Tag Archives: Lost

Writing 101 Day 16 Lost



Lost in Wyoming (Part 3)

Well, I am still on my journey to visit my friends living in Wyoming. So far, the weather has been warm and beautiful with no hint of foul conditions along the way. It seems that God has seen fit to bless my little excursion as once again I drove along Interstate 90 with optimism and confidence. It never occurred to me that I would have any sort of difficulty. I had it all planned out in my head to drive into Buffalo, pull up to my friend’s house, and surprise her at her doorstep. I was sure I knew the way and so now set off without delay. A part of me knew that there is always some danger when on such a long journey but it seemed to me that things were going so very smoothly; I had no unusual fear or foreboding as I cruised along enjoying another day of glorious sunshine to light the way.

I had now crossed most of South Dakota and was edging closer to the Wyoming border. I remember seeing sunflower fields which also brightened my long journey and the scenery was changing as the flat terrain became hilly. And those hills became steeper and steeper as I drew nearer to the mountains.  I stopped at a scenic outlook at one point to study the hills a bit and to gaze at the distant mountains now on the horizon. The slopes were rugged with blunt shapely edges as if God, the Creator and Artist, had reached down taking clumps of earth to hand sculpt these towering and protruding hillsides. I thought of a potter working with lumps of clay in his hands to lovingly create an awe inspiring masterpiece. No two hillsides looked the same. The grass is also different as it is a softer green than the vibrant hues you may see in Minnesota and Wisconsin. I stopped in scenic Rapid City for lunch and to gas up.

I am now seeing tourists’ signs for the Wall Drug Store/Wax Museum, the scenic Badlands, and Mt. Rushmore. All of these are very fine places to visit and see. Once again, I experienced a flood of memories as I recalled my mom and dad on our trip years ago visiting all those places. I also remembered touring through caves then also. Soon I was approaching the Wyoming border and a certain gas station with a long row of gas pumps. I never counted them but it was much more than usual as the store itself looked tiny compared to the elongated row of pumps. I don’t recall the name of the station but I do know there used to be this informational sign which warned drivers that this gas station would be the last one they’d see for many miles. As you might imagine, that piece of advertising worked as every car, truck, motorcycle, and camper pulled off to fill their gas tanks. And you probably guessed; it worked on me too as I didn’t relish becoming stranded in the middle of nowhere. Another factor in my decision making at this point was that now, according to my cell phone carrier, I was in a dead zone where my phone would not work. So if I have car trouble at this point, I couldn’t call for help.

Soon I had crossed the border cruising up and down the steep, wild hills of Wyoming. The country side itself emitted this wild and untamed sensation as for miles there was nothing but wilderness. I was seeing a lot of brush and clusters of trees; and very few farms or other housing. And the towns now seem very, very far apart. According the latest US Census, Wyoming is the least populated state of the US.  And, apparently according the same census report, South Dakota is the fourth least populated state. As I continued along, I learned to recognize the bluish green sage brush along the way because my friend had pointed it out to me on a previous visit. Also there were these long, tall and strategically placed wooden fences all along either side of the interstate. These were not meant to pen in herds of animals. No, they had a very different purpose in which they were used to block snow from blowing across the highway as was explained to me.  Now, I have never driven this way during the winter months and so I have no idea how well they worked. However, I am guessing that they are somewhat successful and make a noticeable difference in protecting this road because there seems to be quite a number of these long wooded barriers in place. And why would someone keep building and installing these fences if they didn’t work?

But as for fencing in the farm animals? Well, a lot of Wyoming is open range so the animals are free to wander. Many farmers and ranchers here do not use barbed wire fences, electric fences or any other type of fence to pen their herds of animals. This is so different from where I grew up in Wisconsin! There are some barriers in place such as these metal, gaping grates built in some driveways and some roads to keep the animals from crossing. And I think the interstate highway is somehow guarded too from wandering herds of animals although, I am not clear on that.

