there’s so much I want to add to it but I just can’t get it to fit what I’ve got, so I guess it’s done for now..
Also, I’m not known for happy endings
It gets dark out early this time of year. My friends and I have been getting restless with the new season approaching. We’ve been looking to add some new excitement into our lives, but there isn’t much you can do surrounded by the vast, empty fields that make up this area near winter. We were young, only sixteen and seventeen, too young to do anything people considered fun. Not old enough to smoke and certainly not old enough to drink. That didn’t leave many options. Randy, however, was less worried about the legal aspects of things. He wanted to try everything; he had us drink with him and smoke with him. He was more rebellious than the rest of us. He had us try weed with him once, but that still wasn’t enough for him. To be honest, drinking sucked, smoking made my lungs hurt, and I didn’t like what the pot did to my head. I was easily convinced though, all it took was him acting like a dick to get us all to join each new escapade of his.
We all meet at Randy’s house like normal before getting into his mom’s van and heading to our spot. It’s a small clearing that’s near the back of a field just inside of the tree line; you’d never get to it if you weren’t trying, which is why we hang there. He parks the deep, stormy ocean blue colored van and we start the long walk to the trees. The remaining stalks from the harvest have yet to be plowed down, making our silent walk more of a challenge.Once we get to the tree line the wind picks up, making the pre-winter air lick our skin with a ferocious tongue and leaving goosebumps in its wake. Just before we can break the wall of wood and dead leaves, a light snow starts to fall and dust everything with an icy blanket.
Inside the cover of the trees it’s a different story; the complex network of branches keeps most of the snow away from the clearing we have made over the past year. The dead leaves cover the floor like a carpet of dark brown and fading orange. There are two short stumps and one long, thick log, which is starting to be overcome with rot, that we had dragged there to use for seating. Randy takes his normal seat on the bigger of the two stumps while the other two in our group take the log, leaving me with the other stump next to Randy.
“Alright, the flavor of the day is LSD my friends,” Randy says while rummaging through his jacket pockets before pulling out a small bag with what looked like a postage stamp inside. “There are four squares, one for each of us,” he smirks while removing and handing everyone an extremely small square peice of paper. The one he hands to me has a small image of a strawberry on it and I briefly wonder what it will taste like. “Okay,” he starts after everyone has their square. “You put it in your mouth, let it sit there for a few minutes, then chew it and swallow,” he tells us before revealing the perfectly straight and white teeth, that his parents undoubtedly spent hundreds of dollars on, and places the piece of paper, no bigger than your pinky nail, onto the tip of his tongue. We all follow suit and place the squares into our mouth’s without much other thought. “It’ll take about thirty minutes for it to kick in,” he says as he moves from the stump to sit and lean against a nearby tree.
The two others and I move into a more comfortable position while we all wait. After they move from the log I go and lay on the ground with my head propped against it. The silence we all fall into gives me time to think and wonder what I had gotten myself into. I didn’t know anything about LSD. I’d never even imagined that I would be doing something like this; not once did I stop and think about how this would effect me, but still, I couldn’t help but be a little excited.
I could hear the whistling that signified the wind picking up speed as the snow started to fall harder. By now there was a fine covering of the powder in our little cove and if I turned my head at just the right angle I could see the much thicker blanket that was covering the open field. I look at my friends and truly wonder for the first time if this was such a good idea. It was too late by now, Randy was out of it, his eyes were far away and dilated beyond what was humanly normal. Our other two friends were gone too, they were just staring at the trees and muttering nonsense to each other. At this point I thought, maybe I got a dud; so I sat and waited for them to come down.
I don’t know how long I sat there, but my back and ass were getting sore and that’s when I heard it. Someone was calling for me. I stood up and looked around to see which of my friends it was, but saw that they were gone. Where’d they go, quickly passes through my mind before I heard my name again.
“Where are you?” I asked to no one.
“Follow my voice,” it called back. I couldn’t understand where it was coming from so I just headed deeper into the woods. It’s hard to walk, it looks like everything is moving and I can’t tell where to put my feet. “That’s it,” it encouraged. “Just a little farther.” The voice sounded distorted due to the wind, it went between being distinctly female to being possibly male. “You made it,” I heard called near me before something moved to my left. “Hey,” I hear whispered near my ear.
“Hey,” I whisper back while trying to process what my mind is seeing. There, in front of me, is the source of the voice that was calling to me. In the middle of the sun-kissed face before me are full lips that are tinted red from the cold, a small round nose, two cerulean blue eyes that are flecked with tan and are almond shaped, and a mess of wispy, shoulder length blond hair.
“My name’s Ariel, I’ve been waiting for you,” her lips curl up at the corners while extending a hand to me. “Let’s go.”`
To where I wonder, as she pulls me with her. Her outfit isn’t suited to this weather. All she has on are a pair of full length, black leggings, a long flowing shirt with stripes and flowers in a muted sepia color and a pair of cloth boots. “Wait,” I tell her and strip off my jacket. “Here, you’ll catch a cold.”
