They were in a forest. Like literally in a forest. Could you believe it?
I mean who wants to go camping in a forest for their holidays? Her family, that’s who.
“It’s safe here, honey” her dad had reassured her while they were unloading their bags from the rented van. “Just relax and try to enjoy this experience. Open yourself up for all of life’s possibilities.” It boggled her mind that he seemed genuinely happy to be spending four days in a mosquito infested place, sleeping in a tent and roaming around in the wild; instead of splashing about and tanning in a beach somewhere.
And of-course, her father’s fiance Jessie, with her obsession over organic and natural stuff, had jumped at this ‘opportunity to observe nature at its very heart’. Mel had no doubt that this trip had been her idea.
Stomping her way past their tents pitched beside the Johnsons’, she sat leaning against a tree. From here, she could hear the high pitched laughter of the ladies, as well as the men murmuring as they set up the camp. A little further away, her brother wondered around sniffing, scratching and licking anything he could get his hands on. Ben’s old enough to know better, she’d scoffed internally.
No network! This trip just seemed to get better and better, Mel thought angrily. First, she had to endure Jessie fawning over her father all through campfire dinner and then, a sleepless night due to her brother’s wheezing snores. Urgh! She had nothing to do now. This was getting tedious.
As she walked along the shallow stream at the camp’s edge (Not too far, mind you. She’d watched enough horror movies to not want to experience a gruesome death), Mel saw a baby monkey peeking down from tree branches. As she took a step or two near him, he hid behind the thick branches.
She stepped back and kept her distance. And in a minute he peeked again, observing her. Now, Mel wasn’t an animal lover of any sort and living in this wildness lacking proper sanitation, TV and social media made the teen even more cranky. But this tiny curious ape, playing hide and seek with a member of the ‘most dangerous specie’ (humans) made her smile.
So cute! Maybe dad was right, she thought.
Mel saw him lean forward, trying to see their camp. She wondered what he thought of them. Clingy, blingy women tittering every five minutes, men trying to compete with each-other to prove their ‘Survivor’ skills, loud obnoxious children arguing over stupid things.
Despite feeling silly, she smiled and waved at the baby monkey. Looking at her for a few minutes, he raised his small hand. But before she could think of approaching, a loud screech was heard from the adjacent tree and two huge monkeys dropped down next to him. The parents had arrived!
Heart almost hammering in her chest, she steadily backed away from the group that was climbing down the branches of the surrounding tree. These apes were nothing like the ones on the picture books and movies; they somehow seemed larger and fiercer.
“Where were you?” Jessie shouted as she neared the space where their tents had been pitched. All their bags were packed but her father and brother were nowhere to be seen. At her enquiry, Jessie rushed through the explanation, even as she directed the camp assistant to help with their belongings. “Ben is having an allergic reaction and his throat swelled up. Must be something he ate, I think” Here she paused to look at Mel, as though it was her fault that Ben had lacked hygiene and common sense. This was inevitable, what with his exploration the other evening. The adults should have known better than to let him wander off.
At Mel’s glare, she continued, “Your dad and the director have rushed him to the City Hospital. We’re to pack-up here and then, meet him. So, our trip is being cut short. It’s so sad we will miss out on these campfire adventures!” Her bag-pack in hand, Mel ran towards the van that would take her to civilization. She’d had enough of the ‘forest adventure’ to last her a lifetime!
Written for Sadje’s What Do You See #41. Does this picture inspire you to write something?Write an original story, poem or a caption.