Great. Hoo-ray. This phone would be just flipping perfect if all I needed right now was a two pound piece of plastic in my pocket. My phone will be fine, I said. I have GPS, I said. It has fantastic battery life, I said.
Let’s see if I can count the number of mistakes I made today on two hands. Start with going hiking. I never go hiking. Whose hare-brained idea was that? Oh yeah, Erica’s! “You should get out more. Be more active. Outdoorsy.” Well, she finally convinced me, didn’t she?
Okay, yes, you called her a bitch and you’re not talking to each other anymore, and you’re really only out here to prove that you have some vague sense of ambition and fortitude.
But I AM out here, right? Alone… Ah yes, number two. Hiking alone. Which is great. Just Great. Very… peaceful. Alone in a t-shirt and shorts. Without a tent. Or food. And a now-empty gatorade bottle. No compass.
I also didn’t tell anyone where I was going hiking.
Why did you not do that? Some sense of pride? Thought Erica would be impressed with your stupidity? Jesus, did you even tell anyone you were going hiking at ALL? Let’s call that one a twofer. Not to mention you chose to go hiking in the remotest area on the map you could find, you fuuuuu….dging idiot.
Let’s not start that again. I lost the swearing argument at least 8 weeks ago. What else? I quite clearly did not take into account how quickly my battery would run down with my GPS running and a weak signal in the woods. Christ, I think I’m out of fingers.
Let’s stop and think a second. What did dad always tell you about wandering in the woods? Find water and follow it downhill. It’s likely to take you somewhere. Probably sound advice, right? When was the last time you saw water?
Have I even seen it since I’ve been out here? If I did, it doesn’t matter, because guess what?
You don’t remember where it was, do ya?
Nope. Okay, what else… Uhh. Sunnn. Sun, Sun… sun may rise in the east at least it settles in a final location. Thank you, Anthony Kiedis. Alright, I headed in from the South, so… where did the sun go down?
Holy hell, if Erica, was ever right about something, it would be this. You. Do. Not. Pay. Attention. Man alive.
Alright, I acknowledge this. My attention to peripheral details could use some work. It’s because I have such laser focus on the present.
Such great laser focus that you neglected or forgot to bring almost everything you would need today.
It doesn’t help that since the sun has gone down all of those pretty oranges and golds and rust-reds have faded into a grayscale in the dim light.It’s getting harder to see, and everything looks the same. A jacket would really feel great right now, too. And pants. And I thought mosquitos were supposed to hibernate or something in the fall. That’s okay, the itching makes me warm up a little. Except when it gives me chills.
Right, right, the task at hand. Sooo it looks vaguely less gray to… my… right. Yes. Assuming that’s West, I guess I should forge ahead. Good. I knew I was right.
You know you’re a walking cliche for a bad horror flick right now, don’t you?
Shut up. How is that helping? Now all I’m going to be thinking about are gruesome clown killers and mutated Sasquatches wearing chainsaw necklaces.
Is that gruesome killers of clowns or killer clowns who are gruesome?
Either, really, I guess… It’s so dark. Maybe I should just stop and wait for light.
Yeah, and PAY ATTENTION when it comes back.
Ugh. Why do I always have to get the last word?
Because you love getting the last word.
That I do…
What was that?
What was what?
That. That noise you just ignored. It sounded like a twig snapping.
It was probably a twig snapping. I’m in the woods.
Yeah, but what snapped it? It sounded heavy. You shouldn’t stop here.
There! There was another one! You’re not really going to stay there, are you? Right there? With the noises? From the things? Heavy things?
Okay, I’m not going to spaz. I’ll keep walking. But not because of the twigs.
Good. Go then.
Okay, that one didn’t sound like a twig. That was a grunt. A diseased and gravelly grunt that originated from the coldest depths of some unending chasm in hell.
Coldest depths of hell? Really?
You know what it means. Move!
Ugh. I skipped one too many gym classes. Too many things are jiggling and my I think my knees are creaking, literally.
You skipped one too many salads, too. Whatever is out there, it sounds like it’s getting closer. You’re going to have to go faster.
I’m running, okay? It’s so hard to see. I’m not even sure there’s really something really out there! Ow! Son of a…
That paying attention thing. Now you’ve gone and run into an oak tree, dummkopf. Better recover quickly. Aufstehen!
I must have hit my head pretty hard. I think I understand German.
Nein. You really don’t. The same handful of words you barely knew in high school. Seriously, get up, now. Things are moving closer.
Things? Okay, okay. Shit, everything hurts. My lungs are burning. It was hard enough to see without the stars swirling in my peripheral vision. How far am I going to have to go? I can’t do this much longer.
You have to. It could be anything. You are not strong. You will not put up a good fight.
I’m not fast, either. Jesus. What IS it?
No way to tell. You’re not fast, but you don’t have a whole lot of options right now. Whoa, that was a loud crack. Go faster. Maybe you’ll get lucky and run into your car. Or find headlights, anything…
Alright, okay. Dodging pine tree to the left. Ducking under regular-tree tree branch.
Regular botanist, you are. You need to move faster.
Shut up. Okay, avoid stump. Involuntarily run through spider web. Stomp through mud patch.
Swat leafy branch. My ankles won’t take many more of these jukes.
Stumble past prickly bush. Scrape through rough saplings.
IT’S RIGHT BESIDE YOU.