Drama Fiction

           It was a dark, desolate road. Swirls of dust engulfed the van as the young college friends made their way toward a lakeside retreat that they had rented for the long weekend.

           Lisa, the self-proclaimed social media sensation, continuously made Tik Tok videos, and selfies for her Instagram and Facebook pages. Her boyfriend, Jack, found it amusing at first, but grew tired of it after the first couple of weeks.

           Jack suggested that she give it a break for one weekend, but Lisa would hear nothing of it. She claimed that if she did not post at least ten times per day, her fan base would drop substantially. She said it would be social suicide.

           Lisa was an attractive woman, but not as beautiful as her best friend, Paula, who went by the screen name, Desiree. Lisa and Paula were friends since high school. Lisa had always envied her friend. She was the one who was always popular, had all the boys gawking after her, including Lisa’s current boyfriend, Jack. He insists that there was nothing to be jealous over, but Lisa couldn’t help but feel jealous at the way he glanced at Paula in the mirror as they drove.

           Paula’s boy toy of the month was a mountain climber that she met while hiking with her last boyfriend. He was a few years older than the rest of them, but he seemed nice enough. His name was Jacob. He seemed more attentive to his game of Candy Crush than he was to his human crush at the moment. It was Jacob who told them about this cabin. The problem was, it was a little off the beaten path, so the GPS was useless once they left the main road.

           Jack turned on the windshield wipers to try and clear of the thick layers of dust that quickly settled upon the glass. Visibility was getting worse as the sun began to set. The van’s headlight just barely pierced the dense cloud surrounding them.

           Lisa let out a scream.

           “What is it, Lisa? What’s the matter?” Jack asked, now panicked from the sudden outburst.

           “I lost signal,” she cried. “This is a disaster! We need to turn back.”

           “We are not turning back, Lisa,” Paula stated abruptly. “Jacob went through a lot of trouble to book this cabin. Besides, we are getting close by now.”

           Disgruntled, Lisa waved her phone around searching for a signal. She then opened her window and held her arm outside. Dust blew through the van like a mini tornado, temporarily blinding Jack and causing him to lose control of the van.

           They felt themselves on a steep decline, unable to slow down. Jack tried his best to control the vehicle as it hurled itself down the hill. The girls began to scream out in fear. It had become pitch black outside. Not even a star in the sky.

           The path ahead was uncertain, but at least the dust was disappearing. The headlights were becoming more visible. Jack sprayed windshield washer fluid, and just as the wipers returned to their downward position, a large tree came into view, but it was too late. The front end of the van had wrapped itself around the tree and the windshield had shattered.

           Jack heard a ringing in his ears and his ribs hurt. He looked to his right to see Lisa with small shards of glass still embedded in her face. Behind them, Paula sat slumped over with the seatbelt keeping her from falling. Jacob lifted her chin and lightly tapped her cheek. He checked for a pulse. She was still breathing. Jack knew that they needed to find help quickly, so he offered to go look. He grabbed his cellphone and pulled the handle to open the door. It was stuck.

           Jacob tried the sliding door beside Paula, and it worked. Jack kissed Lisa, climbed into the back, and began to step over Paula. The touch of her soft skin against his leg, caused him to pause momentarily until he heard Lisa warning him to be careful.

           Jack continued down the hill since he already knew that there was nothing in the direction that they came from. The hill was steep and covered in loose gravel and wet grass. He turned on the phone’s flashlight. He had never seen such darkness before. After stumbling a few times, he finally made it to the bottom of the hill. The grass grew slightly higher here, and it felt wet as it brushed against his shins.

           A mile or two later, Jack found that some of the blades of grass had been tramped upon and left a makeshift path for him to follow. He continued down the path for another ten minutes, and that is when he came upon a small village. There were only a handful of small shacks. Each made from what looked like old barnwood, and in the window of a house halfway through the town, was a lantern, glowing dimly behind a dirty windowpane.

           Jack cautiously inched his way toward the shack. As he stepped up onto the front step, the rotting wood let out a loud creak. Before Jack had the chance to knock on the door, a large man with a long grey beard appeared in the doorway with a hunting knife in his right hand.

           “What do you want, stranger?” the man said in a gruff voice.

           “I’m sorry to disturb you, sir, but my friends and I were in an accident a few miles back, and we need some help. Do you have a phone so I can call for help?”

           “I ain’t got no phone,” the man replied harshly. “Don’t want one. Don’t need one.”

