The sun was still not done with rising to its usual spot on the sky, but my group was on the move in the woods. Earlier that morning, Mr Ryan had gave a short speech to the whole group.
“This week, each group will need to work well together.” he had said. “And so, today, I will set each group off to walk without teachers to the waterfall we went yesterday.” Ms Laura had started protesting, but Mr Ryan said that cell phones still worked, and so it shouldn’t matter too much. I’d saw that Mr Smith and Mr Noah were still whispering something with each other. I wonder why adults have to plan so much.
In the end, we were the first group that had to set off for the waterfall. Mr Ryan had said that he had hidden a flag around the waterfall, and it was our task to bring it back.
Toby was complaining about the attitude of the teachers.
“They treat us like five year olds.” he said. “We’re fourteen years old. Not some kindergarten kids.” He then tripped over a root, and he swore. “And like, this is stupid. Walking to a waterfall. Seriously, Mr Ryan, seriously. Why does he think we can’t do anything better than that?” He then paused, thinking. “We’re not five year olds.”
“Perhaps it’s because someone here has the intelligence of a five year old.” Isaac snapped. “Quit complaining. Why do you have to make things sour every day?”
I decided to change the subject, before World War 3 escalated. “Are we sure this is the same track we’re on as yesterday?” I asked, even though I knew it was.
“Probably.” said Anne. “But how far? My legs are aching.”
Isaac snorted. “My legs are aching! I can’t walk anymore! Aaah!” he mocked. Anne sighed. “Do we really have to be such an argumentative group? I mean, I can’t imagine staying with all of you for a week.”
“Call it debate practice.” Toby muttered. “Anyway, why do we have to stop at the waterfall? Why can’t we go any farther than that? Didn’t Mr Ryan say cell phones work in this area? If they can, why can’t we go farther?”
He then paused for a moment, as if thinking for more things to complain about. “Why can’t we?”
“Can you stop complaining?” snapped Isaac. “I’m not going to spend this whole week listen to your list of complaints, no thank you.” Toby opened his mouth as if to speak, but he then decided against it.
We walked on in silence for a couple more minutes, before Sophie broke the silence.
“You know…we could go farther than the waterfall if we like.” Isaac immediately turned around to argue. Sophie continued talking, ignoring Isaac’s face. “After all, we do have cell phones, as Mr Ryan said. If we got lost, we could just phone them. We could say we got lost or something.”
“True.” Toby said immediately. “Let’s do it.”
“Still, we have to find the flag.” I said.
“We can find that, and then go off and explore.” Toby said. I thought about it for a moment, then nodded. Isaac started to argue, and he looked to Anne, to see her response. Anne’s face had no emotion, and so Isaac simply shook his head in despair.
It took a few more minutes of walking before we reached the waterfall. “Search around.” Isaac said.
“Wait,” Toby said, “Do we really have to search for the flag now? After all, if we find the flag, we’ll have to carry it when we go farther than this. Can’t we search for it when we’re back?” And, instead of waiting for other responses like the different arguments we had along the trip to the waterfall, Toby simply continued walking.
We followed Toby into a single-file line, with Isaac grumbling in the rear and Toby in the lead. The land was mostly flat, and if you didn’t close your eyes, it was easy walking. We slowly left the strangely comforting sound of the waterfalls. Perhaps it was comforting simply because it was the area we knew, something that Mr Ryan had already showed us. Now, we were venturing into deep woods with only the knowledge that cell phones worked in this area from what Mr Ryan had said.
We walked in silence for a short while, with only the sound of Anne’s camera. She had been taking pictures of nearly everything while walking with the small group. I made a mental note to ask to see some of the photos once we were back at the camp.
After a while, Isaac broke the silence.
“How far are we going to go?” he demanded.
“Until I’m satisfied.” Toby replied with a grin. “For now, we keep walking.”
“You know,” Sophie said, “this is probably the only opportunity in a long time for us to walk in the woods like this with no adults. We have to take advantage.” she smiled. And quite obviously, I thought. Since Toby had came up with the idea, Sophie would have to agree.
The woods were getting thicker and thicker as we walked, and the forest was becoming darker. Isaac seemed, but Anne snapped photos at an even faster rate. The ground seemed to be rising up. From the camp, I couldn’t see the landscape, so I didn’t know how high this hill was, but it wasn’t too steep, so we pushed on.
The hill didn’t prove to be too high, and after only a few minutes, we were at the top. Trees were still covering the land, and we decided to stop for a rest.
“Cool,” Anne said. “I’m glad we didn’t stop at the waterfall.”
Toby snorted. “I’m always right.” he said confidently.
“No, you aren’t.” Isaac argued. “I can recall a thousand times that you were wrong. That time when we were doing that project on Ancient Egyptian culture, you said that we needed only five slides in the presentation, and all the other groups had fourteen. I will remember that project grade very fondly.” Sophie laughed loudly.
“LALALALALALALALALALALALALALALA…CAN’T HEAR YOU~…”
“And there’s that time in PE…”
“Wait.” Anne said.
“What?” Toby turned around to ask, relieved that someone had changed the conversation.
“Isn’t that a bee hive I see over there?”
I looked to where she was pointing. I saw the curved brown object that I had saw many times in books, but rarely in real life. Anne started photographing immediately.
Toby walked towards the bee hive. He walked slowly and he made his body low. I could see the blood rush into Isaac’s face.
“Toby! What are you doing?”
Toby grabbed a stick, and started probing the bee hive.
“Are you retarded?” I shouted over. “That’s a bee hive, you idiot!”
After 3 hits with the stick, tons of bees swarmed out of the hive. Sophie let out a scream, while Isaac swore so loudly that he could probably be heard for miles.
I was the first to run. The way that we had used to walk up was full of branches, and so I ran the opposite side. It was a terrible decision. The other side proved to be rocky, and I had a really hard time running at full speed without tripping. I could hear the sounds of buzzing and the footsteps of the others following me. I really wondered what had happened to Toby, who was so close to the hive.
The sounds of buzzing seemed to be closer, and I was closing in to exhaustion. Damn Toby, I thought. Didn’t he say earlier today that he wasn’t a young kid anymore? And why weren’t there any rivers to jump into? There are always rivers around when someone in a movie needs to escape a swarm of bees.
I thought of the waterfall. There must be at least a small stream around somewhere. The bees were closing in, and the sounds of buzzing were louder than ever. My legs were worn out.
Finally, when I was about to collapse, I saw a small stream. Without thinking, I plunged in. It was deep enough to hide. After a few seconds had passed, I heard other splashes. Thankfully this was kinda like the movies.
The bees continued hovering overhead for around three more minutes or so. I’d managed one quick gasp of air in between. When the bees finally left, I waited for someone else to leave the river, before leaping out myself. I was wet all over.
Toby came out coughing a few moments after Isaac.
“What the hell were you doing?” Isaac demanded.
“I…uh…I wanted to know if a swarm of bees would come out if I hit the hive. You know, like in the movies.” I could see that Toby had been stung on the face.
“And there, you got your answer.” Anne snapped.
Toby took his shirt off to squeeze water out of it. “I know, I know, I’m sorry.” He then slumped.
After that, everyone simply collapsed onto the ground, exhausted from all the running.