A low rumbling could be heard over the hill-spread forests outside of early dawn North City. If, in the barely waking hours of the day, you listened hard enough, you just might be able to conceive the urgency in the traveling sound. If, by chance, you were to inhabit the lush, dew coated pine trees which proudly marked the outskirts of said city, you'd find yourself with no choice but to look on with curiosity as your relentless mind pinpoints the audible disruption of peace. It treads across the desolate field of dirt in a smoke-trailed line and, your eyes coming into focus, you realize that there is not one, but two individuals, moving in unison.
This becomes a fact just as they disappear underneath the dividing line of foliage. With a shower of scattered leaves, the pair accelerates with the change of terrain, and the forest awoke in a flash.
The sky depicted a fading grey, slowly bending to the will of an incessant blue. With the warming change of color came the rising sun, and its gradual radiance on the world below. It knew everything, has seen every progression of the day, from each growing blade of grass to the birth of new life.
A fawn , taking its first steps on shaking, branch thin legs, discovered the first sound of its world to be the two whining engines weaving their way among the pine. In turn its mother licked her newborns trembling ears, and the young thing resumed its lesson.
Over a bending log, under a veil of winding branches, the machines- sleek dirt bikes-branded their mark on nature. Their tires, wet from the moisture of dawn, collected caked dirt and stray grass in its wake, until they resembled the creatures of the forest themselves.
Slapping the left side of these bikes were hardy duffel bags: the one in the lead bearing one in baby blue, whose contents revealed loose pieces of clothing, clearly feminine. The other was of slightly rougher material, with a mahogany shade.
"Can we stop here for a minute?"
In reply, the leading bike came to a halt, and the resounding echo died. The other followed suit, exhaling. Feet touched earth, and helmets were removed.
"Tell me something."
The female of the two turned to regard him. "Hm?"
"How can you be in the lead with the amount of crap you have crammed in that thing?" The speaker, the male, gestured to the blue duffel bag, whose weight threatened to topple the first bike sideways.
She shrugged innocently, a small smile playing her heart shaped face.
The pair surveyed the surrounding area, and after a small kick to the ground, the male let his weight fall backwards.
He was a lean, fresh faced youth with a massive mop of raven hair, and dim, hazel eyes. His clothing betrayed his age, a faded orange shirt and navy jeans. In short, he was a young man of 17.
His sister, however, bared no resemblance. Her complexion was fair where his was sun-tanned, and the hair which framed her face was a pale blond shade. In turn, her stare held two emerald green eyes. It was apparent in the manner of her temperament that she was the older of the two, a beautiful young girl of 18.
Around them, the trees stirred with the first chirps of spring birds, and the foragers who took residence in their hollows. The depiction of nature gave the siblings a sense of true peace, felt in their content sighs and heavy eyes. After a few moments:
"I want to check out that stream up ahead."
She stared in his general direction with a quiet pause. "Alright."
The two started through the trees in silence, his arm around her shoulders. Every once in awhile, a protruding branch would block their path, and he would bend it forwards for her to pass first.
"D'ythink they've noticed yet?"
"Mhm." He pulled back another branch from eye level.
She kicked up rocks in return. "No."
The sound of running water, alive with natural force, barely caught their attention.
"And I doubt they ever will."
Up the way from the stream stood a solitary bear. It lapped up the cool, clear water passively, leaving either one to wonder if it noticed them, or otherwise was uninterested. It grunted, clawed behind its ear, and with nearly a full-body shake of its thick throat, it lumbered back into the wilderness.
This brief appearance of life in the heart of the woods caused the two to stare in silent awe. For them, who by habit visit this place whenever possible, life meant striving for a way to get out, anywhere, everywhere but their suburban birthplace. This, they decided, was their final departure. For the eldest, this life meant a peaceful existence: For her brother, it was the chance to prove himself invincible.
"What's say we catch one of these suckers for dinner?" He barely needed to point out the onrush of salmon hurtling downstream.
"You're the boss," she replied. And when he bounded headfirst into the rushing water, she couldn't suppress a giggle. He writhed and squirmed, ignoring the downpour of water in his eyes and throat with hearty laughter. She placed herself on a nearby boulder, enjoying the spectacle.
"I-I think…I…GOT ONE. C'mere…G-g-grab it!"
She strode daintily over to the shoreline, just within arms length. His outstretched hand came closer, palm open…holding…nothing. He seized pale wrist, and with a shriek, she was hurled forward into a cold stab of spring water.
"You brat!" She slapped the water in his face, and a splashing war began. They forgot completely that their clothing was soaked, their hair drowned, her makeup running. They knew only that they had each other, and that the wilderness would keep it that way. She grew exhausted from laughing, and her flailing arms gave out. He knew well enough to translate this as his sisters way of ending the game. She started for shore, and he gave a contented sigh.
"Let's go silly. There's a meadow just up the way. There has to be plenty of deer."
He smirked. "But you're mascara's a mess…"
"Oh, shut up."
She helped him to his feet as he tried to remain dead weight. When the game persisted, she shoved him away. He brushed himself off, a useless gesture. It wasn't until he attended to his soaking calves that he paused. It was so immediate, so precise. His eyes narrowed, set clearly on the darkness of a nearby maze of branches. It was not a sound that caught his attention. It was an unmistakable sight.
"What?" she whispered.
He straightened, his eyes never leaving their focused spot. She neared closer to him, her hand finding his. His fingers seized hers with only an ounce of consciousness that she was there, but it filled her with relief nonetheless. When it was clear that he wouldn't grace her with a word, she tried instead to find the source of his sudden attention. His sudden….fear. But nothing could be found.
All at once, he took one step forward. Two. Three. Their entwined fingers slowly drifted apart, regardless of her mounting fear. She raked his hand backwards, but mentally, he was too far gone.
"Wait here." He held up his hand in silent command. "Wait for me." And then she watched him, watched the obscure darkness envelope him, and when the wet squeak of his converse died down, she was completely alone.
But the awful presence didn't leave her.
It closed in from all sides, waiting, watching, reading her every instinct. A sick fear rose up inside her, weaving its way through her soaked body, settling as a taste in her throat. And when her fragile, heart-shaped face began to crack into a frightened sob, a branch snapped, she spun around violently, and the world went black.