They ate in silence chewing on the sandwiches Macy had packed for them. After the food was gone, Grace sat in front of the fire. She watched sparks fly away and licks of flame dance about trying to out do each other. Grace watched them in a hypnotic trance. The reds and blues were reflecting off her own dark eyes.
“Grace?” Josh placed one hand gently on her shoulder, and she looked away from the entrancing fire.
“We have to be heading off now,” he took her hands in his and lifted her up so that she was standing on her own two feet and couldn’t look into the fire anymore. She nodded and bent down to grab her bag. It felt lighter than it had before and not just because she had eaten some of the food weighing it down. Josh groaned as he lifted up his pack. His looked fuller than before but that could just have been her imagination.
“Which way?” Grace looked around her; every direction seemed the same as the others,
“That way,” Josh pointed to the gap in the trees ahead of them.
“How do you know that?” Josh reached into his pocket and pulled out a compass. He waved it at her and smiled then he put it back and gestured to her to start walking.
“You know when you wave your head like that, you look like a chicken,” she teased.
“Really?” Josh stopped walking and looked at her, “Well you know what this means don’t you?” she shook her head in reply, “Chicken boy attack!” Josh slipped his pack off his back and ran toward Grace. She dropped her bag and began to run, weaving in between trees trying to hide while shaking with laughter,
“Chicken boy is going to find you,” he called out not far off. Laughing she doubled back in the hope that she could ambush him. She got to the site where they had dropped their bags but he wasn’t there. She began to look around and Josh jumped out of one of the trees above her. She screamed in fright then tried to run but he was quicker and grabbed her middle.
“Yes! Chicken boy has won! Fear me!” he cried laughing. She squirmed trying to escape but he held onto her tight,
“Stop! Please stop I give. Chicken boy has won, now let go of me!” he released her and grabbed his bag, breathlessly he spoke
“Where did you drop bag?”
Grace looked around. She remembered dropping it not far from Josh’s but it was nowhere to be seen. On the ground not far from Josh’s bag was a dent in the soft moss. Grace looked at it and realised it was where her bag had been.
“Damn. Where is it?”
“A princess shouldn’t cuss you know,”
“I don’t care. Now where is my damn bag?!”
“How should I know,” proclaimed Josh ignited.
“Whoa calm down. I was just asking,”
“No you weren’t. You were yelling. Like it was my fault or something,” Josh spoke like Grace’s snapping had upset him.
“I’m sorry. I just don’t want to have to go back to the farmhouse because I lost my bag one day into the trip.” Her tone didn’t sound sorry but when Josh looked into her eyes he saw that she was.
“Well. We better start looking for it, hadn’t we?”
They started in the spot where Josh’s bag had been and walked out. It wasn’t nearby, so they started to walk further out, expanding out in a circle. When they got past the first row of trees it was still no where to be found. Josh crouched down amongst the mossy ground looking for any signs of the bag. He saw tiny almost invisible foot prints stretching across the forest floor like someone had been running incredibly fast through the forest. The prints seemed to travel quite far on.
“Grace. I found footprints.” he whispered not sure if anyone was around. “Follow me.” Grace grabbed his bag for him as he kept his nose close to the ground trying not to lose the little indents in the moss. Luckily the trail only went in one direction, straight ahead. There were no twists or turns. No loops or back tracking to confuse him. The trail stood abruptly at the foot of a tall oak tree. It reached the sky and beyond. And wrapped around one of the roots was Grace’s bag.
“My bag!” she reached down to grabbed it but the straps were wrapped around under the root like the tree had grown through and over the straps and there was no way of untying it.
“Damn. What kind of person does that?”
“But we are miles from the centre of the forest. Why would a fairy steal my bag?”
“They don’t all live in the centre and they probably don’t know who you are”
“You’re being serious?” She looked around uneasily.
“Yeah. We need to be careful.” Josh looked at her bag. “Fairies can be awfully tricky creatures.”
“Well what are we going to do about my bag? I kinda need it!” Grace’s voice cracked as she began to panic.
“Just say please.”