Writing 101 Assignment 5: Lost in the Woods Part 2

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Prompted by a recent writing assignment, I felt inspired to try continuing a story I started some weeks ago. So for those interested here is another segment of Lost in the Woods:

Lost in the Woods (part 2)

Josh stirred in his sleeping bag and gazed up into cluster of tree branches swaying in the morning breeze. The sun’s shimmering rays were filtering through leaves. He rolled on his side to check on his younger brother. Timothy remained sound asleep. Josh quietly rose to stoke and rebuild the campfire which had slowly smoldered during the night. Soon, he had coffee brewing and prepared a small breakfast consisting of instant oatmeal and berries.

Timothy rolled in his sleeping sniffing the air, “Josh that aroma is killing me; my stomach is really growling.”

The older brother looked up, “You’re always hungry! It’s time to get up; breakfast is ready.”

In seconds, Timothy was up and sitting at his brother’s side who handed him a tin plate of food, “Thanks.” He ate for a few moments and then inquired, “So, what is our plan?”

Josh sipped his coffee and shrugged, “Well, the basic plan, like I said last night, is to retrace our journey and head back towards our previous campsite. Then I should be able to find our jeep. Hopefully, along the way, we’ll recognize a landmark or something and know then how to get home. Losing that gps unit was really bad luck.”

“Not to mention, losing a good portion of our food supplies,” Timothy returned as he finished his oatmeal and the last berry on his plate.

“Are you complaining now? I thought you said this was an adventure.”

Timothy raised one hand in surrender, “I’m sorry, I don’t mean to grumble like an Israelite wandering in the desert. I still consider this a much unexpected and awesome adventure.”

Josh smiled at his brother’s words, “Remember they journeyed in that desert for 40 years and faced plenty of hardships. If I was there, I’d have a hard time not complaining.”

The younger brother grinned, “Gee,I hope we’re not lost in the woods for that long.”

While sipping the last of his coffee, Josh continued, “Well, like those travelers looking for the Promised Land so long ago, we need some inspiration to find our way back home.”

Soon the two brothers packed up their supplies and gear. Each one wore a backpack with their bedding rolled and tied on. They also dowsed the campfire making sure it was completely extinguished. Soon Josh and Timothy began their journey through the woods. Josh took the lead in an effort to retrace their trek from the day before. The thick forest was pungent of recent rain and the ground was muddy. Josh sighed as he felt wet branches and leaves brush his arms and clothing. The boys continued in silence for some time.

Timothy broke the silence, “So, are we going the right way?”

“I don’t know.”

“Why is that?”

“That rain washed away our footprints; I am just guessing which way we need to go. I’m hoping we’ll find something that looks familiar.”

“Oh”

Again the brothers traveled in silence. They exited the cluster of trees and starting crossing a grassy meadow. Josh gazed around surveying the area, “I don’t think, we’re going the right direction.”

“That figures. I had a feeling,” Timothy commented as he pushed through the long grass swishing around his knees, “Perhaps, we’ll find something helpful when we reach the other side of this meadow.”

“I think we need to turn around and head back.”

This time, Timothy’s impatience showed, “I don’t agree. If we do that we’ll just be walking in one big circle.”

With concern registering in his troubled face, Josh shook his head, “We need to find our original trail. Right now, we risk going in completely the wrong direction.”

Unmoved by his brother’s reasoning, Timothy maintained his position, “But I read somewhere, that we should keep traveling in a straight line as much as we can. The idea is that eventually we’ll find a road or a sign which will direct us where to go.”

“But this forest is huge. It could take a long time to find a road or a sign or any hint of civilization.”

Timothy shifted his weight from one leg to the other and sighed, “Look Josh, so far I have been listening and following everything you say. Can’t we just give my idea a chance?”

The older brother, with his dark head bent, remained quiet for a few minutes and slowly replied, “Well, okay. I’m not sure that my idea would work out any better. Let’s give your plan a try.”

They continued their trek across the meadow entering another cluster of pine and deciduous trees. The ground was damp and offered no indication of a recent trail. Soon Josh could hear the trickling of a stream, “We must be near water. We can stop there and refill our canisters.”

They followed the sound of softly flowing water until they discovered a small gently rushing creek. The brothers removed their backpacks, found their canisters and refilled them. As Josh was filling his second canister, he looked up into a nearby hollowed tree, “Hey, there’s something glistening in there.”

He placed his filled canisters aside, stood up, and approached the nearby oak tree with a large trunk containing a hollowed opening. He carefully reached in and pulled out an old glass bottle, “That’s strange. There’s a message inside.”

Timothy watched in amusement as he stored his refilled canisters, “Well, gee, you wanted some inspiration today. Maybe this is it.”

Using two fingers as tweezers, Josh retrieved the brittle note from the bottle and carefully unfolded it, “this paper is old and I can barely read it.”

“What does it say?”

While standing in the shadow of the sprawling oak tree trying to find some sun, Josh squinted at the faint writing, “It says, ‘Time is running out. Meet me at the old lake cabin at sundown. I will be…’” Josh hesitated, “I can’t read any more of it.”

The younger brother hurried over to study at the mysterious note, “Looks like a love letter. I can just see a small heart and a faint signature near the bottom.”

Josh gently refolded the letter and returned it to its container, “Well, that is no help for us.”

He reached to replace the bottle in its resting place in the tree but Timothy had another idea, “Let’s keep it. Perhaps we’ll discover what this is all about. You know I like mysteries.”

“This is an old mystery and I doubt we’ll find any clues to solve it.”

Widening his pale blue eyes, Timothy pleaded, “Oh please, let’s hang on to it. You just never know what else we might find along the way.”

“Alright, you’re in charge of this bottle and its’ mystery,” Josh handed the old glass container to Timothy who carefully placed it in his backpack.

Then he stooped over to study the ground, “As best as I can see, no one has been this way for a long time. There is just no indication of a trail. The best thing I can think of to do is to follow this stream until we find a bridge or a road. Or until we find another suitable place to camp for the night.”

The brothers continued their journey walking single file along the creek which widened into a small river. Josh listened to the tranquil sound of flowing water while circling around a thick cluster of trees and thorny bushes. Without warning, he stopped in his tracks. Timothy was trekking so close that he collided with Josh, “hey, why did you stop so sudden?”

Josh pointed, “Look, this river feeds into a lake and there’s a tiny house.”

Timothy peered over Josh’s shoulder staring at the distant, minute building and replied with excitement, “you mean a cabin; a cabin by the lake. I wonder if that is the same cabin mentioned in that old note.”

Gazing at the small wooden structure sitting on the edge of a rippling lake, Josh scratched his dirt speckled forehead and replied, “Well, let’s go see if anyone is home.”

 

 

 

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