One time on a previous visit, my friend and I were sightseeing along a dirt backroad when we came across a dairy cow with a tag in her ear just nonchalantly standing in our way. We came to a complete halt as she was in no hurry to cross. I rolled down my window and kindly called out to her, “Hey Milking Cow Number 33, could you please move along?”

My friend who was driving burst into laughter but my remark had very little effect on the cow as she just stood and stared at us. Slowly though, she did decide to meander along.

One difference I noticed on my current trip was an increase in mining in this state. Companies hungry for new fuel resources were hard at work digging up this beautiful and pristine land. I saw a number of mining sites along the way. To me they were unsightly eye sores searing scars in the midst of Wyoming’s natural and wild beauty. From what I understand now, most of those mining operations have ceased and moved to other locations in their hunt for more fuel resources.

I hope those mining companies had plans in place to restore the land as much as they could to its former natural beauty but I don’t know if that was the case. And I do understand that mining is an important industry as we need to wisely use our own resources instead of depending on other countries. My father had worked in an iron mine near Black River Falls, Wisconsin while I was growing up. That mine is closed now and the land has been restored and even renovated into a beautiful county park known as Lake Wazee and is a serious tourist attraction. That lake is actually the former mining quarry and the water is as pure and clean as can be. It is about 355 feet deep at its deepest point and attracts boaters and scuba divers. There is also a camping area, beach and a swimming area. It costs a small fee to visit and there is a nearby sports store to rent or purchase water sport equipment and supplies. I enjoy visiting the park and walking along the wooded trails that surround the lake.

But as I drove along the Wyoming highway today, the coal and methane mines all were in full operation with plenty of huge trucks and heavy equipment transporting along the roads. As I drew nearer to Buffalo, the roads became more hilly and steep. I was nearing the mountains. As I reached the top of one steep hill I glanced in my rearview mirror and my heart pounded wildly in fear. For the first time on this trip I was meeting terror head on.

I saw a huge mining truck reach the crest of the hill I had just crossed. Most of the time large trucks move at a slower pace especially on steep grades. However, this driver knew how to shift and keep his vehicle clipping along at a very face pace. Several minutes earlier when I was atop that previous hill that truck had been many miles behind my car. It never dawned on me then that he would catch up so quickly. From judging how fast he had climbed that hill, I knew he would catch up to me in no time. That driver was in a race and this highway was his racetrack.

Now in full panic mode, I frantically wondered what to do. I was sure he would collide with me as I mentally envisioned that I and my car would become flatter than a pancake. What should I do? No room to pull off and no other roads to turn onto. I was afraid of speeding like he was. The road was curvy as well as hilly and I knew I could lose control. I checked the mirror again. That speeding missile on wheels was temporarily out of sight as it had dipped down between the two steep hills. And here I was a moving target about to be plowed and pummeled to death. I knew he’d be behind me in seconds. Should I move into the other lane?  That seemed like a good idea but then I thought no.  He may already have seen me (since I had also spotted him) and therefore may already be prepared to go around my car. If I moved now into the other lane while out of his eyesight, it could potentially goof him up. He may have already moved into that lane but I couldn’t tell. So, with a pounding heart, I stayed put in my lane driving as fast as I dared with white knuckles glued to the steering wheel. I prayed for God to welcome me into his beautiful home in heaven for I was preparing to die. I didn’t know if I was making the right decision. I didn’t know if I would be alive in the next few seconds.

Suddenly, the hugely ominous truck loomed behind me and I felt my heart nearly jump out of my chest. He was still in my lane. This was it, I thought; will I live or die today? I gripped the wheel tighter than ever and continued to drive faster as I tried to keep some cushion of space between the truck and my car. Then, much to my relief, the roaring monstrous vehicle swerved into the other lane and flew passed me. That driver did not slow down for anything and was soon out of my sight. This road continued to be his one truck racetrack. I heaved a long sigh of huge relief. I continued to breathe deeply trying to calm my beating heart and my shaking arms. I was so thankful to be alive and safe. It was God’s will for me to live a while longer and to continue this journey.

