“Hello?” Michael’s voice echoed through the night. “Is there anybody there?” But he knew there wasn’t, of course there wasn’t. He didn’t even know where there was. He looked at the area on the ground where he had awoken a few moments earlier. The Earth was displaced a little, he had been laying there for a good amount of time. The darkness was all encompassing, the moon was barely able to shine light through the treetops. It wouldn’t matter if it could anyways, the fog was so thick in front of him that he couldn’t see more than a few feet in any direction.
A tingle of fear started to creep up his spine. He grabbed the back of his neck, goosebumps greeting his palm. Until now, he had completely forgotten that there was a flashlight in his hand. It was heavy in his grip, but Michael did not turn it on. For some reason, his gut told him it would be best to stay where he was for now. This wasn’t his flashlight, and he didn’t know how to get to someplace he knew anyways. Or who could be looking for him. Or watching him.
“What in the world is going on,” Michael began questioning himself. “How did I end up here?” The last thing he could remember was heading back to campus and drinking at a frat party to celebrate the win.
“The game!” He exclaimed to himself. He wasn’t in his uniform, which meant he must’ve changed into his street clothes before going to the party. He examined his pockets, feeling for the answer to his prayers.
Thank God. His phone was still in his pocket. He pulled it out, feeling a rush of excitement heighten his breathing. But Michael had seen enough scary movies to tell him that there was no solstice in having a cellphone in the middle of the woods. No way! A full battery AND service. Relief began to flow through his entire body like a cool liquid in his veins. Him being in the forest was just a formality now, I probably just got a little too drunk and wandered off campus. At least nothing worse happened.
He scrolled through his recent calls to see if anything unusual would present itself. Nothing. Clicking on his teammate’s name, he listened intently as it rang, half expecting something sinister to happen.
“Hello?” John spoke on the other end of the phone.
“Dude!” Michael answered, ecstatic. “Aww man, I’m so happy to hear your voice. You won’t believe what’s happening to me right now, but I need your help really quick. I’ll explain after.”
“Fow are you doing thith?” John said clearly inebriated. The party was still going on in the background.
“What are you talking about?” Michael replied.
“Is fish some find of puppeteer poopeen or somefin?” John said, fumbling through his words. “I gotta remit, it’s kind of school.”
“JOHN. What are you talking about, focus man. I need your help.”
“Sheeeeesh. Don’t get your panties in a bunch.” John’s speech became a little more coherent. The urgency in Michael’s voice offering a moment of sobriety. “You got this, Jasmine is all over you right now bro.”
The fear that had once been a tingle in the back of Michael’s neck was now a fully formed shot of electricity through his body. He must’ve heard the drunken football player wrong, or he was reading too deeply into it. He was talking as if he could see him. Jasmine?
“John. Where am I right now?” Michael asked, his grip on the flashlight so tight that it stung his hand.
“What do you mean bro? You’re right here. You’re right next to me.”