Hello and welcome to Fiction Friday, where I share some of my writing. This week’s post is a response to Mindlovemisery’s Menagerie prompt Tale Weaver # 88 Talisman, October 6, 2016.
Katie pushed the door open and floated down the steps, bypassing sweaty bodies. Soon she stepped in to the street to avoid the throng of people. Horns honked at her but she didn’t care; she was free from her 1-4 Friday lab. It was a beautiful fucking day and she was going to enjoy it.
“Hey Katie!” Someone called. She didn’t bother turning around to be bothered by someone from the building she’d just left. She was too eager to get away.
Soon enough she heard footsteps running towards her. She turned to see Graysen, an averaged height kid from her senior class who had dark hair with eyes to match his name, wearing jeans, a 3-button t-shirt, and Converses that matched his eyes. On top of that he wore circle glasses and carried a little pouch of necessities like hand sanitizer, tissues, first aid supplies, and Benedryll. It was kind of eerie and otherwordly to take him all in. She’s had classes with him since they first started school as kids.
“Hey, Katie, I’m glad I was able to catch you before you took off,” he said, smiling.
“Lucky you,” she mumbled, looking irritated. Just what she needed: someone to pester her on this gorgeous day.
“Professor Vihaan paired us for the Animation Collab project and I was wondering if you were available to get started right away,” he said, getting straight to the point.
Graysen followed her as she crossed the street and bent the corner. “Look,” Katie said, raising her hands to the sky. “Can’t you see I have a date with nature? Look how beautiful a day it is. It would be juvenile to waste it inside.”
Graysen’s smile only increased. “Oh, I completely agree, no argument there. My idea was that we could go take pictures and video in the woods somewhere. Then we can draw characters exploring in the pictures and videos that we took.”
Quickly Katie mulled it over and agreed, killing 2 birds with one stone. She was working on an assignment and spending the time she wanted outside.
Before going into nature, both agreed that they should eat. Greysen suggested that they actually turn around and go back the way they came for he had 4 wheel transportation, which was a lot quicker than their 2 sets of feet. They walked back, discussing the different places they could go.
She waited outside the parking lot for him. There were still a lot of people around, tool many for her to be comfortable wading through. In no time he was pulling up in front of her with a couple people following behind the car literally. Then she noticed he was driving a Mercedes Benz G500, a car that cost about a quarter of a million dollars. As much as they’d been around each other in school, she’d never noticed he came from money. Quickly she hopped in and they took off.
“Nice car,” Katie said, nodding her head. He shrugged his shoulders.
“I would rather ride a bike to be honest. The attention this thing gets is annoying,” he said rolling his eyes, an exasperated look on his face.
“Then why drive it?” Katie questioned.
His expression softened. “My brother bought me this car before he disappeared.”
Her jaw dropped in shock, hearing this for the first time. “I’m so sorry to hear that Greysen. I didn’t know or I wouldn’t have asked.”
“No worries,” he said, a small smile lighting his face.” They continued down the road and made a couple of turns into a grocery store, where they ran in and grabbed a few snacks and such to eat.
Katie and Greysen ate in the car as he drove. They chatted comfortably while classic rock music played, the window half way down and the hair of her pony tail flapping in the wind. A dozen songs played before they arrived at their destination. Greysen pulled up to a locked gate. Katie prepared to get out of the car but he motioned for her to stay inside. He got out and to her surprise produced a key, unlocking the fence.
He ran back to the car, hopping in, and drove through the gate. Once their vehicle was past it, he hopped out and shut the gate, but didn’t lock it.
Greysen walked over to her door and opened it. He was met with a raised eyebrow and he smile innocently.He motioned for her to scoot over with his hands. “What are you doing?” She questioned.
“One of us has to operate the camera, the other one has to drive. I’d rather let you drive then touch my babies.”
Suprised again, she scooted over to the driver’s seat. Greysen spent the next couple of minutes hooking up cameras to the outside of the car. Eight cameras in total, one pointing in each direction, four on the roof and four on the underside of the car.
Finished, he got inside and opened the glove compartment, taking out a fancy looking tablet.
“I’ve never seen one of those before,” Katie said, marveling at the technology. Katie herself was a tech nut and had to test out the latest gadget on the market.
“This is a Greysen Original,” He said, touching buttons on the screen. Katie could hear the cameras outside whirring, moving around. “I designed this model a couple of months ago actually. You’re the first person to see this.” He turned to her with the biggest smile on his face. ‘Wait till you see it in action. Let’s go.”
Katie started the car and started driving slowly. She glanced over at the tablet to see all of the different views from the cameras. It was amazing the detail he was getting. He was completely absorbed in it, intently watching every little screen, adjusting the cameras second to second, zooming and panning.
Katie turned her attention back to in front of her and navigated through the woods. Soon they came upon a beautiful stream. They drove by and Katie stopped the car shortly after the water. “Pause the cameras and let’s take some footage on foot,” She suggested. Greysen complied and grabbed a fancy technical looking camera. Before he attached it to his hand he grabbed a pair of heavy duty boots from the trunk, lacing them up. He handed her a camera and off they went.