Soon after that I reached Buffalo, Wyoming. I was so overjoyed that my long drive in the car was soon over. Feeling very confident again, I drove through the streets as I pictured myself showing up unexpectedly on my friend’s doorstep. Oh yes, I thought, I know the way to go; just turn here, then here, and then one more turn and in a few blocks, I will pull up in front of her house. Except… That didn’t happen. I pulled up to the wrong house and was baffled. What happened? I was sure I knew the way.

Oh well, I was certain I was close so I drove around a few more blocks. I was positive that I’d recognize the right road and then find the right home. After all I prided myself with having a photographic memory. I just needed to spot the right old house, turn at that corner and just drive a few more blocks and I would be there. Yeah, right. Well I drove and drove in circles. Obviously, I didn’t have such a great photographic memory. Perplexed, I knew I would have to stop somewhere and dig out her address from everything out of it. Her address wasn’t there. I had left it sitting on the table at home. I then checked my gps device to see if I had entered her address there. I had done no such thing; so much for careful planning and paying attention to details. Now I was 1300 miles away, lost in a city I did not know and my larger than life self-assurance had finally deflated.

“Well,” I thought, “I will just have to call my friend and her daughter and admit I got lost.” I flipped open my small cell phone, dialed her number and listened. It was not a smart phone, by the way, just a very basic cell phone.

“Sorry, that number is no longer in service,” answered a female robotic voice.

I didn’t have the right number. I couldn’t believe it but I thought of the next step. I simply called my cell phone carrier’s directory to retrieve my friend’s number that way. However, to my stunned surprised, my carrier didn’t have a listing for her for two reasons; her cell phone number is with a different carrier and she didn’t have a land phone. Therefore, my carrier had no listing for her.  I also tried calling the regular phone directory and they also had no listing for her as she seemed to have a private listing.

More perplexed than ever, I wondered what to do. I thought about booting my laptop computer to contact her through facebook but I didn’t think I would pick up a signal to connect to the internet. But, with a start, I thought of someone who could do that.  Picking up my phone again, I called my cousin living in the state of Washington, “Hi, I’m lost in Buffalo, Wyoming and need your help.”

My cousin sounded incredulous, “What do you want me to do?”

“Go on Facebook, send a friend request to my friend and her daughter, and see if they answer.”

“Okay,” replied my cousin who was eager to help.

She logged into her computer and into Facebook. I gave her my friend’s name and her daughter’s name and she sent the friend requests. Then we waited and waited. No one answered her requests.

“Shoot,” I said feeling more deflated, “neither one is on the computer right now. What could they be doing? They both know I am arriving today so they must be home.”

My cousin had the next brainstorm, “Do you want me to search for her in the white pages?”

“Okay,” I said a bit more hopeful.

She went to work entering my friend’s name and searching through the pages, “Well, several entries have come up but it is hard to tell because only the initials are used.”

I thought about it, “Can you just read each entry and I will see if one of them sounds right?”

So, carefully and concisely, my cousin read each entry to me. By process of elimination, I was able to determine which one might be my friend.

Kathy clicked on the entry I indicated and found an address. She read it to me and I entered it into my gps unit.

“Thanks for helping me, cousin,” I replied, “and I will let you know if this worked.”

“Okay,” answered my cousin, “I will talk to you soon.”

So off I went again to find my friend. I followed all the instructions supplied by my gps device and soon I was indeed pulling up in front of a familiar house. I knocked on the door, and much to my elation and relief, my friend answered the door. And was surprised to see I have arrived. Excitedly we hugged and then I exclaimed, “What have you been doing? I actually got lost and couldn’t get hold of you. So my cousin tried contacting you through Facebook for me.”

“Oh?” My friend and her daughter looked at each other and then me trying hard to not laugh. Then they explained, “We fell asleep!”

Curious now, they jumped on their computers, logged in and checked their Facebook messages. They had indeed received my cousin’s message requesting to be friends and explaining that I needed help.

We all laughed and began planning the next few days. We all liked hiking and geocaching so we planned several of these along with some sightseeing.

