Since that night the rest of our group had graduated high school and started college. Some of us, like Josh, had already graduated, but most of us were still in high school when the twins went missing. Sam and I moved in together when we started college so we are riding the bus together on the way to the base of the mountain. When we get there we'll have to take a cable car to the top and then walk to the cabin.
As I look out the window of the bus, Sam pokes her head out for the seat in front of me, "Excited to see Josh again?" I shake my head and scoff, ignoring her, "come on, I know you two have had your late night phone calls and day time video calls."
I chuckle and look up to her, "We are helped each other work through the twins disappearance. The calls are just to check in."
"Uh huh. You two check in with each other until two a.m." Sam cocks an eyebrow up. "There's something there and you know it."
"Turn back around." I joke. Sam does and as she does, my phone goes off, it is a video message from Josh and it looks like he is already at the cabin. I put my headphones in before watching it.
"Hello, friends and fans!" Josh shakes his head, "alright, let's do that again," Josh walks up the camera, messes with it for a moment and then steps back, "alright, well. Hello friends and fans. It's beyond awesome to have you guys all back this year. First off I gotta say I am super excited to welcome all my pals back to the annual Blackwood winter getaway! Ya!" Josh fakes a cheer and chuckles, "So um... let me just let you know, uh... let's take a moment to address the elephant in the room for a second... I know you're all probably worried about me... and I know it's gonna be tough on all of us going back, after what happened last year... but... I just want you all to know umm... it means... it means so much to me that we're doing this. And I... I know it would mean so much to Hannah and Beth that we're all still here together... thinking of them. I really want to spend some quality time with each and everyone of you and umm... just share some moments that we'll never forget." Josh chuckles, "for the sake of my sister... you know?" he pauses for a moment, "Okay... so! Let's party like we're fucking porn stars, okay?! And make this one a trip we will never forget, alright? Yes!" Josh chuckles and put his arms up.
When I pull my headphones out Sam looks over the seat again, "Like we're porn stars." She jokes about Josh's video, "You so know that was for you."
"Was... was not..." I turn bright red.
"Uh huh, you know I'm right."
Later that evening, around nine o'clock Sam and I arrive at Blackwood Pines, the area of the park the cabin is located. Sam walks up to the arch way, but I hang back for a minute and snap a picture of the archway.
On our way to the cable car station, we reach a closed gate, noticing a note of the gate from Chris,
The gate is busted.
I sigh and look over to Sam, "looks like we're climbing."
"I think you're right." Sam nods. The two of us climb up the stone wall beside the gate. As we continue through the woods, we see a squirrel scurrying past us. Sam calls out to it, "aww... hey little fella! You hungry?" Crouches down to the squirrel and pulls out a few nuts for it to eat. Sam stays very still and the squirrel takes the nuts out of her hand, "cutie." The squirrel nibbles on the nuts before running off.
We continue on our walk, but I stop when I notice a plaque screwed to a pile of stones, "Huh."
"What is it?" Sam steps next to me.
"The tribes who lived in these mountains believed butterflies carried dreams and prophecies. Black butterflies mean death. Red means danger, Brown means loss. Yellow means guidance. And White means luck or good fortune."
"Cool." Sam nods.
"Yeah, that's really interesting." I nod as the two of us continue.
As we do we spot a map of Blackwood Mountain, however, the words, 'THE PAST IS OUT OF OUR CONTROL,' is written on the map, in thick, red, what I am hoping is paint. We walk over to the cable car station, where two benches are place outside, as well as a bright ceiling light. There is a backpack is place on one of the benches, Sam and I can only assume it's Chris' due to the name on it,
"Chris?" I step around the station looking around, "Are you here?"
Sam approaches his backpack, "His bags here..."
"Where is he?" I walk back around the corner and see Sam holding Chris' phone.
"You're no in the bag, are you?"
"What are you doing?"
"What is was out?"
"Still shouldn't snoop."
