By Hannah Kingsley
Have you ever wanted something so bad you claimed that you would do ANYTHING in your power to obtain it? In the world of folklore, there is a way to make wishes come true. All you need is a vehicle, a deep desire for something, and the willpower to get through chilling miles that feel like Satan himself cursed them. Then, you will be ready for the 11 Mile Ritual.
There are rules that you must listen to and follow if you want to make it out alive. One is that you have to keep your windows up no matter what. The next is that under no circumstances should you turn on your radio or listen to music of any kind. DO NOT BRING YOUR PHONE WITH. It won’t work anyway. You also must drive at 30 mph max. Now it’s time for the last rules. Don’t leave your vehicle, and drive alone.
You’re ready to start the ritual. You’re going to start driving at night when no one else is on the road. The ritual will start when you find the road you’re looking for, though it has no name and there are no directions. You will start seeing what you desire in the tree branches of the woods the road will take you through, and the ritual will start. If you’re uncertain you’ll make it, turn back now.
Welcome to Mile 1! Not much will change. It will start to get cold. Turn on your heat. Keep calm. Now you’re on Mile 2. It’s going to continue to get colder. Your heater may not help anymore, so if you’re not already at 30 mph you may speed up. Mile 3 is when things start to get… weird. Your surroundings will change, including the road which you will want to try and stay in the middle of, and you will start to see shadows of people in the trees. This isn’t a trick, so do not look at them. You’re brave if you’ve made it to Mile 4, as the shadows have gotten closer and you will start to hear them whispering in the back of your mind. Do not listen to them. It will only draw them closer. During Mile 5, the woods disappear and a lake underneath a beautiful bright moon will be revealed.
Do not look at it or you will sink in the lake.
Mile 6. Halfway there. You are back in the dark woods, the only light being your headlights, but even they will start to flicker. Your radio will turn on and a voice will talk about your greatest fears.
As usual, do not listen. It will go away at the end of the mile. Mile 7 will test you. The shadows will return and their voices will sound closer and closer. One may even sound like it’s right behind you. That’s because it is. Do not look back at it. It cannot hurt you if you ignore it. They are the souls of people who have failed the ritual and they want to take you with them. Mile 8 will feel below freezing and your headlights will be useless. Just keep driving slowly around the sharp turns and don’t stop or the shadows will surround you. At Mile 9, your car will stop working completely.
Keep calm, keep your eyes closed, and try to start your car. The windows may crack from the shadows but they will not hurt you, and will go away at the end of the mile. Once your car starts working, floor it to get away. This will seem like hell. Mile 10 is the calm before the storm. Accept that you may die. You’ve made it to Mile 11. The last. Your car will lose power but will keep moving forward. You will see a glowing red light in front of you. Close your eyes and cover them with your hands. Do not look and try not to listen. You will endure screaming like no other and will feel as if your skin is burning off.
Once the mile is over, you will reach a dead end. Close your eyes and think about what you have been desiring. Once you open your eyes, you will be back at the beginning of the road. If you were wishing for a material object, look in your trunk. If you wish for something nonmaterial, all you have to do is drive back home and wait.
Hannah Kingsley is a student at Fillmore Central High School. She is one of 13 area students participating in the Journal Writing Project, now in its 25th year.