Toby Johnson

I trudged along behind the group as we headed toward the lake. Every step sent surges of pain through my head and blurred my vision. To say it hurt would be the understatement of the century. Long, hard breaths stung my dry, aching throat. Kill me now. 

When I fell over nobody noticed. When I didn't get back up, no one noticed. For a while I lay there, unable to move without massive pain shooting through my entire body. So I listened to their voices get farther and farther off and my world got dimmer and dimmer. I guess I deserved it. I was being a complete ass. What did it matter. Maybe now I would be out of this whole mess. I could make my own way. My own way back home. It wasn't like I owed anyone here anything. Why should I have to sit with them and point out all the crap they kept missing. Like the fact that a lake didn't necessarily mean people, more likely it would mean wild animals. And even if there were people; people aren't always friendly just because they're people. 

Shut up. Just Shut up, I thought to myself. None of it matters. I don't care what happens to them. That's what I kept telling myself before darkness finally did take me. 

When I woke up it was pitch black. My mind scrambled for some kind of grip as to where I was and why there was so much pain. Then I remembered. All of it. My world shattered around me. I just wanted to be home where it was safe. Away from this place, away from this pain. I wouldn't mind a nice bowl of mac and cheese either, or better, a microwave lasagna. 

Enough. No more feeling sorry for yourself, make it happen yourself.

"Get your worthless body up and come get your food!" I heard Father's voice calling from above me as I lay on the ground recovering from a punch he had thrown. "You won't get anything in this world if you don't reach out and  take it yourself you worthless sack of dirt! Is that how you want to be remembered? As a sack of dirt!"

I growled in pain and anger and my fists clenched as I pulled myself out of the leaves. It would be a memory of him that got me off the ground. I began limping slowly in the direction the others had been headed, hoping that they had just made a beeline for the lake, but too exhausted to really care very much. 

It was almost an hour of trudging listlessly forward, numb to almost everything but the pain before I heard voices in the distance. I vaguely recognized the flickering of a fire and faltered toward it. As I emerged into a clearing near the lake there were gasps all around and I looked into the horrified, but familiar faces of the group. They seemed to be staring at my head so I brought my hand up to feel whatever it was they were staring at. It came back cold and sticky. It wasn't until then that I realized the cut on my head must have reopened and bled all the way down my face. It would definitely have been a fearsome sight to behold. But I didn't care. I shrugged and sat by the fire, glad to finally be off my feet. 

A few minutes later I began to shiver. It was really cold. Like, if you sit still to long without some source of heat you might even die cold. Almost without a second thought I grabbed a log nearby and turned it into a parka then put it on. It wasn't till about an hour later that I realized everyone else was shivering violently and laying down anyways trying to get some sleep. That could kill them. With a massive sigh and a groan of pain as I got up I moved over to a pile of leaves and put my hands on them, concentrating so hard that my head felt like someone was hammering a railroad spike into it. I could feel the last vestiges of my energy  When I was done there was a small pile of down-comforters. 

"Hey," I called weakly, "there are blankets here, you guys have to share." 

With that I crawled back to the fire and just lay there, too exhausted to sleep. It wasn't but a few minutes later that Blondie walked up to the other side of the fire, refusing to look at me. She turned her back to the fire, and me, and lay down; still shivering. Why did she seem so mad at me? Then I realized. She didn't have a blanket. There must not have been enough space. But how could she blame that on me! It wasn't my fault I had been hit on the head while saving the stupid people on the stupid plane on this stupid trip! It wasn't my fault I had been left behind and had to make my own frickin' way to the lake! I wasn't superman! 

Thuroughly pissed at her, I turned my back too her as well. I was going to get some well-deserved rest. Maybe, if I was lucky, my head wouldn't feel like someone was pounding nails into it when I woke up. 

I could hear her teeth chattering over the sound of the fire. No. Just no. There was nothing more I could do about it. It could kill me to try to make anything more in this state. No. The leaves under her kept hissing as she shivered. No. I wouldn't. Her breathing was uneven. What if she froze during the night? No. She was close to the fire. She would survive. Besides, she had more energy than me, she was less injured. 

Eventually I clenched my hands into fists, furious with myself. But I forced myself up, took off my parka and laid it over Blondie's prone, shivering form before laying back down as close to the fire as I dared to get and shivering myself to sleep with my face still covered in blood.

The End

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