The dark speckled stone with a note sent shivers down my spine, begging for curiosity to get the better of me.
I looked about the landscape, seeing the trees varying sizes enclosing what lies beneath the umbrella of nature. I volunteered to be a fire lookout for the whole summer in late February. The tall 70 foot tower with steel supports and a staircase that lead to the strong oak cabin. The towering cabin I would call home these next few months was surrounded by thin panes of glass protected by pointed tin roof. I walked around the deck to survey the area, no smoke and all trees, I entered the cabin. I sat down on the desk next to the door and lifted up the radio to talk to Amy who was in the tower north of me.
I put down the radio expecting her not to answer soon. I look around and observe the well stocked fridge next to my desk, and the bed in the corner accompanied by the smooth detailed dresser.
“Hey Shane, What’s up?” I pick up the radio.
“Oh nothing, just wondering why they would give us beds that feel like laying on a rock”, Amy chuckled, “It’s better than the floor”. “How is everything going over there?” she sighed.
“Shane.. I feel watched, like you and I aren’t the only ones here.”
“I think it’s because you aren’t used to this much quiet, this much peace”. I wonder why she felt that way but I thought it’d be best if I didn’t ask.
“You’re probably right. Sorry it’s getting late, I’m going to bed Shane, goodnight.”
I close the dusty shudders in front of me, I walk over to my bed hearing each step click created by my beige boots against the ground like hammer against nail. I lay in the bed I will rely on for a good night's rest and cover myself with the thick blue cotton blankets.
After twenty minutes of placid sleep I woke up terrified as to hear shattering glass followed by the thud of a rock. After letting my heart's pace steep down my reaction was to board the window up with the pile of unused boards in the lonesome corner. I then walked out of the balcony and heard the trees sway and branches rub against each other.
I then see movement from nothing but dark, swifty hide away under the coverage of the trees. The strange figure of the night I saw had to be the cause of this. I walk inside feeling the smooth polished wood floors against my bare feet.
As I closed the wooden door. The six lights that strung on the ceiling flickered and soon went out. The polar white fridge then stopped humming, the power is out. I reached for my flashlight and pressed the rubber switch on. I avoided the shards of glass that twinkled in the beam of light that lead to the cause of the smashed window. As I tiptoed through the maze of glass I bent down and picked up the dark rock that gleamed in the moonlight and and felt a crinkling in my palm.
I turned the rock over then saw a square sheet of paper on the back. My hands quivered as I read word by word, my heart began to race as fast as usain bolt in the last stretch of a race.
“Why hello lookout, I see that you’re my new visitor this summer. With that said, these are my woods, my forest. Mine. I gave your friend warnings to LEAVE, but she refused. Now Amy is with me.”
I jumped over the death pit of glass and raced to the radio worried of what this grieve man could’ve done to her, “Amy, Amy!”
I waited for a response, waiting for any little sound I recognize to know she is alive. The radio clicked on.
His voice sounded deep and malicious, “Well hello stranger,”he snickered.
“Your friend here wants to talk to you.”.
I hear him scream that it is me on the radio, how did he know my name? I pondered the question and heard her voice,
“Shane look, I do not know where I am. But what you need to do is at daybreak fix the electricity tower, he stole the last fuse required to turn it on. You should have one in your dres-” I hear his voice that sounded as bad as nails against chalkboard.
“Well don’t spoil the secret darling. Look son you aren’t going to be living soon if you keep trying to get your friend here. I’m coming after you, whether you like it or not-” the line ends.
My first thought was to why there could be a fuse in my dresser. I put aside that thought and checked for anything that could help. I needed to find Amy, I had to. I look in the small wooden dresser that was accompanied by my bed and found the gleaming fuse.
