My eyes fluttered open, slowly from me just awakening from my recent nap. The first thing to come into focus were the dark trees looming over everything outside, passing by in a soft blur. I then registered voices ahead of me and it took a minute to realize what was going on and where I was.
"Becca! We're lost!"
"No we're not-"
"Yes we are! Does this look like Highland Trails to you?"
I was traveling in a van with the group I called my friends. Looking in between the seats ahead of me, I could see the red head sitting in the driver's seat - Becca as most called her - gripping the steering wheel tightly in irritation. The blonde next to her turned to face Rebecca with a face full of fear. They were too busy arguing to catch my movement in the rearview mirror, though I doubt they had kept in mind I was asleep...
"Well, no. We may be but-"
"No buts about it. We are and we need to turn around right now," the blonde interrupted again. The grip on the steering wheel got tighter, if possible.
"It's too late to turn around, Tasha. I mean, we've been riding for six hours now," Aaron said. The raven haired boy was leaning forward in his seat to talk to the two, always willing to put his two cent in.
"Excuse me, but no body asked you 'backseat driver'. Stay there, will yah?" Tasha spat in his direction. Rebecca sighed heavily.
I returned my attention to the trees that we were still driving by, now more visible as we slowed down. Branches, twisted and crooked, reached out towards the van; almost willing to snatch us up. The sight of them made a deep pit of worry settle in my stomach. This was obviously not our regular camping spot, so why wasn't Rebecca stopping? I knew she was stubborn, but has she even looked at where we were?
I don't remember ominous skies at Highland Trails...
"Hey, you're up."
I looked ahead of me, tuning out the voices up front and found hazel eyes staring back at me. Riding in the very back of the van meant it would've taken awhile for anyone to notice, but Jackson was always attentive; although he had nothing to do but watch the girls argue. I gave a small nod, still a bit confused about the current situation. Despite how dark it was, anybody could see my silver-bluish hair easily. One of my many...unique traits.
"Cool. We kind of need your help."
"Jackson, leave her alone. Tasha and Aaron are clearly handling this," the identical brunette next to him said, snickering.
With a roll of his eyes, Jackson paid no mind to his twin, "Do you happen to have your phone on you? We need a map-"
"We do not!" came a shout from the driver's seat.
"We do too!" came a protest from the passenger's seat.
I shook my head at those two before getting out my phone anyway. I was little hesitant, but I inputted my password and handed it off to Jackson. It'd be better if he had it since I'm in the very back. He thanked me and turned around, quickly working on getting of driver in denial a map. My deep feeling lifted just a bit.
We'll be out of here in no time.
"Alright. We're officially lost." Becca admitted. Tasha was turned toward the window with her arms crossed, huffing and just on the verge of tears. Even with the help of a navigational system, we seemed to wander even deeper in the dark woods.
With nothing but the barely visible trail in front of us, my feeling returned tenfold. The digital map in my hand was only displaying an orange triangle, tracking us but not telling our location. I tried to backtrack to find where we had came in, but it wouldn't go too far before I wasn't able to anymore. Rebecca admitted the same thing had happened with hers, but didn't want us to panic so she kept driving. Something was obviously going on, and I wasn't liking whatever it was. Maybe Tasha was right and she should've turned back while she had the chance...
"Like I said, we need to go back and find a hotel or something other than going deeper into the crazy place!" my blonde friend exclaimed desperately. We had slowed considerably from when I had first woke up, Rebecca looking around every so often.
"T, it's too late to turn back. You can clearly see that."
"After driving six hours, you'd think you would appreciate we got this far," Aaron said dryly, fed up with Tasha as well, "You're just scared but we aren't so give it up already."
"Alright then, how about we throw you out and go home?"
"I second that!" Jason, the other brunette twin chimed in before throwing an arm around Aaron's shoulder, "It was nice knowing you, bro."
The raven haired boy threw his arm off, finally laughing at the ridiculous notion. Tasha was serious, however.
"All three of you hush. We're not turning around and nobody's getting left behind. In fact..." Rebecca's trailing off made me become aware that the van had come to a complete stop. We were pulled over just to the side of the trail we had been following, surrounded by nothing but those dark, twisted trees.
The pit in my stomach was bottomless now.
"No!" Tasha's high pitched protest echoed uncomfortably in the darkness.
"Like it or not, T, we're camping here. I promised a group trip so we're not leaving until we've stayed the weekend," Becca said as calmly as she could.
"Sweet! I can cross 'camp in creepy woods' off my bucket list now," Jason whooped, opening his door and jumping out. His rapid footsteps were heard as he went to the back and opened the trunk. Fresh air filtered through the van, and I was getting hope that Rebecca wasn't making a choice that could get us killed.
Gathering the stuff I had spread out in the back, the seat in front of me moved to lean forward. Jackson looked at me expectantly, his hand waiting for me to grab. I fought hard against a blush and hesitantly took it; he was helping me out the car my brain finally processed. With his twin and Aaron already out the car, he was the only one left to let me out.
"Thanks," I muttered softly, turning away. It may have been dark, but surely he would've seen me blushing.
I sighed, and then shivered feeling how cold it was here. I shouldn't be sitting around acting like a preschooler with a crush - whether I had one or not - when this place constantly gave me the chills.
"Alright brats, get your junk out of my van so we can find a spot to set up," Rebecca ordered. Her use of calling us 'brats' only to remind us she was older and in charge never got old, seeing as we had a few. We had our bags within the next minute, knowing she'd leave it out here. She finally shut the trunk, she locked the car via remote. The chirp echoed through the air.
Nobody moved or made a sound.
"Anybody else got a chill or is it just me?" Tasha asked, breaking the silence. There was a pause, I knew I had one, but...
"It's just you, you baby. Can we go now?" Aaron snorted. Our leader rolled her eyes.
"Let's go before it gets too late."