           Jack asked the man if he could help his injured friends. The man grunted a few times, then he walked forward to the front of his porch. He rang a brass bell that hung from the rafters. Lanterns began to light up in every window.

           Soon after, other villagers opened their doors and made their way in Jack’s direction. Once they were all gathered, the old man had Jack lead the way and they went in search of the accident scene. The glow from the lanterns cast ghostly shadows upon the ground in front of Jack. Losing his sense of direction in the darkness, Jack stopped. The old man asked Jack to describe the area where they crashed. One of the townsfolk recognized it as “Deadman’s Bluff” and took the lead.

           Back in the van, Lisa had removed most of the glass from her face while Jacob continued to try and revive Paula. Lisa tried numerous times to call Jack but could not get a signal. It was getting colder, and she became worried that Jack was either lost or hurt. She started hearing branches breaking and her imagination began to think a bear or wolves were stalking them. Then she saw the glow of what looked like fire. Moments later, she saw a burly man with a black beard appear through the trees. She let out a shriek, but soon settled down when Jack appeared as well.

           The men helped Jacob remove Paula from the van. One of them hoisted her up and flung her over his shoulder like a sack of potatoes. Jacob protested, but quickly backed off when one of the men held up his shotgun.

           “It’s okay, Jacob,” Jack said reassuringly. “They have a village nearby that they are going to take us to. Paula will be fine.”

           Jacob backed off and helped Jack get Lisa to her feet. They made there way to the village where they separated into two cabins: the men in one and the women in another. The old man introduced himself as Zebadiah. His wife, Rachel, sat next to the fireplace stirring what smelled like soup in a large pot that hung from a hook above the flames.

           Rachel filled two bowls and brought it to their guests. It was tasty, hot, and the perfect remedy to warm their chilled bones. Jacob looked at his cellphone several times while they ate.

           “There’s no signal here, Jacob,” Jack reminded him. “Are you expecting a call?”

           “Sort of,” Jacob said. “I was chatting with this hot number on Tinder before we left today, and I didn’t want her to think I lost interest.”

           “Have you forgotten about Paula, dude? She is going to freak if she finds out you are a player.”

           “What’s the big deal, man? It’s not like we are meant to stay together. I just wanted to get her in bed, you know?”

           Jack got up and walked away. He looked at Zebadiah, and the old man was shaking his head in disgust at what he had just witnessed. His wife let them know that she had prepared a place for them to sleep. They looked across the room to see a grey, hole-filled blanket laid atop a pile of loose hay strewn across the floor. Jack offered the bed to Jacob while he sat by the fire.

           In one of the other shacks, the women were tending to Lisa and Paula. One woman carefully removed the remaining glass from Lisa’s face and dabbed it with some homemade moonshine whiskey to remove any bacteria. The alcohol content in the moonshine was so high, that Lisa’s eyes began to burn from the vapors alone.

           Another woman poured some of the moonshine onto a piece of cotton and held it under the nose of Paula who was still unconscious. Seconds later, her eyes opened wide, and she began to cough from the smell of the alcohol. She sat up and looked around, frightened. When she spotted Lisa, she felt relief.

           “Lisa, what in God’s name happened?”

           One of the women immediately jumped up and sternly said, “Never take the Good Lord’s name in vain again, child!”

           “Is she for real?” Paula smugly asked Lisa.

           “Paula, relax. These people helped us.”

           “Alright. That’s cool. Where are we anyhow?”

           “A few miles from where we crashed.”

           “Where are the boys?” Paula asked, finally realizing they weren’t in the room.

           “Jack and Jacob are fine. They are in the next cabin over.”

           Lisa suddenly realized that she had lost her phone during the crash, so she asked to borrow Paula’s. She took the phone off screensaver mode and tried to get online. It wouldn’t connect and once again, she began to have a panic attack.

           “Can I have your Wi-Fi password,” she asked the woman who was tending to her.

           “What is a (wifey) password,” the woman asked.

           “Not Wifey, Wi-Fi. You know, so you can get online.”

           “All I put on the line is my laundry, my dear. Do you need to wash your clothes?”

           “No,” Lisa said looking down at her appearance. “Well, yes, but I’m not worried about that right now. I need the internet.”

           “Sorry, but we don’t usually need a net inside. We normally use it outside for catching fish in the river.”

           “Never mind,” Lisa said, frustrated.

