by Jake Christie

a story.

Park in the municipal parking lot. The start of the bike path is on the far side, near the water fountain. There is a sign indicating the trailhead with graffiti on it that reads, “ABANDON HOPE ALL YE WHO ENTER HERE.” Ignore this.

Follow the bike path for 2.3 miles. On your right you will be treated to beautiful views of the coastline. Above you, if you should so happen to look, is outer space. This section of the trail has very few hills and is quite easy overall.

Cross the road. Look for the continuation of the path next to a young girl selling lemonade for twenty-five cents a cup. She has not yet been disillusioned by the struggle that is life. Buy a cup of lemonade. It will not be very satisfying, but do not tell her this, as it is not her fault and she lacks the capacity to understand.

Follow the bike path for eight miles. Once you get out of the woods you will see endless green hills rolling to your left. On your right you will be treated to the infinite passage of time. This section of the trail has some steep grades of intermediate difficulty, but in the grand scheme of things they should present you with little trouble.

At the lake you will find a number of picnic tables. Remember your childhood. Sit at a table and run your fingers over the carvings left by impetuous teenagers. Relish this quiet moment. Nobody will bother you. You could stay here for days.

Follow the bike path for one hundred miles. At this point you will dace some difficult challenges, but you will persevere. On your left is everything that has come before. On your right is everything that will come in the future. You will find water fountains at regular intervals where you can refill your water bottle, but some of them will be broken. Take a moment to admire the ancient trees towering above you. Stay hydrated.

After the stone wall you will see a sign indicating the municipal parking lot. Follow the bike path back to your car. Carry out whatever you carry in. Leave no trace. If somebody asks you about the bike path, be honest. Tell them to ignore the graffiti.

This story also appears in Black Heart Magazine.

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