Kevin raced through the thistles and long branches in the seemingly endless forest. The orange jumpsuit he was forced to wear gave him the sweats, it wasn’t helping that the sun beamed down on him. Holding him hostage so that he could only run a short pace before stopping to catch his breath. As much as he hated the jail cell, he panted at the thought of having to sleep on the ground covered in blood thirsty insects, predators with fangs and claws, and forces of nature that would keep him sleepless every single night. Kevin was wanted which meant he couldn’t get a legal job, he couldn’t buy a house, he couldn’t even sit on the streets to beg, because he might be recognized by one of the rushing, caffeine induced drivers passing by. The thought of starving to death tormented him, and so did skinning an animal or even killing one. Sweat beaded his forehead, he wiped away the occasional one that would slip down his face. As he ran Kevin didn’t know where he was going, he just wanted to be away from those people. The people that betrayed him, that were once his friends and now wanted him dead, for a murder that wasn’t even a murder. Those people that he used to be, Kevin was almost certain that he would either be locked up in a cell for the rest of his life, or dead within days. So he needed to prepare himself for those possibilities.
Now far enough from the station, Kevin walked his way through the forest. It was still morning, and as hungry as Kevin was, longing for his routine egg white omelet. He desperately needed a drink, the harsh rays of sunlight made saccades sing in the heat. The occasional tree that offered a decent amount of shade was just a little revealing, but every time he came across such a rare tree that wasn’t penetrated by the heat, he heard branches snap, as if someone was going to walk up behind him and take him back. Kevin ran so fast he could no longer see the shade, or hear the sound. A sudden gust of wind trampled all of his fear, he stopped and fell to the ground letting the trees take over. Dancing in the wind they were like giant fans blowing at full power, a few seconds and it was over, but Kevin remained on the ground. Eyes closed, he imagined the goosebumps and chills the passing wind had given him. Then a sound broke his concentration, and Kevin heard the rumbling waves echo through the forest. He immediately rose from his daydream, and stumbled forward, following the sound as it got louder. Finally when Kevin could hear no more than the gushing water, he pulled back the willows that draped over the ground like curtains, and found the most beautiful scene.
A wide, but not too wide stream running as fast as a waterfall, crashing and bouncing against the rocky sides of the river. The water fed into a reasonably large pond with schools of rock bass, and Minos. The whole area was shone down on, but not in a blaze. The rays seemed to glimmer and sparkle in the sun’s reflection, just above the surface a dragon fly buzzed, creating a small ripple in the water, as it dipped its wing in the mirror below. There was no sign of any human destruction for miles, and the whole space was blocked off from any disruptions of nature. The perfect place to hide, with enormous hedges, and blossom trees surrounding it. Growing everywhere were white velvety roses, that were radiant and in blossom, with the constant sun and remarkable supply of water, they glowed. It was like the light at the end of the dark, and malicious tunnel.
Kevin smirked at the sight of the pond, after taking in the sweet smell of fresh nature he stripped off his clothes, and cannonballed into the cool clear water. As he rises to the surface the fish scattered. Kevin found a small shallow seat in the pond, made with a smooth uncontaminated rock, which he called the new cushy. At his house back before he was evicted for being a fugitive of the law, Kevin had a hot tub. In his hot tub there was a certain seat that while sitting in it, he didn’t sink under his head, and he didn’t freeze above his chest. The seat was a comfortable, padded, grey spot with a head rest. He called this seat cushy, on either side of cushy there were jets that flowed powerfully surrounding him with bubbles. There was no jets behind him, none below him, and none blowing directly at him, so his peace in cushy was sanctifying, and always enjoyable. As he sat in new cushy, Kevin tilted his head back, and rested it on the soft grass. He turned his attention to the small puffs of white, floating slowly through the sky. He watched as a flock of geese honking as they flew, disappeared in the cloud, then emerged all in perfect formation. Normally Kevin would have ducked his head, in hopes to not get pooped on. But all of that useless paranoia slipped away, as Kevin closed his eyes, he imagined being the bird. Free, at one with nature, not holding back, no rules applied to the bird. As he dreamed about swooping through the clouds, feeling weightless as he fell through the air then caught wind and soared above the treetops once more. Gliding among the stars, he imagined the moon getting closer, a tease as the atmosphere pushed him back. Perched on a treetop watching the sunrise, Kevin opened his eyes, he sat up and looked back at the infinite amount of space, in the forests very own slice of heaven. “I could live here,” he said, after the goose bumps went from out of sight to all over.
Kevin left the pond, he grabbed his undershirt and used it as a towel to dry himself off, before redressing in the heavy orange jumpsuit. After Kevin was dressed he looked around planning the house in his mind, he would gather logs sturdy enough to build a one room cabin. Then he would build the perimeter, there was a blueberry bush in the far side of the enclosure, which he would surround with a frame made from strong branches. Kevin knew that if he ate all the fish from the pond, then there would soon be no more left, so he decided one fish every week would work. Giving them enough time to regenerate more eggs. In the remaining nights, he would have to catch wildlife, he gagged at the idea of skinning a deer and cooking it over the fire, but as great grumpy-pa always said, “never take for granted, life’s precious nature. Hunt only for food, not for game and always be aware of the environment, when living in the wilderness.” Until this day he would always laugh in his head at the thought of camping with bugs, animals, and forces of nature that could tear one apart in a second. But when Kevin saw the beautiful cool water after a long run with no breeze, or drinks. He didn’t stop to think of parasites like he normally would, he jumped right in and didn’t take for granted the pond, the stream, or the fish.