I think of what the mysterious man will do if I go to the main electricity tower. Will he hurt Amy? I decided to risk it and open the heavy door that lead to the outdoors. I had a map covering the one million acre park on a sheet of paper that could fit in my travel sized survival bag. I had everything I needed in case if I need to survive I needed to get Amy and I will do anything I can. I take a trip to the east side of the balcony and look at the map and find where I need to go. I grab three cold hot dog, put it in a bag and grab my radio in case if Amy were to steal her radio back from the man. I need to start my hike if I wanted to get close. I head down the stairs, what felt like ages in reality took me five minutes to go down the stairs. I don’t remember taking this much time to go up the stairs from when I moved into the tower. I get to the bottom of the tower and open the small crate on the side of my tower, inside I find a rough stick of flint along with a package of fluffy cotton balls.
I begin to head east into the mysterious woods around my I see the familiar eastern white pine and an occasional red maple. I look up and I see the sun is going down, I look at the map and notice up ahead there is a camp location up ahead with a supply cache. I picked up my pace and headed to the location. Once I get to the location I check the old and moldy supply cache and find a recently placed maroon swiss army knife. I set up camp and start a small fire, I pull out the hot dogs I grabbed and began to reheat them with the fire.
I wake up to crunching leaves getting closer and closer. My body just started to feel the shock, I lift my head rapidly and turn my head around and get in a defensive position. Deer. I was scared by a deer. I look as the deer ran away waving its tail like a retreating white flag. I pick up my things. Untied the string around the trees that held up my tarp, rolled up my red sleeping bag, and stomped out the remaining coals. I try my radio, “Hello, anyone, Amy.” I felt sickened to know she might be gone. I didn’t know why I was so nervous about the situation, this man won’t kill her, I hope.
After hiking for a hour and a half I got to the tower, I walk around to the back of the tower and find the fuse box, I open my pack and pull out the fuse that gleamed in the light. I place the fuse in the box and I heard everything start humming. I walk out the gate, locked it.
I hear what I’ve been waiting for, “Shane!, Shane”, I dig the radio out of my pocket and hold the black button.
“Yes, Amy I have the power on, where are you?” I got happy, I might finally be able to see her.
“I have to be close, if you think about how he took the fuse before I went missing. He has a bike out back, that has to be how he got there and back so fast.”
I take in the information Amy just said and begin to think where she could be, “Does the interior look up to date where you are at?”
She responded quickly, “No, but he’s coming back I hear his footsteps outside.”
I look at my map while I work my way back to the lookout tower, I needed to find Amy, but I also needed to get a new stock of supplies. It always contained twenty cans of soup, two loafs of whole wheat bread, one can of peanut butter, a package of twinkies which was always pleasing, and more. As I kept walking down the trail I see a line of smoke about a mile away. I needed to find Amy, but I also need to do my job. By the time I got there, I saw a empty case of Budweiser, the crinkled metal cans are scattered everywhere. I followed the trail of cans which lead to laughter and chatter. Teens.
I walk up to the group, “You need to leave, you have violated the park by starting fires and setting up camp in unauthorized location. Now you need to go.”
The two built teens speak, “Sorry, I didn’t know a garbage job like yours would ruin fun too.”
I watch the teenagers pick up every can, every bottle, bottle cap, I watch them pack up their camp, and leave. I walk to the sparkling fire, trying to show its warm colors, the pure beauty of a fire did not show the destruction it could cause.
The fire quickly disappeared after the stomp of my foot. I think of the teens, what they said. Did I really just make everything less fun, I ask myself question after question. I don’t know what I have, I took this job to get away from family issues, to relax. Now I have to get Amy, I can’t call the police, they only will travel a few yards in the forest, and no missing sign will help.
I get inside of the tower after the stairs of death, I know the stairs helped me keep in better shape but I was already built, maybe I will ask the main office to install an elevator. I walk out of the stairs and see a ranger walking with my ‘care package’.
The man looked young, mid 30’s, six feet tall, built, my fist tightened as I get a bad feeling. “Hey, they should really get a elevator or something, I almost gave up on the first step.”
I look puzzled but fake a reaction, “Yeah, I hate those steps, are you new, haven’t seen you around?”
He looks at me with a slight fear in his eye, he drops the box on the ground and runs down the stairs, I race after him. My feet are moving very fast, I quickly pick up my feet and drop to the next. I see the man jump into the woods and throw the ranger hat. That’s the man who has her, his figure is the same as the man in the dark. I could get Amy back right now, I run faster than I ever have. I see the man a few feet in front of me, I reach out my hand and try to grab the camel tan park shirt, the man who has her.
