Crossing the River to Near the Woods
The salve tingled and made my skin feel buzzy, but even this was nothing compared to what that water looked like it could do. It was filmy and disgusting. Mac and I stood there in ankle-deep water. My feet were still intact, no flesh-eating bacteria or viruses, no chemical burns.
“Damn, Mac, you are truly amazing with these concoctions of yours,” I said, still amazed my feet weren’t melting.
“Don’t mention it my friend. Now lets ford this river,” Mac said as he surged forward into the “water.”
Gar followed slowly behind as I crept forward into the river. Mac was already up to his shoulders.
“I think this is about as deep as it gets!” Mac shouted, “Hurry up guys, we’re almost there!”
I was lagging about ten feet behind him. Gar was another ten feet behind me, stepping haphazardly through the murky water. I quickened my pace as I made my way towards the deep section of the river. I could’ve sworn that something brushed by as I sped through that part.
Gar still lagged behind quite a bit. Mac was already at the other side as I looked back to check on Gar. I was about ten feet from the other side and that bastard was only getting to the deep part. He struggled to get through as if he were stuck in some kind of muck.
“Hey, HEY! God DAMMIT!” Gar screamed and splashed, “Some damn thing’s got ma’ leg!”
Gar panicked and struggled against whatever was restraining him. That was probably a bad idea.
“DON’T MOVE!” Mac yelled from across the river. He grabbed something from his pack, something shiny and some goggles it looked like. Man, this guy had everything. He tossed his glasses in his pack, strapped on the goggles and ran into the water. He swam at superhuman speed. Gar was still being an idiot, struggling mindlessly against his captors. Mac unfolded his shiny thing, a Leatherman tool to be exact, and took out the blade. He took a deep breath and went underwater, cutting whatever was restraining ol’ Gar. Chunks of green, weedy-looking, kind of even fleshy looking matter floated to the surface. Gar ran quickly across to the other side. Before I knew it, Mac emerged from the water and was right next to me, standing ankle deep in the water.
“Holy shit!” Mac exlclaimed, “That was some bad-ass river weed!”
“I’d say. Something in the water I’m sure,” I added.
“Must be. I’ll take note of that,” Mac said, noting it in a small notepad he grabbed from his pack.
He also grabbed us some hotel towels. Random hotels on each. I got to dry off with the Days Inn, Mac got the Holiday Inn towel, which looked much better than mine, Gar, lucky bastard, got the Hilton towel. They all dried us just the same, but the Hilton towel just looked so much more plush. It could have been my imagination too, like a placebo effect.
After we dried off we put our clothes back on and looked towards what was to come. There it was, at the top of the hill, not more than a half mile in the distance: trees. The forest was there and it looked beautiful. It looked that way from the outside, so I needed a closer inspection.
“Everybody ready?” I asked, eager to get going.
Gar went to lie down, he grunted in response. Mac looked at me with those stupid beady eyes. Ugh, we were going to rest here. The sun was about to set, so I went along with it. I was tired too, and after seeing the mutant river-weed, I was wise to go along with the whole rest and go tomorrow idea. I had no idea what was in the woods. None of us did.
“Oh, alright. Let’s camp here tonight. But I’m waking you all up super-ass early tomorrow,” I demanded.
Mac kind of nodded. Mac grunted.
“Well let’s get some firewood!” I said enthusiastically. “Okay,” Mac said as he got up. He didn’t sound as enthused as I, but he helped me pick up some driftwood and start a fire. Once he laid back down though, he was out.
So there I was, lying there. It was barely dark out yet, so I sat back up and stared at the forest and wondered. I wondered a million things. I imagined once again the possibilities. They were a bit different from before since they included the possibility of mutated wildlife. So much for my dreams of utopia. I stared at the fire for a while, then looked back towards the woods. I could see what looked like glowing eyes in the distance. I hoped they were fireflies. I laid back down and stared into the dark sky. This time it was glittered with stars. I stared off into the dark, glittery sky and wondered. Then I slowly closed my eyes and drifted off to sleep.