Twenty Years Later
A bump on the road sent her head slamming against the window to her left, eliciting a pained groan from the now-awake woman. With evident strain, her hazel eyes fluttered open and followed the rushing of blurry trees on the other side of the cold glass. As a yawn parted from her lips and she blinked away the tears sleepiness had drawn around her vision, Lynn Morris lifted a hand to rub her throbbing head and straightened on her uncomfortable seat.
"Where did you get your driving license, on the bumper cars at a funfair?" she fired at the driver, voice filled with expected irritation.
Mark glanced at her reflection in the rear-view mirror to meet her frown with a lopsided smile which showed his dimples. "Good morning to you too, sunshine. Glad you can join us on this fun day. See, we're about to reach our destination in the middle of fucking nowhere!"
Glaring at his blond head, Lynn ran a hand through her dishevelled hair and pursed her lips.
"The only reason you aren't happy with this trip is because you aren't going to get laid," Dana chimed in from the seat next to her, not bothering to lift her dark-chocolate eyes from the book she was devouring.
The moment Mark opened his mouth to retort, Lynn was quick to put her earphones in and spare herself the pain of having to listen to their bickering again.
Out of the corner of her eye, she took a disinterested glance at their dramatic show. Dana kept her gaze on her book, but the prominent scowl on her plump lips spoke of Mark's success in averting her attention from the hypnotizing words. Her round glasses slipped along the length of her nose, before she lifted her bushy head to send another string of insults.
Placing her hand under her chin, Lynn turned away from the idiots she had chosen as friends and let her surroundings take a hold of her mind. Pine trees laughed at her demise as they rushed by, getting lost in a sea of green and brown. The sun glared at her from a cloudless sky, slipping into her eyes every time the bumpy road made the car jar violently.
As her frown deepened and her brain stopped processing what her eyes were catching to create alternative realities which didn't placate her exasperation, Dana demanded her undivided attention. Not satisfied with waving a hand in front of her, she shook her shoulder roughly and pulled out an earbud.
"Earth to Lynn, are you operative?" she asked in a taut voice when said woman snapped out of her trance, suddenly realizing they had stopped.
"Depends. Are you done making a scene?"
Dana rolled her eyes and scoffed. "Yeah, Casanova gave up after realizing he was just digging his own grave."
Humming in understanding, Lynn shoved the earphones into her purple bag and opened the car door to let the summer breeze welcome her to the beautiful landscape she had seen in many pictures. The backside of the house blocked the mesmerizing view that — she knew — spread on the other side, but before she could step around to take it all in, another car pulled up next to where she was standing.
"You look like a walking dead, Lynn!" shouted Oliver as he stepped out of his bright-red Renault Megane, slinging his big rucksack over his shoulder before closing the door.
As the bulky man walked up to her, Mark chortled behind her. "You were dozing off again, Morris. What's going on with you today? I'm missing your sass."
She met his amused, forest-green eyes with an unimpressed stare. "I had to do an extra shift at the hospital yesterday, and when I got home at two in the morning, my neighbours' new-born was crying. I'm pretty sure the little shit was still at it when you guys came to pick me up."
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*ONC 2020 SHORT LIST* Something evil dwells in the black lake by the misty woods, something that will claim the souls of those who dare to dive into its realm. Lynn Morris is ready to enjoy some well-deserved holidays in the company of her closest...