I feel it hit my lower shin, I feel it take my footing away, I feel rushing air past my face, I am falling, I feel a rush of anger. I see him run away. I was so close to him, was so close to getting her back. I pound the ground with anger, everything could’ve been ok. Amy would be back, I wouldn’t be chasing this man around.
I head back to my tower, my lower shin throbbing. I haven’t had a chance to look at it yet. I go up the flight of stairs, gliding my hand along the rusted metal handle bar. I get to my balcony, pick up the scattered cans of soup, and head inside. I sit on the bed, which for once felt nice. I lift my leg up to look at the mark. Purple. Nothing happened to my shin other than a deep bruise. I felt relieved to know it was nothing harmful.
The man was going east, so he was close to the electricity tower. I run to my desk and dig through everything. I found it, right now it was as precious as a gleaming diamond, a old 1990’s map of the park. If the place she was being held in was old but was still standing it had to be on the 90’s map. In the 90’s the place was probably in its last few years. I look at the map in the place where the electricity tower is now.
The old visitor cabin. I facepalm at my stupidity, how did I not think of that. The location used to be next to a smaller ridge, that was until an earthquake hit the location in 1997 then the location was buried in dirt. I guess this psychopath dug the place up and has been living there since. I know where the place is, because I visited there when I was a kid, because my aunt was staying there.
I cover myself in the blue blanket, tonight was a colder night. I listen as the trees hug each other, they rustle in the wind. The nature. The natural beauty of nature helped me get a good night's rest. I needed rest if I was gonna make a trip to finally get Amy back.
I wake up at seven forty, the sunrise showing the great colors, the view I got from the tower was great. I eat a bowl of Lucky Charms, go outside, down the stairs, go into the small building next to the tower, shower, and begin my journey.
I hike the same way I did when I went to the electricity tower, but turned on the old trail that lead to the cabin. I walk up the trail that looked as if it was pulling me in instead of me going in. I feel my stomach drop, overwhelming with nervousness. I step forward, everything around me is tuned out. I hear nothing and feel as if I am in third person, I see the house thirty yards in front of me. I crouch down and swing around to the side of the door. There it is in front of me, the door only thing visible while everything else is shielded with dirt. I stare at the door, white paint, what should be white, was peeling off the door.
It was now or never, I tried the handle, locked. I hear the man walk down the stairs. I charged the door. It felt like I was in slow motion, I see a chunk of the door fly past my face, quickly past by splinters flying everywhere. Reality refocused me. Amy. I charged at the man, fist charging down like the god of Zeus throwing a bolt of lightning.
I miss. I realize my mistake as soon as I see the man move, again like everything was in slow motion, I see him counter me, twist my arm, I feel my arm throb, then followed by a blow to my back knocking the wind out of me. I turn my head and see it, the same red swiss army knife in the supply cache. I left it behind for a camper, now it is about to cut me.
Wrong. It went through my hand, I scream in pain. I see the cross on the knife, ensuring safety, but instead causing me so much pain. I lay there wind knocked out of me, arm throbbing, hand stabbed. It went through all the way, through my palm, into the wood floor. I see the man drag Amy, she was tied up, crying.
At the sight of me she screamed. I looked up and yelled, “Amy!”. I feel a tear roll down my eye as I see him carry her over his back like a sack of flour. I look up once more, face reddened, tears flowing like a waterfall. I see a pistol in the man’s pocket. I didn’t rush getting to him as I feared he will shoot her if I come after him one more time.
He got away, again. I needed to move I ripped the once clean knife out of my hand, I grab a white short sleeved shirt out of the killer psychopaths drawer. I wrap it around my hand, I for once was happy I had to go to a first aid academy in order to get the job. I rushed to the sink and ran water over my hand to clean the wound, then I wrapped my hand in the shirt appropriately.
Why I kept going after Amy is what I keep questioning myself after just being stabbed in the hand. I put my life out there and at risk just to save hers, I didn’t want to be friends with Amy. I wanted to be more than that, after the all day radio conversations, just me and her. That is why I needed to save her, she is all I have.
