Jump to content
Sign in to follow this  
Ari

Venture into the Forest(IC)

Recommended Posts

GM

January 14th, 2012

The trip to the well-made Kurtz Lodge almost 7 miles into Wharton State Forest hadn't been a quick one for the bus. The peril of an accident on account of the still-slick layer of impacted snow on the road was high, and had crept along at about 35MPH on its way there. The thick ranks of evergreen trees worked wonders to make the trip feel all but wholly real, and as the bus plowed into the dark woods a feeling that they were going nowhere had settled with varying degrees of fastness on the passengers, that the forest was just an infinite greeness dusted with snow, that the bus would run out of gas long before they got to where they were going, that..

They arrived forty minutes later than the time-table set by the lodge maintainers suggested. Much earlier than had been thought. The day's hikers sorted out of the bus in a drove of scarves, heavy coats and forbiddingly-thick boots.

Among them were a stocky Hispanic youth with an upright posture unusual for his years; and a leaner Caucasian boy with a fair complexion and a pair of glasses.

After disgorging its passengers, the bus rattled cautiously off down the road, the driver being needed to carry a freight of campers who's day and night of frozen bliss had done.

Share this post


Link to post

Stiffling a yawn, Serge stepped outside of the bus. As soon as he did so, a penetrating chill run from his hair through to his spine, making him almost curl, despite the fact that he was wearing two sets of woolen clothes. He didn't lose any time to exclaim "What the... it's freezing out here... " Not taking earmuffs was sooooo much a mistake. the boy thought, as his cheeks instantly became rosied from the cold. "I think I'm feeling cold in places I didn't even knew I had." he complained to his friend. "Remind me again, why was it such a bright idea to come here, in the woods, in the morning, in the middle of Winter, when we could be chilling more comfortably in the warmth and safety of the dorms, drinking hot cocoa and playing chess, or card games, or hell, even indoors basketball?" he asked the hispanic boy through gritted teeth; not that he had to make an effort.

Share this post


Link to post

Subito put a companionable arm around Serge's shoulder, practically radiating warmth in the frozen weather. "That's easily answered: the treasure in that cave, you know? The treasure everyone at school was talking about? Rumors have been flying around for a week now about it, and nobody seemed to actually want to go look for it, not even that Kimber girl or the red-haired one with tree powers or whatever. If we can find it, we'll keep it from falling into the hands of some villain down the line and ensure the safety of Freedom City that much more" guiding the two of them towards the inviting doors of the Lodge he continued "An' that's not all: this is perfect weather for a hike through the forest. The cold means most of the animals will be holed up in their dens hibernating or sticking close to keep warm, we won't have to worry about skipping off the beaten paths, losing our way because all the trails look the same, etcetera and so on" he concluded grandly as they stepped through the doors into the blessedly warm Lodge.

Share this post


Link to post

"The animals concern you? Really?" Serge asked his friend incredulously, before lowering his tone "You DO know that scaring them away is only a matter of throwing a sonic blast near their feet, right? After all" indicating his backpack, Serge chuckled "I've brought a spare change. Hehehe, you know what they say, never leave home without them." Now that he had started to get used to the cold, however, Serge lightened up considerably. Looking at the snow around them, he commented "I will admit, however, that this may not have been such a bad idea; the snow around here seems to have really settled in, in contrast with the campus."

Digging his hand in the snow, Serge produced a sizeable chunk and exhibited it at Subito "I mean, look, you can really feel like you're gathering snow, to your heart's content!" he exclaimed, all the while throwing the ball upwards slightly. The gesture probably didn't have the effect he wished it had, as every time it landed on his hand, more snow fell to the ground. "Man... it's a pity Galanta and your cousin couldn't make it here. I'm sure they'd enjoy the snow, as well. Plus, those trees make for excellent coverage, should the forray inevitably devolves into a snow fight, which I think, from what you've told me, your sister would appreciate."

