ASHTON: So near it
I sat by the fire waiting for the camp to settle. The Blue Boys team was leading with the score 25. Our team, the red, was just 20. My body ached from the games we had this morning. When we came back to camp, I immediately ran to my tent to lie down.
Right now, I had to wait for everyone to be asleep, and then we would go. Blue, Hunter, and I planned to check out that cave again. It was silly to even think such a place existed but Blue had said that men from a long time ago found the cave and just didn’t live to tell the tale.
Maybe because Azoyesha was cursed, maybe they died in there, maybe it was a horrible place. I can’t believe I’m actually thinking about this. There is no Azoyesha; of course not. I can tell the guys to call it off and that it was a ridiculous thing to do. I could. But I won’t. I sighed.
Hunter wanted adventure and mischief; he claimed this was an opportunity. Blue just wanted to see if there really WAS something in there. Blue came from a wealthy family and his father only allowed him on this trip because this was the forest where the cave to Azoyesha was. Blue’s dad told us that his great, great grandfather came to this forest and entered Azoyesha.
We were fascinated by his story because of the fact that we were headed to the place of Azoyesha’s entrance, so we researched about it. We didn’t plan to actually check it out when we got here. To us, Azoyesha was just like any other story grown ups would tell their kids. We even asked Blue’s dad to tell us what was inside but he refused. He only said that whoever went in would have the greatest adventure of their life.
I caught Rock walking to his tent and called his attention. He came and sat on the log with me.
“Dude” I said “I want you to meet my pals” I shook the tent behind me and Blue and Hunter came out.
“Are we going already?” asked Blue.
“No” I laughed “This is Rock. Rock, meet Hunter and Blue”
“Hi guys” he said with a smile. Rock Peters was a nice guy and I was thinking maybe he could come with us later. Of course, that’s if he wants to come. “Where are you guys going?” he asked.
Blue and Hunter looked at each other and then to me, wondering if they should tell him.
“Well…” Blue said breaking the silence “We are going on a…”
“….trip” I continued.
“Where?” asked Rock again.
“A place…” answered Hunter
“A secret place” added Blue “Wanna come?” he said with a smile.
I didn’t expect Rock to say yes because, honestly, even I wasn’t sure if I wanted to go. I wasn’t sure if this was a good idea at all.
Rock laughed and said “Yeah okay”
We were silent for a while. It was awkward. I stared at the flames of the bonfire; I liked looking at them. And then I felt like someone was watching me. I looked up as if I knew where the person who was staring was and I caught Shyra.
Somehow Shyra was always there, like she was following me wherever I went; maybe all that was just coincidental. She quickly looked away and backed up inside her tent.
Rock broke the silence and asked again “Where’s this secret place exactly?”
I decided that we all tell him the truth since he already agreed to come “We’re going to a cave…to find this place…” I cut my sentences not knowing how to explain to him “The place is called Azoyesha”
Rock looked like he didn’t understand “So…we’re going to a cave?” Hunter, Blue, and I nodded “To find a place?” we all nodded again “In the middle of the night?”
“Well, technically we’re not sure if it’s in the middle of the night. Who knows, maybe we’ll go earlier or later” answered Hunter.
Suddenly Rock was quiet and then he laughed “Wow. You guys are good” He cracked up laughing. I looked at Hunter and Blue who were dumbfounded by him, just as I was. “I mean, you can’t be serious right? You guys are insane. You guys should’ve seen your faces”
Hunter, Blue, and I exchanged looks. Rock continued laughing and then his laughs stopped. He cleared his throat “So you guys are really going?” We nodded our heads again.
“Look, we’ll understand if you don’t wanna come. I mean, I know it’s—”
Rock cut Blue off “No, no. I wanna come, its cool” he smiled.
Okay, that was unexpected. So maybe Rock was as insane as we all were.
“Well, I’m gonna go prepare for ‘the trip’. You can just come to my tent, I stay there alone anyways; I’ll go lie down for a while” He waved at us and went.
We watched him go and I realized that his tent was just 2 tents away from Shyra’s. Oh great. Why am I thinking about her? We hardly talk during English and Science class, I don’t even notice she’s there, and all of a sudden she’s in my head.
“You think we’ll get caught?” asked Blue.
Hunter scoffed “No one will be awake, and even if they did hear us, they’d be too scared to check”
Hunter did have a point. Besides, if ever we did get caught, we could always say we had to go to the toilet. “What do you guys think of Rock?”
“I think Rock’s an okay guy” answered Hunter.
“Hey what should we bring with us later?” asked Blue. Hunter and I looked at him questioningly. “We should of course have a flashlight, water…what else?”
“I think that’s pretty much what we need” I answered.
“Uh-huh…and what if we do enter Azoyesha. What if we might get trapped? Shouldn’t we bring more stuff?”
