Monday, October 17, 2016

Nightmare Fuel, Day the Sixteenth - Back to Nature

Happy Monday. I've been asked why I always use fantastical elements in my fiction; it isn't a need, but it IS something that lets one speak to the world more clearly and with more flexibility.

That said, there's may not be a fantasy element in the piece below. You can decided if it still works.

Back to Nature

"Let's go back to nature."

That's how it started. Henry's idea. Things like this were always his idea.

And it's isn't like I minded. Seven years after welcoming Billy to the world, live had fallen into a comfortable rut of getting him off to school, getting him back from school, and the blur of activities between. "Back to nature" could be fun. For all of us.

And so what if nature meant a nylon tent in a grassy clearing just ten feet from a parking spot? It was still a break in the routine, even if the hours you would have spent cooking were spent as even more hours rinsing lightweight tin plates with biodegradable camping-soap after spending an embarrassing amount of time trying to cook over an open fire before giving up and taking the portable propane stove from the trunk.

And so what if Henry couldn't make it, called out of town at the last minute? At least Billy and I would have a moment's peace together. Away from school and home and dishes and the damn vacuum cleaner.

And so what if Billy barely picked at the hamburger it took far too long and too much effort to cook, and whined for Mac and Cheese and that we COULD have made Mac and Cheese if we'd only brought it. After all, we had a stove.

And so what if I left Billy in the tent for a bit when I ran off into the nearby wood, after the sun had set. After all, that's what I needed, right? And I wasn't too far.

Yes, I knew that last part was wrong. But really, it wasn't so far.

My heart froze in my chest as the car's headlights pierced the moonless night, a beacon back towards our site. I ran, footsteps crunching on the thick carpet of dry leaves. My stomach dropped as I saw Henry silhouetted in the light. Yes, I'm sure it was him. Yes, he was over a thousand miles away. And yes, he was so backlit that I couldn't see his face, but you know how your husband stands. It was him.

As I neared the site, the lights die, leaving you in darkness, the afterimage lingering in your eyes.

Henry, of course, isn't there. Billy is lying awake in his sleeping bag, staring at the roof of the tent.

I zipped myself into my sleeping bag by his side, never again to leave.
Image via Buzzfeed

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