Popsicle Trails

Submitted into Contest #53 in response to: Write a story that begins with someone's popsicle melting.... view prompt

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“Ooo be careful Janice! Your popsicle’s dripping on the side.” 

The girl in question tilted her head to look at her popsicle. 

“Ah shoot. I should’ve gotten the sorbet cup like you.”

Janice eyed her friend’s cup enviously before her expression started to morph into a more mischievous one. Karisha caught Janice’s playful stare and shielded her treat.

“Oh don’t even think about it. You chose the popsicle. It’s not my fault I have more sensibility.” 

At this, Janice laughed. “Well the popsicle is such a summer classic. I practically had to. Besides, I needed something cooling for our hike.” 

The girls continued walking away from their cars; they had just parked. They started heading for the forested area ahead. As they drew nearer, they saw at least three trail paths all headed in different directions. 

The farthest left trail looked to be rather shady with tall oak trees hunched over and collections of circled mushrooms.

The middle trail was not as shady, but had thickets of bushes and gleaming red berries. 

The farthest right trail was the sunniest with less woody vegetation and more native weed species that rustled in the slight breeze. 

“Which should we do?” Janice asked. 

Karisha shrugged, “Up to you. I’ve done all the trails before so you can choose.” 

Janice’s eyes narrowed slightly as she looked at Karisha. 

“You know I hateee having to be decisive!” A beat passed before she sighed defeatedly. Raising her arm to point at the left trail Janice said, “but I suppose we should do the shadiest path. It’s getting kind of hot.” 

Two pairs of feet moved in unison to the left trail. 

The pair walked in a relaxed quiet for a good while while pointing out various things they found interesting. A big flower here, a cool mushroom there, and a giant ladybug over yonder. Then, out of nowhere, Karisha started laughing wildly. One of Janice’s eyebrows raised up in question. 

“What?” 

Karisha tried to stop her laughter for a moment so she could speak. “Nothing, haha, It’s just that...you walk as loud as an OGRE!” 

“Do not!” 

“Uh huh!” 

“Uh uh!” 

“I walk soooo soft. Like a ballerina or one of the 12 dancing princesses.”

Karisha laughed more. 

“You’re stomping away all the butterflies!” 

Janice lightly slapped Karisha’s arm before turning her nose up indignantly. 

“I shooed the butterflies away on purpose. I was trying to warn them to stay away from you, weirdo.” 

Karisha only continued to laugh. 

Eventually the two found themselves in a clearing with no clear indication of where the path was supposed to continue. 

Janice eyed Karisha. “So, where are we supposed to go, Ms. Trail Expert?” 

Karisha rolled her eyes. 

“Look, it’s been awhile since I did this trail. Last time I went, there was this creepy bird that kept following me.” 

Karisha’s eyes continued scouting out the clearing for the continuation of the trail. Her eyes continued observing as Janice took to wandering around the clearing. 

“Mmm I bet a lot of pro-bikers use this area or something. I’m seeing a lot of gaps that they could use for tricks and stuff.” Janice’s remark was met by studious silence as Karisha continued looking for the path. 

Janice harrumphed. 

While the girls had started off with the sun high in the sky, the sun had started to drift downwards lazily. The changed lighting bathed the clearing in a soft golden that painted the tree leaves and scattered the forest floor with beads of aurum. As Karisha continued to search the forest clearing, Janice crouched down to get a closer glimpse at some of the mushrooms. They grew out of old tree trunks and hid under thin sheets of fallen foliage. 

Janice poked one with a stick.

Its squishiness bounced Janice back. 

“Hey! Janice I found the path!”

Janice got up and dusted her skirt off before hollering back. 

“I hope that’s the right trail!” 

Janice trudged over to Karisha before slipping in a snide comment. 

“You took quite awhile to find the trail. Say, weren’t you a Girl Scout?” 

Karisha rolled her eyes. 

Am. Not ‘was’. And I could ask the same of you! You always brag about doing those hiking trails by the bayou reservoir.”

Janice laughed. 

“What can I say, I live for hyperboles.”

The two walked along the continued trail, crunching the occasional brittle leaf. 

Halfway along the trail however, Karisha heard a soft coo-ing.


She stopped.


“Janice, did you hear that?” Karisha asked in a hush voice. Janice only stared at her friend like she was crazy. 

“Karisha, what are you talking about?”

Karisha only shook her head vigorously. “Oh my gosh no! I bet it’s that crazy bird that followed me last time.”

Janice only raised one eyebrow skeptically. “Karisha, all I hear are the cicadas coming out and your insanely loud footsteps.”

Instead of becoming defensive of the accusation, Karisha ignored Janice’s comments and looked around wearily. 

“Okay, we gotta get out quick.”

“Karishaaaa we’re supposed to be enjoying nature, not rushing through it. Remember what you told me when I said I didn’t want to go for a walk today? You said that I was, and I quote, ‘not fun’ and that I ‘needed to explore the Great Outdoors.’ And now we’re out here and you wanna go home?”

“Okay but Janice that’s before I heard that ker-azyyy bird! I didn’t know it would still be here! Last time it almost pecked my EYES out!” 

Janice rolled her eyes. 

“Fine, we can hurry the pace up. But for the record, I don’t believe it would’ve pecked your eyes out.” 

The duo continued walking and were almost at the end of the trail when the same coo-ing noise was heard again. 

Karisha’s head whipped around. 

“There! Janice you must have heard it this time! It was so loud.” 

For the millionth time that day, Janice rolled her eyes. 

“Karisha, you’re being rather...peck-ish.”

“Now is not the time for your awful puns, Janice,” Karisha deadpanned. 

“Aw really? I was under the impression that my puns were a hoot.” 

Karisha shot a quick glare at Janice before quickening her steps. “Okay we’re almost out, let’s just get outta here and go to our cars.” They walked a bit faster and made it out of the woods and to their respective cars. Karisha let out a sigh of relief to herself.

“Well it was nice meeting again. We should do this again soon!”

“Yeah, I’m free whenever except Monday I have piano.” 

“Yup! This Thursday doesn’t work for me, but we can plan around that! Well Imma get home before my dad calls me. He told me to be home by sundown.”

They hugged once more and started to get into their cars. 

Just prior to driving off, Janice rolled down her window.

"Oh and by the way Karisha, I hope you liked my bird impression.”

Janice didn't take any time to gloat at Karisha’s flabbergasted expression before she slid up her window and began driving into the golden sunset.


August 04, 2020 21:25

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