           Lisa spent the next twenty minutes walking in and out of the shack trying to get a signal, but it was useless. She handed Paula’s phone back to her and went to sit in a rocking chair and mope. Paula went and sat on the floor next to her and rested her head on Lisa’s thigh. Lisa patted Paula’s head as if she were a dog.

           When morning arrived, they all gathered to determine what they could do next. They were not certain how they were going to get back to the city with no means of transportation and no signal to call for help. One of the townspeople made a suggestion. He stated that once per week, they had supplies delivered to them from a nearby merchant, and they could ask for a ride back with him. They all thought it was a great idea. The problem was, he wasn’t due to arrive for another two days.

           Unable to get on their devices and connect with the outside world, the four friends were determined to make the best of the situation. They went on walks around the area and swam in the river. Zebadiah even showed them how to live off the land by foraging and hunting. He showed them what plants and berries were edible and which ones were poisonous. They found themselves laughing and enjoying each other’s company like never before.

           It was the day of the delivery, and the supplies arrived as promised and on time. The man agreed to take the four of them into town, but then they would have to arrange a ride back to the city. The girls climbed up front with the man, while the boys climbed in the back of the pick-up truck. They waved to the townspeople as they drove away. It was an experience they would not soon forget.

           Once they reached the town, the phone signal was restored, and their phones began to go off like church bells. Hundreds of notifications began popping up on their screens. Jack made a call to arrange a taxi to bring them to the next major city where they could rent a car to get home. Jacob shut off the ringer on his phone and put it away. Paula handed her phone to Lisa knowing that she was going through withdrawals from lack of social media, but Lisa handed it back to her.

           When they finally got home, Jacob confessed to Paula about his Tinder account, but said he would never go searching for another woman if she would give him another chance. She thought it over, and although she had her doubts, she gave in and offered him one more chance.

           Jack offered to help Lisa buy another phone to replace the one she lost, but instead she asked if she could borrow his for a few minutes. Lisa signed into all her social media accounts and posted a message to say that she was deleting all her accounts. She handed the phone back to Jack and said that if people wanted to reach her, then they would need to go through him from now on. He tucked the phone back into his pocket, leaned over, and kissed her gently on her lips, trying not to press his nose against her scars. She didn’t seem to care and pulled him in closer. They needed to get lost in Nowhereville before they could ever really find themselves.

October 09, 2021 23:29

You must sign up or log in to submit a comment.


Tommie Michele
04:25 Oct 19, 2021

Nice story! I liked the theme you touched on, and it’s super relatable today—so many people are so stuck to their phones that they would feel lost without them. Your last line—“they needed to get lost in Nowhereville before they could ever really find themselves”—was a great thematic wrap-up. If I had one suggestion, it would be related to exposition. At the very beginning of your story, instead of telling us facts about your characters (ex. “Sally she was a big hugger”), maybe consider showing us instead (let us discover and deduce that S...


Greg Gillis
10:41 Oct 23, 2021

Thank you very much for the positive response as well as the suggestion. I will definitely try to incorporate that into future stories.


Show 0 replies
Show 1 reply
09:03 Oct 18, 2021

Nice one


Greg Gillis
12:49 Oct 18, 2021

Thank you.


Show 0 replies
Show 1 reply
William Snesrud
00:08 Oct 18, 2021

Interesting as to how it takes one to step back in time to realize what life is really all about......this story does a fine job of conveying that realization....


Greg Gillis
12:49 Oct 18, 2021

Thank you very much.


Show 0 replies
Show 1 reply
Jaime Metcalf
19:59 Oct 17, 2021

I thought it was going to be a deliverance moment and they were going to get eaten. lol


Greg Gillis
12:52 Oct 18, 2021

Haha. I'm glad it wasn't predictable.


Jaime Metcalf
15:00 Oct 18, 2021

I liked it though. Good story. Good luck.


Show 0 replies
Show 1 reply
Show 1 reply
Emery Starshine
23:17 Oct 16, 2021

This was really good I like how things were actually 'oh no!' and required ACTUAL problem solving, unlike some childish books where EVERYTHING goes the character's way and the character is always lucky. Thanks for the great read!


Greg Gillis
12:53 Oct 18, 2021

Thank you for the positive response.


Show 0 replies
Show 1 reply
Tricia Shulist
14:40 Oct 16, 2021

That was interesting. The loss of connectivity is stress inducing. It’s almost like they needed a reset. Thanks for this.


Greg Gillis
17:17 Oct 16, 2021

I appreciate the comment. Thank you.


Show 0 replies
Show 1 reply