There I was, in the middle of a nice nap, when the bus I was currently riding on hit a bump. Lucky me, I got the chance to meet face-to-face with the oh so wonderful floor, which had pieces of candy and various foods, dried mud, and only God knows what else all over it.
"Damn it!" I pushed myself up quickly, blushing very slightly at the snickers I received, and sat myself back into my seat as I dusted myself off. Well, this school trip was off to a good start, wasn't it? The only good thing I could come up with in concerns of our class camping trip was that I was grouped with my two best friends, Melissa and Donnie, and that we didn't have to stick with our class the entire weekend. That meant no cheerleaders scoffing at my clothes, no Jocks laughing along, and absolutely no sleezeball pervs trying to touch my ass.
Ah, the wonders of being a high schooler. Amazing, is it not?
Pfft, yeah right. It sucked half the time, and the other half it sucked even worse. Whatever happened to high school being a girl's golden years?!
"You all right, Reinel?"
Leave it to Melissa to ask something like that. Of course I wasn't all right, I just got a mouth full of shoe-gunk! But she was just trying to be nice... even if she did call me by my real name. I hate my real name. It's pronounced 'Ray-nel', but most people mispronounce it as, 'Ree-nil'. Reenil. Reenil! It sounds like some sort of demented cross between a gerbil and an iguana. Why my parents named me that, I have no clue.
Melissa had dirty blond hair and light blue eyes. Her eyes were large and round, but not in a bad way. In a little-kid sort of way... you know, really innocent looking? That was the best word to describe Melissa anyway: Innocent.
"Yeah, I'm fine. And it's Rei (That's like Ray, for all of you slow people out there), for the sake of holy wheat on rye! How many times do I have to tell you that, Melissa?!"
She just smiled, shook her head, and I could have sworn I saw her roll her eyes. She was used to how I said things, which could be pretty... blunt and rude at times, but also shy and timid at others. Maybe Donnie's right in saying I'm bipolar.... Ha. Not.
"I bet you are. Did it taste good? The gunk you dived into, I mean," Donnie leaned over from his seat across the aisle from me, a goofy grin plastered on his face. I just put my hand in his face and pushed him away. He was almost the opposite of Melissa as far as appearances go. He had brown hair and brown eyes. If 'innocent' can describe Melissa, than 'not so innocent' is what would describe Donnie. He was a bit of a pervert, but he was still a really sweet guy. Almost so sweet to the point where you just wanted to pinch his cheeks (the one on his face, people! He's my best friend, why would I want to touch his ass?!) and say "Aww!"
"It tasted a lot better than your cooking, Donnie," I teased. He pouted, and pulled back so that he was sitting in his seat again. I just laughed at him, and turned around to talk to Melissa about whatever came to mind. She was sitting next to me, and I wasn't about to fall asleep again just to be knocked from my seat. Once was bad enough.
It wasn't long before we pulled up to the cabins we'd be staying in. Unlike normal schools that went on trips like these, we weren't going to a nice, comfy resort. Oh no, we had to be 'unique' and go to some cabins out in the middle of nowhere. But, I can't really complain. The reason for this is because we're studying myths and legends and that kind of stuff, and a local myth is that this forest is haunted. The 'educational' part of the trip is to study the area and try to solve the 'mystery' of the haunting. i.e., prove that it's just a myth and the forest really isn't haunted. Load of bull if you ask me. I mean, yeah, I do sort of believe in supernatural stuff, but the things people say about this forest are kind of out there.
Like, there's this one thing that people at my Oakins High, my highschool, say. It's about this crazy old witch that lived in the forest in the mid 1800s, and how she'd kidnap the stray teenagers that wandered forest and eat them. It sounds too much some sort of Blair Witch rip-off to me, something to persuade teenagers not to come into the forest to make out or have sex or something. "Ray, you sitting there or are you coming?" Donnie's hand, which he shoved in my face, brought me from my thoughts. Shaking my head of what I was previously thinking, I grabbed the hand he offered and stood up. Above my seat was the compartment where my things were in, and I grabbed the huge hiking backpack my mom packed for me and tugged it down. After I put it on my back, I walked out with Donnie and Melissa following after us.
While I was waiting for the rest of the class to get off the bus, I looked around the area. It was a sort of clearing, and around it were about 10 different cabins. From what I knew, we'd be sleeping in the same cabin with the rest of our groups instead of being forced to have all the guys sleep together and all the girls sleep together. Heh, bad choice. I almost knew for a fact that Jason Withers and the two bimbos in his group would be doing some extracurricular activities after lights out.
