Noli gathered her clothes and the rest of the stuff she had thrown out the window. She was covered in chocolate pudding and had dirt and leaves sticking to her naked body. She went to the stream and set everything to the side and stepped in the water. She ducked under and rinsed herself off. The water felt cold but good in the heat of the morning. After getting dressed, she rolled her tangled hair into a makeshift bun. Taking the rope, she ran it through the belt loops of her jeans and tied it off. She took a water bottle, filled it, and drank, repeating until she was full. She then filled up the remaining two bottles and grabbed the MRE’s and stood, trying to figure out which direction she should start walking in.
They had come from the east, so she started walking west. She followed the stream until it turned away from her. She found herself on a hill, each step painful in her too-big shoes. She could feel blisters forming under her socks. As she reached the top of the hill, she looked back towards where she had come. She couldn’t see the cabin anymore.
Noli rested for a while, drinking half a bottle. The sun was overhead and pelting heat down on her. She was hot and sweaty, and took a little bit of water in her hand and wiped her face and the back of her neck with it. She gathered her things and started off again. The land was covered in tall grass, trees, and shrubs. She followed some switchbacks and came across another ravine to the left of her. She stopped for a minute, allowing herself to plan her steps across. She cradled the water bottles and MRE’s in her right arm and slowly made her way across the edge to the other side. Halfway across, she lost her balance and fell on her knees, the bottles and MRE’s going over the edge. She half crawled the rest of the way and once she got to the other side, she sat down hard. Now she didn’t have any water or anything to eat. She fought tears threatening to spill down her cheeks. She knew she couldn’t stay where she was, so she got up and brushed herself off, and continued on.
As the day wore on, her thirst became desperate. She was hot and sweaty, and beginning to get hungry. She searched for something, anything she could use for food as she walked. She knew some plants and leaves were edible, her father had taught her that on their hikes through the woods.
Noli came across a ...