One of the biggest highlights is that we hiked to the top of a certain mountain where an old fire lookout house still remains. We had engaged in a geocaching hunt and the cache was hidden near the old building. We searched under rocks, around trees, and around the old building. Due to the steepness and rocky terrain, it was a challenge to safely maneuver around. Numerous times, I grasped the edge of rocks, tree limbs, or small boulders to keep from slipping. My friend found the cache this time.  But even more thrilling than finding the hidden “treasure” was the treasure of seeing the mountainous beauty and just being with my friends. We don’t get to visit each other often enough so when we do, we cherish that time. Just writing this account now, I am once anxious to be on that long and wondrous journey again to visit my Wyoming friends.



Writing 101 Day 13 Serially Lost Part 2


Lost in Wyoming (Part 2)

I awoke the next, ate a small breakfast at the Super 8 motel in Chamberlain, South Dakota situated on the scenic Missouri River. In a short amount of time, I had repacked my car for my trip to Wyoming. It was a bright and sunny day, and I started up in great confidence. I never knew that I will get lost or incur a dangerous encounter. I was back on Interstate 90 heading west. The scenery of fields, farms, and small towns flowed by. Occasionally, I met up with a construction site and needed to slow to pass cautiously.

As I drove along two things happened: I drove across the central-mountain time zone border and I began seeing signs for my favorite pit stop along the way.  That is a tourist stop at an 1880’s Ghost Town near Midland, South Dakota. I have stopped a number of times but I never get tired of it. I am always afraid I might miss the turn off so I try to read every sign to ensure I do not drive by without knowing. Finally, I see the turn off up ahead. I keep myself in the right lane so there is no danger of missing the turn. With anticipation, I drive into the parking lot and turn off my car. I am ready to for a long walk to stretch my legs.

Plenty of other visitors are here so I join in a long line to purchase my ticket and enter the museum which includes a gift shop. I pass through the shop gazing at the books. That tends to be my favorite purchase. I consider several titles and decide to think about this while I view the rest of the museum and the old ghost town. After taking time to look at old collections and artifacts of the pioneering era inside, I finally make it outdoors walking down the old dirt main street of the century old town.

The layout to me is almost reminiscent of the old Gunsmoke TV show as I pass by the old post office, bank, and a Wells Fargo stagecoach. There is also an old jailhouse. I even happen to come across a replica of the old medical office of Dr. Addams from the Gunsmoke program and that threw me for a loop. Just because, I knew the old TV show supposedly took place in Kansas, not South Dakota. However, I think they continue to acquire new additions for this popular tourist attraction. For instance, this tourist site has also acquired props from Kevin Costner’s movie Dances with Wolves. I also pass by an old school house and an old church. I can’t help but peek inside. Another feature of this old town is the various lifeless statues of men, women, and children dressed in 1880’s attire. As I wander along I see them on the streets, the wooden sidewalks, and in the buildings. I even encounter motionless statues of dogs and horses. I also strolled onto another dirt street checking out a row of old shanties. These are tiny houses where families lived. I could not imagine how those pioneering settlers survived the harsh winters that I knew took place here. This is a vast flat prairie where when the wind blows, the snow flies, and the temperatures drop, there is no stopping the sheer cold and brute wintry conditions. I am sure these were authentic shanties perhaps hastily built by their very hardy occupants. They housed old furniture, stoves, and dishware of the pioneering era all arranged for use. The walls were thin with no insulation and small paned windows. Somehow though, these tiny, modest, and crude structures have survived through time.

I then continued to follow a long dirt road which led to a distant old farmhouse. No other tourist was on the road so I was alone walking along listening to the soft wind and the silence. Up ahead I noticed two more statues of horses grazing behind a long, white fence. As I drew closer, I saw one of the horses’ tails silently sway back and forth. I had become so used to the stillness and the lack of life here, that I nearly jumped out of my skin. Obviously, these ponies were very much alive. I spend a few moments watching the animals quietly chomp on the grass.

Eventually, I turned around heading back through the old ghost town. I stopped back in the gift and do make a purchase, a biography of Laura Ingalls Wilder. Back in my car, I returned to Interstate 90 westward towards the Wyoming border.

