Connor quickly darted off to get his car as the first signs of trouble became imminent to Sawyer. With a slice of pizza in hand he looked about, first obliviously, and then cautiously, before finally, almost in slow motion, a sense of dread fell over him. All over the town square people were looking and pointing at him, as he watched all around him he missed the young person directly in front of him who he collided with. Stumbling forward Sawyer professed his apologies before being cut off.
“You’re…you’re…you’re…” they said, stuttering, “…the forest freak!” They then shouted. The jaws of those around them dropped, it was confirmed. Looking feverishly around he watched as people frantically began to point and shout, phones flashing as the half mob, half fans, began to encroach on him.
Like zombies they all began to swarm, they followed him as he quickly made his way back towards the train tracks and up the hill but he couldn’t make it far as from all sides they surrounded him.
With the world closing in and all he had tried to keep hidden being washed away a car skids to a stop and lays on the horn. Sawyer spins around to see Connor waving him on. Bursting through the thin walls of the amassing mob he rushed into the car which quickly sped away leaving the group in the dust, phones still flashing and cameras still filming.
The drive back was quiet. On the radio a local talk radio station was reporting on the newly submitted photos to the sightings account. Sawyer quickly smashed the off button.
“I’m…I’m really sorry Sawyer.”
“It’s fine.” He said softly.
“If I knew it was gonna happen like that I wouldn’t have ever suggested it.”
“It’s my fault, I got too reckless,” he sighed, “I brushed too close to the sun,” he then said.
There was a somberness to the car ride. The quiet of the woods in which they approached radiated through the car. Eventually they came to a stop at the mouth of the forest trail.
“Well, uhm, I’m sorry for all of this again,” Connor uttered in a cracking voice.
“Don’t sweat it,” Sawyer responded with a deep breath, there was a pause in the car.
“What will you do now?” Asked Connor. He thought for a moment. The glow of the end of day sky filled his face as he looked to the horizon beyond the curve of the mountain road.
“I go deeper,” he said softly with a nod, “I go deeper and I don’t look back,” he repeated.
Then, with an accepting nod Connor unlocked the door for him. Sawyer, with a bellowing sigh, opened the door and stepped. He walked around the car, looked up at the forest in all its mythic wonder before darting off into the descending night’s call of the wild mountain world.