The Woods

Tina rolled out of bed with a groan. It was only 8 a.m., and a Saturday, yet she had to be up already. Ugh. She knew she shouldn’t have agreed to go on the scavenger hunt with Jeremy, but her mother had said that she should spend more time with her little brother.

So, now she had to go the park and meet up with all his geeky ninth grader friends for a list of whatever they were supposed to find, then spend all day hunting for it. Blegh. But, it did mean that she could spend some time in the sun, start on her tan before it was officially summer, so there was that, at least.

“JEREMY! Are you up yet?”

“Yeah, I’ll be coming up in a minute,” yelled Jeremy from his dungeon of a basement room. Tina shuddered just thinking about what might be down there, beside general boyishness. Like spiders, or rats, or snakes. Gross.

“Hurry up, we have to be at the park by 8:30!” If there was one thing Tina hated more that creepy crawlies, it was being late. And if she had to come on this stupid hunt, they were going to be on time for once. Not like for every other stupid thing she had to drag him along to.

“Okay, I’m ready! Let’s go!”

“Um, no. No WAY am I going anywhere with you until you change,” Tina replied. He was wearing neon green cargo pants and a hideous orange shit, paired with his pink camo backpack and blue high tops. “What are you, color blind? Go change into something less… glowing.”

“But… I need my pockets,” He pouted. “Please?” Tina sighed and checked her watch. Already 8:20, they would have to hurry already to get to the park as it was.

“Fine, but stay away from me. I don’t want to be seen with a neon boy.”

“YAY! C’mon, let’s go, I don’t want to be late!” That was a first, he usually didn’t care at all what time they got anywhere. Clearly, this was important to him. Maybe his crush would be there, Tina mused. That weird Janice girl. She was a year younger than Jeremy, but in tenth grade. He had a thing for brainy girls.

“TINAAAAA! Move faster! We’re going to be late!” Tina again consulted her watch, and realized they would, indeed, be late if she didn’t hurry up.

They got to the park just in time to hear the rules ( which Tina barely heard ), and then went to retrieve the list of items. Tina quickly scanned the list, while Jeremy did the same to the crowd, probably looking for Janice. The list seemed pretty normal, basic stuff. An old Compass, a Coconut with two holes in it, a treasure map of any kind, a cap with a college football team symbol on it, that kind of stuff. She skipped to the bottom few items, since the list seemed to be more difficult as you got further down. An Antique wallet, an old arrowhead, an NES controller… Wait, what was the last item?

“Boys Team! Over hear!” Wait, Tina hadn’t know this was a boys vs. girls thing. Well, this changed things. Time for some competition. Hoorah, hoorah.

“Girl’s Team! Assemble! Okay, who has lists?” About half the girls, including Tina, raised their hands. “Okay. Everyone with lists, find a partner or two. Everyone else, stand still!” Tina milled through the crowd, hoping to find a familiar face. No such luck. Oh, wait, is that Janice? She would be a great help, smart people always had stuff like this.

“Hey! Janice, right?”

“Umm, yes?”

“You want to pair up with me?”

“Sure!” Her enthusiasm kind of made it seem like she didn’t have many friends. But that wasn’t possible, was it? After all, she was smart and pretty, and from what Jeremy said, really nice. So why didn’t she have someone with her already?

Oh, well, no point wasting time over it. They needed to devise a strategy.

“Can I have everyone’s attention, please?” Everyone immediately turned to look at the stage. “Is everyone ready to start?” A roaring cheer came from the small crowd. “Okay! The rules, one more time! Girl’s team vs. Boy’s team, first team back hear with all the objects, wins! Ready? Set? GO!” The announcer fired the BB gun into the air, and the crowd began to disperse.

“Girls! Wait a minute!” What seemed to be the girl in charge started giving the teams numbers. “Team 1, the first three Items! Team 2, the next three. Team 3…” Tina zoned out for a second “Team 8, you get the last three items. Meet up here in half an hour, no later! Go!”

“Okay Tina, what are the items?”

“Hmm? Oh! Okay, we have to get : An old arrowhead -I have one on my dresser-, an NES controller-”

“My dad has a couple in the basement,” interrupted Janice.

“Okay, good. And the last one is – wait, what? That’s sick!”

“What is it?” Janice inquired, curiously.

“It say we have to find a mummies finger bone! Yuck!” Tina was repulsed by the very though of something like that. The bone of a dead person? Eww!

“Oh, that’s nothing. I have like 3 just lying around at home. We can ask my mom if we can borrow one.”

“Wait, what? Why would you have mummy fingers lying around?”

“Chillax, they’re not from real mummies. The kids at the grade school made them for the King Tut lesson last month, and they gave all the parents the kids’ ‘artwork’. So, we have some from my little sister that she won’t miss.”

“Oh, okay. Let’s hurry!”

They found all three items relatively quickly, and made it back to the park with twenty minutes to spare.

“You want to see something cool in the woods? It’ll only take a minute, we can be back really quick.”