Filled with anticipation and adventure, I continued my journey. I had enjoyed my little visit to the old 1880s town and now I was anxious to finish my trek and meet up with my friends all waiting for me. Still a long ways to go but, I was sure I wouldn’t lose my way as I sped across that vast South Dakota prairie.

 Stay tuned to the conclusion in Part 3.

Writing 101 Day 4: Lost



I am continuing in this Writing 101 class and need to write about a loss. It does not need to be a sad story but it could even be amusing or comical if I could pull that off. Hum oh, hum. What sort of a loss should I write about today? Actually I am a day behind but am trying to make an attempt at completing this next assignment which will become a serial assignment with two more installments. I have experienced many types of losses in my life and so has everyone else. From the loss of my parents, grandparents, and others who were especially close to me to losing my keys, my glasses, and sometimes my mind as I forget what it is I am supposed to do today. Once while visiting the Mall of America I had forgotten my purse in the third floor food court and suffice to say, that wasn’t the best day for me.  I have also lost favorite pets, and favorite stories and other poems I’ve written after a computer crash. I have gotten lost just driving from one place to another thinking I know the way but I found out that I didn’t.  In fact, I think that is what I am going to write about today:

Lost in Wyoming (Part 1)

I once went on a journey from Minnesota to Wyoming as I was on vacation to visit one of my best friends and her daughter. Because I have driven this route before, I thought I knew the way by heart. And for the most part I did as most of the route was along Interstate 90 passing through Minnesota, South Dakota, and finally Wyoming. I enjoyed the journey very much as I like the sense of adventure which I experience whenever I travel. It doesn’t matter if I travel by car, bus, or airplane because along the way I relish this exciting taste of adventure; the flavor of doing something new or different and the thrill of having a change from my usual pace in life.

I packed my suitcase and stuffed that into my car with my hiking boots and my laptop and then headed out. I had my trip all planned and most of my route entered into my GPS unit. Since it was about a thirteen hour drive I decided to stay overnight in a small town in South Dakota which would  mark the halfway point of my journey; I am not one to drive 13 hours straight through and tend to take resting breaks along the way. My journey got off to a rough start in that it seemed I had eaten something that didn’t agree with me. Consequently, I needed to stop more often than planned to find a restroom so therefore, I had a dickens of a time just getting out of Minnesota.

But once I had crossed the border into South Dakota, my guest to make to my friend’s was in earnest as I seemed to feel better and could now drive a greater distance. Many described South Dakota as very flat and boring to travel through. To be sure, wide plains of grass and farm fields stretched out before me but I did not consider the scenery to be boring and because the journey was such a simple route, I had great confidence in myself that I would successfully complete this journey with no mishap. With the wide open highway and the sunlit blue sky before me, I bravely ventured on never dreaming that at some point I would become lost.

As I traveled onward, I debated about taking a detour to visit DeSmet, South Dakota as I was an avid reader of the Little House on the Prairie books. DeSmet is where the Ingalls family finally settled after their years of traveling and moving westward. I decided not to do this on this trip because it is such a ways and I am so focused on being timely, but I am determined to visit it on another trip. I make various stops along the way to refuel my car, freshen up and just stretch my legs. After hours of driving, I arrived at my first destination, Chamberlain; a small town situated on the Missouri River. I chose to stay here for the night because this town holds a special childhood memory. Many years ago when my dad and mom took us on a trip out west we had stopped at a campground staying overnight in our pop up tent. The campground was right on the river and my siblings and I enjoyed it very much. We met other children camping there for night and had played a late night of tag with them. Much to my surprise, the motel where I was staying was also right on the Missouri River and it was a beautiful view. After being assigned a room and storing my luggage, I took a walk through the small town and visited a few of the shops there. It is a very warm and relaxing summer evening. Finally, I went to bed feeling very sure of myself along this trek of mine and still never knowing that I would somehow get lost tomorrow.

Stayed tuned for Part 2!

