Mouse at the Campground



Mouse at the Campground

First, I’ll tell you, because I know how you think, it didn’t happen. No snogging. No bump and grind. No bumping uglies. We slept together, slept, snored (not me), twisted and turned (all me). I heard all kinds of noises outside, snuffling, chortling, a screech owl that’s cascading call sounded befitting of a horror movie. And, I so welcomed that thought on top of the bears that were probably searching for the food I’d slung up in the tree. Slasher movies. At one point I did curl against him and bury my face in his back, but only so I could squeeze my eyes really tight and pretend I was somewhere else, like Cancun sipping a rum punch with my feet in the Caribbean. In the morning, after maybe an hour of sleep, I woke in his arms. That was nice and for a moment there I did consider initiating something else. But if Tom and I ever get it on, it sure as hell isn’t going to be in a tent with stones poking me.

While I charge my phone at the camp store, I look at satellite imagery and see that there aren’t any roadblocks between here and Alps. Slowly I become aware of the aroma of bacon and coffee and see that Tom is cooking breakfast over a grill. He grins as I approach and then hands me a paper plate with an egg sandwich.

“The shop had fake bacon for you,” he says.

I’m strangely touched that he remembered or even noticed that I didn’t eat meat. “Thanks.”

We sit and eat while the area around us slowly comes to life. It smells like everyone cooks bacon and coffee—the staples of morning human existence.

“What are we going to do?” I ask.


I shrug. “I think you need me.”

“That’s what you think?” He’s grinning.

“Know. It’s what I know.”

“Tell me, Mouse, how you’re going to help.”

I take a bite of my sandwich, wondering how much to tell him. I feel like I can trust him, but I’ve been burned before, which is one reason why I have all of these resources at my disposal that can help him.

“I’ve got money, contacts, and computers along with a few other things. Most importantly, I’ve also got a place where no one can find us.”

“We need to find out who’s behind all of this,” he says.

“I can do that. In fact . . .” I pull up the article I found this morning and show him. “This is probably where I’ll start.”

“We didn’t rescue a woman. We kidnapped her?” Tom asks, his eyes widening. He shakes his head in disbelief.

“Looks that way.”

He’s silent. I realize he’s found the other article. The one that tells him that the five of us are the only survivors from The Compound. My appetite disappears so I set my plate aside and reach for my coffee mug. He’s staring down, but his gaze is no longer fixed on the cell and I know he’s thinking about the guys who didn’t make it, the guys he had known for years before I ever appeared at The Compound.

I want to say something, but, as usual, when it really comes down to it, I have no idea what to say so I stay quiet and do what I do best: start planning the next move.


end 2/8/2017

S. Darlington

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