Disclaimer: All characters belong to me. Eowyn and Faramir belong to Tolkien. Luke Skywalker belongs to Star Wars, Spock belongs to Star Trek and Calvin and Hobbes belong to the guy who created them for his comic strip. Oh yeah and Endor also belongs to Star Wars... and Jadis belongs to Narnia. Yeah, I had fun.
Scott kicked his foot in disguist at the ground, scattering pebbles and dust in all possible directions. It was hot outside and he mumbled something under his breath about it being Michael's idea to go to the camp in the first place. He hadn't even wanted to, but Evan had insisted upon it and threatened to call him a wimp in front of everyone in their dorm if he didn't go along with it. And so he had.
It had all been fine until Marcie, the camp counselor, called everyone together for an all-day hike through the woods. Each person would be on his or her own with their supplies and a map that was provided. At the end of the day, there would be a campfire at the end of the hike, complete with dinner and s'mores. Since they weren't allowed to work in teams, small groups of people had been set off in different directions from various places around the camp, all set up carefully by Marcie and the other counselors.
Scott had gotten off to a quick start, though his pack was fairly heavy upon the insistence of Michael. Scott chuckled to himself. Michael knew him too well sometimes. At first, he'd been reluctant to pack the extra water and snacks, worried that the extra weight would hinder his already difficult journey through the woods and that none of it would be necessary in the end. But, for some reason or another, he'd listened to Michael. And this time, he was glad that he had.
Because now he was lost. After two hours into the hike, it seemed he'd taken a wrong turn somewhere... a turn that he hadn't meant to take... and he'd gotten lost as a result. "Heck, as if I didn't already know that!" he exclaimed, referring to his poor sense of direction that had been the aim of many of Evan's jokes in the past. He glanced up at the sky and saw the hot sun beating down on the ground below. Despite the fact they were technically in a forest, it was hotter than he was used to, typical heat for southern California during March. At least it wasn't raining.
"I should've planned a party in my dorm room," he muttered, leaning up against an oak tree for its inadequate - but still better than nothing - amount of shade. He thought about his college roommate who he'd left behind for the week-long break, almost disappointed that Gregg couldn't come with him. "He would've loved it here!" Scott exclaimed, still annoyed with having agreed to Evan's request. But at least it wasn't cold... yet. The sun was directly overhead - midday and the hottest part of the day. No wonder why those little desert lizards only came out in the morning and evening; it was too hot during the day to even think about coming out. And it was cold at night.
Scott should've known it was cold at night. He'd been out here for almost four days by now and most people would have already lost hope of being rescued... or finding a way back to camp, but not him. He'd always been more optimistic than most people and even that one time when they'd gotten snowed in at the church right before Christmas hadn't gotten him down much. But things weren't looking too good for him. He checked the stuff in his backpack, shuffling through the few things he had left besides for his jacket. It wasn't much... the remainders of a granola bar he'd opened yesterday, about five swallows of water left in his waterbottle and an apple that he'd saved from lunch the day before they'd left. It would probably taste bad by now.
"Maybe if I found some way to have fun, time would pass faster," he mused to himself, dropping his bag down into the dusty soil and sitting down next to it, careful to check for spiders or any other creepy bugs. He shuddered. Not that he'd ever admit he was scared of spiders, however. That just wouldn't be cool... and Evan would have more reasons to give him a hard time about things. Only two people knew he was scared of spiders: his twin sister, Samantha - who usually had to shoo the spiders outside or smash them herself - and Michael, his best friend.
"I know a song that gets on everybody's nerves!" he started singing at the top of his lungs. But this provided him no amusement because there was no one around to annoy. Besides, most of his friends who'd known him longer than a year or so had become immune to his singing random songs at the spur of the moment. And it left him out of breath. Not the best idea, so he'd have to think of something else to have fun.
"I wonder what my sis would do," he thought aloud. He pondered this for a couple of minutes and then came up with another brilliant idea. Too bad there was no one around to help him, but he'd have to do this alone...
"Why yes, I do believe I know the way to Endor. Would you like me to show you?"
"No way! I'm better off going there myself and you're better off without that ship of yours, Captain Jadis!"
"Don't insult Your Majesty, human scum!"
"You're not a Queen! You're the most pathetic of all the human scum yourself."
"Excuse me, I rebuke that comment you have just made."
"Well, maybe we'd just all be better off because the real captain is coming and he'll claim this ship as his."
"And who is this other captian you speak of, human scum?"
"For once and for all, I'm not human scum!!!" Scott yelled. His voice had escalated and he could feel himself breathing hard. That was good; at least he wasn't bored. Yet. So much for making up a story. Samantha had always been better at that... and it was hard to do without someone else around... or more than one person. Scott remembered the last time he'd been at home and he, Sam and Michael had played fantasy/sci-fi adventure at the park. He'd been Luke Skywalker, Samantha had been Eowyn and Michael had been Spock.
That had been an odd group... but he could think of worse, like when they'd been in elementary school and Evan and Tyler had played with them. Of course, they'd all pretended to be comic book characters back then. Scott had usually been Calvin and he made Michael be Hobbes. Then Marie had joined their group. She'd always been quiet, even more so than Michael, probably due to being mostly deaf. She was a sweet girl... and she'd had a crush on Michael for as long as Scott could remember.