Share this post


Link to post

At the mention of his cousin, Subito stopped short, scowled for a moment before shaking his head vigorously, and resumed his pace "Rodrigo..I dunno," he said bluntly "lately eh's been acting weird, really shut in and quiet, sometimes he'll go all day without saying more than a word or two to Dad or me, and usually he never shuts up" he shrugged brusquely "Guess I oughta' talk with him, huh? Try and find out what's up?" his eyes lit up when he saw the neat white rack in the well-lit Lodge stuffed to the brim with maps. Bounding over to it, he slid his thick right index finger down the line blazoned "TRAILS", he picked out an especially imposing survey of the local geography, which he took to the nearby desk(done in a carefully 'rustic' fashion that argued several hundred dollars per feet of its decor) to pay for its temporary use, upon the exchange he tucked it in the most convenient pocket of his thick coat and returned to Serge's side.

With that done, he asked his friend brightly "So Surge, you want to get anything here we might need or do you think we're all set?"

Share this post


Link to post

"So Surge, you want to get anything here we migth need or do you think we're all set?"

Giving this a thought, Serge replied "Like what? We already have everything we need in our backpacks; food, water, matches, hiking gear, flashlights, hell, I've even got a replacement flashlight inside my jacket's inner pocket, as well as replacement batteries, a few more foodbars, and an extra bottle of water, because you just know you're gonna lose those things when you need them the most. I din't bother with the extra hiking gear because, well... so yeah. Unless you forgot something, I think we are as ready as we can be to take on Mother Nature and everything she has to throw at us..." looking around, Serge said as if to no one in particular "... he said, vaguely expecting a nature-themed superpowered ecoterrorist or something to strike at an inopportune moment and ruin our trip. I mean, I know it's not Friday but schedules aren't kept as tightly during the holiday period as during the rest of the year."

Share this post


Link to post

With an exaggerated display of thought, Subito said "I don't believe we'll be needing the kitchen sink on this trip, so let's head off!" he grinned at Serge with undisguised excitement and enthusiasm before all but charging out the door they had come in through. Whipping out the map and squinting at it, he directed their course towards the rambling Watson Trail, which passed through numerous small hills and slender valleys that the map noted as containing almost a dozen caves, on its way to a waterfall-fed stream to the north and east of Freedom City. To Serge he explained "We'll take the outlying paths, the ones people will be most likely to hide stuff around without getting caught. That way whoever hid it could think it was safe at whatever weird corner it's stowed"

The snow crunched under his boots as he strode briskly into the forest.

Share this post


Link to post

Struggling to keep up with the energetic Subito, Serge trailed a bit behind, until he finally caught up with him "You know, one of this days I think I'm gonna need to borrow your personal trainer. I mean, when I have to use my... natural gifts to keep up with your running speed, you just know I'm letting myself go." Hearing Subito's remarks about their course, Serge nodded in agreement. "Fine by me. Lead the way then, oh fearless leader." he joked. The more off the main roads they went, the deeper Serge's feet sank into the snow. It was really no wonder he couldn't keep up; Serge hadn't had many opportunities to traverse such a difficult terrain.

Share this post


Link to post

Subito laughed along with Serge at first, charging briskly through the deathly-quiet forest, sending jets of displaced snow everywhere in his rapid stride, eyes alert and quick as a bird's as he scanned the surrounding trees for any sign of a likely cave. As they went on, however, he began to realize the trouble his friend was having matching his stride, and so slowed down by increments until he sheepishly muttered "Er..sorry Surge. got a bit overexcited I guess"

The reduction in speed seemed to do a lot of good, he reflected; mostly because now that they weren't hurrying they had more time to enjoy the still, murmuring woods, and could be more relaxed and casual in their search without any risk of missing the tell-tale signs of such burrows and excavations.

As they walked, Subito recalled Serge's joking mention of 'personal trainer' "That would be my family, actually" he grinned widely "They never let me forget when I need to practice, Rodrigo mentions constantly when I slack off in my training that I'm not at my usual edge, and my sister makes me hold the punching bag still when she uses it, which is a bit dangerous actually" he frowned a bit, but shrugged it off "By the way..haven't heard much about your folks Serge, why's that?" he stopped his search to look inquiringly at the other boy, flinching when a murder of crows passed suddenly overhead in a riot.