Greysen and Katie approached the stream, splitting up to explore and capture things on their own. Katie passed lush green grass and tall thin sturdy trees, gatherings of rocks scattered about. She walked to a section where an enormous tree had fallen. You could see the inside of it, all of the little insects and critters living in it, living under it, using parts of it for various nature things. Katie came to another tree, one that had fallen across the stream. Her eyes traced the tree from her side all the way to the other. It seemed safe enough to walk across. She slung the camera across her and spread her arms out. She tested it with one foot, then two, and began inching across. She was half way across before she realized she should probably tell Greysen she was crossing the tree so he didn’t go searching for her.
She decided it was too late and she had come too far across the tree already. Katie made it near the end of the tree and jumped the rest of the way, thankful she had not fallen. She wandered down the opposite side of the stream she’d just been on, snapping shots as she went. A large boulder sat near the edge of the stream. She stopped there, resting. She looked up at the sky and noticed it was getting dark. She decided to rest there a few more minutes before she walked back up and across the fallen tree.
Suddenly, Greysen emerged 40 feet across from her from what looked like a cave. Katie started to call to him but stopped, not wanting to ruin his video. As if he could feel her eyes on him, he looked up and directly at her. He smiled and began to make his way towards her.
“I see you found a way across as well,” she said to him as he approached. He beamed, his bright eyes catching the light behind his glasses.
“Yeah, there was a shallow part with some rocks leading across. I almost fell in, ” he said, laughing. Katie looked down to see the bottom of his pants legs wet. His clothes were filthy with dirt, grass, flowers, some dead insects.
She shook her head at his appearance, laughing. “I honestly didn’t expect you to go so ham.” He came and sat next to her, joining in her laughter.
“Had to take full advantage of this,” He said, motioning around him. Katie pulled the bag she had been carrying to the front of her person, pulling out a cereal bar for each of them. “You brought a snack!” He shouted. “You’re a life saver.”
Quietly they snacked, enjoying the sound of the stream and nature. They shared what they had each shot, pleased with what they had gotten. Greysen hopped off the rock suddenly, excited.
He whispered, “Look up there.” Katie raised her head to see a tiny, colorful bird perched on a branch a couple dozen feet from them. He approached stealthily, an expert nature photographer, a natural. Katie turned on her camera and took some pictures of him stalking his next shot. In that moment he seemed one with nature, as if this was where he belonged. She shifted her position to get a better angle. She adjusted her angle again, and then a third time, but this time the rock moved with her.
Instantly, she froze. She immediately started to get a cramp and was in pain trying to hold her position. Katie realized that she had underestimated how close the rock was to the edge. She also realized that she had scooted backwards towards the edge of the rock in her angle switching. Katie looked up and saw Greysen nowhere.
She took a deep breath, centering herself. To not fall in to the water with the rock she was going to have to throw herself forward and roll, or else land on her face. Katie glanced at the camera and threw it, landing with a thud near a rock. If she was about to drown she wanted her pictures to at least make it. The rock began to wobble beneath her as her position wavered and from her tossing the camera. In her head, she counted. One, two, three, jump.
Katie launched herself forward, reaching out her hands. She felt herself falling, going down with the rock. She panicked, her hands clawing at whatever she could get at. Greysen’s face appeared and her heart lurched in her chest. His hair was wet, as well as the front of his shirt. He leaned down, reaching for her, grabbing her forearms. It seemed unreal how far he had to lean over, pretty much his entire torso was hanging off the earth. For a second she feared that he had stretched too far and they would both fall.
Somehow, he pulled her with the strength of a Greek God. She flew up and forward, almost as if she was floating. She landed hard, on Greysen, both of them breathing hard and heavy. She could still feel where his hands had gripped her forearms. His arms were wrapped around her, crushing her to him. She didn’t mind; afterall, she had nearly just fallen in to a rushing stream and maybe drown.
It took a few minutes before they were both calm and breathing normally and he relaxed his arms. Greysen started to sit up, taking her with him. She noticed a stone on a thick leather cord around his neck. There was a tree with a hand print on it carved into the stone. As he moved she saw that the back of the stone said, “To Greysen, May this talisman bring you as much good fortune as me, Love, your older brother David.
Katie reached for the stone and turned it over in her hands before bringing it to her lips and kissing it. His eyes scanned her face. She smiled weakly, not quite ready or able to speak. He smiled too and chuckled a little, seeing that she was now just as dirty if not more so than he was.
“Enough exploring for one day,” He said, standing them both up. Once Katie was steady on her feet, Graysen walked over, picked up her camera, and then walked over to a rock and picked up his, which was pointed in their exact direction.
Slowly, she put it together, not quite sure how he’d had enough time to even set it up. “Did you get that on fucking video?”