See, this is why I sometimes hate agreeing with Blue and Hunter’s schemes. I just say yes without giving much thought about it. All I wanted to do was to get over there and then check out that cave; I haven’t thought past that. What if there was an Azoyesha. What would happen then? Would I die in there? Would I be forever trapped?
I was suddenly too scared to think. I didn’t want to go. I felt so unsure about the whole thing. “Guys, I think this is a bad idea”
“Don’t be a chicken man” said Hunter.
“We’re all gonna be together anyways, and Rock will be there” comforted Blue; except it wasn’t comforting at all. “Why don’t you take a nap for a while, Hunter and I can watch until everyone’s asleep. We slept a while ago so we’re fine.”
I didn’t argue. I was kind of tired and wanted to rest for awhile. I went inside the tent and Blue sat on the log. I lay on top of my sleeping bag, feeling like I didn’t have to get in since it was hot. I closed my eyes to think about what was going to happen next but found myself sinking into complete darkness. I was dead to the world.
The night was hot and humid; this made me sweat even more besides the fact that I was anxious of finding out if Azoyesha really existed. I tightened my hands around my flashlight. My bag pack was bulky but not heavy, I wonder what Blue and Hunter put inside.
I was staggering behind them, Blue and Hunter led the way with Rock right at the back, and he was as excited as the two were. It annoyed me, I didn’t know why, but it did.
We were nearing the cave and somehow, I felt like we were being watched. I knew I had to keep my cool but I was frightened inside.
“So here we are” said Hunter with a grin. I flashed my flashlight into his face and I saw his eyes glitter with excitement.
I focused the flashlight into the cave and winced at the sight; a chill ran down my back “Yup” I swallowed hard “…we’re here”
We were silent and, even though I couldn’t see Blue, Hunter, and Rock, I knew they were looking at the cave too. Thinking twice about it, I hope. The place was dark because of the trees blocking the moon’s light. The cave was tall, dark, and scary. It was like an old haunted mansion with all the warning signs out the front. Signs everyone would take notice of except for the curious teenagers; Blue, Hunter, and Rock.
The entrance of the cave was bare, allowing some light on us. We stood there unmoving, not knowing what to do next, not wanting to be the first one to get in. The sound of bushes moving broke the silence and we automatically faced to the trees behind us.
I looked at Blue and saw in the shimmer of his eyes that he was as worried as I was. Thoughts started to swirl into my head, possibilities of whoever made that noise could be. Maybe it was just a squirrel, but it’s too late a night for them to be wandering around. Maybe a teacher from camp, but who would come this far? Maybe a bear, maybe this was where he lived.
I felt my body tense up, preparing to run. My right hand tightened over the flashlight and my left hand balled up into a fist. It was hot and I was sweating; the feeling of anxiety was all over me wondering who ever made that noise was.
And then came out of the bushes the figure of a female. I knew it was a girl because she had long hair and a feminine body.
“Chill guys” said the female voice “you looked like you were expecting a ghost.”
Another figure came out of the bushes, another female.
“Look we didn’t mean to follow you guys around” said the second female “really”.
I narrowed my eyes trying my best to see clearer.
“Could you step into the light? We can’t see you” said Rock.
The two girls stepped out of the shadows and under the light of the moon. I was stunned to see Bambi and Shyra out here, this late at night.
“What are you doing here?” I asked in a soft voice, shock still around me.
They looked at each other and to us. Bambi answered “Well, Shyra had to go and we heard you guys talking. So we followed you here”
“You followed us?!” said Hunter, clearly a rhetorical question.
“We did yesterday too”
“Yup. Hi Rock” she turned to face Rock.
“Hello Bambi” answered Rock.
There was silence, complete silence. No one knew what to say next. We were wasting time.
“Well, you girls need to go back to camp now. It’s late, go sleep” I said and shooed them away with my hands.
“Hold on, Bambi and I can’t go back” said Shyra as she put her hands on her hips.
“And why not?”
“Because it’s dark out there…” she paused, then grinned “and because we want to come along to Azoyesha”
“Why? No one invited you” I said in my best tease voice.
“Well if you’re not going to bring us with you then you’ll have to bring us back to camp” she held her head high.
I looked at the boys, they looked back at me. I have no idea what to do. If the girls came then we would take real slow and also because…they’re girls, they can’t handle this stuff. Hold on…how’d they suddenly know about Azoyesha?
“How did you guys know we were going to Azoyesha?”
“We followed you yesterday remember. We heard everything you guys said” Bambi said as she rolled her eyes.
“Why are you guys going to Azoyesha anyways? What’s so special in there?” asked Shyra.
“My great granddad entered Azoyesha but he never told anyone what was inside. He only said that he entered it. I don’t know why he didn’t tell anyone. I wanna see what’s inside and so we’re going in” shrugged Blue.
Then we heard another sound. We all fell silent once more and listened. It sounded like a growling noise.