Share this post


Link to post

"By the way..haven't heard much about your folks Serge, why's that?"

"Hmmm... I don't think there's any particular reason for that. At least, none that I'm aware of. I mean, you know my parents are divorced and I live with my mum and my stepdad. I did visit my pa during Christmas, and while we don't keep in touch like we used to, we still find a chance to talk. Hmmmm..." Pausing to think upon the matter a bit, Serge continued "I suppose that my mum technically doesn't know I'm moonlighting as a Superhero wannabe, and I don't talk about my family in order to better distinguish between my identities?... I mean, the only one outside the academy that knows who I am is Greg, my stepdad. He's really cool about the whole thing, and helps cover for me, actually..." Serge trailed off a bit, when he noticed Subito suddenly tensing. Looking to the sky, where his friend was looking, he saw the flight of crows, and inquired "...Hey, what is it?"

Share this post


Link to post

"Huh, what?!" Subito started at the question before regaining his composure "Oh, those birds? I just didn't expect any around this time of year for some reason, y'know" resuming his more measured pace, he thought over what Serge had said, saying eventually "I'm glad someone knows who you are and what you do outside the school Serge; don't get me wrong it's a fine place, but I'll bet that if the only people who knew my secret I.D. were in the school I'd end up pretty dang lonely" he leaned forward slightly, scanning a passing hillock moated with a frozen pond for any signs of a cave "Nice to be able to tell someone else about what's happening and get a different perspective on it, you know?"

Share this post


Link to post

"So, you have any friends outside the academy who know of your... special gifts, or is it only your family?" Serge asked Subito, as he stayed close. While he kept his eyes open for any sign of a cave, he still had little luck to spotting one. "I don't, well, at least, not as of yet. I mean, I do have a friend who I'm sure wouldn't mind knowing about my 'night shifts', as it were, but it's just that I haven't really gotten around to talking to him about it. Especially since I entered the Academy, we've barely kept in touch with each other. Hey, watch those twigs. Meh, anyways, it's not really such a big of a deal."

Looking around, Serge tried to scan the area for any landmarks. "Well, Subiboss, d'you think we're getting any closer, or are we just running around in circles?"

Share this post


Link to post

An embarrassed silence engulfed several seconds as Subito weighed his friend's question. After turning it over in his head for rather longer than was necessary, he admitted "Well..my family knows, and odds are they've told our relatives, who will probably have told their friends, they seem to at least have some idea of it" leaning against a nearby snow-laden tree he continued "Some of my friends from my old school know somehow, and they're always easy to talk to about trying to become a superhero"

He listened to Serge's explanation of the difficult position he was in vis a vis a friend of his from outside Claremont. The brief direction to look at some twigs confused him greatly, though he put it down to simple unease with the change of scenery. "I think you should try to keep in touch with him more Serge" he said earnestly "Though," he confessed "it's kinda obvious I'd say that" he glanced around at the frozen forest about them before consulting the map, which he peered at closely "Nah, there don't seem to be many caves for a couple miles at least. looks like the first of them is somewhere around the waterfall a little upstream from here, in that direction" he pointed northwards into the dense forest off the path "Should we check it out? I think we should"

Share this post


Link to post

"Heheheheheeeee." Serge laughed a maniacal laugh, as a deviously brilliant (Or so, he would claim) idea popped in his head. "Race you there?" he asked as he indicated the direction Subito plotted for them. "Come on, it'd be fun! We can go on three. Last one there buys the other one pizza. You know, on top of being a rotten egg and all." he said, as he started stretching and warming up. Looking around, Serge noticed that his feet were up to his knees, and he had to constantly raise his legs until the were out of the snow, in order to move any further. "The snow really impedes my movement, so I'm fairly sure it would prove to be an interesting match, even without a handicap. What do you think? Are you a bad enough dude to take me on this challenge?"

