I managed to do a little research about Aokigahara. Turns out, Aokigahara is the most second most popular place to commit suicide. Most of them couldn’t be found by the suicide prevention patrol. If we were to camp there, we would be checked often by the suicide prevention patrol. Hikers also have reportedly seen a Buddhist monk dissuading people from committing suicide. I told Clayton of my findings.
“Hahaha! Don’t tell me you believe in ghost,” Clayton laughed.
“You should totally believe everything on the internet,” Henry said sarcastically.
“I never said that I believed that, just a little scared,” I said in a quiet voice.
Wolf and Clayton laughed at me and we headed off. Henry led us to our hotel. Clayton and Henry shared a room while I have a room of my own. I put my bag down and sat on the bed. I looked around my room. The golden light illuminated the room. It was very spacious. The only furniture was the bed and a table with a huge mirror. I took a quick shower and packed my bags. Tomorrow morning, we will head off to Aokigahara. The day passed in a flash. I spent my time in my room researching about Aokigahara. The more I researched the more scared I became. A shiver when down my spine. There were so many stories and rumours that cannot be confirmed as the forest is too dense. The next morning, I packed my torchlight, compass and most importantly, a first-aid kit. I wore a mock-neck that was totally covered by my thick, puffy jacket and hiking boots. I wore a black cap and tried to clear my mind. I didn’t want to think of the stories I read on the internet.
Clayton and Henry were waiting for me at the lobby. Henry was wearing a green winter jacket that overlapped his lab coat while Clayton wore the same thing except that his flat cap was army designed ad wore a blue jacket. We greeted each other and we were off.
“We should be back by four so let’s not waste any more time, let’s go!” said Henry enthusiastically.
Henry was practically jumping up and down. Henry jumped towards the bus station
Clayton and I looked at each other and giggled at Henry’s enthusiasm. Clayton was sleeping on the bus. He was leaning on me and once in a while, I would try to push Clayton to Henry’s side but he would be sliding back. At least Clayton served as a distraction for me. Henry was on his Ipad researching. He smiled like a mad man a was swiping furiously.
I didn’t know how work was so fun that he would be so enthusiastic at his research. We finally reached Motosuko. We walked the rest of the way. It was a 2.3-kilo meter walk. We took our time to get there. There were other tourists from all over the world also walking the same direction. They were probably going to Mount Fuji or the natural frozen cave. Some wore hiking gears. I overheard one of the hikers warning his friends or family to stay on the trail as even expert hikers are advised to follow the trail. That made me worry as we were not expert hikers or any expert for that matter.
“Boo!” someone shouted making me jump.
“Aah!” I screamed only to realise it was Clayton.
“I am the spirit of Aokigahara coming to haunt you, Lonnie. Wuuu, wuuu,” I joked.
“Not funny!” I shouted.
Clayton went over to Henry and hi-fived him holding their laughter.
“Clayton! I’m going to kill you!”
I started chasing him. He hid behind Henry and used him as a shield. Tourist around us was staring at us. I nudged Clayton and we blushed in embarrassment.
“You were really childish when you were in Uni huh!”
“It is not for you to judge Wolf!”
I asked Wolf to stop interrupting. He nodded and picked up the hamster. He patted it affectionately and asked me to continue so I did.
Once we reached Aokigahara we saw a wooden house where all of the tourists are going in. We found out that it was a bat cave tour. Henry skipped the tour and we headed for the trail. It was a little chilly and as the cold wind howled, I concentrated on my breathing. I tried not to think of the ghost and rumours. Henry was squatting and examining the trees for the insect he was finding. We continued to follow the trail and Henry started running off the track. He was chasing a butterfly just like a typical dog. Clayton and I didn’t know what to do. We looked around and there were no hikers nearby so we decided to follow Henry. Clayton was surprisingly slower than me. We ran through the woods dodging some fallen logs along the way.
After a while, I stopped to catch my breath. I was panting but was not sweating at all. I laid down on the ground hoping that the chase will be coming to an end soon. Clayton caught up and rested for a while. Brown and yellow leaves fell from the trees. Clayton asked me where was Henry. I looked around and sighed. He was nowhere to be seen. Clayton said it was better to go back and inform the police. I looked around and my heart raced. I didn’t know where we were. Clayton asked me to calm down and told me the reason he was slower was that he spray painted the trees. I was glad that he thought of that. We looked around to find the paint but I didn’t see any.
“Are you sure you spray-painted the trees,”
“Yeah! The only time I didn’t spray was when I saw a card with Japanese writings on it but that was yards away,”
“Don’t tell me we’re lost,”
Suddenly, a nearby bush rustled. Followed by the bush beside it. Something or someone was watching us. Clayton asked me to stand nearer to him. I looked around to see what was watching us. Out of the blue, a small pale man jumped out of the bush, walking on his legs and his hands like an animal. Clayton asked me to stand behind him and so I did. The strange man wore a yellow robe that was dirtied by dirt. He looked like a monk. The monk asked us the purpose of us going off the path.
“Are you here to take your own lives away?” he asked in a deep coarse voice.
His eyes were mostly white that practically stared into our soul. My heart was racing wildly. I grabbed Clayton’s jacket tightly but Clayton doesn’t seem affected. Clayton replied in a calm but firm voice.
“No. We are here to search for our missing friend. Have you seen him”
“No, I have not. But I suggest you leave immediately before they come,”
“Who are ‘they’”
Suddenly, a vulture screeched loudly The monk seemed frightened by the vulture. He didn’t say another word. He retreated back into the bush and the forest was once again silent. Something was bothering my mind. Who were they and why was the monk scared of a vulture?”