Tuesday, October 18, 2011
Off The Beaten Path (Short Story)
It's fiction time again. I'm posting one of my old short stories. This one dates back to when I wrote spookier stuff. :) Enjoy.
Title: Off the Beaten Path
BY: Tirzah Goodwin
"Hey Ronnie, wait up. Ronnie! I said wait."
"Move it, Karen. You said you wanted to go hiking with me."
"Yeah-hike, not a freakin' marathon race."
My lungs beat angrily against my sore ribs. After only three miles, I was wheezing like an asmathic cow and the muscles in my legs burned. If Ronnie ever wanted to see me naked again, he better slow his ass down.
I dropped my pack on the ground and collapsed beside it. A rock was digging into my back but I didn't care, I wasn't ever going to move again. Closing my eyes, I found a temporary respite from the overheated sun. A dark shadow moved over my body, hiding me from the light. I opened my eyes reluctantly and looked up.
Ronnie's face hid in the shade of his Red's baseball cap but I could feel his impatience rolling over me. I sighed.
"Get up Karen and quit playing the martyr."
I was disgusted to see that his white t-shirt was barely touched with sweat. I knew I looked like I rolled in grease from this miserable heat. My blue shirt was sticking to me, my new jeans were rubbing me raw at the waist and I was still huffing for air.
"Who's playing? You might have told me that we were going to jog the whole trip. I'm dying down here."
I reached a hand up for his dented canteen, "Hand me the water."
He stepped away from my hand. Asshole. My mouth was dry as a bone.
"There's a good campsite about a half a mile from here. If you have to rest, let's do it there. I don't like camping off the main trail."
I pulled up the neck of my shirt and used it to wipe the dripping perspiration from my cheeks. I wish Ronnie would step closer again and give me a little shade. I was so miserably hot.
"I'm not going another step, not even if you promised me my weight in chocolate. Can't we just stay here for awhile? Please?"
"Come on Karen, just a half a mile more and I promise to give you a full body massage."
"I think that's more for you than me, isn't it?"
Ronnie laughed, "Well a man can dream, can't he? Ok, how about I tweak your homepage when we get back. I'll even let you download some of my video programs."
Ronnie's didn't share his original programs with anyone and I'd love to have his new Zombie Head Hunters. It was awesome. When he sold it, it was going to make him as rich as Bill Gates. And I'd get a copy first. Hah!
I grumbled but gave in, "All right, you'll never shut up until I get up anyway. But I still get my massage and your software. Deal?"
I raised my hand and he helped me up. My legs screamed in protest but at least I had my breath back. I leaned down to pick up my pack and stopped, momentarily numb.
"Ronnie, Oh God, Ronnie-Oh my God", I couldn't stop saying it, over and over again. Before I knew it, the numbness was gone and I was backing up as quickly as I could. Little whimpers of terror were coming from somewhere but I couldn't concentrate, I could only stare at it. I couldn't stop looking at it.
"What the hell is wrong with you, Karen?"
Ronnie was staring at me with anxiety but my mouth wouldn't work. The whimpers were getting more desperate. I opened my mouth to tell him but the bile rose in my throat and I turned and gagged into the bushes.
"What is it, Karen? Are you hurt? What is it?" I just pointed mutely back to where my backpack still lay. The rock I had been lying on was a fist; a fist with chipped pink nail polish.
Ronnie grew quiet. I retched into the bushes again, closing my eyes. Ronnie's leg brushed against mine.
A hushed voice hissed in my ear, "Why don't you ever do what your told?"
A pinch of pain in my back stole my breath. I slid to my knees and felt a shiver of cold quiver down my spine.
There was no answer.
I see so many ways now to improve this story but it's so old I think I'm going to leave it as is. It's still entertaining.