhaps an animal was lurking in the woods.

“Who’s there?” Adam shouted, as he moved closer to the area where the noise was heard.

Silence only followed and the noise suddenly ended.

Just near sunset, an older, dirty clothed man appeared from the trees behind the tent. As he walked closer, a rifle could be seen.

“Why are you carrying a gun, Mr.?” David blurted out.

“Hunting,” the man answered with a grin.

“What’s your name and are you camping?” Adam questioned.

“Name is Ben. Lived in these woods for twenty-five years. Been accused of something real bad years ago,” Ben said as he slowly walked away, back into the woods.

With no way to call for help, the family were a bit frightened, but wasn’t going to change plans. They only hoped that Ben was not out to hurt them. Still, this strange man was somewhere in the woods. Adam still in fear, not knowing what Ben did, continued to be watchful until the early morning hours, while the family slept. Not a noise was heard throughout the night. Then again at six o’clock in the morning, things changed, as the man re-appeared in the same clothing and rifle in hand. This time he was carried rope, rolled up and through over his left shoulder.

“Your family is going to help me get out of these woods. Hands behind your back,” he yelled as he aimed the rifle at Adam.

He then proceeded to tie his hands and then his feet as he sat in the chair. Sarah and David watched from the tent, afraid to make a sound.

“Stay here David,” Sarah whispered, as she tried to make a run for help while Ben’s back was turned.

Ben quickly grabbed her from behind and insisted she not try that again, “If you do, its bang.”

Ben continued to tie Sarah up and then next, David.

“Hey Ben, what did you do that was so bad,” asked Adam?”

“Ran and hid of an accused crime twenty-five years ago. Ben angrily replied, not sharing any details. Ben went on to say he lived in a little shack across the river, visiting the campsites while people were away, to steal blankets and food to survive.”

“Why must we help you escape these woods?” Sarah asked.

“Once had a daughter, would be about your age now, haven’t seen her since she was two months old and your family reminds me of mine twenty-five years ago,” He grumbled, as the thought of what to do next was troubling him.

“We are going back to Missouri, where I once lived. Life was happy then, as yours is,” Ben shouted as he un-tied Adam and demanded he load the vehicle.

Adam promptly took down the tent and loaded their belongings. His eyes were on Adam every move he made, keeping the rifle aimed in his direction. He then untied Sarah and next David, demanding they get in the automobile.

“You drive Adam, and don’t try any funny stuff, because I am keeping an eye on you,” he directed in a strange tone.

Just the mention of Missouri made Sarah shudder; she once lived there as a child and had only bad memories.

Curiously, Adam again asked, “What you been accused of Ben?”

“They accused me of shooting my wife. Came home one evening from work and found her lying on the floor, dead, and baby Sarah screaming. Police tried to arrest me for it, so I ran and never been back,” Ben recalled.

Sarah’s heart sank, at his statement; this was also brought up in her childhood.

“Where in Missouri are you headed, Ben” questioned Adam.

“Little town called Leadwood, small town where I grew up,” laughed Ben.

Adam, then looked toward Sarah in disbelief,” Wasn’t this the town you was living, until your family moved away?”

“Yes,” she said in a low voice.

All kinds of things were running through Sarah’s head as she approached the town. Remembering the story, granny told her about her dad, when she was five.

“Think it was on Oak Street, not sure the number but can still recall the house. There it is, let me out and you can go,” Ben cried.

Sarah screamed! ” You can’t go there, that is my old house. What is your last name,” Sarah sobbed.

“Last name is Barton” Ben said as he began to walk away.

Sarah hurriedly opened the door and stepped out.

“Wait Ben, you must be my dad. You have been proven innocent, twenty-five years ago when a burglar was caught and admitted to the crime of killing my mother.”

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