“Thank you, but won’t you get sick without it?” Ariel ask while slipping it up her tan arms and over her shoulders.
“I’ll be fine,” I say while starting to walk again.
“It’s warm,” she giggles and starts walking with me. I don’t know where we’re going but we just keep walking and walking. It feels like we’ve been going for hours before Ariel turns to me. “You’re friends came through here earlier. I tried to talk to them but they just kept going.”
“Where were they headed?” I ask her while stopping.
“I don’t know,” she answers. “But I think they were in a hurry.”
“Oh.” We start walking again and I try to think about where my friends could have went. “Where are we going?” I ask Ariel but she doesn’t answer. She just takes my hand in hers and we keep moving.
“Did you know,” she says while looking ahead, “There’s a legend that says if you get lost in these woods, and die in them, your soul will be trapped in it?”
“Really?” I ask but don’t give it much thought.
“Yeah, but it’s not true. I mean, really, how many people do you hear about that get lost in the woods?” she laughs. Her laugh sounds quiet and low, like the distant rumble of thunder. She looks up to the sky and sticks her tongue out, my eyes must be playing tricks on me because I thought that I saw the square paper from earlier placed on its tip. Joining her, I look to the sky and see the puffs of snow falling, they are heavy and wet, uncharacteristic for this time of year. The clouds over head make unbelievable shapes, there is one that’s changing shapes rapidly, first it looks like a cat, then a bear, now a car and so many many other things that I can’t keep up.
“It’s beautiful isn’t it?” she says while turning to me.
“Yeah, it is,” I agree. We stare up at the sky and it’s shifting clouds as the snow falls onto our faces. I can feel the melted snow flowing down my cheeks in cold winding streams. I look over to Ariel and see the snowflakes that have taken perch on the very tips of her eyelashes. What a beautiful thing to see, a person’s eyes framed by perfect white.
In this instant, I find her beauty to be infinite. All of her imperfections are heightened due to her skin being flushed from the cold, but they only blend to make her this pure being. She is foreign but familiar. She is flawed but she is perfect. She is silent but her presence screams volumes. Just one look from her and you can see all of the thing you wish you could say and all of the things you feel played on her face.
“Is something wrong?” she asks while returning my stare.
“No, everything is perfect,” I tell her. We walk another ten or twenty feet and come to an open area with a small pond that has started to freeze over and we just stand with Ariel is still holding onto my hand. I can feel the warmth, like electricity, flowing through her hand to mine and fading up my arm. The cold has long since seeped into my boots and through my worn out cotton socks. My legs don’t seem to be too cold yet but my arms have become so cold, except for the lower half of the one Ariel’s holding, that I don’t even notice anymore.
“You look really cold, do you want your jacket back?” she asks while already removing the mentioned item.
“No,” I tell her. “I’ll be fine. I just need to find my friends.” I glance down at my hands and see the tips turning bluish black, almost like bruises. I know that it’s bad, but I can’t remember why. We walk close to the pond before I realize something. “Ariel?”
“Yes?” she replies and looks up at my face.
“Why are you out here?” I ask her, but she just ignores me.
“You know, I really liked talking to you,” she says instead.
“But we didn’t really talk,” I say getting frustrated with her.
“Fine then, I like the compatible silence we shared and I liked walking with you,” she says, not letting my irritation effect her.
“I did too,” I say with a sigh. “Will I get to see you again?”
“Probably not,” she says with a sad smile.
“Why?” I ask while turning to look at her, but she’s gone. I scream for her but don’t see her at all. I jog closer to the water and shout for her. “ARIEL!”
I hear her voice quietly calling me and head even close to the pond. I quickly scan the area for her, but I still don’t see her. An icy feeling creeps into my chest and I look down. There, in the water, is Ariel. Without a second thought I jump in to grab her.
The freezing water rushes past my eyes and tiny air bubbles escape from my nose. I can’t find Ariel and it’s getting too hard to see. My lungs burn and I have to surface. I look around, frantically, for her before I see her slip past the trees back into the forest. I try my best to get out of the pond but it’s like it’s holding me in. I feel like I’m swimming through mud. I keep getting sucked back in and my body doesn’t want to work but I push myself until I can make it out. The air is freezing and my body is shaking, I don’t care though, all I care about is finding Ariel.
It’s hard to focus and I can see spots dancing in my vision. She’s just up ahead, I know she is, I can make it. Just a little longer. I break into the trees and see Randy, the others and my clearing. I want to just cry, I want them to come back, I want Ariel to come back and I want to go home. I lie down next to the log and curl in on myself. It’s too cold and I’m too tired. I need some rest. The spots dance and flicker over my vision and I slowly fall asleep.