“Uh, sure,” replied Tina, hoping it wouldn’t take too long. She HATED being late for anything.

“C’mon, it’ll only take a minute! Let’s go!”

Janice hurried into the woods, leaving Tina, carrying the items, struggling to catch up.

“Wait up!” Janice giggled from ahead somewhere. “Janice, this isn’t funny! Wait for me!” Suddenly, Tina realized that she couldn’t see the path where she came from. Or Janice, for that matter. Or even the sky. “Janice? I’m going back!” No reply. “I’m Leaving!” Another giggle from up ahead. Tina turned around, more irritated than anything.

“Oh, you’re not going anywhere.”

“Janice, stop it! This isn’t funny!”

She turned around again, hoping to get a glimpse of Janice’s long blond hair, or her tie-die top.

“Come PLAY with me, Tina!” By now Tina was a little frightened.

“Janice, STOP! This isn’t funny, I’m going back to the park!”

“No, you’re not,” came a small voice from behind her. “You’re never going anywhere again. EVER!”

Tina whipped around. There was a small girl standing there. An Adorable little girl, but not when you looked at her eyes. There was nothing but murder in her eyes. “Stay and play with me, Tina! I need a friend!”

“OH. MY. GOSH. Who are you?” By now Tina was in near hysterics.

“I’m your new friend, Tina. And you’re my new friend. And now, we can be best friends forever, right?”

“What? No! I have to go, I have a little brother, and friends, and a life! You can’t KEEP me here!” Tina sobbed, somewhat dramatically. The little girl reached up towards her.

“Don’t cry. You don’t have to cry. You get to stay here with me, forever!”

“No!”

“Oh, you don’t have a choice. You’re trapped here, isn’t that right, Miss Elly?”

“Umm, who’s Miss Elly?”

“That!” Shouted the little girl gleefully, pointing behind her. Tina turned around. A scream rang through the still air. Then, nothing but pure silence could be heard in the dense woods. That, and the occasional sound of a little girl’s giggle.

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Snow Day

One of my more recent stories, but the first on my blog 😉 hope you enjoy!

 

Cold. So very,very cold. It was the first real day of winter in Montana, and at three in the afternoon it was just gettin’ above 0. Christie’s fingers were practically growing icicles,and her toes had gone numb a long time ago. But there wasn’t much left, she was almost done with Mama’s driveway, then she could go inside and have cocoa and get paid her 50 cents.

But as she shoveled the last scoop off the driveway, Christie noticed that, across the street, Old man Leroy’s driveway was still 2 foot deep in the fresh snow. She sighed, knowing mama wouldn’t let her have peace until she’d ‘done like the good Lord would’, and gone and shoveled the snow away. She stomped her frozen feet, threw her shovel over her shoulder, and headed over.

As Christie dug into the white powder, she imagined that each scoop was something mean one of the bullies had said to her recently. Bobbie, Joey, and Leroy always teased her about everything, like her constant farmyard smell and her uneven teeth, even though mama said they made her special.

“Ya need braces, Crusty!” Poof. A shovelful of powder.

“Maybe you should just go join the other smelly pigs, Crusty!!” Splat. Another one, this scoop larger,and wetter from the melting snow.

“Say, Crusty, you sure you’re really a girl?” She envisioned Bobbie’s face as she attacked the snow, angrily. Then, from behind her,she heard the hated voices for real.

“Whatcha doin here, Crusty? This is our spot.”

“Ain’t nobody’s ‘spot’ Bobbie,” she retorted, without turning.

“Weeelll, ya see, Crusty, ain’t nobody that says it ain’t our spot. An’ the ol’ man pays us to shovel, so you can finish and we get paid anyhow, or ya can skeedaddle. We wouldn’t like to hurt ya, would we, guys?”

“I ain’t budgin’. I’m gonna finish, let him know I done it fer free, and then I’m gonna go home,” Christie replied, hoping they didn’t do anything stupid to get rid of her. Like snowballing her. She was better with a snowball than anyone else in the eighth grade,but they didn’t know that.

“I said GIT,” shouted Bobbie loudly, clearly irked that she was standing up to them. “Boy’s, start snowballin’ her. She’ll git away soon ’nuff.” His goons began gathering snow, some or it with small rocks or ice balls inside them, the shovels they’d brought forgotten in the snow.

All Christie had to do was hit the window. Not too hard, iffen you was as good as she was. She pulled back her arm facing the bullies, but surprised them all when she turned and hit the window dead on.

BAM! The front door opened quite loudly, and Old man Leroy came out in his sweater, with newspaper in his hand, seemingly very angry.

“What the ‘ell are are all you kids doing in my yard? Are you hoodlums botherin’ that poor girl? Git! Git,I tell ya! I shan’t pay you no more!”

Christie smiled as they ran away, knowing they wouldn’t bother her anytime soon. After all, the last kids that messed with Old man Leroy disappeared, or so the  story was. So everybody was afraid of Old man Leroy.