Share this post


Link to post

"Challenge accepted, friend ninja" declared Subito, a little displeased that the conversation had ceased but always eager to go running off in the direction that seemed best for adventure. Loosening the straps of his backpack to give his arms a little leeway, he took off in a spray of scattered snow, breaking the stillness with a playful roar as he dashed through the trees "C'mon Serge! Don't be scared to fly if you have to, I know I won't!", the laugh that echoed after it showing he wasn't serious in the least, though the numerous times he nearly swam through especially deep drifts collected around the more ancient trees made the option seem all the more attractive.

Glancing over at his fellow racer he added "Also: said pizza must be consumed at the family home of the loser, deal?"

Share this post


Link to post

"C'mon Serge! Don't be scared to fly if you have to, I know I won't!"

"Now, now. Let's not get ahead of ourselves, Subito. This is, after all, just a friendly competition between friends, so don't be expecting any hold-backs." Serge replied, as he took his position next to Subito.

"Also: said pizza must be consumed at the family home of the loser, deal?"

"You, aha, bet!" he enthusiastically agreed. "The winner also picks the movie, because, let's face it, pizza without movies is just bad form." Scanning the area ahead of them, he could see that the trees would hamper his movement even further, but the same would apply to Subito, unless he flew high above the trees. 'Oh, well. We do want to make this a fair race, after all.'

Share this post


Link to post

Subito charged eagerly into the forest, and almost instantly fell into a drift hidden by a small hillock. Struggling to his feet, he plowed through the forest like a very happy bull, slipping and tripping as he went on, none of doing the slightest to slow his momentum. Branches smacked him with enough regularity to leave his face lined with scratches and small cuts, tough bushes from the dying year cut small rips in his coat and his snow pants, and a near miss of a frozen pond sent him crashing into an abandoned den of some hibernating predator. At last, eyes watering slightly from the glare of the pale sun on the whiteness all around, he stumbled to a halt in front of a sudden hole in the ground, set at just the right angle to let in water from the quiet stream, tree-lined and passing by a few feet.

Looking about him, he realized that he had gotten there first. "Well I'll be" he muttered, and sat down on a dry rock to rest and wait for his friend, keeping an eye out in case something stupid had attacked him.

Share this post


Link to post

Serge moved his feet on a blinding speed, avoiding trees and digging through the snow as if possesed. It was, naturally, to his complete surprise and utter horror that he was lagging behind. The cold didn't help matters, as he found it increasingly harder to breath. In the end, he managed to catch up to his friend, who was now resting after a victorious run, in half a minute, immediately collapsing on the snowy ground, grasping for breath. "Huff, huff, huff, Fine, huff, but no, huff, NO HORRORFILMS!" he said impotently, while his muscles ached tensely. "Koff-koff, God! Ahh, ahh, huff, phew. That was good. Huff, huff. I really felt that excersize." Serge remarked, finally catching his wind

Share this post


Link to post

"No fear of that Serge" the stocky teen assured his friend, getting up off the rock and settling him down on it to rest "not much of a horror guy myself. I like science fiction mostly, maybe put on a Dr. Tomorrow serial from the 50's the start things off?" he laughed out loud at the last part, those serials had been out of print for years, and mostly ran on late-night cable if they aired at all. Looking around he added "No hurry man, and that cave there looks pretty unfriendly. Let's not get into any more trouble than we have to..." a casual glance at his coat turned to horror when he saw the cuts and marks on it "...which in my case is gonna be a lot when I get home if I don't fix this"

Looking over at Serge he asked casually "By the way..why don't you like horror? I just don't like watching people being tormented, even if its faked and all"

Share this post


Link to post

"Thanks, I'll, uh, I'll be fine." Serge replied. Finally finding the strength to pull himself together, the young teen rose from the ground, dusting the snow off his face and body. "Meh, don't worry about your cuts, Subito. They are only flesh deep, and to be expected from an expedition."