Lost in the Woods Part 3

I have continued a fictional story about two brothers lost in the forest and trying to find their way home.  I had started  it in May and this is the third installment:


Lost in the Woods Part 3

Josh and his younger brother Timothy have been lost in the forest for days. Due to a flooded campsite and other mishaps, they have lost much of their camping gear and supplies. Now, each brother wears a backpack of dwindling supplies with attached bedrolls. They’ve been wandering through a thick forest trying to find their way back home. At a recent stop by a creek to fill their water canisters, Josh discovered a secret message hidden in a hollowed out tree. Now they have spotted a cabin in the distance situated by a tranquil lake of softly lapping in the gentle breeze.

As they walked along, Josh sniffed the air and studied the rippling lake. He also listened to an occasional meadowlark, a hoot owl, and the chirping chorus of nearby crickets, “Aside from the nature sounds it is quiet and peaceful here. I wouldn’t mind, having a home out here myself. You know, like a vacation house to visit on weekends and escape the busy life.”

Timothy smiled as he pushed his way through the tall grass, “I thought that was why you brought me camping; to get away from everyday life in the big city.”

“Well, it is partly true but I also wanted it to be a special trip for you.”

“I wish you would stop worrying about me so much. Just because I don’t run, play sports, or go camping like most other boys, doesn’t mean anything is wrong with me.”

“I never said anything was wrong in what you do. I just wanted you to get out more and expand your horizons. You spend far too much time hiding indoors especially in the summer.”

Timothy sighed and shifted his backpack as he plodded along, “Well, that’s how I like it. That’s how I feel safe.”

“Yes I know,” Josh frowned as he led the way through swishing blades of grass.

After traveling for some time in silence, they finally approached the lone cabin by the lake. Josh was first to reach the steps which ascended to a small porch in disrepair. Josh noted the peeled painting along the doorframe and the loose railing, “Be careful when you come up the steps. I don’t think anyone has been here for a while. It really looks run down.”

Timothy hurried up the steps to catch up, “Have you knocked or tried the door yet?”

“Not yet, but here we go,” Josh replied as he wrapped three times on the door. Both brothers waited and strained to hear an answer.

Timothy finally surmised, “I guess no one is home.”

“Or no one lives here anymore,’ returned Josh as he tried turning the knob and after he heard a click, the door opened, “That doorknob sticks, I almost didn’t get it open,”

They stepped inside and looked around the small, dark interior. Timothy felt along the wall, “I found a light switch.” In an instant, the tiny room was illuminated. Both boys glanced around surveying the walls, windows, and various items of furniture.

Josh gazed at the tidy coffee table in front of a deep green, three sectioned sofa which displayed some magazines, blank paper, and writing utensils.  On a nearby end table was a lamp and a photograph, “Well, my first observation here is that someone is using this place. That table is neatly arranged and not terribly dusty. Also whoever is frequenting here is obviously paying an electric bill.” He picked up the photograph studying it, “This photo is old though; just look at this man in uniform with a very happy young woman.”

Timothy peered closer to gaze at the fading picture, “The soldier looks very happy too. I bet they just got married.” He continued to stare at the photo, “You know, there is something familiar about that lady but I can’t put my finger on it.”

“Are you playing detective now?” Josh teased.

Timothy tossed his head of wavy light brown hair and shrugged his shoulders as he placed the photograph back on the end table, “Well, we do have a mystery to solve with that old note we found. I’m just considering possible clues. Why just look at this blank paper. It is not entirely blank. Along the top, it reads in navy blue calligraphy, ‘From the Desk of Mary Beth’.”

“I see,” Josh tried to hide his smile as removed his backpack setting it on the couch.

In the meantime, Timothy walked around and gazed at one of the shorter walls running perpendicular to the front porch, “Look there’s an old stone fireplace with kerosene lanterns on each side of the mantle. If it gets too cold we could build a fire there and roast marshmallows. We still have some of those; and graham crackers.”

“No,” replied the older brother with a stern look, “We don’t know the last time that fireplace was used. So we also don’t know the last time, it has been cleaned out. There could be a nest near the top of the chimney or too much soot built up along its inner walls. We’d be risking a fire if we try to use the fireplace.”