I run, run faster than I ever have ran in my life. I get to the tower, and climb it. I knew where he was going, he ran towards the lake, the only place he can run to without being seen dragging a body on his back. He was going to the lake entrance that was closed for remodeling, there was a emergency canoe he would try and leave in. I radio main offices, “Call the police, now Amy, fire lookout tower B, has been kidnapped the man who kidnapped her went to the closed lake entrance that needed maintenance. The man is armed with a pistol.” I’m lucky he didn't question. Within minutes four police cars and a paramedic's van arrived at the scene.
I was right. I see the man run out of the woods he used for cover, I see him drag Amy along the gravel. Gun to her head. Fear took over my heart dropped and began to race. Police lined up behind their cars, it was a standoff, a head officer screamed,”Let the girl go!”. The man simply laughed.
“That’s not fair sweety, I need a good deal too,” his jokingly tone disappears. “ I need one thousand dollars and freedom.”
I was in the woods, looking at the scene through the bushes, like predator stalking prey. I, while he is ranting, sneak behind him. I felt like I froze time, I grabbed the satan black pistol, punched the man in the back, knocked the wind out of him, and shoved him to the ground. I look up and see a wave of navy blue, pistols out running towards the man while I am stuck standing, not comprehending what happened. I see a officer shove the man in the back holding him down, while another officer swings the man's hands together so the third officer put handcuffs on him. I stand frozen, chills running down my spine. A officer grabs the gun from my hand and places it in a plastic bag.
I get shocked into reality. Amy. I run to her, and drop to the ground. I pull out the red swiss army knife from my pocket, the same one that was once in my hand. I cut at the ropes and untie the cloth tightened around her mouth.
I feel so bad for her, dark circles formed around her eyes, I understand, how could you sleep when a madman is taking you for hostage. I see her jump to me after I cut what tied around her wrists. I wrap my arms around her, and for once, after being stabbed in the hand, cry. I feel a small lonesome tear roll down my face. I say what felt right, “ I’m so sorry I didn’t save you sooner, I thought”, I choke up, “I thought you were gone”.
I release my grip from her only for her to pull me closer, “I thought about you for every second since he took me”. I feel how relieved she was by how tight she held me.
I look up from her shoulder and see the man being shoved in the car. Our eyes match, I stare him down, I wasn’t going to let anything like that happen again. The car moves away and the paramedics van fills its place. I see two men and a woman jump from the van and and make their way towards us. I see the cross on their suits and my stomach drops as it looked the same as the cross on the swiss army knife. I get placed on a wheeled stretcher, and Amy walks with me as I go to the van. I smile, I place my stabbed hand over my chest, look up and smile at Amy as I get picked up, and placed in the van.
I wake up. My eyelids slowly opened and white filled the the room, I hear the faint but solid rhythm of the heartbeat sensor, and look over to see Amy sleeping in a visitor chair. I chuckle at her, she woke up, and ran over to me and hugged me. “You worried me, I didn’t think you would sleep for that long”, I smile back at her and look at the clock, 12:58.
I look over at her, “Is that in the morning or at noon?”. She smiles at me.
“I told the doctor I wouldn’t leave till I see you wake up, so I decided I would sleep too”, I look at her open the blinds only to see the darkness of the night. She looks back at me and laughs out “morning”. She walks over to the TV and presses the red power button, I look up at the TV and see me.
I turn up the volume and see the news running a story on me. I look over to Amy and see her smile with struggle. I see them play the clip of me running out of the woods as fast as I could, I look up at Amy and see a tear roll down her face.
It’s been two months since I saved her, since then we’ve been living in a apartment five stories up, a view that looked over the city. I look down the small round table that was between us, at Amy who was cutting into her medium rare sirloin steak. I enjoyed being away from that firetower, after what happened to Amy I needed to be close. Close enough to see her hazel brown eyes and dark hair, and close enough to see my scarred palm.I needed to be far too. As far as I could get from that fire tower and the horrors it caused.