Thinking a bit on the movie issue, he said "Don't like watching people being tormented, huh? I never thought of it that way, that's for sure. I mean, don't get me wrong, I may enjoy the occasional Dracula, but on the whole, the reason I avoid horror is that I find the genre to be... mindnumbingly dull, trite, uninteresting, and unsuspenceful. Comedies are much more my suit, with action being a close second, and fantasy a distand third. Nothing wrong with fantasy films, really, just nothing too interesting either."

Share this post


Link to post

Evidently surprised by this way of thinking, Subito gave no sign that he was deeply puzzled by this reasoning. He assumed that the moral aspect was the most basic part of the equation, and that everything else flowed from whether or not the work paid homage to that underpinning. Serge's worldview evidently had the moral aspect as something secondary to the storytelling. This was something to chew over. He nodded to show he had heard and understood.

Putting that aside for the moment, he frowned again at the rips he had gotten. "I know, but I shouldn't be so careless. This coat cost a lot to me, and I don't wanna waste it. I'll sew it up on the walk, I got some great thread for repairing this stuff yesterday" he glanced over at the cave, noting the thin rivulet that trickled into it "You want to check it out? It's pretty close to the path, but it being winter and all, I can see someone hiding something in there"

Share this post


Link to post

"Heh, sure, why not. After all, I'm pretty sure we're wasting our times, either way, so let's get moving." Serge replies, as he takes off the ground, hovering a meter or so above the snow level, just so that he doesn't have to wade through the snow any more. As he headed to the cave, Serge asked Subito "So, tell me, what's your favorite type of movie?" Flying lower and lower, Serge finally landed in the cave entrance, where the snow seemed thinner and lower than anywhere else.

Share this post


Link to post

A golden mist began to form around Subito as his own feet left the ground, following Serge closely "Favorite kind...I guess I'd say sci-fi? Not a lot of the newer stuff, but more like 2001, Moon, stuff like that. I like it when movies are openly trying to say something profound, even if it's something simple like 'we don't know what we'll find in space'. I hate it when movies get too taken with the surface, like how nowadays everyone's trying for the wittiest speeches, the snappiest dialogue, the flashiest things on screen. It's gotten to the point where it's almost like a lot of move guys don't like making movies at all, and just want to put stuff on screen that makes them look good" he stared moodily into the dankness of the cave, his gleam lighting up a lot more of the place than might have been expected "I gotta say, you do not strike me as the kinda guy who would like comedies Surge. Why're they your favorite kind?"

The cave wasn't much to look at, a deep, slightly winding den that looked like it might have belonged to a bear at one point. The only object of interest was a deer skull that had somehow become stuck in the wall with the antlers hanging from the roots of a pine tree above, the face peering palely at the two in the strange golden half-light.

Share this post


Link to post

"Well... it all comes down to the fact that, when ever I want to do something, anything really, fun and recreation are my foremost concerns. Heh, I even enjoyed watching Bowman and Arrow. Science Fiction... it's a toss-up for me. Again, fun and imagination comes before scientific accuracy, because let's be honest, if I want accuracy, I can just tinker at a lab or something. On the whole, I find most sci-fis to be... well... preachy. And if there's something I hate on a movie, it's preachiness and forced aesops. Especially ones I disagree with."

Serge went close to the deer skull, as he tried to inspect it thoroughly. "Well, that's weird. Why would a skull be etched in a wall, with no sign of the rest of it's body anywhere nearby."

Share this post


Link to post

The stocky youth glanced sharply towards Serge at the mention of the infamously pun-riddled movie, and several choice comments filed past his brain before he turned and said only "Yeah..I get what you mean, it can kind of overshadow the message if it's delivered with all the elegance of a punch to the face, and it's hard to win people over if you act like they already agree with you" leaving the discussion about movies behind, he asked something that he had long been curious about, glancing at the damp cave around them before finding the skull in the gloom "That IS odd. Maybe it was stuck there by some hikers or something. Anyway: what are you thinking of doing once you've graduated from Claremont?"

Share this post


Link to post
Guest
This topic is now closed to further replies.
Sign in to follow this  

×
×
  • Create New...