Wednesday, February 19, 2014

100 Themes Challenge: Vacation

     “Let’s go down this path instead!”
     The little boy in the Cubs cap waved back at his brother, gesturing down an old, overgrown trail. His brother groaned audibly at it.
     “Mom said make the circuit and come back! I’m not following you down every damn trail in this place!”
     “Mom said not to say damn either!”
     “You just said it too!” the older boy shot back. Alan rolled his eyes as his younger brother flipped him off and ran down the trail. He’d rather be down at the lake. Chasing Daniel wasn’t a vacation for him.
     He took his time, anyways. Daniel would get freaked out from being alone, like he always did. He’d come back. Meanwhile, Alan could check his phone. Even here they had a cell tower nearby.
     It must not have been close enough. The signal kept flickering on and off, even when Alan stood still. Probably his phone instead. He kept telling his parents he needed a new one. Now if Daniel got them lost in the woods they wouldn’t be able to call for help.
     But he’s not going to do that, Alan thought. It was a small circuit. This trail probably just looped around farther and met the bigger one again.
     Daniel’s scream drew his attention. He was tempted to brush it off, but the kid did actually sound kind of scared. Alan shoved his phone in his pocket and picked up the pace.
     At first, he didn’t see anyone on the trail. Then he saw what happened-the little idiot had gone off the trail, and probably thought he was lost. But no-Daniel was just staring at a huge black lump in front of him.
     Suddenly, Alan understood.
     “Daniel!” he hissed. “Get away from that!”
     “It’s…it’s dead…” Daniel replied, his voice shaking.
     Alan’s head cleared a little. If that bear was alive, it would have definitely woken up by now. Still, he tiptoed forward into the underbrush.
     The closer he got, the further his heart sank.
     The bear was dead all right, not least because something had got hold of it and torn it apart. No wonder Daniel screamed.
     “Come on,” Alan said, sighing a bit at the future nightmares this would no doubt cause. “We’d better get out of here.”
     “What could kill a bear?” Daniel whispered.
     “Probably lots of things.” Although Alan couldn’t think of any at the moment. “Let’s get back, we’ll go take a swim, all ri—”
     Alan turned, and realized he didn’t know how to get back to the trail. That was strange. He didn’t think they were that far off. He could still see it when he walked over. Now, all he saw was dense underbrush and tall trees.
     “Are we lost?” Daniel asked.
     “Nah…nah, we just need to walk back that way. That’s where the trail was.”
     Uncertainly, Daniel nodded and followed.

    Ten minutes later, Alan was using worse swears than just “damn”.
    “It was here! We walked straight from here!”
     “Maybe it moved,” Daniel said.
     “Paths don’t move, you idiot.”
     “This one does.”
     Alan rolled his eyes. He didn’t need Daniel’s wild imagination right now.
     “Look, let’s just…find water. A stream, a river, anything. That’ll lead us somewhere.”
     “There is no water. Just trees.”
     Alan glanced over at Daniel. He was very pale now.
     “Don’t be so creepy,” he said.
     “I’m just telling you what he said.”
     Alan huffed at him.
     “Come on. I think I see a deer path. That’ll lead us to water one way or another.”

     Now Alan had no clue where they were. Once or twice he pulled out his phone again to see about a signal. It was still doing the same thing, still flickering in and out. Even the phone light was doing it now, spazzing out and causing strange shadows to dance on the trees. Alan wasn’t even sure how long it had been. The clock wasn’t working either.
     Daniel was walking behind him almost mechanically now, and Alan felt a tremor of responsibility. This wasn’t like yelling at him from the back porch. The kid really needed him now.
     “Hey, we’ll figure something out. If it comes to it I’ll tuck you in a tree branch, how’s that?”
     “He’s already going to do that.”
     Now Alan was seriously creeped out. He had ignored the first comment; this one he couldn’t let pass.
     “Who are you talking about?”
     “The forest man. He said we have to stay here forever.”
     “There’s no forest man. If there was, I’d ask him how to get out of here.”
     “He won’t let us out.”
     Alan shivered, then knelt down in front of his brother.
     “Daniel, there’s no forest man, understand? I know you’re scared and trying to explain why we’re lost, but it’s got nothing to do with a forest man.”
     Daniel cringed.
     “You’ve made him angry now.”
     “Daniel, please! Don’t try to weird me out, okay? I’m trying to find a way out.”
     Daniel just hugged himself and shivered. Alan put a hand on his shoulder and guided him forward.
     After about five more minutes of walking, they came upon the bear again.
     “What th—”
     “He’s here now.” Daniel’s voice had become a monotone now. He inched closer to Alan.
     “Who’s here?”
     Alan looked around, and saw nothing. The sun was getting pretty low, casting long shadows through the forest. Some of the tree branch shadows looked like they were waving around, but Alan knew that couldn’t be happening.
     “We get to stay on vacation forever,” Daniel said, his voice suddenly rising almost hysterically. Alan didn’t get a chance to ask him what that meant; he found out soon enough.

A/N: Slendy, I said, I don't have time for this. But he just stood there. Menacingly. Next time I'll just start playing the Markiplier interview. That'll show him.

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