“Stay quiet.” the shadow said. “I’m here to help you. Don’t worr- Shh! It’s coming!”
I was confused but did as the man said. I think it was a man, at least.
There was a loud thumping noise, and I saw a big monster jump out of the bushes. I quickly realized it was a Blarg. This man was being followed by a Blarg and he has now brought me into it by adding my scent to the attention of the Blarg. The Blargs are animals that have been mutated by all the pollution in the air, water, and ground. Our troops have found out the hard way that Blargs are vicious creatures. They are the reason for most of the deaths in The Future. They also carry severely fatal diseases. That’s the next cause for deaths. Blargs killed my mother.
Once I was done doing a reality check. I realized that the Blarg had its nose in the air. Not a good sign. Blargs only need one whiff of your scent for them to track you for the rest of your lives. I’ve been pretty good at avoiding them until this weirdo shows up and acts all heroic.
After the Blarg sniffed around for a while, it moved on to do some more stalking of humans. The hand around my mouth let go.
“Oh!” I let out a big breath. I had been holding it in since I heard the rustling from the bushes.
“I’m so sorry! Did I scare you?” the man said.
“No, you didn’t. And thanks a lot for putting me in danger. I’ve managed to keep clear of Blargs until now. If it wasn’t for you, I would be safe in my home without a Blarg stalking me.” I spewed.
“I didn’t mean to put you in danger,” he said, “I only wanted to make sure you didn’t get hurt. You look special… and I don’t know why, but I had the urge that I had to help you.”
I looked up and saw a young man, about my age, emerging from the shadows. I was feeling a feeling that I’d never felt before. Maybe… no. Could this be my first crush? I knew the symptoms of almost every disease in the world, but I couldn’t identify this one. Just his soft eyes, his strong smile, and his sturdy, muscular build were making the butterflies in my stomach dance.
What is happening to me? Am I turning into a fangirl? I hope not. I’ve worked so hard on building my character so far, I can’t let all that effort go to waste because of a boy!
“Hi. My name is Dylan. What’s yours?” he said in a deep, soothing voice.
“M-M-My n-name is K-Kayla. Hi, Dylan” I stuttered.
He chuckled, “Hi, K-Kayla.”
“It’s just Kayla,” I mumbled.
“Okay. Kayla. Got it.”
Dylan walked over to me and held out his hand. I didn’t know what to do, so I just sat there and stared at him. He had the most beautiful emerald green eyes I had ever seen. After a while of staring at each other, he sat down next to me.
“Are you cold?” he asked.
“Are you sure?”
“Well, yeah. A little bit.” I admitted. My cloak had been snagged on the bush when Dylan jumped out and now the Blarg had taken it,
He took off his cloak and put it around my body. Then he scooted in front of me to tie it. I didn’t realize how close we were to each other until he looked up. His breath was warm against my face.
“We should probably get going. It’s getting darker and colder,” he said, startled, moving away from me.
And more dangerous… I thought.
“Well, see you tomorrow?” he said, smiling.
“See you tomorrow,” I replied.
He put his hand on my shoulder.
“Stay safe, Kayla,” he said, removing his hand slowly.
Then he jumped back into the bushes and was off. I watched him until he was only a tiny speck in the distance. I just sat there in silence, wishing Dylan would come back to walk me home.
“I’m back!” Tom called, startling the crap out of me.
“Oh! It’s you! I thought you were some crazy creature! You’re lucky I didn’t throw-punch you!” I said in a falsely cheery tone.
“I couldn’t find anything. There were no animals around. It’s like a Blarg came through here!” he laughed.
“You don’t even know,” I muttered to myself.
“I guess you’ll just have to go to the gathering with nothing to bring”
The gathering! I had totally forgotten! My mother hates it when I’m late, and I’ll be in even bigger trouble if I’m later!
“We need to go! Now! Or else you will feel my mother’s rage and she will probably never let me see you again!” I shrieked.
“Onwards!” Tom shouted.
After a few minutes of walking, we were finally at my house. I said my goodbyes to Tom and then knocked on the door. The door swung open very quickly and in the doorway was a very angry mother.
“Where have you been?!?” she yelled, “You weren’t at the gathering, so I had to make an excuse that you were sick and unable to come. It was VERY embarrassing!”
My mother has always been obsessed about not getting embarrassed. I’m pretty sure she was severely embarrassed when she was a child and has been scarred ever since.
Just then, my father came up and asked why I was so late. He has always been a very calm person, so the question wasn’t accusing or aggressive like my mother’s.
“I was hunting for food like you had told me to. That’s when a Blarg came out of nowhere. I escaped into a tree, but it was too risky to climb down, and no other trees were nearby.” I didn’t mention anything about Dylan, Tom helping me hunt, or the Blarg getting my scent. That wouldn’t help the situation.
“Oh my goodness, child! Are you okay? Are you hurt?” my father asked, obviously shocked.
“I’m fine, Father,” I replied in a monotone voice.
“From now on, I don’t want you to send Kayla out into the forest to hunt from now on,” he said to my mother, “It could be dangerous, and I don’t want my baby getting hurt. She is to stay safe in the tribe or in the house. It’s your choice, just whatever you do, DON’T let her into the forest.”
“Yes, my darling,” she said. Then she kissed him on the cheek. “I need to get my beauty sleep now. Goodnight!”
My father and I both say goodnight back.
“I think you should get some extra rest too, Kayla. You must be tired from outrunning a Blarg.” my father said with a tad bit of worry in his voice.
“Yes, Father,” I replied. I was relieved to hear him say that because I wanted to process tonight alone.
I headed upstairs and got ready for bed. I couldn’t shake the image of Dylan holding out his hand for me from my mind. I lay in bed, thinking about how to see Dylan tomorrow if I couldn’t go into the forest. I’ll find a way.