Amara sat in her room, surrounded by a nest of blankets. Her blue-purple hair fell in her eyes, cut short in the back but as fluffy as can be in the front. Her violet headphones made her sidebangs stick up wildly. Her green eyes were wide, the light of the screen in front of her.
"Take that!" she hissed into her headset, fingers tapping the controller speedily.
"NOO!" shouted a player known only as bigbossbro22 as Amara's elven ranger, Yakori, shot fifty electric arrows at his warrior, Mansan.
"Consider yourself slayed," Amara said in what she supposed an elfish accent sounded like.
But in a moment of distraction, when Amara reached for some popcorn, she was attacked by a human paladin player called Olympia, played by someone named ClipNClop.
"You were killed by 'ClipNClop'," the server said in a robotic voice, red letters splashing on the screen as Yakori fell down, dead.
"Amara, you should come outside," her mom said.
"But there's still another five minutes left in this round!"
"Amara, you haven't left this room in three days. Go get lost in the woods or something with your friend Sarah."
"Me and Sarah, who I know as SarahSugarSweetie, are the worst of enemies! I shall send an arrow of thunder into her witch's heart!"
"Nonsense, you and Sarah are great friends. Go play outside or I'm hiding your Zbox, or whatever it's called."
Amara's mom made a gesture at the elaborate gaming set in front of her daughter.
Amara rolled her eyes. "It's an Xbox."
She turned the sound back on in her headset and said "Lucid Dreamer, out."
She turned off the big-screen tv, set her gaming stuff aside, and left the room, blinking in the bright sunlight.
In real life, she was Amara, the ginny, nerdy gamer girl who always had a pair of purple headphones wrapped around her neck, the weirdo with the blue hair.
She was Lucid_Dre@mer_.
(Ampersand because her "A" key broke when she first typed out her game name three years ago on an old laptop, hardly even compatible with her favorite game's first edition.)
Amara stood across from her friend Sarah in Sarah's big backyard. The yard was fenced by trees, and was practically a national forest it was only separated from a big wood no one ever cleared out because an endangered species of falcon lived there by a single road, one that no one ever drove down. Sometimes the girls dreamed of hiding out there, but only when they were younger and not addicted to a game where you battled in a fantasy forest.
"So," Sarah said. She was a tall, thin, blond girl, unlike Amara, who was short and skinny with wild blue bangs like some anime chic in a show her older sister was obsessed with.
"Uh, yeah," Amara said.
There was a very long silence.
"Want to get lost in the woods?" Amara asked.
"My mom said we should go 'get lost in the woods'. Let's actually get lost in the woods!"
"It would freak her out, it would be fun to pretend we're on that wilderness show you like, and plus, we'd be following Mom's orders. We'd be doing what she told us to do."
"I don't know..."
"I'll pack snacks. Oh, and sleeping bags! We could stay out overnight, maybe even for a few nights, and you have the survival book, that will tell us how to do stuff like light fires and forage for food if someone eats all the Twix, and do all sorts of other survival stuff."
"Amara, this... this isn't like you."
"I got banned from Dreamfate: Warfare of the Halfbreeds."
That was Amara's favorite game.
"Oh, no! What about team Elfin Arrow's streak?"
"Tell that to my mom."
"Oh, no! You're right. After banning the brave soldier Yakori of the Drawn Bow from the battlefield, your mom deserves to worry about us-- I'm getting lost in the woods with you."
Amara ran inside, packed lots of snacks, a sleeping bag, an umbrella, lots of water bottles, some soda, bug spray, some protein bars, (because Twix is not the only thing you bring when getting lost in the woods) a change of clothes, a compass, and her phone.
Sarah arrived with a full backpack of things she wouldn't need.
"A phone charger? Sarah, you really think you can charge your phone in the woods? What would you plug it into? A tree?"
"What about the seven hats?"
"For a hat party? For distracting a hat-eating monster? For a sudden urge to wear a hat?"
"Amara, you brought your headphones."
"They're my signature piece!"
"...In the woods..."
"Yeah. Everywhere. Except for in the shower!"
"What about the pool?"
"I don't go to the pool."
"I don't wear them there!"
"Come on, let's get lost."
The girls walked through the fence of trees and into the woods.
Soon they were in the neighboring woods with the endangered falcons, looking for a good place to make camp.
"This is pretty lost," Amara said. "I mean, we've been hiking for an hour."
"Yeah," Sarah said. "Let's set up the camp here."
The girls camped out overnight, eating candy and drinking soda, because it would go flat faster.
"Water is already flat. We should have drank the water," Sarah said as she got up from her navy-blue sleeping bag.
"Yeah, water's flat all the time, and has been for millions of years. It can't even go bad-- we're had the same water in our oceans since the beginning of life on earth."
"The ocean came before! Life needs water!"
