SOMETHING WICKED: DAY 3 - THE LOST

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THE LOST

SOMETHING WICKED
PART THREE | (READ PART TWO)


A boy and a girl are lost in the woods.

They follow the slivers of sunlight that poke through the dense, leafy canopy above their heads. They tip-toe around the shadows like they are sleeping beasts. They pass each other, but are too far to see such truth. Their hearts beat hard against the cages of their ribs. Their breath quickens with their frantic steps. Dead leaves and snapping twigs crunch beneath their feet. The girl is barefoot. She walks on her toes and steps cautiously around tree roots and nests of fallen leaves. She sees a flash of something in the dark and she follows it. She thinks that it is the boy. She followed him into the woods, but has lost sight. Now, she loses sight of the flash of the something. She spins around, and around again, but she cannot find it.

She is surrounded by the dark. 

She looks up. She spots of a spill of light in the distance ahead and she runs. She runs and she runs, and she does not know that the boy is also running and running to that same thin stretch of sunlight breaking through the trees.

A boy and a girl are lost in the woods.

They are running.

They collide.

They fall back against the dirt and grass and leaves and all the air flies from their hard-working lungs. The boy scrambles quickly upright. He looks over one shoulder and then the other, and then the first again. He can hear his blood pulsing like roaring ocean waves in his ears. It drowns out the sounds of the woods and no matter how hard he tries he cannot hear the sounds of footsteps like he had before. He looks deep into the shadows. The shadows do not look back.

The girl sits up. She asks the boy what he is doing, and her words shock him into motion like an electric current. He grabs her wrist and pulls and she goes flying to her feet. She stumbles and struggles to keep up as he begins to run again, his hand on hers.

“Where are you going?!” she asks. The boy does not answer. He runs. They run. 

A boy and a girl are lost in the woods.

The girl tells the boy they are going in circles. The boy tries to argue, but he does not know that he is wrong. The girl begins to pull bark from the trees. She leaves bare bald spots behind, “So that we know we’ve been here.”

They stop running. The boy keeps looking over his shoulders, but he does not answer the girl when she asks what he is looking for. His blood stops pumping so hard in his ears and he can hear again. He reacts to every little noise, pulls the girl away from any tiny sound.

“Is there something in the woods?” asks the girl. The boy’s silence is an answer in itself.

They walk together for what feels like hours. They loop through the winding trails, their pacing slowing the longer they walk and the farther they go. When they find a cabin they thing that it might be a mirage, the kind that explorers see in the desert when they are hot and tired and desperate for the cooling waters of tropical oases. They share a glance.

“Should we?” asks the girl. The boy shakes his head. 

“I think I know this place,” he says. “I think we’re close to home.”

“Where is home?” the girl asks.

“Verbena Drive,” the boy says.

A boy and a girl are lost in the woods.

They turn away from a little cabin that promises they are near home. They do not turn around. They do not look back. They walk side by side and keep to the sunlight poking through the trees. Behind them, as they walk away, the cabin lights flicker.