"Yeah, you're right." Sam closes Chris' bag before calling out for Chris, "Chris?"
Suddenly, Chris jumps out of the station, "Sam! Elena! Hey, you guys made it."
"Yeah." I nod and hug Chris, "Why wouldn't we?"
"I don't know." Chris returns my hug before hugging Sam, "Oh, so, I found something, kinda amazing." Chris picks up his backpack.
"What?" Sam chuckles.
"I'm not gonna tell you. You have to see it for yourself. Come on, it's this way." Chris begins to walk away.
Sam and I look to each other before we follow, "where..."
"Right around here, gonna blow your mind." After walking a short distance, Chris shows Sam and I a shooting range he found, as well as a rifle with live rounds. Chris picks up the gun and strikes a pose, "Ta-dah! Pretty rad, right?"
"Yeah... I guess..." I shrug.
"Come on! Look at these beauties."
"Uh, beauties isn't the word that comes to mind," Sam shakes her head slightly, "why is this even here?"
"What do you mean?"
"What the hell is a shooting range doing at the base of a ski lodge?"
"Uh, dude, have you ever met Josh's dad?"
"Yeah?" Sam looks between Chris and I.
I nod, "Chris has a point, the guy thinks he's like Grizzly Adams or something."
Chris offers me the gun, "Wanna try?"
I shake my head, "You go ahead."
"Alright, here goes." Chris aims his rifle. There are several targets to hit, notably sandbags and small objects. Chris shoots four objects, directly hitting all of hitting them.
Sam compliments Chris in a playful voice. "Wow, nice shootin' Tex."
Chris responds by performing a short, silly dance. "Alright, I'm bad. I'm a badass!"
"I don't know about that. Bad dancer maybe." I chuckle.
"Low blow, Elena."
Sam shakes her head, "I'm gonna go ahead and guess it was a wild case of beginner's luck."
"Nah, I don't think so girl." Chris readies the rifle once more. Chris shoots one of the objects, another direct hit!
"Well, anybody and their brother can shoot a bottle that big, that close."
I nod, "She's right, it'd be easier to miss the broad side of a barn."
Chris shoots another sandbag and Sam shrugs, "Nice shot."
"Your asses just got saaaacked!"
"Ugh..." Sam rolls her eyes.
"Shut up." I sigh.
Chris readies himself for more target practice, but Sam tells him our ride is coming. "Hey, sharp-shooter, our ride is coming."
Chris lowers the rifle and turn to us, "Wait, I'm just getting the hang of this."
"Come on, Chris." I step away, "The cable car!"
Sam and I begin to walk away, as we do we look back at Chris, who reluctantly puts the rifle down before following us. "Man, it is definitely weird coming back here after a whole year."
I nod, "yeah, I swear the moment I got here it all just came flooding back."
"I know the feeling," Sam nods, "A year goes fast."
As I walk to the station I see a wanted posted of a man named 'Victor Milgram' who has been missing since March 16, 1998. Sam stops to take a look as well. I shake my head, "Oh man, look at this..."
"Nice, you think we'll get a visit from America's most wanted?" Chris walks up behind us.
"Looks like someone thought so..." Sam comments.
"Oh, come on, this place is abandoned most of the year. Nobody comes up here."
The three of us continue forward. "Must be really hard on Josh..." Sam shakes her head.
"I don't know how he keeps it together... I'd... i mean, I'd be a wreck."
I sigh, "he's pulling through... Somehow..."
Sam attempts to open the door to the station, "that's weird, it's locked."
"Yeah..." I nod, "Josh wanted us to keep it locked, keep people out."
"He said that? What people?"
I shrug, "I don't know, he said they found people sleeping in the station one time."
"Cuz that's not creepy."
"I think I have a key..." Chris looks through his pockets, "Yeah, here." he pulls out a key and unlocks the door. "After you ladies."
"A real gentleman."
I chuckle, "thanks Chris."