June 14, 2017
By Anonymous

It’s getting dark. I start pedaling faster, though my legs have been aching all day. I can’t find it. I can’t find the old treehouse. Turning around and going back is not an option, but it’s getting dark and I’m in the middle of the forest. What do I do?

I pull the brakes on my bike, slowing to a stop. As I get off the bike and prop it up against an old, fallen tree, I rip off my backpack and throw it to ground. I take a seat on a small rock next to my backpack, and I lower my head into my hands. Rubbing my fingers through my short blond hair, my eyes become watery with hot, salty tears. What do I do?

I unzip the pockets of my old sports jacket, only to find a folded piece of paper with some juice stains. I open it up to find it is a map of a forest. I try to search for the road I’m on by retracing my steps. My bicycle grease-covered finger trace the map as my mind flashes memories from the past few hours. It doesn’t exist. The road I am on isn’t shown on this map! What do I do?

I reach for my backpack, wanting to avoid wasting any of the little energy I have left by standing up. I am just close enough to grab one of the tattered straps, pulling it towards my aching legs. I begin to search through my pack for anything that could help. A rope? No. A first aid kit? Not now, at least. A pillow and blanket? Soon. As I feel around, my cold hand grazes a familiar smooth surface — my old flip phone. I flip it open. No signal. What do I do?

It's almost pitch black. I can barely see my hands in front of me. I figure I must somehow set up a bed, but where? It’s definitely not safe here. Who knows what could crawl into my ears when I sleep? Who knows what could be lurking in these woods? Thought after thought runs through my mind as I open my backpack up to grab the blanket. This time, though, something is in the way.

A flashlight! Oh, how I’ve missed the light. I slide the switch up and immediately, a bright yellow beam appears. But wait… something looks different. As I stare ahead into the miles of trees, I notice something. In the distance, I see the colors blue and yellow. I'd recognize that color combination anywhere — the treehouse! I sprint towards the colors as if I was a cheetah hunting it's prey. As soon as I get to the bottom of the ladder, I feel a wave of pride. I made it. I finally made it.

I'm glad I never gave up. I begin up the ladder, tripping over myself because of my excitement. Once I climb that final step, I stand tall. The air smells different up here, like pine and freshly sanded wood. As I step around the room, observing my past, something else catches my attention — a familiar voice behind me. I turn around and see a dark figure in the distance, waving its arms.

“Jake! Jake, where are you? Is that you in your treehouse? Come inside and brush your teeth! Your first day of kindergarten is tomorrow and you need to get ready for bed! And don't forget to grab your backpack, you left it in the middle of the yard!” Mother yelled, beckoning me to my backpack.

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