“Then how will we cook supper?”

“Same as we’ve been doing. We dig a pit and build a campfire outside,” answered Josh as he opened a nearby door. He looked in and then turned to look at Timothy with a smile, “I guess we don’t have to build a campfire tonight.”

Timothy looked puzzled, “Why not?”

“I just found a kitchen complete with a modern humming refrigerator and matching stove. Yep, someone is definitely using this place.”

Timothy now curious followed his brother through the doorway, further in the kitchen; they opened the refrigerator and some of the cupboards. Timothy also looked in the freezer compartment of the refrigerator, “Hey, there’s pizza here. Perhaps we could have that tonight? I’m really tired of beans and hotdogs. But what if the owner shows up?”

Josh shrugged, “We’ll apologize for trespassing and using their supplies then explain our predicament. Hopefully, the owner will be kind enough to help us. I will also offer to repay them for any supplies we use up.”

“I am really getting hungry again.”

“I know, I know. Okay, I will put some supper together. It shouldn’t take long. While I’m heating the pizza and open some canned peaches, why don’t you see if there are any beverages, plates, and glasses?”


After supper, while Josh washed dishes and tidied the kitchen, Timothy went searching through the rest of the cabin as he had noted more doorways to explore. While wiping the table, Josh suddenly heard his little brother cry out, “Oh, you won’t believe what I found.”

Worried that something could be wrong, he hurriedly followed Timothy’s voice back through the living room area and through another doorway leading into a small and tidy bedroom. He looked in dismay and disbelief, “Oh no.”

“Oh yes,” Timothy’s bright eyes lit up like sparkling stars in the deep night sky. “Look at this wall just full of books from the floor to the ceiling. And some of them are mystery books just like the ones I have at home. Look what I found so far: Tommy Brighton and the Haunted Lighthouse Mystery written by M.B. Peters, Tommy Brighton and the Missing Cowboy Mystery, Tommy Brighton and the Midnight Cave Mystery, and there’s more. I want to sleep in here tonight.”

“Yeah and stay up all night reading.”

“There’s nothing wrong with reading.”

Josh sank on the quilted bed and sighed, “No there isn’t but you read all the time. You hide in your room and read to the point of ignoring everyone around you. I brought you on this camping trip to get you away from your books. You are not living your own life and you’re not living in this world; instead, you are living your life through your favorite characters and the world they live in.”

“No I’m not.”

“Yes you are and I can prove it. Which of those books have you already read?”

Timothy picked one book off the shelf, “This one, Tommy Brighton and the Haunted Lighthouse Mystery.”

“Okay then, tell me about it.”

With book in hand, Timothy sat beside his brother, “well, it starts with this boy about the same age as me going on a family camping trip and he invites his best friend, Harry, to come with. They go hiking and exploring along different trails through the dark forest. In the meantime, there are old stories floating around about a lighthouse nearby being haunted. A strange accident happened there long ago and someone who used to live in the old lighthouse died. People who’ve walked near it insist they’ve seen lights turn on, including the huge warning beacon on top. And some have heard voices and strange music coming from it. No one is brave enough to ever enter.” Timothy paused to take a deep breath.

“Oh, sounds very interesting. I take it, your hero Tommy and his pal find this mysterious lighthouse?”

Timothy became deflated but in his excitement to share the familiar story, he was determined to continue, “Well, yes because one day they explored a different trail that wound around the forest along a rocky seashore and up a steep hill. And there on that hill was an old lighthouse completely empty of life. Or so that is what everyone thought.” He finished in a hushed, suspenseful tone.

Looking like a student sitting in a classroom, Josh raised one hand, “Okay, you can stop right there. Now, I have a few questions. First, you are very animated and seem to enjoy telling me this story. And you know the story very well. So, I take it that you really like this story, right?”

At this inquiry, Timothy sounded exasperated, “Yes, I think I already told you that.”

“Okay, then why do you like this story so well?”

Taking another quick breath, he answered, “Because it is about these two friends going on an adventure together. Whenever I read one of these stories, I feel like they are my friends and I am going on the adventure with them. And I like to try to solve the mystery before they do.”

