The boy handed him yet another generous tip, and we clambered out of the taxi, which then did a U-Turn and headed back to the city. “This is great. Now we're stuck in the middle of nowhere.” I said throwing my hands up in the air.
“Calm down, don't you think I know where we are? You should too.” He marched off into the pines. I had no choice but to follow him. “Stay close and watch your back.” he whispered.
I did as I was told. Unexpectedly I tripped over something and went careening into the fresh soil. The boy spun on his heels with a knife at the ready. I held up a hand. “It's okay. I just tripped over this root.” I said motioning to it.
“Get up!” he whispered. I did so, but as soon as I did something hard, and very uncomfortable quickly wrapped around my waist and pulled me off the ground dangling me in the air.
“What the heck is going on!” I yelled. “Get me down from here!” I thrashed about. I pushed and pulled at whatever was coiled around my waist and I recognized the texture of it. It was a tree. Not a whole tree, but a branch of it.
The boy pulled out a cigarette lighter. Just then A man and a women immersed from the closest tree. Like they were part of it. They had a human figure but they were made of bark and leaves. Their eyes were a forest green and quite penetrating. They started heading towards the boy. He held his cigarette light defensively in front of him. “Dude, I don't know if your eyes are fooling you or what, but that's a cigarette lighter! How is that supposed to help you!” I screamed. He shot me an irritated look and flicked the lighter to life.
Immediately the couple took a couple steps back. “Let go of my friend and let us leave. If you do so, I promise I won't harm you.” he said in a shaky voice.
“I'm afraid your friend is much too valuable. How about you don't hurt us and just you leaves.” the man said in a raspy voice. The boy stepped closer to them still holding out his little flame. “I'm afraid I'm not leaving without him.” They stepped back. “So I'm going to ask you one more time. Let us leave, and no harm will come upon you.” he sneered gaining a confidence that came from who knows where.
“That's not a question!” The women whined.
“Really? Then I guess you have no other choice.” the boy darted at them bringing his little flame of fire with him. He managed to catch one of the leafs of the woman's hair on fire, and she started screaming chaotically running in circles. It spread like a wild fire moving up over her head and down the rest of her body, eventually she was nothing but a pile of ash. “How dare you!” the man yelled.
“You're next.” the boy smiled. He held the lighter in front of him and closed his eyes. His brow furrowed in concentration. The tree man started coming at him quickly. He was so close. “Dude, he's right there! Watch out!” I yelled to him.
Just then, the little flame burst into a giant fire devouring the tree man just as he was about to grab the boy. “Whoa!” I couldn't help myself from exclaiming. He yelled in fury and pain as he too became a pile of ash.
Immediately the grip on my waist was loosened and I dropped to the cold dirt. “Ouch.” I muttered, sitting up and brushing the dirt off me. The boy rushed to me and pulled me up. “Hurry! There will be more!” He started running again, deeper into the woods. “What the heck was that!” I called after him, finally following him.
Finally he stopped, just as we were beginning to hear more moans from other creatures in the forest. We were stopped at the edge of a cliff, overlooking a valley, that seemed very familiar. It was filled with brush and cacti, and other shrubbery. But still it seemed so familiar. “Looks like we're at a dead end.” I said. The boy knelt down and brushed away a bunch of leaves sitting on the ground in front of him. Then he started scraping at the dirt. The moans and yells got louder. “We need to go! Whatever is out there, it's getting closer!” I prodded.
A bit of gold glinted through the dark dirt where he was digging. Then more and more came into view. Eventually a circle was visible that had words etched into it. I didn't have enough time to read them before the boy put both of his hands over it and started muttering quiet words to himself. “What are you doing?” I asked.