Chapter 26

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My heart started racing again in my chest. Of all things that could have happened, why did a dangerous snake have to bite her?!

Megan hadn't noticed it yet. I've heard of many cases before that a person did not realise that had been bitten by a venomous snake until it's too late. I debated whether to tell Megan she could die any moment or not. I know she would freak out but I also knew that I could not keep this from her.

"Megan.." I began.

"Oh, you actually were listening to what we were talking about?" She said, winking at me. I really wasn't listening to what they were saying. My mind had been to busy processing the newly developed problem.

"What?" I said, frowning at her.

"Do you still like Eric?" She asked as if she had repeated it for the hundredth time.

"What? I need to tell you something." I said, quickly getting back on topic.

"Yeah, you're not getting away with this one, you're telling me!" She said laughing.

"No, Megan--" I tried again but she cut me off.

"He's hot!" She said, with the expression she always has when she talks about guys.

"Hayley, can you please tell her to listen?!" I asked Hayley who had quietly been observing the conversation.

"Nope, you know Megan. Once she's on a certain topic she's interested in, you can't get her to listen to you at all." She said smiling at Megan.

"I'm here, you know!" Megan said smiling back at her best friend. She looked over at me and saw the worried expression on my face. "Wow, you're really upset about something. Did Eric hurt you?"

"No, Megan. This has nothing to do with Eric! The snake bit you!" I blurted out a little too insensitive.

She stopped walking and froze. "Where?" She said, not moving anything but her lips as she spoke.

Hayley came to stand next to me behind Megan to look at the bite. "At the back of your leg." She said, with her head close to Megan's leg to be able to see in the dark.

"Tess, I need something I can tie around her leg above the sore to keep the venom from the rest of her body." Hayley said. My already ripped shirt was perfect. I ripped the bottom part of it off and gave it to Hayley. She quickly tied it tightly around her leg, just below her knee.

Megan, who was in hysterics by now, kept asking how long she has left to live. "Megan, you are not going to die." I told her, though a part of me, the part that knew how dangerous that snake was, thought differently. I fought back the urge to tell her the truth as much as I could.

"Should we just camp here for the night? The venom would spread faster if she keeps moving as it flows with her blood stream." Hayley suggested.

"Yeah that's a good idea." I agreed.

Even though Hayley and I were trying to keep our voices even, so Megan would calm down, it did not work. Megan knew us all too well to know when we were avoiding something.

"I could die any moment now, couldn't I?" She said calmly with tears welling up in her eyes.

I knew she wasn't stupid and that she knew when to start worrying. Instead of answering her I decided to change the subject. "We need to head off bright and early tomorrow morning. He really didn't give us three days because it would be easy, we really need to push it."

What I said was not only meant for us to get out of here before the "or else...", but because I knew without medical help Megan is not going to make it. 

"We should get some sleep then." Hayley suggested.  

We each found a little dry patch and lied down. I knew I would not be able to sleep with Megan and snakes and who knows what else that could hurt us while we are asleep. So instead I thought about what to do next.

We obviously had to hurry up for Megan, but we had to be careful. Before I had not realised how dangerous it is for three young girls to be alone, lost, in an unfamiliar forest. We could not afford to get anymore injuries. My injuries we're insignificant now. They were not life threatening, even though they still hurt as they hadn't had time to heal yet because just as they start to get better, I would have to keep walking.

I thought about crossing the lake. Maybe there is a town or something on the other side of the lake, though I couldn't remember ever seeing a town there on a map of this lake. I decided that it would be safer for all of us if we just kept following the lake, at least we wouldn't get even more lost than we are at the moment.

So much has happened today. I wondered about my parents. What were they doing right now? We're they happily asleep in their nice and warm beds? Are they restless worried about me? I knew I was going to have to be the one to tell Pete's parents about his death. How could I ever explain to someone that their son has died? I felt sorry for police officers who has to bring bad news to families on a daily basis. I wondered if Pete's parents would ever forgive me for not looking out for him. Would they blame me?

I felt sick. Of course they would blame me, I was always the responsible one between me and Pete and when he got hurt they always asked me why I didn't make sure it was safe first. Once we had gone to the park to play for a while, when Pete had fallen off of the monkey bars and lost a tooth with the fall. It was only one of his baby teeth, but for a while his parents blamed me for not looking out for him. They thought of me as a baby sitter for him, and not a friend.

And Jake's parents. I didn't even know them. How do I tell someone their son died because of what I got caught up in and had nothing to do with him. Would they take me to court?  I thought back, trying to remember if Jake ever told me anything about his parents. Then again, I was too annoyed with his ego that I never really listened to what he said. Are both of his parents still alive?

My imagination was running wild and it wasn't helping me in any way.

Was it really my fault that Pete and Jake are dead? If I had turned around to make sure that everyone was out, rather than running for my own safety, would they still have been alive right now?

I thought for a moment that maybe this is what the kidnappers want. To drive myself crazy with self laming myself for everything that has happened. Maybe they are trying to weaken our common sense for some reason. I was not going to let them get the best of me.

I will make it out of here alive, with me two best friends by my side.

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A/N

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