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“Ow,” Calla screamed at Jessie as she picked up a hiking boot. Jessie laughed and threw the other boot at her.
“What’s wrong? Too fast for you?” He smiled.
“No, you hit me with a boot.”
“You hit me first, and that was with a kayak paddle,” Jessie walked over and pulled Calla into a tight hug.
“Fine, do you want me to apologize?” She smirked.
“That would be very kind of you.”
“Too bad,” she stuck her tongue out at him, and ran out the door to put her clothes in the truck.
Jessie chased her out the door with his backpack of clothes. They were going to kayak the entire Mississippi River. Starting at Lake Winnie, and ending in the Gulf of Mexico. Calla had wanted to go on this trip since she was 18. She was now 22. Jessie was 21. She had all the fun stuff planned out. They would go hiking, swimming, and have loads of fun.
On their way to the boat ramp, Calla brushed out her long, blonde hair, and whipped it up into a ponytail.
“What is it with girls and hair?” Jessie inquired.
“Hey, you grow your hair out to your waist and see how much fun it is,” she snapped.
“Maybe I will. It doesn’t sound that hard. I mean, you make it look easy,” he laughed.
“Ya, right, you have fun with that.”
They made it to the boat ramp. The name of the ramp was Lake Winnie. They unloaded all their supplies and put them in the kayaks. They were off. Paddling down the Mississippi for their Summer long journey to the Gulf of Mexico.
The kayaks slid up onto the wet sand. The sun was getting low in the sky. Jessie pulled the kayaks onto the shore, unloaded them, and set up the tents. Calla gto a fire pit made ten feet from the tent and was bringing sticks and twigs for the fire. Their arms were sore and they were ready to eat. The last meal they had had was breakfast, cereal and a banana.
Coyotes yipped to each other in the nearby trees, and the whippoorwills sang with the sunset.
Calla sat on the beach with her toes barely touching the water. She stared up at the star sprinkled sky, glittering and twinkling as the night darkled. Jessie walked up behind her and cleared his throat.
“Can I join you?”
“Sure,” she said quietly as she patted the sand next to her.
“The stars are beautiful tonight,” Jessie said as he gazed up at the moonlit sky.
“ Yeah,” she sighed,” It’s quiet, I remember when I was younger my dad bought me a telescope. I practically lived in the hayloft.
Jessie laughed and laid back in the sand.
“ I'm going to sleep, we have a long day ahead of us.”Calla yawned, got up and went into her tent. Jessie sat by the water for a while longer, then silently went to his tent.
Outside the camp a songbird chirped happily in the morning sunlight. The tents glistened with condensation. When Calla arose from her tent Jessie was sitting on the ground next to the fire pit, which still had some glowing embers.
“Morning Lily,” he laughed.
“My name, is not Lily. It is Calla, which just happens to be a type of Lily,” she snapped at him.
Jessie smiled, “Look what I found.”
He held out a handful of small, black berries. Calla ran over to him and looked at the fresh berries then gave him a quizzical look.
“Where --,” Jessie cut her off.
“In the trees back there,” he pointed back behind them. He pulled out a bowl of raspberries and strawberries. A surprised look washed over Callas’ face. She picked up one of the berries and rolled it around between her slender fingers.
“ You are just full of surprises, aren’t you,” she laughed, ”I don’t really like surprises.”
Jessie laughed. They ate half of the berries the he had picked, refilled the bowl and packed up the kayaks. They started back on their journey to the Gulf.
Three Days Later
Calla grabbed the empty bowl. Jessie was sleeping on the sand in the sun. She quietly filled the bowl with cold river water and snuck over to him. Splash! Jessie sat up sputtering and cursing, he realized what had just happened.
“You are so paying for that,” he said as he tried to brush wet sand off of his shirt.
Calla started to run away from him but he caught her and carried her to the river. He waded in to about waist deep. Calla went in. He had thrown her into the river, but not before she grabbed his shirt and pulled him in after her.
“Your payback,” she laughed, “didn’t work.”
They swam back to shore and packed up their things and left. About six hours later Jessie heard Calla scream behind him. She had hit a log and flipped the kayak. Their supplies were floating away.
Jessies kayak flipped over. The logs were everywhere. Jessie swam to Calla and helped her to shore. When they got to shore the only supplies that they had saved were a bowl, a wet blanket and a lighter.
They were on foot from now on. They headed off into the trees.
“Jessie, wait, I think we should have followed the river,” Calla said worriedly.
“Because I am going to trust a girl with directions,” Jessie snorted, “Yeah, right.”
Calla glared at him furiously.
“Well, I’m going to the river,” she huffed and stomped off.
The sky was starting to grow dark. Calla was walking along the water on a sandy beach outside of the trees.
“Jessie? Where are you?” Calla called out into the dark trees.
“Psst, Calla, I’m over here,” Jessie flashed the lighter.
“Were you watching me?”
“Yeah, did you really think I was going to leave you alone,” he whispered.
“ It crossed my mind,” she smiled.
“ I made a shelter, it looks like it might rain tonight.” He said, “follow me.”
Calla followed Jessie into the woods for about two minutes. They stopped at a small lean to made of bark, sticks and logs.
“Wow, how long did this take you to build,” Calla asked.
“ About a half hour, I started when you stopped walking.”
Calla crawled in. Jessie propped up against the tree outside the lean to. Calla didn’t argue his choice to sleep outside. She was too tired to try.
The sound of thunder woke her up. Jessie was in the the far corner of their makeshift home.
“Morning Lily,” he smiled.
“ Morning, how long has it been raining,” Calla said half asleep.
“ About an hour, I think,” he said.
Calla sat up. Jessie looked at her smiled.
“What,” she inquired.
“Your hair,” he laughed, “ is hilarious,”
“Shut Up,” she covered her face with embarrassment.
“ We should really get moving,” Jessie said.
“ Okay, are you sure you know where you're leading us?”
“Yeah,” he said hesitantly. He really didn’t have a clue.
3 years later
A couple was spotted along the river. Calla and Jessie had adapted and survived the woods. Tagging along with them was a little girl, Larka. She had pretty blonde hair and silvery blue eyes. When they realized they had been spotted,they quickly fled back into the woods. They were not seen again.