Here is my story for July’s Five Word Challenge.
The five words that had to be used are: song, illusion, bridge, dinner, and mountain. I’ve put the word in bold each time I’ve used it so you can clearly see it.
This story is continuation of the story I wrote for June which you can read here.
Jeff awoke early the next morning to discover that Mark was already up and busy in the kitchen, stood in the doorway to his room Jeff couldn’t see what Mark was cooking but it smelled delicious. Looking around the rest of the cabin Jeff noticed that there was no Chris or Greg about, both of their doors were still shut so that must mean they are still asleep Jeff thought.
After one final stretch and a big yawn, Jeff slowly started trudging towards the kitchen, Mark heard the yawn and footsteps approaching.
“Good morning” Mark said with a big smile as he turned to greet his friend. “Oh it’s you Jeff. I was wondering who would be first up, I didn’t think it would be you. My bet was on Chris.”
“Sorry to disappoint” Jeff said as he took a seat on one of the kitchen stools. “The smell of this wonderful food woke me up” he continued as he began to peer around the kitchen for clues as to what Mark was cooking.
Catching on to what Jeff was doing Mark put his arms out to make himself as big as possible and block as much of Jeff’s view as possible. “Naughty” Mark said playfully wagging his finger at Jeff, “it’s not ready yet. Why don’t you go take a shower before the others get up?”
Groaning and grumbling about not getting to discover what Mark was cooking, Jeff slowly get up from his stool, went to his room to grab his towel and shower supplies before disappearing into the bathroom.
When Jeff came out of the shower he found both Chris and Greg were now up and were in the kitchen with Mark. He still couldn’t see the delicious food but he smell it still.
“Ah! Finally” Mark called out when he saw Jeff emerge from the bathroom, “now we can eat breakfast before enjoying a full day hunting.” With that Mark produced plates full of bacon, sausages, beans, toast, tomatoes, mushrooms, and even more bacon. Chris, Greg, and Jeff’s eyes lit up at the sight of all that food. “Gentlemen, breakfast is served” Mark said triumphantly. “Now does anyone want any tea or coffee?”
The four friends quickly jumped at the food and began stuffing their faces, in just a few short minutes all the food was gone. Not even a single crumb remained.
“Well Mark” Chris started to say before that drowsy feeling a person gets after eating a very filling and very satisfying meal kicked in, so he simply finished off by saying “yum”.
“Yes. Yum” Greg said from his position on the floor where he decided to lie down after he finished eating.
“Also yum” Jeff added from his seat on one of the kitchen stools.
“Well that’s a new one, cooking so good it’s turned you all back into caveman capable of only basic speech” Mark said as he poured him another cup of tea. “So what time do you boy’s want to set off hunting?” Mark continued as he took a sip of his tea, “we do need to catch something for dinner after all”.
As he thought it might be, this suggestion of Mark’s of moving and actually doing something was met with loud groans from his friends. “Fine we can have a rest first” he said to his friends before thinking to himself “before we’ve even bloody started.
A little over an hour later and finally everyone was ready to go. They were all stood outside their cabin as Chris and Mark went over the final checks to make sure they had everything they needed. After another minute of checks, Chris turned to Greg and Jeff and announced “right we’re all set” only to be met with sarcastic applause. “Thanks for that guys” Chris said looking slightly annoyed, “now, where shall we go?”
“To hunt!” Greg shouted in dramatic fashion while trying to strike some sort of heroic pose.
“Uh-huh” Chris replied rolling his eyes. “Capital idea that Greg. Real helpful. Only we can’t just blindly go out into the forest without some sort of plan or vague idea of where we are even going. That is a clear recipe for disaster and will probably get us one of those list of idiots who did something stupid and got themselves killed. I don’t want that Greg. I don’t.”
“That was quite a speech Chris” Jeff said looking over at Greg who was still trying to hold his heroic pose despite Chris’ verbal lashing. “You’ve had that prepared haven’t you in case anyone proposed something stupid?”
