Nature Sounds

“Whabbuja!” Christine jumped off the log she was sitting on and slapped at herself furiously, jumping around like someone had jolted her with a cattle prod.

Nelson laughed. “What the heck is wrong with you?” he asked.

“A bug just landed on my arm!” She shivered again.

Nelson flicked on his flashlight and played it over his friend’s body, then on the ground around her. “Are you sure? I don’t see anything.”

“Yes, I’m sure! It probably flew away. Buh! Gross. I told you we should have brought one of those portable bug zappers.”

“Well, I’m glad we didn’t. Otherwise I would have missed the Great Phantom Bug Jig of the Year.”

Christine bent over to carefully inspect the log she had been on before sitting down again. “Oh, you’re funny. Are you sure this camping trip is really necessary? I’m getting really tired of feeling like I’m going to be someone’s lunch.”

Nelson nodded emphatically. “Yes, this is absolutely necessary. You heard the director. The key to understanding this character is to experience life as she did. That means we have to spend some number of days fending for ourselves, surviving the wilderness.”

“I hardly think a long weekend at the state park qualifies as ‘surviving the wilderness,’ Nelson.”

He shrugged. “Well, it’s only for community theater. There’s only so far I’m willing to go for our art.” He leaned sideways and pulled out a pair of arrows from a quiver next to him. “Are you ready?”

“Oh, hell yes.” She reached into the backpack next to her and pulled out a handful of marshmallows, raising them over her head. “Let’s get some s’mores all up in this beeyotch!”

They each took a pair of marshmallows, poked them onto their arrows and held them over the campfire. The fire popped and crackled happily. Christine shivered again. “You’re not about to do another jig and lose your marshmallows, are you?” asked Nelson.

“No, I’m just cold. You mind sharing that?”

Nelson lifted up one side of the wool blanket he was under. “No problem, there’s plenty of room. We can share body heat, too.”

They sat together for a few minutes, toasting marshmallows and crafting snacks. Their faces reflected the warmth of the fire, and they leaned together contentedly. As the fire slowly died down, the pops and cracks of the coals were slowly replaced by the burbling of a small brook behind them.

Suddenly, Christine scooted out from under the blanket. “Dang it!” she muttered as she started walking away.

“What’s your problem now?”

She waved back at him in annoyance. “I’ve been listening to that stupid water, and now I have to pee. I’ll be back!”

First Contact

Just wanted to try a quick exercise while I heat my cocoa.

The visitor crash landed its craft just outside of the city, and stumbled outside. It had seen the giant pyramid shaped building from orbit and assumed that was where it could find the planet’s high priestess. At least, that’s how it worked where it came from.

Unfortunately, in the rough landing, all the ground transports were broken. That meant it would have to walk. It was mid-morning, and the sun was already scorching its pale grey skin. The visitor tried to gauge how long it would take to get where it was going. By its calculations it would be maybe two hours? Maybe more? It decided to chance it, and headed towards the city.

It was more than two hours. By the time it reached the pyramid it had seen from the skies, the sun had turned its skin to a dry, cracked brown. It entered the building and scanned the area. The room it was in was filled with bipedal creatures mindlessly pulling levers in front of glowing screens. There was a sunken floor where other threw small cubes and occasionally cheered or threw up their appendages in dismay.

A creature approached it and said…well, something. The auto-translators would take more time to calibrate. It seemed friendly, though. Apparently sensing the visitor’s confusion, the creature escorted it to a wide desk. More words were exchanged, and they handed it a small plastic rectangle. The visitor looked at it in confusion. As the creatures continued to try and explain, the auto-translator pinged with a key phrase: Welcome to the Luxor. Your room is 536.