Is it me or is the sky getting darker? Rachel wondered as she trekked deeper and deeper into the woods trying to find her way back to the cabin her family had rented. She realized now she shouldn’t had gotten angry and walked out without map, food, and water. That was a stupid move, she chided at herself as she walked.
She thought back to earlier that day when she and her brother Justin were stuck inside their family cabin playing I Spy for what seemed like the gazillion times. It was their favorite game when they were children and thought to play it to cure their boredom.
Rachel sighed and slapped a bug on her forearm. A week ago, she thought she was free. She was going to spend every minute of every day hanging out with her friends. Then the night after the start of their summer vacation, their parents sat them down and called a family meeting.
“We have some great news,” their mother announced giddily, “we’re going on a family vacation.” She smiled big while her father did jazz hands in the back.
Rachel’s fingers had paused mid-text while Justin’s jaw literally dropped. “Wait, now?” She asked.
“Yes, now. Your mother and I have rented a deluxe cabin in the woods. We’re set to leave in three days.” Their father answered.
“F-for how long?” Justin stammered and their mother replied, “two weeks.”
When they got to the cabin in the afternoon of the third day, they realized the cabin was anything but deluxe. There was barely any furniture in the two bedroom one bath cabin. “What the hell is this?” Rachel had almost screamed and she did when she found out there was no cell signal.
For two days, the family survived mostly on the few can foods their parents had stored in the car in case of emergency and this morning, their mother decided. “We cannot survive on such unhealthy foods. So here’s what we’ve decided. Your father and I are going to the supermarket to get some real food. You two stay here. Don’t open the door for anyone and don’t leave the cabin. It’s very easy to get lost in these woods. Do you understand me?”
Justin had bobbed his head while Rachel just rolled her eyes and said, “Yeah, whatever.”
“How about we play I spy?” Justin asked minutes after their parents’ departure to the supermarket.
“What are you, five?”
“Come on,” Justin pleaded, “I’m bored to death and besides, we haven’t played it since we were little.”
“That’s why I asked ‘what are you, five?'” They sat silently for a minute. The cabin was so quiet that even with the windows and doors shut, you can hear the crickets chirping outside. Rachel grew irritated and caved. “Oh, alright, just one game. I’ll go first.” Her eyes traveled around the room. “I spy…something red and ugly.”
“Uh, you mean the couch?” Justin raised his brow. “Dude, you’re sitting on it. That doesn’t count.”
“There’s nothing here. If you’re so smart, why don’t you try?”
“Alright, I spy something dark and beautiful.”
Rachel’s eyes traveled around the room, searching for the object her brother was referencing to. She glanced once, twice, and even three times before turned to her brother. “You’re supposed to reference something in this room and this room only.”
“I am.” He walked to the other side of the room and pointed at something on the wall. Rachel looked closer, perplexed. She had no clue what she was looking at. “Isn’t this beautiful?” Justin said. “It must’d been an ex-tenant.” It was an etching of a horse into the wall. It was dark and beautiful. “Okay, your turn.”
They went on and on with the game. Rachel growing more and more frustrated with her brother’s finger-pointing at her flaws. Meanwhile, her brother’s pointing out all the things around the room that without a careful eye, it would be impossible to spot. Suddenly, Rachel bolted up. “That’s it, I can’t take it anymore. I can’t play this game with your stupid rules.”
“Those aren’t rules, that’s just how you play.” In less than a moment, Rachel crossed the room and was at the door. She turned the door knob and stepped out into the open air. “Rachel, wait!” She heard Justin’s heavy footsteps behind her and kept on running, weaving between trees and soon, her brother’s footsteps became distant. She was on her own.
She got tired quickly and realized she was thirsty too with no water to drink. Now, after wandering for who knows how long in the woods trying to find her way back home, she was exhausted. She couldn’t walk anymore. She leaned against a tree and sagged to the ground.
Then she heard, “Rachel? Rachel? Rachel?” It was three different voices, all familiar. It was so faint that she wondered whether her thirst had made her delirious. Then the voice grew louder and soon, she saw a growing beam of light racing toward her.
“Rachel,” her mother’s voice and face appeared before her. Then she felt two strong arms lifted her from the ground and carried her up the hill. She was home. Some time later, after downing two bottles of water and explaining why she ran out, her mother grabbed her chest. “Don’t you ever do that again, you hear me? If you don’t want to be there, all you have to do is tell us.” She blew a breath of air as Rachel nodded slowly. “You scared me to death.”
This is a scheduled post. I might be out almost the entire day today (exam and volunteering). I will be posting something later but first I will re-post this short story (flash fiction) I wrote some time ago. The original version wasn’t this long but I just thought it was super incomplete. Happy Saturday. 🙂