“Er. Yeah” Chris said looking rather sheepish. “I thought it might be a good idea to have something prepared just in case you know”.
Jeff gave Chris a little nod of approval while Greg got bored of trying his heroic pose and returned to standing normally. “Well if you boy’s are done with your drama” Mark said with an air of authority and confidence as he stepped back pulling a map out of his pocket. With a flick of his wrist the map opened up spectacularly and Mark placed on the floor in front of his friends. “See, while you were all sleeping I wasn’t just preparing breakfast, oh no, I also planned out a couple of potential routes we can”.
Chris, Greg, and Jeff all gathered around Mark and his map to see the potential routes he had mapped out for them earlier that morning. “If we go that way” Mark said pointing to the path going to their left that would take them past the other cabins in their little clearing “we’ll eventually come to a river with a bridge going over it. We could maybe relax and do a bit of fishing in the river and hope a deer or something comes by for a drink”.
“I wouldn’t trying a bit of fishing” Jeff cut in. His three friends just looked at him, “what? It’s always looked relaxing” he continued.
“Anyway” Mark went on “option two is basically the other direction and takes us towards the mountain“.
“So it’s basically a choice between river and mountain?” Greg asked.
“Sure why not Greg. If you want to simplify it that way you can. The river and its bridge or the mountain and whatever it has” Mark said throwing his hands up in the air.
“Well I’m going to vote river so we can chill out by the river, drink some beer, and fish some fish” Jeff said sounding slightly sulky.
“I’m gonna vote mountain” Greg said looking of at the faint mountain peak in the distance.
“I have to go with Greg on this one” Chris said “I can’t stand fishing. It’s so boring”.
“And since I don’t really care either way, mountain path wins two to one” Mark said as he began folding up his map. “If we set off in a minute we can be at the mountain base in time for lunch. I’ve packed us some sandwiches.”
With that the four friends set off along the path towards the mountain. After a couple of uneventful hours of hiking the mountain was looming large in front of them.
“You know what we should do!” Greg suddenly said out of nowhere to break the silence. Chris, Jeff, and Mark all turned to look at him, their eyes asking what? “Sing a song” Greg finished with a smile on his face. Chris, Jeff, and Mark just continued to stare at Greg. “Fine I’ll start shall I?” Greg asked looking at his friends. Taking a deep breath Greg continued “heigh ho!”
“No” Jeff said flatly. “Oh behalf of all myself, Chris, Mark, all the animals of the forest, all the animals of the mountain, all the fish in the river, every human in the forest this weekend. On behalf of every flower, of every plant, of every tree, of every bacteria when I say no. Just no. No singing. I don’t care what song. No singing.”
“OK” Greg said sounding defeated, his head dropping as he continued to walk.
After another twenty minutes they finally entered a large clearing at the base of the mountain.
“Well here we are” Mark announced as they stepped into the clearing taking his bag off his shoulders and dropping it to the ground.
“Huh” Chris said looking around at the clearing taking his own bag off and dropping it to the floor. “I don’t know why but I was maybe expecting more. Maybe we should have gone and sat on that bridge doing a bit of fishing in the river like Jeff suggested”.
“Thank you” said Jeff somewhat smugly. “So what do we do now?”
“Well” Mark began as he sat down on the grass “I am going to eat my lunch, a nice peanut butter sandwich, and have a nice cup of tea. After that I will look into hunting something for dinner tonight.”
“That sounds good to me” Chris said as he sat down next to Mark and started rummaging through his bag looking for his lunch. “Any idea what sort of animal we will find up here?”
“I dunno” Mark said as he took a bite of his sandwich. “A deer maybe. Or rabbits. There’s bound to be something, it’s a big forest.” Both Greg and Jeff were now sat on the ground with their bags off eating their lunches.
For the next half an hour they sat in near silence eating their lunches enjoying the sights and sounds of the forest. All four lived in a big city where there was always something going on, where there was always some kind of noise, they didn’t realise how loud the city was until now that they were away from it. They all found it relaxing and didn’t want to be the one to break the silence.
