Jumping In With Both Feet

As a small boy, Dave was fascinated by tales of intrepid explorers. He dreamed of a life filled with adventure on the high seas, or surviving in the wild tundra of the North. He’d even settle for fending off lions in the deepest, darkest parts of Africa. He wanted it all.

Years of backyard tenting, living off his mother’s horrible cooking, watching hundreds of nature videos, and tolerating hours of sitting in a classroom soaking in geography, spelling, and arithmetic had prepared him for the greatest adventure of his life.

The day he turned eighteen, he slung his backpack over his shoulder and waved goodbye to his mother. He had become the intrepid explorer he always dreamed of. First stop was the campground just outside of town.

His feet ached from walking and his back screamed in revolt after carrying the pack two hours. The tent didn’t come with instructions and was so different than the pup tent his mother set up for him. It was late afternoon before he figured it out. There’s bound to be some snags, he told himself.

The matches didn’t burn long enough to light the log in the campfire and his hands were dirty from constantly fiddling with the ash from the previous users. He looked at the campground map and headed for the communal latrine to wash his hands. Mosquitoes swarmed him as he followed the creek. No amount of swatting would drive them away. He smelled the latrine long before he found it and as soon as the old wooden shack covered in spider webs came into sight, he turned around and started to head back.

Having ash on his hands bothered him more and more as he followed the creek back to his tent, so he decided to use the creek. Water is water, right? The mosquitoes were thick and covered him as he squatted by the bank. As soon as his hands entered the water frogs leaped out of the creek. Dave screamed, spun around and promptly fell into the creek.

His splashing and screaming brought the campground manager running. She stood by the creek bank and chuckled. “It’s shallow enough to stand up.” She swatted the mosquitoes and sprayed bug spray on her arms. “I wouldn’t stay too long in there if I were you.”

“Why?” Dave was cold, frustrated, wet, and embarrassed.

“Filled with leeches. Didn’t you read the info sheet I gave ya when you checked in?”

Leeches? Did she say leeches? Dave screamed again and ran out the campground, out to the main road, and the four miles back to his house. His mother was sitting on the couch watching television when he burst through the door, ran upstairs, and immediately got into the shower.

Sally laughed silently, closed the front door, and picked up the phone. “Hi Betty, it’s Sally.” She laughed. “Yeah, he made it home. He’s upstairs taking a shower.” She chuckled again. “I’ll be by later today to get his things. Thanks for helping me out.”

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Cover Up

Billions soaked into research and development by the Pentagon. Twenty years and thousands of man hours spent cultivating and selecting the right gene sequence. Warehouses dotted across the county housed the failed experiments. They were under orders to maintain an adequate quality of life. All went according to plan until Failed #872’s file was mistakenly placed on Leslie’s desk. She opened the file and stared into the eyes of 872. Male, 14, Iowa. 872. Her heart leaped seeing her brother’s face staring back at her. He had disappeared eight years earlier. It became her mission to uncover the identities of the other “volunteers.”

50 Word Thursday #8

When Deb Whittam retired from hosting 50-Word Thursdays, Kristian asked to pick it up and offered me a spot as co-host. Obviously, I jumped at the opportunity as I love this weekly prompt. Last week he was host, so this week, I am hosting. My prompt will go out at Midnight GMT on Thursday, and a recap will be posted by 10:00 PM GMT next Wednesday.

Rules:

  1. Find the muse within the photo or line provided and follow where it leads. It can be a story, anecdote, poem. Anything!
  2. Story must be between 50 and 250 words, in 50 word increments.
  3. Link back to this post with the tag 50WordThurs so that everyone can find it, or post your response in the comments below.
  4. HAVE FUN!

This Week’s Prompt:

“Fooling, fooling, too much fooling.” (Astrid Lindgren, Pippi Longstocking)