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I remember back in my teen years, I heard some sort of urban legend that goes on near a hiking area in my hometown.

During the day time, it's perfectly normal, with its usual 8 routes to choose from to hike to the top of the hill. But when it gets dark or you get caught in a foggy afternoon close to the twilight hours, that's where you will find a 9th trail that appears out of nowhere.

They say that you will know you have ventured into the 9th trail when the trees are so thick, no sunlight can penetrate it, and you only hear the sound of crows cawing. If you noticed these signs, it is advised to turn back and retrace your steps, and whatever you do, do not react at the slightest sound you hear no matter what. Pretend as if you don't hear anything, keep your eyes straightforward on the road to back track to the original starting point, and if you are traveling with your friends, don't speak a word to each other and never call out to each other by your real names.

Some say the 9th trail appeared was to lure people into the Otherworld where the spirits of people who had died from hiking accidents reside, unable to move on due to their regrets in life or unfinished business. Others say that it was created by the forest spirits or djinns who like to play practical jokes on mortals, often with deadly consequences. The most prominent hearsay is that the 9th trail belong to a pair of child spirits who want to look for new playmates to play with.

It's not fully verified, but those who wandered into the 9th trail will find themselves lost for a moment before they hear the sound of children's laughter. If they follow the sounds, they will come across a boy and a girl playing rock-paper-scissors on a rocky flight of stairs, and they will invite you to come join them. Refusing them will only cause you to be lost forever in the 9th trail, going around in circles, and you always end up returning back to them, in which they will invite you again, and the cycle repeats forever until you lose your mind.

If you accept their invitation, they will explain the rules to you: The starting point is at the top of the stairs. If you win a round, you go down one step, and if you lose a round, you go up one step. If you get to the bottom of the steps, you win the game. Then they will ask you to choose your opponent.

There is a catch though: whoever you choose, you will always lose. If you choose the girl, you will always win and go down a step, but the steps will never reach the bottom, and you will keep winning until you lose sight of the girl and she will say "I'm bored. Goodbye" and leave you behind, and no matter how long you climb down those stairs, you will never reach the bottom and you will lose your mind as well.

If you choose the boy, you will first have a small winning streak, but then after that you will keep losing and you will keep going up and up and up until you lose sight of the boy. He will say the same thing and leave you behind, and when you try to go down the steps to find him, you will be filled with an indescribable sense of dread that you can't explain and it'll force you to go back up, climbing the neverending steps until you die of exhaustion.

Truth be told, no one really knows what happens. It may all be just hearsay or local hiking superstition or just an urban legend. But the 9th trail is often called out as one of the reasons people go mysteriously missing without a trace during hiking, so it is seriously stressed that no one hikes there after dark and must always finish their hike before then.

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