Just as they were finishing their lunch they noticed that all the sounds from the forest had stopped. They could no longer hear the chatter or movement of the animals or birds.
“Erm. What happened to all the animals?” Jeff asked looking around the clearing and out towards the forest.
“I’m not sure” Mark whispered as he began to pack his bag, the other three seeing this began to do the same. “If there was a predator nearby they would probably all go quiet and hide.”
“Predators like us you mean Mark?” Greg asked more hopeful than anything.
“No, I’m afraid not” Mark whispered as began to stand up and put his bag on.
“Yeah I was worried you would say that” Greg replied in a frantic whisper as he stood up and pulled his bag onto his shoulders.
“Do you smell that?” Jeff asked trying to keep his voice at a whisper as he tried not to react violently to the horrible smell that was beginning to fill the clearing.
Trying not to gag Chris replied whispering “ugh yeah. I can taste it tool. It tastes almost metallic”.
“Yeah” Mark whispered as he checked the hunting rifle they were carrying. “I was going to say it had a coppery smell”. As Mark finished what he saying they all looked at each other in a mix of shock and fright.
“Maybe it’s an illusion” Jeff offered hopefully but Chris, Greg, and Mark just looked at like he was mad. “You know we suddenly noticed it’s gone quiet and we aren’t used to that so our minds are racing to fill in the blanks. And thanks to our over imaginative imaginations and all the horror stories we read, watch, and hear, our brains have created the illusion of a horrible bloody smell because that is what we would expect from a horror story.”
Just as they were about to argue with Jeff they heard a little girl crying and asking for help coming from the direction of the mountain.
“How does that fit in with your illusion theory Jeff?” Greg spat at him.
“Not well I’ll admit” Jeff said looking nervously in the direction of the crying which hadn’t stopped. “I told you we should have gone to the river and done some fishing”.
“Should we help?” Chris asked looking at the mountain.
“Hell no!” Greg said struggling to keep his voice down. “This doesn’t feel right. Everything goes quiet, then a strong bloody odor appears, and then a mysterious little girl starts crying asking for help. No.”
The little girl kept crying and asking for help. They couldn’t tell if the smell was going away or still lingering and they had just got used to it.
“I agree with Greg” Jeff said looking around the clearing. “This is raising so many red flags. I say we get back to the cabin and phone it in from there.”
“Yeah I’ll agree with that” Greg said nodding frantically, “that easily sounds like the safest option”.
“But she could be really hurt” Mark said tentatively taking a step towards the mountain and the direction of the crying. “What if that blood we are smelling is hers? It won’t be long before something us smells it and decides to come have a look in which she wouldn’t survive long enough for us to get back to our cabin, phone for help, and wait for the cavalry to arrive”.
“Shit, you know he’s right right?” Chris said also taking a step forward. “We can’t just walk away”.
“Fine” Jeff groaned throwing his hands into the air and following Chris and Mark in slowly edging towards the mountain. As they approached the bushes at the base of the mountain, with the cries of the little girl getting louder, Greg started walking quickly to make sure he wasn’t left behind.
Behind the bushes they found a small opening in the side of the mountain that sloped downwards into darkness. “Maybe she slipped” Mark offered to his friends as he peered into the darkness. “Hello? Can you hear me?” Mark called out into the darkness to be greeted by more cries from the little girl as she continued to ask for help.
“What’s your name?” Chris called into the darkness but the girl didn’t answer, she just continued to cry and ask for help.
“What’s wrong?” Mark called out trying to sound as friendly and as comforting as he could but still the little girl just continued to cry and ask for help.
“OK is anyone else noticing she is literally saying the same thing over and over again?” Jeff asked. “Even the crying sounds like it is on a loop.”
“Now that you mention it” Greg said looking behind him back at the forest.
“So what do we do now?” Chris asked also turning to look out at the forest?
End of chapter 2.
I’ll continue this story with August’s Five Word Challenge