In the middle was an old fashioned well, and there were trails that connected it to the cabins. There were a lot of other trails, too, that ended up being different walks and pathways through the forest. None of them went too far, though; like I said, it wasn't encouraged that people go wandering too far in the forest because of how huge it was.
"Ugh, Brian sweetie, can you carry this for me?"
At the voice, I turned around. Yep, one of the Lorins twins, Courtney. She and her sisters were the most popular girls in school and – surprise, surprise! - Brian was the most popular boy in school. He also happened to be dating Courtney, but it's rumoured that he cheats on her with her twin, Brittany, and gets away with the excuse "But I thought Brittany was you, Courtney!" I don't see how she can't at least get offended - they're going out, shouldn't he know which twin is which if he really loved her like he said he did? Maybe she was just stupid.... Maybe they both were. Probably screwed each others' brains out.
"Sure, but why'd you bring so much stuff? It's just for the weekend." Brian took Courtney's bag and slung it over his shoulder, and even he bowed a little under its weight.
"Hello, we're in a nasty forest. I'm going to need more than three changes of clothes, and there's no way I'm drinking water from a stream or...or-" she looked around, and spotted the well I saw earlier. "a dirty well. I had to bring my bottled water with me." Courtney failed to notice when Brian rolled his eyes at her.
Beside me, Melissa was giggling lightly with her hand covering her mouth, and Donnie was mocking Courtney silently. It was sort of a game for us, to make fun of them. Typical uncool people behaviour, I guess. You find it in every high school. Courtney turned away from Brian to talk to her sister about something, and Brian was left standing there holding her bag for her. Donnie stopped mocking them a moment ago and was waiting for Mr. Sanders, our teacher, to give us instructions.
I think Brian realised I was looking over his way, because he suddenly turned around and looked at me. We were just sort of...staring at each other for a minute, and after I realised that I turned around really quickly.Talk about awkward. I shook my head to clear my thoughts like I did earlier, deciding not to worry about it. I only caught the end of what Mr. Sanders was telling us, because apparently he had started speaking while I was stuck in an eye-lock with Brian.
"...and after you do that, you all can spend the rest of the day exploring around. Just be sure to not leave any of the trails created, or else there will be serious punishment for anyone who does. Got it?"
There was a murmur of replies, and everyone went off to the cabins we had been assigned. Donnie,Melissa, andIwere in Cabin 7. But Melissa, who was excited about seeing the wildlife, rushed right off onto one of the paths, not bothering to drop off any of her things. Donnie and I rolled our eyes at how predictable that was; Melissa was obsessed with wildlife and nature in a freakishly over-the-top way. Almost too freaky for a girl as innocent as she is.
Without time to drop off our own things, we followed her out onto the path, and we weren't far behind her when she stopped and bent over to look at some flower or another. We were a pretty far away from the cabins by now, but there was still a distinguished path so it wasn't anything too major.
Once Donnie and I were right next to Melissa, she stood up with a broad grin on her face. "I found some medicinal herbs that were used before the modern medicine we have today. I'm gonna collect some so that I can try them out at home."
"Whatever you want, Mel," I said, and started to look around while I waited. The trees here were pretty densely foliaged, not at all like what it was at the beginning of the path, and even though it was before noon (the trip had started out the night before so that we could arrive today bright and early) it seemed like it was late afternoon here. Not much light could get through.
Looking up, I saw a red string tied from branch to branch. I was confused about it, and thought maybe it was something somebody used to mark their way to somewhere, so I followed it to see where it led me. If it got too far off the path, I could just follow it back to Melissa and Donnie. After walking a few yards, I looked back to make sure I could still see my friends, and when I did I continued to follow the string curiously.
I had a 'blond moment' and didn't watch where I was going. The land below me gave way and I started to fall, and it wasn't until then that I looked down and let out a piercing scream. Those moments seemed to last forever to me, but in reality it was only a few seconds that a series of events happened in quick succession.
My scream got Melissa and Donnie's attention, and they called my name and came running towards where I was once standing. Somewhere below me, I heard someone shout, "Look!" But by the time they got there, I was already sliding down the steep hill. Using my hands, I tried to grab onto a tree, a rock, something to stop myself from falling, but I couldn't. I couldn't even take notice of all of the cuts and bruises I was getting because I was so scared, and it only got worse when I looked down and saw that I was heading straight for a cliff.