Maya Lott

United States

Excerpt from: Awake

November 19, 2019

For the second time in what felt like a day, I woke up with no idea of where I was.
I tried to sit up but a sharp pain shot up my arm and I groaned, flopping downward onto the grass again. I glanced at my left arm and noticed that it was wrapped in some sort of cloth.
"Yeah, I'd suggest not moving for a while."
My eyes widened, and I shot up again, this time ignoring the pain. My eyes darted to a figure seated on a stone.
I heard a tsk, before the voice spoke again. "I'm quite sure I just told you not to move."
The figure shifted, and I realized that this stranger was a girl.
She moved closer, coming close enough for me to see her properly, and I opened my mouth, wanting to say something, though nothing came out.
She was quite tall for a girl, and she easily towered over me. Her eyes, dark brown, were warm and inviting, though the cold expression on her face was opposite. Her hair sat only an inch higher than her shoulders, dyed a soft pink.
She tucked a strand of pink hair behind her ear and frowned down at me. "You aren't very good at listening." It wasn't a question.
I tilted my head at her. "I didn't know I was supposed to listen to strangers," I retorted, a small smirk forming on my lips.
She didn't seem to find my little quip funny. "What are you, four?" she scoffed. "I'd suggest having more gratitude for someone who may have just saved your life."
I raised my brow and leaned away from her scowling face. "Alright, alright. Thank you, I guess. What is your name, anyways?"
She turned away from me and returned to sitting on the stone, staring off into the distance. "Dylan." After a moment, she glanced up, annoyed. "You?"
"Oh," I muttered. "I'm, uh, Carter." I watched her curiously. "Your name is interesting because, you know, Dylan isn't really a girl name--"
"No, duh, Sherlock," she snapped, silencing me. 
I bit my lip, softly, and cleared my throat. The silence bit a my side, so I began talking again. "So, uh, thank you for 'saving' me, or whatever. Really appreciate it." Dylan only hummed in response. "I was just wondering, because you're in the forest, too. Do you happen to know why we're here?"
"What?"
"Like, you know, why we've appeared in this forest. I don't remember anything else. Do you?" I elaborated.
She stared at me for a moment before quietly adding, "No. I don't know anything. I'm guessing you're as clueless as I am?"
I nodded. "Unfortunately. I've only been awake for maybe a few hours, and I--" 
She laughed, sudden. "Honestly, judging by your demeanor now, it's a surprised you've even managed to last that long alone."
My face felt warm. My pride prevented me from mentioning the siblings that helped me earlier, and I glanced away. 
My reaction only spurred more laughter from her.
Dylan's laughter died a bit, and I noticed she glanced to the side and into some foliage. I stared into the bushes but saw nothing, though the woman seemed to be quite sure something was there.
After a few moments I finally heard rustling, and Dylan quickly jumped to her feet, though she didn't seem too alarmed.
Eventually, something emerged from the foliage and I blinked, noticing it was another person.
"Alright," the person said, a male, "I got some berries, enough for the both of us to last a while. I may have dropped a few but..." His voice trailed off as he finally glanced in my direction and he looked to Dylan again. "Who is that?"
I only stared at the boy in shock. He was quite young-looking, shorter than Dylan and I. On the top of his head sat a dirty white beanie, and strands of curly red hair spilled out from underneath. His skin was darker, more chocolate-colored, and he held a jar of what looked like blueberries.
Dylan shifted her arms across her chest. "Some kid I found half-dead not too far from here. The sucker fell off a cliff. I'm surprised he survived with only a broken arm."
This "sucker" was right here.
I tried to stand, and winced when I put pressure on my arm, and decided to just stay seated. "Nice to meet you," I hissed.
The boy didn't seem too excited. "Dylan, you can't just pick up people who 'need help.'  Your survival is the most important thing, and deciding to camp with me should have been enough." Dylan tried to speak, but the boy continued talking. "He has a broken arm, Dylan! What can he do for either of us but slow us down?"
I cleared my throat, feeling insulted. "He can do plenty."
The boy glared at me. "Oh, really? Why don't you show me how you can contribute to our survival?"
 I hadn't thought this far. "Um," I stuttered. "Well, I can... keep watch. I played football in high school, so I know how to execute some good defense."
Despite my rather valid response, the boy groaned. "An ex-jock with a broken arm. How resourceful."
I began to explain other reasons as to why I could be useful to the two, but Dylan only glared at me, as if telling me to 'shut up.' I did just so.
"As awful as it is," Dylan sighed, turning to the boy again, "this guy is another person that could be on our side. We don't know what's in their forest, and surrounding ourselves with more people will keep us safer."
The boy rolled his eyes. "It'll also make this harder."
Dylan crossed her arms and stared at the boy, who sighed and seemed to back down.
The boy turned his icy glare to me. "You, what's your name?"
"Carter."
"I'm Quest," the boy said, "and you may stay with us for the time being."

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