Chapter 10

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We walked through the forest into the direction that I remembered walking with Frans. The bush was thicker than I remembered, and everything looked different. Walking through the places where Pete and I spent so much of our time when we were on holiday together brought tears to my eyes. Where is Pete?

Hayley was walking behind me and did not see the tears in my eyes. I quickly blinked them away before Hayley noticed, I did not like crying in front of people.

After about and hour of bush bashing, and us covered in scratches and cuts, we needed to rest and find something to eat. We went down to the lake, which we've been following.

"I need a drink." Hayley said, eyeing the lake, which she was not crazy about drinking from.

"Well I didn't bring water, I don't know about you. Looks like the lake would be our only source of water. I think it's drinkable." I said, sitting down on a rock near the lake.

Hayley frowned. Suddenly her face lit up. "I remember reading this book once about people being stuck on a deserted island. They built a purifying system out of rocks and leaves and cotton which they tore from their clothes."

Even in these circumstances, Hayley could always make me laugh. Though, of course, she was being serious, but the idea seemed hilarious. "...Or we can walk the rest of the way to Pete's house and get normal tap water...?" I said teasing her.

"I'm just trying to help." She bursted into tears, sitting down next to me.

"I'm sorry, I'm just trying to lighten the mood." I said putting my hand on her back.

"It's not that. I've just always dreamt of being in this kind of situation. The mystery, the adventure. But I never realised that it would be so hard and scary!" She said with tears streaming down her flushed cheeks. I pulled her into a hug and let her cry on my shoulder.

"It's going to be okay. We are going to find Pete and Megan. One day we are going to be in a day care centre, old and wrinkled, and we are going to laugh about this." I said, trying to cheer her up. But all it did was make me cry too.

"Just shut up Tess..." Hayley said laughing at me through her tears. "I just want you to listen, but just don't talk!" She said laughing as she got up to wash her face in the fresh water. I followed her and washed my face too. The water felt nice and refreshing.

"We should head to Pete's house. It shouldn't be far now, and let's try to get there before dusk." I said slapping some more water onto my face.

We kept following the lake for about forty five minutes. I was starting to get worried. From my school years I remembered what we learnt in Outdoor Education, that on flat surfaces you can walk on average four kilometres per hour. Though bush bashing would take longer, I didn't think it would take us this long.

"Are you sure you know where we're going?" Hayley asked me after a while.

"I may or may not be lost..." I said, looking around for something that looked familiar.

"Tess, you're terrible at navigating!" Hayley said laughing at me again. I could see she was a little more relaxed now, and that made me relax as well. I knew that even if I did get us lost, she would not blame me.

We were getting tired of walking, and it was beginning to get dark. I asked Hayley if she thinks we should keep walking or try to find somewhere to sleep for the night, and then continue walking in the morning.

"Let's walk for another half an hour, and if we can't find anything, we sleep there." Hayley suggested. I agreed.

After about ten minutes something looked familiar to me. There were random planks and equipment in a near by tree. I smiled. That was where Pete and I attempted at building a tree house. We used some of his dad's equipment to build it, and then just left it there when we couldn't figure out how to use all the tools. I didn't think that after all this time it would still be there.

"We're nearly there." I said, pointing at the ruins of a tree house. I started walking past it, in the direction of thicker bush when Hayley stopped me.

"What are you expecting to find in that house?" She asked quietly. I haven't thought about that. I honestly had no idea.

"Maybe we should take some of that equipment in case we need to protect ourselves." Hayley said, not making eye contact with me. I knew she was scared to death. I nodded and started climbing the tree. The tree house was only about five meter up the tree, with only one wall and a floor that was falling apart.

Hayley was waiting at the bottom of the tree. As I got about half way up the tree I heard mumbling. I looked down at Hayley, "Did you say something?" I asked her.

"No, Tess. I think you're hearing things." She replied with a smile. I knew she was smiling because she's usually the one that's hearing things. I just smiled back at her.

Just as I wanted to continue climbing, I heard it again. This time Hayley heard it too. My heart started pounding vigorously in my chest. It was coming from the tree house. I wanted to let go of the tree and jump down to where Hayley was standing, but something was telling me I should investigate.

Slowly, I continued up the tree.

Finally, I reached the floor of the tree house. My hands were shaking, but I managed to pull myself up.

In the corner of what's left of the tree house, on just three deteriorating planks, layed a familiar figure.

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