The following clips are raw footage excerpts from Alex Kralie, a college friend of mine.
In 2006, Alex was in the process of shooting his student film, entitled Oregon Trail. Over the three months that this took place, his film crew complained of freak weather, illness, injured oxen and poor fording decisions.
Alex and his crew vanished without a trace, but these images came into my hands. At the time I was too unnerved to look through them, and eventually forgot about them.
A few days ago I found them filed away in the back of my images folder.
This was a loss they couldn’t afford to take. I remember Alex’s serious face as he set off — and his strict budget. No spare oxen, barely any spare parts, barely any ammunition, and half the number of clothes the storekeeper recommended.
“He’s just trying to rip us off, bro,” I remember Tim saying. “We just need one set each. Long as I have my DEVO hat, I’ll be fine.”
I wonder if he came to regret those words on the long, arduous trail.
They were prepared for difficulties, sure, but I don’t think the death of one of their own was something they expected to have to face.
Shine on, you crazy diamond.
Something very silly is going on, and I’m starting to regret ever getting involved in it.
The usual strain and supply problems are still present in this image. But there’s something else about it that really disturbs me.
I don’t remember this ever happening.
I don’t know how this could have happened. The tapes show me making nothing but completely rational decisions.
“Sees me” … “at the tower”?
What — that tall, red thing over there?
I’d better go check it out. It could be my only clue.
In the footage, Tim has started coughing and acting suspicious. I tried to corner him for an extended interview with his hands before remembering that everyone is missing.
Maybe the coughing and spluttering weren’t because of an eldritch influence after all.
I tried to find answers, but instead I lost the trail. And, with it, myself. I look into the mirror and see a stranger, one who’s keeping secrets I might never learn.
Why was I on that ill-fated trip? Why don’t I remember it? How did I get back alive… and why was I the only one who did?
Maybe I should stop searching now. The answers might be too horrible to bear.
It’s okay, he has many hundreds to spare.
For many, it was the final straw. Now everyone was wet and nobody had any clothes. Our greatest fear in those days was being caught like that and written about on fanfiction.net.
It wouldn't have mattered. What was on there already was so much worse.
But we couldn't waste time thinking about that. We had to press on to Oregon, and I have to press on to the final tape. I almost don't want to upload it, though.
Directed by M. Night Shyamalan.