“So, you would rather read and go on an adventure in a book, than get together with a friend of your own and embark on your own journey of discovery.”

As if struck by his brother’s words, Timothy became silent but after a few moments he finally answered, “I don’t have any friends. Not in this new school. I don’t know my way around this new town. Before I knew where the parks, the library, and the zoo were located. I knew how to get around. I wish we had never moved. I miss the old house and the friends I used to have; everything is different. And it doesn’t help that you’re gone most of the time attending college.”

“I’m sorry this move has been hard on you. Mom and dad are sorry too. They are very worried about you especially as you keep hiding in your bedroom. That’s why they let me bring you on this little camping trip which has turned into one mishap after another.”

“Well, right now I just feel safe in my room. And don’t please don’t feel bad about this trip. For the first time, I feel like I am living my own adventure.”

“Why haven’t you made any friends in the new school?”

Timothy groaned with impatience, “We moved into the new house at the end of April. I was only in the new school for one month before it closed for the summer. It takes me a long time to make new friends. I’m not an instantly popular classmate. I’m too quiet for that.”

“In another words, the timing of this move couldn’t have been worse for you,” Josh observed and after a pause, “Well, give me some time to think about this. I have an idea but don’t know if it is going to work out yet.”

Timothy looked at his elder brother intently studying his face, “What is your idea?”

Josh winked with a sly smile, “That is my secret. You will just have to wait. In the meantime, we’ll spend the night here and then decide in the morning on our next plan of action.”

“Then I can have the bedroom?”

With a deep sigh, Josh agreed, “Oh, alright. I will sleep on the couch near the front door and keep a lookout in case the owner of this cabin returns.”



Lost in the Woods

While following the challenges of my Blogging 101 class and diving further into the blogosphere, I found more writer’s prompts and here’s today’s writing prompt from Today’s Author: http://todaysauthor.wordpress.com/2014/05/

I thought this would be a good way to practice writing some flash fiction and I hope you enjoy reading it.

Today’s prompt: They burned all the wood they had in the fire pit, and then started chopping down trees.

And here is my response:

Lost in the Woods

They burned all the wood they had in the fire pit, and then started chopping down trees. When the third sapling fell with a soft crash on the forest floor, Josh paused looking at Timothy, his younger brother, “I think that’s enough for now. Let’s cut these into cords of fire wood, restart the fire in the pit, and get into our sleeping bags.”

Timothy swallowed hard looking tearful, “We’re really lost. How are we going to get home? And I’m still hungry.”

Josh sighed while searching through his backpack, “Here are some crackers I have left over from supper. We need to ration what food we have left so we can make it last. By morning it will be daylight again, and then we can try retracing our journey back to the main road and back to where I parked the jeep. In the meantime, we need to prepare for another cold night in these woods.”

Time passed, the trees were chopped into firewood and a warm fire was blazing in the pit. The brothers settled into their sleeping bags. Exhausted from the long hike and chopping fire wood, Timothy soon fell asleep. Josh rested under his covers; with his hands laced behind his head, and listened to his brother’s rhythmic breathing. While letting out his pent up breath, he gazed at a patch of starry sky between the towering trees above and wondered, “What if we can’t find our way back tomorrow? What if we have to spend yet another cold night in the woods? Some great camping trip this has turned out to be. Our first camp site got flooded out and now this.” Josh turned on his side groaning, “This is my fault since I insisted on hiking so far through a new wilderness area and then losing some of our gear while climbing up that steep trail.” He returned to his back gazing at the starry heavens one more time, “Never mind,” he told himself while tears stung his eyes, “I have to be brave for Timmy. Somehow we’ll find our way out of here: somehow we’ll find our way home.”

In the stillness, Josh turned to face his sleeping brother and whispered, “Timothy, I’m sorry that I got us lost. I know this is the worst camping trip ever.”

He was startled to see his brother twist himself around and sit up in the moonlit darkness, “That’s ok Josh; this is not just a camping trip. It is an adventure.”