"That's what I meant to say, Sarah. We had that test on Earth's history just last week. Oh, we're missing school, did ya know?"
"Yes! That's why I chose to leave now. Okay, it isn't, but yay, no school."
Amara and Sarah were trying to build a lean-to.
It was failing.
Two-- no, three days had passed.
And they were bored out of their minds.
The girls made a tent out of sleeping bags, the hats, and the lean-to. It was wet and cold and there wasn't any wifi.
"I hate rain," Sarah said.
"You'd love it if we were out of water."
"Well, I hate rain."
It was still raining.
The Twix bars were all eaten.
"Should we go home?" Amara asked.
"Nah, it's not that bad," Sarah said, shivering.
"I'VE MISSED BONUS BATTLE DAY!" the two girls moaned simultaneously.
"Maybe if we get back in time you can sneak on at my house," Sarah said. "Mom never includes gaming in my grounding."
The girls packed up and started walking home.
That was when they realized that they didn't know where home was.
"FULL BLOWN PANIC ATTACK!" Amara shrieked.
They walked for hours and hours, (after the full-blown panic attack) and eventually realized that the sun was going down.
They set up camp again, although it was very wet and annoying.
Amara remembered her compass, and tried to use that instead of google maps, (which didn't work because there was no wifi in the woods) but didn't know what direction her house was in.
They walked for another five hours before finding a huge rock with a gigantic split worn into its side. It was nearly as big as both the girl's bedrooms combined!
"Let's wait here until tomorrow; the sun is going down," Amara pointed out.
They waited inside the rock for the entire night, the stars sparking like bonus points in the night sky.
A wolf howled in the distance.
"There are no wolves around here," Sarah said.
"Or rocks like this," Amara added.
"The woods aren't this big."
"There was a clear and sunny forecast."
The girls sat in silence, looking at the stars.
A pink comet raced by in the night sky, as bright and blazing as anything.
"I wish to get out of here," Amara said.
"Me, too," Sarah added.
"You can't piggyback on my wish."
"Well, I wish the same thing!"
"I don't recognize that constellation and I memorized the star charts," Sarah gasped.
Amara didn't, either.
"Where are we?" she whispered.
After an hour of wandering, the girls made it out of the woods. They ran into Sarah's house, cheering and yelping "civilization!"
Sarah's mom looked at the bedraggled girls, confused by their state.
"What were you doing? Fighting a forest?" she asked.
"No, we were lost in the woods for, like, eight days!" Sarah said, hugging her mom. "We're sorry, we won't do it again."
"Lost in the woods? You girls haven't played those imaginary role-play games in ages! I'm glad to see you back at them, having some fun."
"But we were gone for over a week!" Amara yelled.
"Over a week? You girls are back just in time for dinner, only outside for four hours or so," Sarah's mom said, opening the oven and taking out a tray of cookies. "You girls hungry?"
They devoured the cookies.
Amara went home, to find that both on her phone's virtual calendar and her mom's paper calendar, the date was the same: March 2nd.
It should be March 10th, she realized.
They had been away for eight days.
How come it had only been a few hours?
Hey, Sarah, do you realize what happened?
Yeah, Amara. I sure do.
Please tell me, I'm way confused, girl.
We got lost in the woods but came back and bang, only a few hours and passed.
What about the wolf? The rain? The weird stars? Pink comments, like, don't exist!
Amara was hiding under her sheets looking at her texts. The texting bubble bounced up and down as she waited for her reply.
Pink comets are possible, but only rarely. Also, I got a million billion search results for "pink comet". Most of it was random fashion stuff. Something is up.
Something is up indeed.
Wait, there's a pink-hued comet called Apophis that some people are afraid is going to hit Earth. Could that be what we saw?
It would have made a huge impact, with ground shaking and stuff. Besides, isn't it supposed to be, like, as big as the moon?
I've researched pink comets for hours. No idea on size.
Isn't it supposed to hit in 2068?
We'll be old then-- this came down now.
Our wish came true, though, we got out.
"According to some estimates, an asteroid the size of Apophis can be expected to strike Earth about every 80,000 years."
Stole this from some website on comets.
Let's ignore the comet-- WHAT HAPPENED WITH TIME? WE WERE THERE FOR DAYS! BUT WE CAME BACK AND WE'D BEEN GONE FOR HOURS!
I'll figure it out.
Amara heard a loud crash from outside.
Hold on, I just heard a crash. Gotta check if I'm like that guy in the lame super baby movie.
Amara was already opening her bedroom window and opening it nervously, leaning out into the night.
She screamed quietly, so as not to wake her little brother and older sister.
Right in her was what could only be called a fallen comet.
And no one else seemed disturbed by it.
Amara dialed Sarah's number, and told her "I'm going to check this thing out."
"Okay, but wait up, I'm coming too!"
By Jade Kingsley
(I'm going to need a sequel, right? tell me if you want one)