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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Action and Adventure  |  House: Booksie Classic
Lorrie and David are trapped inside a circle of dense primeval forest.
Their enemies are paroling the rough road of the circle.
Lorrie and David discover an astounding . . . well, virtual reality; and a hell of a lot of trouble.

Submitted: July 31, 2016

A A A | A A A

Submitted: July 31, 2016




A Short Story Nicholas Cochran 

Chapter Two

Neither had remarked on the breeze because it had been momentary and—gone.
Lorrie thought she caught a flash of discouragement in her husband’s shadowed features; the angle of his head, scantily outlined against the deeper black of the forest.
Maybe it was her own disappointment—or fear—that she had reflected onto the mien of her beloved. They had their heads and necks covered in seconds and without a word, They each had a GPS in their belt pouches but neither mentioned the need for one now.
Not yet.
Lorrie began to feel nauseous with the heat buildup inside her titanium suit. She suddenly wondered if they should forego the titanium and take their chances with the underbrush and any bullets they met on their road to perdition.
on his shoulder.
“I’m reaching a max-out here sweetie; maybe we should ditch the suits and take our chances.”
David was silent; thinking. “Can you make twenty or a bit more?”


“Okay; let’s go; oh, and about now is the time to use your dowsing abilities; like a quiet lodge with a large pool or on a lake-front; all right?”

She managed a muffled laugh and pushed him playfully along their voyage of discovery.

Then it struck her: the breeze! Breezes usually meant water; and if  water  . . .”

,” pulling his arm, “wait; the breeze back there; let’s test again. We may be on to something.”

David stopped and began to remove his head and neck coverings again; but this time he accomplished the undressing even faster than before. He had heard that distinct tone in Laurie’s voice that usually preceded a dowse. Moreover, there was the breeze.
This time the breeze was slightly stronger and they instantly pegged its direction.
Both their faces cracked wide smiles as they jointly understood that the breezes were coming from in front of them; directly in front of them. Wordlessly, both began to slip quickly through the undergrowth while holding their ultra light head and neck protectors in their left hands while they spread their path with their right.
Breezes were now becoming a wind; a cool wind; and then underbrush, bracken ferns, small firs, large spruce, immense cedars; all, simply vanished.
They were staring at a small lake. They rushed to the water’s edge; a sandy, pebble-strewn beach, and they kept right on going in, up to their waists  in the deep blue crystal-clear lake.
stopped.“This wasn’t on our satellite photos,Lorrie.”
She instantly realized that he was disturbed, perhaps even afraid, because he never called her by her name unless it was a heavy moment or occasion. 
She simultaneously was thinking and agreeing with him. An ugly sliver of dread poked its point into her gut.
“Have we gone beyond the edge of our satellite maps? This is the land of a thousand lakes. Maybe we just missed it—and where did that moon come from?” 
Even as she spoke she was turning and churning as quickly as she could for the shore—and their pistols and ammo pouches.
They grabbed their head and neck protectors as they raced across the narrow beach and dove head-first into the bush; then rolling over and over fully expecting what would happen next.
Bursts of gunfire flamed from three directions. The lake vanished. The sky vanished. The full moon vanished.
Now only the interlocked crowns of the trees were there covering the blank spot where the beach, the lake the sky; even the moon, had been projected as a 9 D hologram to lure them into the trap. Even the breeze had been manufactured. 
David continued to roll and then found and crouched behind an extremely old and very wide tree. The shots continued but they focused on the spot where they had dived into the forest covering.
By now, they were at least twenty yards farther into the forest and the gathering gloom.The lateness of the hour and a cloud bank covering the already murky sky between the crowns of the trees transformed their mission into a nighttime exercise. From the bag, they removed infrared goggles. David Lorrie to do the same. They quickly found a perfect hiding place for their titanium gear and Lorrie  noted the spot on her GPS.