He sighed, missing his best friend, despite the fact that they were annoyed with one another more often than not. Scott tried to picture what Michael was doing at the moment... and then, much to his horror, started imagining what it'd be like if Michael was there with him. Likely Michael would be grumbling about something or counting off the seconds, being sure that Scott knew the exact time at any given moment. And he was sure of one thing: his best friend would be very annoyed - annoyed with him, annoyed with how the hike had gone wrong and annoyed with the whole situation in general.
Scott chuckled to himself. The rest of the afternoon consisted mostly of small activities like this to keep himself amused. At one point, he'd gotten so bored that he had resorted to counting the leaves on the oak tree, but he'd stopped after about fifty or so. There were just too many to count and he had already lost count several times. The sun was beginning to set and Scott could feel his stomach growl for food. He hadn't eaten anything since yesterday.
Quickly, he unwrapped the rest of his granola bar and downed it in a couple of bites. He still felt hungry and he glanced down longingly at the apple.
"You'd better save it for tomorrow or something," he told himself with a sigh. Instead, he allowed himself a small sip of water and took out his jacket. The temperature had the potential to drop rapidly until it was in the high forties or low fifties - very cold compared to the almost ninety degree weather during the day - and he wanted to be prepared. It was the desert, after all. He curled up into a small ball and draped his jacket over him. He used his backpack as a pillow, closed his eyes and was soon asleep. By the time stars were visible, he had begun to snore.
The next morning, Scott awoke with a start to a drop of cold water landing on his nose. He wrinkled it and rubbed his eyes. The sun was already high into the sky, so it couldn't have been that early. From what he remembered from Mr. Anderson's sixth grade science class - geez, that was eons ago - was that it must've been somewhere in the middle of the morning, ten o'clock, maybe? That was his best guess. He knew Michael or Evan could've guessed better. Heck, almost anyone could've guessed better than he could. But then again, no one else would've gotten lost during a day hike in a secure camp area and stayed lost for four and a half days, either!
He felt his stomach begin to rumble and he rummaged through his nearly empty backpack before he pulled out the apple. It smelled old, but still edible. His stomach wrenched and he swallowed hard, holding the apple in his right hand and eyeing it carefully, as if reluctant to eat it. Of course he was reluctant! Of all the fruits he had to be stuck with, why an apple?
"Stupid apple!" he yelled, throwing it into the distance. As soon as it left his hand, he regretted throwing it. Now he had no food, four and a half swallows of water and his jacket to survive with for an unknown amount of time. "Oh bother." Suddenly, he heard a scream out in the distance. Curious as to what it was, he picked up his backpack (his jacket was put inside) and headed in the direction of the noise. He knew it was probably a person... and it was just his luck.
He trekked through the forest, chuckling to himself at his sister's frequent comment about being hobbits taking a short cut through the wilderness in the Shire. Now he could hardly help himself. Everytime he cut across even as much as a lawn while walking somewhere - and he did this often because he didn't have a car at school with him - he couldn't help thinking of hobbits. The only one who had appeared to be immune to Sam's hobbitish randomness was Michael, but then again, Scott knew his best friend was indifferent to most of what he and his sister did to him. That had only come after years of breaking him in, though...
There had been several incidents that Scott could remember when either he or Sam had tried to convince Michael to do something, with Michael always being reluctant to go along with their crazy ideas. In Scott's opinion, the best case was when he'd managed to convince his best friend to dress up as Faramir from LotR and take his twin to senior prom. Of course, it had been his brilliant idea in the first place. He grinned, remembering Michael's horrified expression when he had first told him of the idea.
Scott kept walking and soon found himself not too far off from another figure. He couldn't quite see who it was because the sun was behind the person and all he could see was a silhouette, like the ones he'd tried to draw in Miss Kerrington's art class. Tried and failed miserably. He knew the figure wasn't his sister - he'd be able to tell if it was - and it obviously wasn't a guy, unless guys wore their hair long and tied back into identical braids on either side. Scott doubted whether any guy would want to do that. He certainly wouldn't want to be caught dead like that! So he thought of all the girls he knew. He knew way too many girls...
But it wouldn't hurt him to go see who it was. The figure looked much to small to pose any threat, but Scott had been surprised before, particuarly by his roommate, Gregg, who was thin as a twig but could probably pin almost anyone, even Evan or Michael, both of whom could defend themselves fairly easily. Scott laughed to himself at the thought of his roommate pinning Evan on the floor in the chemistry lab... and then their high school chemistry teacher - notorious for being the strictest and meanest teacher at the school - scolding them for roughousing in the lab.
As Scott came closer to the figure, he thought he recognized her. "Marie?" he wondered to himself, his voice hardly a whisper. If it had been someone else, he would've been ashamed if he had been mistaken. There was a very long moment as Scott walked closer, almost to where he could reach out and touch her gently on the shoulder if he had wanted to. But he didn't. The girl turned slowly around and then rushed at Scott, stopping only inches away from him to embrace him in a cautious hug. Scott grinned to himself and hugged her back. It felt good to have someone there with him, even if it wasn't his best friend.
They let go of each other simultaneously and Scott started laughing. Marie smiled shyly and then asked, "Are you okay?" She spoke in sign language, which Scott was fairly fluent in - though not as fluent as his twin - because his father was deaf and their family used both sign language and spoken English at home.
"Yeah, now that you're here," Scott said aloud, accompanied by a couple of quick hand motions. "Where is everyone else and how'd you know to find me here?"
Marie smiled and pulled something from behind her back. She held it out in her hand and Scott reached for it, blushing slightly and trying to hide the fact with a cheesy grin.
"Yeah, uh, sorry 'bout that," he said. In Marie's hand was a very bruised and dirty apple.