Flash: Coverage

Image from Unsplash (I think – sorry, lost track of this one)

“Hello, anyone out there?” Mike’s voice echoed through the fog hunting below the branches of the old woods.

“Shh.” Gregory hissed. “Will you be quiet?”

“Come out, come out, wherever you are!” The blond moved ahead of the other two males. “We’re friendly.”

“Will you shut it!” Gregory jerked Mike’s arm, then lowered his voice to a whisper quickly absorbed into the heavy fog like vile secrets. “What are you going to do if something answers?”

“Where is your sense of adventure?” Mike asked, yanking his arm out of the taller man’s grip.

“Where is your sense of self-preservation?” Gregory eye’s explored the hostile trees around them.

Silent climbed into the upper branches to hide, the only noise their crunching footsteps. A slight breeze, unfelt by the hikers, twirled the last determined leaves in their singularity, holding on to branches for dear life. Undergrowth drew back in the passing, huddling between trees, hoping to survive the coming winter by staying low to the ground.

Perkinson closed on the others, holding out his black triangle, casting a ghoulish green light on his face. “Still no signal. One of you guys should try, my battery is running low.”

“No, you have the best chance, your company has the most coverage in the area. Once your battery is dead, then I’ll turn on mine.” Gregory tapped his back pocket. “We got to save batteries as much as possible and bringing them up and down chews energy.”

“What do we do when we all run out of battery?” Perkinson dropped his hand, the light fading after a beep of protest.

“We keep walking, there has to be an end.”

“Why, why do you think that?”

“Do give up on me now.” Gregory gripped Perkinson’s shoulders. “We will get through this.”

“With the help of whoever is out there!” Mike shouted to the surroundings.

“Shut.UP.”

“Here is the thing, I was thinking of going back to the car to recharge the battery,” Perkinson rushed his words, stumbling over them like they were roots breaking the ground of this god-forsaken forest, “but then…but then…”

“That might be a good fallback position.”

“No, you don’t understand.” Perkinson pulled on the tall man’s sweater. “I don’t remember there being a car.”

“What?” Gregory’s eyebrows clashed together.

Perkinson whispered the words like he was afraid the fog would overhear. “I don’t remember a car. I don’t remember getting here. I can’t even remember the last thing I remember. I can only remember .0being here in the woods with you two.”

(words 421; first published 11/22/2023)