Rayen looked up from her book as the small tent she was in tried to topple over. Noah and Scarlett, her two best friends, struggled to crawl into the opening at the same time. Rayen rolled her eyes at the two, thumb still placed firmly in the book she was reading.
“Guess what,” Noah asked, fighting for room in the crowded tent. His eyes were bright with excitement.
Before Rayen could even try to reply, Scarlett interrupted, sending Noah a dark look. She was supposed to be the one to tell Rayen. “The store here has ice cream, isn’t that awesome?” Rayen nodded, causing some of her hair that she had trapped in a sloppy bun to tumble out. They curled around her face, shining shades of green, blue, and purple. Scarlett noticed the colors and frowned.
“Did you dye your hair? It looks different.” Rayen again looked up from her book, grabbing a piece of hair and examining it.
“Oh, it gets weird shades of colors when wet.” Scarlett wrinkled her nose.
“Ew, why would you go outside during the rain,” She asked. Rayen let lose her bun, grabbing all of the lose pieces to pin it back up again. “You are so lucky; my hair would just turn into a giant puffball.” Rayen eyed Scarlett’s brunette hair. The usually curly strands were already starting to frizz and turn into a ‘puffball’. Deciding it would be better to not mention the sight, instead turning to face Noah.
Noah seemed to notice the frightening ball of hair as well. He ran his fingers through his own electric blue hair, hoping his was not the same way. The blue had been added yesterday, after his previous color finally faded. He dyed his hair every other week, Rayen was not even sure if she knew his real hair color. Not that it mattered, the blue looked well on him, much better than the sickly neon yellow he had before.
“Now come on,” Scarlett said, grabbing her best friend by the arm and dragging her outside the small tent. The book she had been reading fell onto the ground, her page forever lost. Rayen laughed at Scarlett’s enthusiasm while looking longingly at the book.
Noah stood a step behind the girls. Rayen caught that he wanted to talk to her. She slowed her pace to match Noah’s. “What’s up,” she whispered.
He looked nervously at Scarlett, “do you think we should tell her about her hair? She is going to see her reflection eventually. I don’t feel like dying today.”
Rayen laughed, “You go right ahead. Either way, Scarlett is going to find out soon. That girl stares at her reflection almost as much as she does boys. It’s a miracle she has time for anything else.” Scarlett walked along to the path that led her to the ice cream shop. She did not realize that her friends were a few steps behind. Her mind was too distracted thinking about what flavor of ice cream she wanted. Well, a little, she might have been a little more focused on the boy that served the ice cream. He looked yummy.
Passing a window, Scarlett looked into the glass. To impress the ice cream boy, she needed to look perfect. Not even a hair could be out of-
Scarlett screamed. Her hair curled into a wild rat’s nest. How could no one tell her? Frantically, she searched her purse for a hairbrush; something, anything to fix her wild hair.
“Now run,” Rayen whispered. Two sets of footsteps bolted in the other direction. Scarlett rolled her eyes. What a couple of sissies.
Nemu sat on the swings with her new friend. The blonde girl looked on the top of one of the hills, pursing her lips. “Who are they,” she questioned.
Nemu looked over her shoulder. Rayen was running down the hill, Noah a foot or two behind. They were looking over their shoulders and shouting at one another. “I don’t know,” she replied to her friend. If Nemu was lucky, Rayen and Noah would not come over and embarrass her.
Luck was not on her side. Rayen headed right towards the swings. At the last minute, she slipped and landed hard on the ground, right in front of Nemu and her friend. She shook her head a little before smiling goofily at her sister.
“Hello Mu. What are you up too?”
Nemu rolled her eyes. “I am playing with a friend.” Rayen nodded, not really paying attention. She was too focused on the entrance of the ice cream store. So far Scarlett had not come out. They might be safe.
“Code red. Brown ball of fuzz headed this way,” Rayen flicked her eyes towards Noah before following his direction. He was right; Scarlett was coming out of a different building headed straight for them. Murder glowed in her eyes.
“Oh my sweet pandas. Run now, I repeat, run!” Rayen slid on the soft dirt before heading in the direction of their camp. Noah stayed only a moment longer. Just long enough to give Nemu a comforting pat on the back. He had been a younger sibling once as well, before his brothers moved out of the house. He could relate to the little girl.
Noah ran to keep up with his black haired twin. He needed a bodyguard from Scarlett, and Rayen happened to be one of the only people who could calm her bull-like temper.
He found Rayen in one of their three tents, reading. This was their third night in the camp, but they still had not come up with definite tent spaces. They just went into whatever tent the most of their stuff was in. If someone needed something from another tent, they either waited or dared to wake up whoever rested in it.
A pile of books rested by Rayen’s feet. She had brought five books, not thinking she would read them all. Now, she was on her last book, and already halfway through it. Noah frowned; he had expected Yen to drag everyone on hike after hike, not even caring about what the signs read.
“Why haven’t you gone into the forest recently?” Rayen’s eyes became hooded, but she only shrugged in reply.
“I don’t know, I just haven’t felt like going.”
“That’s odd; I thought you would make us go into someone’s property.”
“I guess it’s just not as exciting as I thought. Why, do you want to go?” Noah held up his hands, asking Rayen to slow down.
“No. Unlike someone I know, I don’t enjoy sneaking onto other people’s property.”
Rayen shook her head. “People can’t own a forest. That is like someone owning the planet. It just isn’t possible. They belong to the forest. We can’t own something we can’t control. Besides, who would want to own a forest anyway?” Noah caught another flicker in her eye. It had something to do with the forest. He just could not figure out what. She seemed like she was not going to talk about it either.
Despite how curious he was, Noah decided it was best to leave it alone. If it was too bad, she would have told someone. Something probably just spooked her.
Rayen sighed and set down her book. Now that Noah reminded her about the forest, it was all that she could think about. What could it have been in the forest? She shook her head, it was probably nothing more than some boy that got a kick out of scaring girls.
Assured that it was only a boy, Rayen went around the tent. She looked for things she would need for an investigation. She would show that it was only some teenage boy. Grabbing a flashlight, water, granola, and a light jacket, Rayen rolled them all into a ball and hid the items away. There was no need for everyone to worry about her. Rayen would be back before the sun came up.