Excerpt from Devil's Playground
We packed as much as we could of our luggage and survival supplies to the far side of the building. Carla and I made a second, then third trip to get the rest of our stuff, Octavia and Lucy went around gathering chunks of concrete and rock to make a circle to contain the fire, and Zoey put up the tent. Then we all gathered as much dry brush and wood as we could find. Zoey started the fire just as the last rays of light disappeared from the sky and the cold set in.
With the light from the fire, we were able to inflate all the pillows and matresses. The tent ended up only being big enough to fit 2, maybe three people, and only one air mattress. Zoey and I offered to sleep outside on one air matress so Octavia, Lucy and Carla could sleep in the tent on the mattress. Carla declined, of course, wanting to sleep on the ground beside the fire. Her parents used to take her camping all the time, so she was used to sleeping under the Arizona stars. So that left Octavia and Lucy sharing an air mattress in the tent, Carla on the ground by the fire, and Zoey and me on the other air matress next to the fire.
“So, we’ve been out here for hours and I don’t see a Port-O-Potty. Did you ladies find a bathroom in there?” Octavia asked.
“Honestly,” I replied, “we didn’t look.”
“Here, take the lantern and the wet wipes my mom packed, and see if there’s a bathroom in there,” Zoey offered.
Octavia took the lantern and wipes, then disappeared around the building.
“Really, someone should have gone with her,” I said, looking after her.
“Aw, she’ll be okay. No boogeyman tonight,” Lucy said, plopping down on the ground next to the fire. “Let’s eat, I’m starving.”
We each took one ready-to-eat meal and a protein bar, and we shared a gallon of water. We set aside the same rations for Octavia for when she got back.
We finshed eating, and had moved on to mindless gossip, and before we knew it, an hour had passed.
“Oh, my God,” Lucy said, looking at her nearly dead cell phone. “It’s been over an hour and a half. Has anyone seen Octavia since she went off to find a bathroom?”
We all looked around, Carla checked the tent in case she had snuck past us and we hadn’t noticed, but there was no sign of her.
“Lucy, Carla, you two stay here and guard the tent and supplies. Zoey, you come with me, we’re going to look for Octavia.”
“You two can’t go out there alone!” Carla exclaimed.
“Don’t leave us here, Savannah!” Lucy squealed.
“Look,” I said, “I already feel guilty enough that it took us so long to realize that she’s missing. If we all stay here, we’ll never find her. If we all go, we risk having all our supplies stolen or eaten by wild animals. If we split up, we can find Octavia and still keep our supplies safe, and none of us will be alone doing it.”
“She’s right, we’ve got to find Octavia, and whether we do or we don’t-“
“NO!” Lucy screamed, standing and marching over to where Zoey and I stood, flashlights in hand, ready to head out to find our missing friend. “We’ve eaten, we have a truck to keep us safe, if we lose the supplies, oh well. I am NOT going to be left behind to be slaughtered, and I’m not letting you two run off to get yourselves killed. We all go together.”
I stared back at her a moment, then realized she was right. If we lost all the supplies, Mrs. Firesoul might be out a couple hundred bucks, but at least she’d have her daughter coming home to her. But leaving two of us behind was stupid, we needed to stay together. It would be harder to take down a group of four than it would a group of two.
“What?” Zoey asked, confused.
“She’s right. A group of four is stronger than two groups of two, and if we lose the supplies, we always have the truck to sleep in. It won’t be comfortable, but it’s safer anyway.”
“It’s about time someone realized how smart I am,” Lucy said, indignantly.
“You’re not smart, you got lucky,” Carla said.
“Everyone grab a flashlight or glowstick, and let’s get going,” I said.
Okay, there you have it. Wanna find out what happens? Stay tuned.
~With Love and Insanity~