15 - Where They Camp

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         I hadn’t realized until the day before the field trip that I was, well, going on a field trip. I found out later that I’d filled the second-to-last spot.

         And here I was again, at precisely 12:36 a.m., rushing to pack enough belongings for the three-day, two-night camping trip. I made sure to keep my footsteps quiet so as not to wake my mother. She hadn’t taken my behaviour in the car after the dinner party too well. It took me several minutes of euphoric reassurance to get her to leave me alone. If she knew I was being last minute again, she’d tell me off, and goodness knows how long that would take.

         As I scurried around the room picking up all the little things I would need—comb, brush, mirror, lip balm, travel-sized pack of tissues—I tried to keep my mind off of Jacoby and the disastrous week I was having. I’d witnessed a man get hit by a car, and I’d known it was because of me, “self-preservation” or not.

         And Jacoby actually coming out with it. And asking me to run away with him. That was the biggest shocker. The accident, too, took every opportunity to invade my thoughts. The man even made the news.

         Jaywalking: Why It’s Illegal

         And when I wasn’t chewing my nails over the accident, I was thinking of Jacoby. I didn’t know why Jacoby asked me to go with him. He wasn’t clear when he explained. And I wasn’t essential to his survival.

         Was I?

         The thought made me pause in my packing.

         “Why am I even going?” I asked out loud.

         My uncertainty irritated me to the point where I sat down. Would they really find me and take me away if I didn’t leave? I had no means of confirming whether Jacoby’s news was true or not.

         There’s the pair of Others you saw on your way home from Nic’s house, a voice inside my head nagged.

         Yeah. But for all I know, they might actually be having an affair, and their cover-up story is just very poorly made and coincidential.

         I tried to weigh my options in a practical manner. The pros and cons to escaping with Jacoby. I made myself more comfortable on my bed and began listing out first the pros, then the cons.

         “Pros. Right. What good would come out of escaping with Jacoby?” I asked myself. Before I could even think of one, I found my thoughts wandering already.

         No, Jasslyn. Focus.

         To force myself to concentrate only on that, I got out a small notebook and split the page in half, labelling one side “Pros” and the other, “Cons”, feeling like a nerd all the while.

         Pros. I’d have a better chance of survival if the Guiders were really working for the “scientists” and were out to get all of us. I could find a group of Others that were in the same predicament as I was…if we really were being hunted.

         This wasn’t good. I ended all of my sentences the exact same way. If, if, if. There was too much uncertainty for me to feel confident escaping with Jacoby.

         “Well, that’s that, then.” I chewed my lip and outlined the “ifs” on my page several times.

         I knew what the right decision would be. I needed to stay where I was. There weren’t any news reports about us, nor had there been any signs of anything out of the ordinary, besides Lissy and Jack, and the two Guiders, but that wasn’t quite enough to base such a drastic decision upon. So if all the visible evidence was telling me to decline Jacoby’s offer, why was I still hesitating? Was it because some part of me wanted a fairy tale life, held on to the fantasy that one day, I could run away from home with a lover?

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