“Virginia! I’m going to kill you!” the man’s shriek reverberated through the still forest. “You can’t hide from me!”
Startled Virginia froze, her eyes darted back and forth searching her surroundings, she had been making breakfast at her camp fire when she heard the man. She didn’t know who he was or why he’d be screaming at her, but it filled her with apprehension.
She jumped and spilled the hot water of her cooking pot on her leg and feet, she swallowed the cry of pain and she strained to hear where the man’s voice was coming from. Suddenly, something started thrashing through the bushes just west of her camp.
“Joe?” She whispered, “Is that you?” Silence greeted her question until the man roared again.
That scream sent terror through her body, jumping up she ran into the forest away from the man. He heard her crashing through the forest and gave chase! Virginia frantically thrashed through trees and bushes, the branches and twigs slapped and tore at her. Blood trickled down from long scratches that covered her exposed flesh. She stopped and leaned against a tree, doubling over, she gasped for breath. She should have listened to Joe when he told her not to bring her skimpy silk pj’s on their camping trip. At least she had slipped on her sneakers when she woke up. She jerked upright when she heard the man pushing through the trees near by and took off running again.
“VIRGINIA! I’M GOING TO THROTTLE YOU! YOU ARE SO DEAD!!”
What had she done to cause the man such anger that he wanted her dead? Tears mingled with the bloody scratches on her face. Catching her breath was almost impossible, since she kept hyperventilating.
“Why? Why?” she silently screamed. This was supposed to be their special time. Just her and Joe, together away from work, family and responsibilities. Just the two of them, getting some much needed alone time.
She knew she as going to die, “Joe! Oh Joe! I’m so sorry! I love you but I’m going to die because of your worms!” She whispered. “Why did you have to choose them over me?” ….. I’m not being fair, she thought. Joe had no way to know a crazy man was in the woods. He had asked her to come with him when he'd left early this morning. But she was determined to get in her 8 hours of beauty sleep. Fishing bait was not high on her priority list. Heavy breathing and stomping met her ears, he was so close!
Virginia tried to quietly move farther away. Tip toeing around the bushes and trees; however she slid on some rocks, alerting the man to her presence.
“VIRGINIA, I’M TIRED OF THIS GAME. I’M GOING TO BEAT YOU, AND THEN I’M GOING TO KILL YOU!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Filled with dread Virginia streaked deeper into the forest, panic lent fuel to her feet.
She knew if she stopped he would find her. Her imagination brought all kinds of bloody tortures to her mind. She envisioned him tying her to a wagon wheel, setting a fire underneath and slowly spinning her. Like she’d seen in a western movie last month or maybe he’d filet her like a fish, cutting strips of her flesh off piece by piece until all she was only covered in muscle. She had seen that on her favorite show ‘Buffy.’
“Someone Help Me, I’m too nice to be killed!" If he’d only give her a chance, she’d let him know that! Whimpering she had to rest again.
“VIRGINIA!” The man yelled again. “Owww! *&^%&$%^* ! VIRGINIA!!!”
Virginia heard a crash and cussing coming from the west of where she was hiding. So, though exhausted, she forced herself to run again. Her feet were becoming blistered from all the running and her pajamas were now in rags. But she continued to run, hoping against hope that she would find help. She heard another volley of cussing; she glanced behind to see if he was close and tripped. Over and over she rolled, somersaulting down a steep embankment. Her descent stopped in a depression at the base of a tall tree.
She lay where she had fallen totally spent, she had no more strength, and despair ravaged her mind as she panted for air. She heard the leaves rustle, but her cramping muscles refused to move.
“Goodbye Joe.” She cried closing her eyes and waited for death. She could hear his footsteps coming close, the debris on the ground crackled with each step. She squeezed her eyes tightly shut, hoping that death wouldn’t hurt too much. Suddenly she felt a wet rough tongue lick her face! Her eyes popped open and she stared into the eyes of a golden retriever pup. It couldn’t be more than 6 months old, she was a beautiful dog. Relief flooded here body as the pup licked her face, she almost forget the man who was after her, as she embraced the pup. She wasn't alone anymore, and that gave her strength.
“VIRGINIA, WHERE ARE YOU? He yelled again.
Virginia stiffened and the pup cowered to the ground at his voice.
“Don’t worry puppy, we’ll be safe as long as we’re together.” She stood up and quietly called the pup to her side. They silently moved farther away from the voice. Once they’d walked for what seemed like hours, the pup started prancing around Virginia; she laughed softly at its antics, but kept on walking.
They soon came to a shallow stream, Virginia sank to her knees, ignoring the hard ground and leaned over, cupping her hands to scoop up the water and drank hastily. The pup romped and splashed happily without a care in the world. Virginia caught sight of her reflection and cried out in despair. Leaves and twigs protrude from her hair like a tornado had been her stylist. She forget about the man who wanted to kill her as she tried to repair the mess. She sat at the stream pulling the twigs free and using her fingers to comb out the snarls.
“VIRGINIA! There you are!”
The icy finger of terror scampered up her spine as she jumped up facing the man. She is so frightened she feared she was going to wet herself, which would be the icing on the top of this morning.
“Please don’t kill me! Please!” She begged tears rolling down her face.
“Please don’t kill me, because if you do I’ll be dead” she cried.
“Lady! Are you crazy!..... Come here Virginia!” the puppy crawled on her belly to the man. “You ate my $150 dollar pair of hiking boots and then ran off, you are a bad puppy!” He scolded her as he lovingly scooped her up in his arms. The puppy wiggled and licked his face as they walked away.
Virginia just stood there staring after them with her mouth hanging open………….
“Hey Ginny, I was just coming up for breakfa…..…..What happened to you!” Joe asked as he came up to Virginia. She turned and glared at him.
“Nothing! Okay! Just Nothing!........... Will you show me the way to get back to camp?”
“What? Ginny it’s just up the hill.” Joe said, puzzled by her behavior.
Virginia stared at him, her cheeks flaming, eyes flashing as her face took on a stony expression; she dramatically turned and stomped up the hill vowing NEVER to go camping again.