Puddles

                The clearing had been flooded in the night. Artemis stood statuesque at the entrance to her tent, waiting for the sun to fully wake. In the light, she could finally make out her surroundings. As she discovered, most of the little constructions had been made atop thick beds of leaves and compacted dirt, keeping them just barely off the ground and away from the muddy puddles.

                It appeared that the boys had somehow uprooted all the trees in the area and stripped them of their branches. These in turn were used to provide the roof and supports to their makeshift tents. They were then covered in all sorts of fronds and shrubbery. She was shocked that they kept the water away so efficiently. The clearing was no larger than a basketball court, but it was actually quite small for a group of their size.

                “Good morning, sunshine,” Luka chuckled as he exited his tent, stretching out his shoulders. “You’re up awfully early.”

                “Food,” Artemis grunted dully.

                “You’re so manly, you know that? What happened to womanly charm?” He walked towards her, amused.

                “Get away from me, I don’t want to smell your breath,” Artemis frowned and backed away, turning on her heels and tramping off into the forest. She cringed at the laughter that followed after her. “I’m serious, boy.”

                She wasn’t sure where she was going. The forest was an odd montage of palms and bramble, banyan and giant fern. Flowers bloomed underfoot, from orchids to a species that resembled hibiscus. All of it was drenched entirely, coated with the evening downpour. It seemed thrown together and wrong, yet was somehow so beautiful it left her speechless. Her surroundings composed a blurred ocean of green and moss and sunlight, making it hard to determine where to go.

                She stopped as soon as she realized she hadn’t the slightest clue where to find food. They hadn’t eaten much in days. Besides the small rations they’d scavenged, there was next to nothing on the front of nourishment.

                “What have you been eating?”

                “Fruits,” Luka shrugged, coming to a stop beside her. “You just have to look carefully, and they pop up. Something like mountain apples, and passion fruits. Look close enough and you’ll find things. The island is big enough we could probably sustain ourselves for a good while.”

                She chewed her lip for a few moments, cursing her grumbling stomach.

                “Would you like to go with me to see if there’s anything else? I was planning to go to the foothills this evening…I mean, it could be very beneficial.”

                “Or very dangerous,” Artemis sighed, turning to him reluctantly. “Who do you think you are?”

                “Someone that the others are relying on to keep us alive,” Luka smiled easily.

                Artemis could only stare at him.

The End

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