The Nightmare

This is a nightmare that has constantly haunted me since I was in third grade. The people in this story are by no means like this. But then, it's a nightmare, isn't it?

Side note: This is an exercise to get it out of my head. It is rushed and most likely full of errors. Haha, sorry about that.

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3. Lost in the Fog

 

Lost in the Fog

 

          We had agreed to continue on. The way was now open and Cassie’s foot was getting worse. We walked on in silence. Kai helped Cassie, I took lead while Charles walked behind. My brain raced as I pushed my way through the trees. I felt less like I was climbing a hill and more like I was descending into a swamp. I couldn’t really see the building anymore. A fog had rolled in a while ago, but I could still see the lights. “It can’t be much farther,” I assured myself, “It just can’t be.”

          “What was that?” Kai asked.

          “Huh?” I half turned my head so I could address her.

          “Did you say something just now?” Kai questioned.

          “No, I … was just thinking … out loud,” I struggled with my response, turning to look ahead.

          “Oh,” Kai replied, “Well than never mind then … CASSIE!” Kai’s voice broke into a high shout as Cassie’s own piercing scream intertwined with Kai’s voice. I spun around. Both Cassie and Kai were gone. Charles was in the process of kneeling. I started to run forward.

          “NO!” Charles yelled at me holding his hand out to stop me from getting closer. I paused, silently demanding an explanation. “Go find a long branch or something,” he commanded, “I think it’s quick sand.”

          “In the middle of a fucking forest?!” I growled with disbelief.

          “Yeah! I don’t know, just get a damn branch!” he yelled whipping off his own jacket.

          The fog dissipated under my feet as I ran through the forest. My foot tucked under a root, toppling me over. The flesh on my cheek ripped open as I fell. A sharp hiss escaped my lips as one of my hands flew up to cover the wound on my face. I blinked, pushing myself up with my other arm. I forced myself to take three breaths to refocus before pushing myself the rest of the way up.

          “Branch,” I chanted to myself, “I need a branch.” I scanned each area around me for mere seconds. My hand was still pressed against my cheek. My ankle throbbed. Finally, just a few feet off to my left I could see a branch big enough to help. I stepped forward, my ankle wailed in protest. “GAH!” I knelt down. Tears sprung forward. I bit my lip trying to create pain elsewhere. I stood up again and took another step forward. My voice echoed my ankle’s second protest, but I managed not to collapse. Working my way slowly I reached the branch. On the way back I hobbled along using it as a makeshift cane.

          The fog had mostly cleared away by now. Charles was on his belly gripping tightly on one end of his jacket while Cassie gripped on the other end. She was buried up to her rib cage. Kai was sitting behind Charles, hugging her knees. Her legs were covered in mud and grains of sand. She looked up at me, to my face. An odd expression flashed across her face before she glanced away.

          “Charles!” I half yelled, signaling my presence.

          Charles looked up, “Jesus, Kayla, what happened to you?”

          “Don’t ask, ready?” I shifted my weight to my good foot ready to attempt to toss the branch. Charles coat gave way. Tearing in half Cassie sunk further into the ground.

          “KAYLA!” Cassie screamed. “Don’t let me die this way!”

          I dropped to my knees crawling forward with the branch. “Cassie, look at me.” I tried keeping my voice steady. Cassie turned slowly the ground now just below her shoulders. Tears streaked her face. I inched closer, sliding the branch across towards her.

          “Don’t let me die like this, Kayla,” she whispered, grabbing a hold of the branch. Charles stood up. Carefully he worked his way around to my side and helped me pull on the branch.

          “Oww!” Cassie yelled. We paused, too frightened to continue pulling.

          “What’s wrong?” I demanded.

          “I, I feel like I’m being pulled in half,” Cassie wailed. I looked up at Charles. He shook his head, just as confused as I was. I looked up at Kai. She sat there staring at my face, her eyes barely peeking above her knees.

          “We-we’re going to,” I cleared my throat looking away from Kai and back to Cassie, “We’re going to try and pull you out again, ok?” Cassie nodded. “If it hurts too much we’ll stop and find another way.” She bit her lip and nodded once again. Once again, Charles and I yanked the branch backwards. She inched a little higher above the surface.

          “OW!” she yelped. Encouraged by the progress Charles and I yanked again. “OUCH! IT HURTS!” A little more of her resurfaced. The ground near her seemed a little darker than before, but Charles and I didn’t pause to think much of it. Kai’s attention shifted to look at the ground around Cassie. My heart jumped and paused in my throat for a second. I willed my mind blank for a moment yanking on the branch again.

         “STOP!!” Cassie cried out. Charles and I paused, once again afraid to move. “I, I can’t feel my legs anymore, Kayla,” she sobbed, “Something is wrong.”

          “We’ve almost got you halfway out, Cas,” I hoped I sounded stronger than I felt. “Can you try holding on a little longer?”

          Cassie shook her head, “N-no, something is wrong, Kayla. I think I should stay here.” She let go of the branch.

          “No, no, no, I’m going to get you out of there, grab on the branch again. Please,” my voice caught as I noticed the darkness spreading as if the muddy soil was a lake.

          Cassie shook her head again forcing a smile across her lips, “Thank you for tying, Kayla. I, I think I’ll see Matt.” She was sinking again, this time faster.

          “What are you talking about,” I pushed the branch so it poked her skin, “Grab hold of this, I’m going to get you out of here.”

          “Tell mom we loved her,” she smiled, tears rolling down her cheeks, “And I love you, Kayla.”

          “What the hell, you can’t give up on me now!” I poked her again trying to get her to grab the stupid branch. She just stared, smiling while tears dripped freely off her chin. Charles pulled me away, the branch still gripped tightly in my hand. I watched her sink like that, staring into her eyes. I should have told her I loved her too.

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