A Girl Walks into the Woods

by Chanelle Benz

A girl walks into the woods and disappears.

A girl walks into the woods with her dog and disappears.

A girl walks into the woods for a hike with her dog and disappears. Her dog is found later wandering the parking lot.

A girl walks into the woods with a group of friends. She stops to fix her shoe, telling them to walk on, but she never joins them, and when they walk back she is gone.

A girl walks into the woods with a group of people she thinks are her friends. They say she stopped to fix her shoe but she never rejoined them and when they walked back she was gone.

A woman says she saw a girl fitting her description at the county fair. She was crying and being pulled around by a tall man. The woman didn’t contact the police at the time.

A girl walks into the woods and disappears. She misses coffee with her mother whom she has not seen in a year. According to her ex-boyfriend, the woods is where she goes to get high. Her mother says she has been sober for a month.

A girl who looked like the girl is seen on a gas station security camera buying M&M’s. From under her baseball cap it’s hard to make out her eyes.

The girl went for a walk in the woods, her boyfriend says. He reported her missing the next morning when she didn’t come home. He admits they had a fight and that he thought she went to stay with a friend. Her car is found in a drugstore parking lot with her purse and keys inside.

The police assume the girl left for a better life, so they do not search her apartment for months. The hairs they found in her car could be from anyone. Her ex-boyfriend passed his polygraph, and his family suggested she committed suicide. Her phone has never been found.

The girl walked into the woods because she loved trees. A future dendrologist, she wanted to read the rings to discover what the earth has endured.

The girl is said to have walked into the woods to attend a party. A witness claimed to have seen her leaving with two men. Another believed they saw her walking alone down the highway. Hundreds of tips have come in, but there have been no new leads. Police suspect foul play but there is no body.

A girl walks into the woods under trees the color of melting butter whose leaves are falling and clotting the path. They stick in the heels of her boots and she has to stop to pick them out. It’s getting colder and she has forgotten her gloves, so she stuffs her hands into her pockets. She passes the ravine where they will not find her body. Her dry knuckles rub the keys that will never be found. Her wallet, which will also go missing, is still tucked in the worn back pocket of her pants. Someone is coming down the path, who from a distance looks like a stranger, but the closer he gets, the more she knows who he is.

Published on February 3, 2021