They increased their blackness by quickly rubbing more blackening compound on their faces and pulling their black beanies to their brows. They huddled closer to whisper.

“Jesus, darling, gasped David, “we almost bought it back there. That was "The Truman Show" in spades; where the hell did the water come from; or more to the point, where did it go?”

"Brilliant; best ever,” gushed Lorrie, “The Truman Show" was Sunday School to this stuff; this was Phd.; and even the breezes; the wind.

"Yeah, absolutely masterful; ingenious! We’ve both seen 7 D, but these; this; at least a 10; don’t you think?” 

David was breathing normally now, “Think  that’s a part of their experiments;  in their development pipeline?”

“Could be; I think we know why all those fences are there. And why I should never have taken that bet.”

“Nonsense, darling; it’s the most fun we’ve had in the last thirty minutes,” laughing softly, “ and who knows what will come by before the hour’s up.”
David laughed softly for both of them, inhaled deeply and waited to let the  air nurture his lungs and then he exhaled slowly over a couple of minutes. Lorie had seen him do this before and had adopted the technique herself. She did the same now; and then, refreshed and clear headed, they moved closer to each other to discuss their next move. 

“Well, sweetie, we’ve won the bet; we discovered what’s going on and all we have to do is get out of here and report.”

David sniffed merrily, “That’s my bride; one of the billions of reasons I love you; you’re so direct . . . but, just a small request—how the hell do we get out of here? We need that dowse honey and right now would be best.” 
Lorrie as though he was relaxed and confident that they would be out and win their bet within the hour. 
David checked his GPS and after a moment, “let’s go honey, I have a bead on our fastest route back and  . . .”
“No” ; “no, darling; it’s a trapI know they expect us to retrace our route, thinking that we will decide that it’s the only route we know, it’s at most thirty minutes away and that . . . well, they’d be waiting for us. I think they’re already positioning to catch us between here and the fire road or as soon as we come out of the bush at the road.
"We have to go through the way we were going. They pulled the hologram to trap us, but they’ve disconnected it, clearly, and we have to take the chance that it isn’t set off by a trip wire,” sighing, “okay?”
David said nothing. Then, after a few seconds, “I’ve been in this thought game or pattern or whatever you want to call it so many times with you, that everything inside me says no; but the last guy in my mind says: yes, it’s a dowse; so, okay honey, here we go, but we need to keep using the infra-reds.”
They turned and immediately began to slink through the brush that was like blackened webs under the deepening dark of the forest cover that was about to be virtually pitch black.
David patted her on the rear and held onto her belt with one hand, holding his pistol in the other. They paused at the cleared spot that had been a hologram lake and ran quickly across the four hundred yard clearing without a light or a shot or a hologram—or even a sound of any form of life, animal or human—and no breezes.
Once on the far side and again under and behind a giant fir, they sank toward each other as they fought for breath; a full five minutes passed before Lorrie spoke.“Sweetie, I think that worked well; how about just continuing straight. I know our sat photos weren’t much larger that what we’ve covered; at least I don’t think so.”

“Granted, honey, but that road is surely a perimeter road and when they don’t find us on our route back to our road beginning point, they’ll drive around and catch us as we exit this patch of forest and brush land.”

“True, sweetie, but I have a plan; let’s go.”

She pulled David up and using their infra reds they went with the path of least resistance and reached sight of the ring road in record time, mainly because of the four hundred yard clearing and Lorrie’s first dowse. The ring road was only a quarter of the distance from the clearing on this side of it, meaning that Lorrie’s second dowse was to flash across the road using their titanium steps to confuse whatever was in the road there, if anything.
"We need our titanium shoes; or something to stay unnoticed,”Lorrie whispered, “all titanium is stowed away back there;any ideas?”
“Yes, “replied David with firm conviction, “how good are you at tightrope walking?”

  End of Chapter Two.

© Copyright 2018 Nicholas Cochran. All rights reserved.

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