When Kevin was done picturing his future, his eyes lit up, and his smile took up half his face. What used to disgust him, was now exhilarating. As Kevin stood, admiring his work, a loud grumble shot pain through his stomach, ready to faint Kevin sat under the willow. Closed his eyes, and tried to calm the roar of his hunger pains. It was definitely lunch time, the roars got louder, and the striking pain moved from his stomach to his head. Kevin hobbled over to the bush the walk was torture, with each stride his stomach pained, screaming “feed me.” When Kevin arrived, he collapsed under the bush, and reached out his shaky hands, picking one at a time and swallowing a dozen at a time. He did so until satisfied, then with a groan, Kevin held his stomach, he needed more than fruits in his diet, and he knew it. Swallowing, he stares deeply at the opening gate of the willow trees, where he had first arrived. Knowing what he had to do, Kevin stood and headed for the entrance, leaving this paradise took all the courage in the world for Kevin to do. Even if it was only for a minute to get food and supplies. Kevin had that habit of always fearing the worst all the time, a million scenarios ran through his mind. What if they found his camp while he was out and ruined it? What if an animal followed him back when he returned? What if he couldn’t find food or supplies, and starved to death? What if, what if, what if. It was never likely to happen when he got like this, but Kevin never liked being uncertain. Finally after working up the right amount of courage Kevin pulled open the vines hanging from the willows, and stepped outside.
Kevin didn’t even notice his shaking legs until he looked down, he breathed a steady breath out, and started walking. A few feet ahead and Kevin spotted the tall maple tree, on it was a perfect branch he could use to fashion a spear, to be ready when an animal did cross his path. On his tippy toes, Kevin just barely touched it, but that’s all he needed. When he touched his fingers on the top of the branch, he grabbed on tight, and swung his other hand up and around as well. Now practically hanging from the moss covered branch, he shimmied to the strongest part, and tugged down. The branch bent a little, but it needed more force to snap in two, so Kevin started to swing, he jumped, and moved as much as possible until the tree gave in, and let the limb go. Kevin smiled even though his hands were covered in scrapes, he was so happy to finally have won the fight. After standing up and swiping away the dirt Kevin broke off the twig like end of the branch, giving it more force to be plunged into the animal. “Step one done,” he said aloud it was completely silent, not even the hum of the wind was there to see Kevin now. After he broke the branch from a tree that would not give way, to see him stab an innocent animal and eat it, to witness Kevin for once in his life be strong and brave. Not even as a police officer had he ever faced, or planned on facing any sort of danger. Walking through the woods Kevin looked back every five seconds to make sure there was still a sign of the spot. He didn’t want to have any chance of losing it. Now far enough into the woods Kevin sat still behind a wide trunk, out of sight of the un-expecting lunch that he awaited.
Hours passed before, swoosh! The thing ran so fast, Kevin only got a glimpse before it pounced on him, the rabbit’s face planted into Kevin’s chest. He quickly caught it mid air, squirming the thing tried to bite him, but Kevin grabbed the flap of its neck before it could sink its teeth into his flesh. Kevin realized that if he stabbed it with the branch, it would require so much force, since this was such a tiny animal, it would be difficult to hold it down and kill it. Kevin searched his surroundings, in hopes of finding a better way to kill it. He looked for a while until he saw it, the bolder big enough to crush the rabbit, but still small enough to carry. Kevin walked hesitantly to where the rock was just on top of the dirt walkway. The bunny squirmed, and kicked in his clutch, Kevin took a deep breath then sat the rabbit on the ground. He held it down with his left foot, and looked away before picking up the bolder. He held it over the now obviously terrified rabbit, for a moment he changed his mind, but a painful reminder from his stomach gave him no choice. As the rock went down, Kevin heard the deadly squeal, the last cries for help. Instantly Kevin removed the rock, to see if it was dead. Brains, and intestines scattered on the ground, which caused a sudden backlash from Kevin’s sensitive stomach. The empty contents of his stomach didn’t stop them from appearing, trying desperately to stop the spew didn’t work. It pushed past his shut mouth, and enclosed hands, and landed in a puddle, away from the dead rabbit.
Back in paradise, as the rabbit cooked over the fire Kevin created from sticks, and bark found in the woods. It was dark and the meat was done. The rabbit looked much more edible cooked than scattered, just as Kevin was about to sink his teeth into what once was supposed to be lunch, but now was dinner, he got a strong sense of reality. He needed to save some, unless he wanted to go hunting every night for prey, he needed to portion it first. Kevin ripped off the lean but meaty part of its leg, than he wrapped the rest in a large leaf he found on one of the trees in his island. The night sky was lit up as Kevin ate his meal of blueberries, boiled water with mint leaves, and rabbit the moon was full, and bright. As Kevin watched the ashes from his fire rise up, with light and fall back down gusting through the wind now black as the sky, a puff of smoke directed at his face made Kevin’s eyes water. The stinging only got worse when he closed his blistering eyes, the smoldering heat against his knee caps provided pain, but to his bear hands the toasty fire warmed to the perfect temperature. Bubbling up his fingertips, as the stars glimmered in the sky, Kevin grew weary, his eyes bagged over, and he laid down beside the stifling hot fire. The flames were enough to keep him warm for the night, the fear of wildlife was overlooked by Kevin, as the giant barriers kept him feeling secure. The grass was itchy, yet soft on the hard ground, but in pretty much every circumstance it was much better than a hard metal prison bed. The air was a nice touch to the fire, so Kevin had a mixture of both cool, and hot weather to choose from throughout his sleep. He watched the moon disappear into the lonely single cloud that drifted along the black canvas, and fell asleep.