Gone: Chapter One

"Come on April," he called from up ahead as I trudged along behind him.

"I hate camping," I mumbled, puffs of air leaving my shivering lips as I pulled my coat around me tighter. Reese was far ahead of me, using a large stick to help him climb over the roots and rocks of the dense forest. He stopped and turned, his face slack as he waited for me to catch up to him for the umpteenth time. "I hate camping," I said louder as I approached him, hiking my backpack up farther onto my shoulders.

"Then why did you come?" he rolled his eyes and crossed his arms in front of his chest.

"Because you made me?" I raised my eyebrows at him, stopping and grimacing. "You literally dragged me out of my bed at four in the morning to drive who-knows-where and backpack through the trees."

"I just thought we needed some quality sibling time," he ruffled my hair and I swatted at his hand, frowning at him. He smiled and turned, starting to walk again. I sighed heavily and followed, the leaves crunching under my boots. I pulled my beanie down over my ears as I shivered again.

It isn't so much the outdoors that I hated. I hated the cold, and I hated the woods. They gave me a horrible feeling that I was constantly being watched. I looked over my shoulder as I walked, suddenly colliding with my brother as he had stopped.

"It's perfect!" He exclaimed with his eyes out wide. I peered around him at the small clearing. I stepped in front of him and looked around. A narrow stream ran just thirty feet ahead, and after that was a steep wall of dirt and rock.

"Yeah. Home sweet home," I said bitterly as I swing my large bag off my back and went to the middle of the clearing.

"Help me set up the tent Aps," Reese called from behind. I threw my bag down and turned to him, frowning as I realized he wasn't there.

"Reese?" I called, stepping toward where he was before. Great. He knew I hated the woods. I crossed my arms and sighed. "This isn't funny," I shouted as I turned.

I yelped out as I came chest to chest with him, almost falling on my back from shock. He laughed and shoved me lightly, successfully scaring me for the first of many times during this trip.

"Give me the stupid tent," I muttered, pulling it out of his hands and walking back to my bag. It took nearly an hour to assemble it. It probably wouldn't have taken that long if he hadn't have yelled at me every five seconds for placing the poles wrong.

"Now what do we do for the next four days?"

"Camping stuff," he shrugged. Reese loved the outdoors and everything that came with it. Another difference that made us so unable to relate to each other. I had to admit, I loved my brother and was grateful to get to spend some time with him. I just wish we could've gone bowling or something instead. "Start a fire," he said, "I'm gonna see if I can catch anything in that stream."

"How do you suppose I start a fire, Reese?" I put my hands on my hips as he pulled a fishing pole from his bag and walked away.

"Find some firewood and use the matches," he called as he neared the stream.

Great. I sighed and looked around, trying to find something to use for the fire. I went around the clearing and gathered large rocks, arranging them in a circle some odd feet from the tent. I left the clearing to get firewood, trying not to stray too far.

With my arms full of twigs and random logs, I shuffled back to our camp. As I broke through a large bush just meters away from camp, a scream erupted and echoed through the forest. "Reese?!" I called, dumping the wood and running toward the water. I shouted his name again, and he jogged over from the side of the trees.

"What? What's wrong?" He asked breathlessly as he looked around.

"Didn't you scream? I heard someone scream."

"What are you talking about April? No one screamed."


This is the first chapter of "Gone." Chapters will be released every other week.

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