As I walk in the woods, I replay the last few hours in my brain. My name is Charlie Johnson; I am thirteen years old, my father is the CEO of a major corporation located in upstate New York. All I have ever known is indoors, I’m used to getting what I want and not do anything in return. As I was walking home from my family’s riding stable, where we keep our racing horses, a black van full of black-clothed men wearing masks pulled up, and two men hopped out and snatched me. I was gagged, blindfolded, and shoved in the back. The men were silent as we rode to our destination, during this time I felt the metallic chill of a pistol pressed upon my skull.
After what I would say was an hour, we stopped, and all of the men, with an exception of one, got out. I was left in the back of the van, with a gun trained on my head by the lone captor left in the van. At first, I assumed it was for ransom money, since my mother, father, and I live in a private million dollar manor on the outskirts of New York City. Then, after another hour, the captors got back into the van, and drove to a dark, deep forest, they literally threw me out and the one with the pistol told me, “We are letting you go, however, you may not survive this forest, for you do not know where you are, and you do not know how to survive. When we let you go, we will drive off, once you hear a horn honk, you may remove your blindfold.”
As I replay today’s events in my head, my head begins to spin. I am standing in the forest, which may be beautiful If I wasn’t in the situation I’m in. In the woods, are trees and plants that I have only seen in pictures. Also in the woods, are bugs; nasty, icky, slimy, creepy bugs. Other boys my age would love to be in this atmosphere, I, however do not at least not right now. Being the son of a millionaire, the closest I’ve been to the woods is going to Central Park. I do not know how I am to survive should I be in here for longer than a few hours. Should I have to eat plants in the woods, I would be out of luck, for I do not know which ones are poisonous, which ones are fine to eat, or which ones are just plain bitter. I really hope it does not come to me staying.
As I walk, three hours later, my stomach begins to grumble, and my mouth begins to feel very dry. For the whole four hours in which I have been in the woods, I have not seen a single creek, or river. I also haven’t seen any animals or any signs of animals. All I have seen is dense, green vegetation. By now, the butler at our manor should have realized my absence by now. My parents would have been alerted, and now, they are probably worried sick. Oh well, It isn’t my fault.
Sweat is dripping down my face as I continue to walk. It has now been about six hours since my arrival in the woods. Night is starting to fall, there is hardly any light under the shade of all of the trees, yet I keep on going, tripping and stumbling as I do. Up ahead, I see a clearing, and in that clearing is something I recognize only because we have some in our yard, blackberry bushes, and dozens of them. I scamper to the bush and carefully pick the bittersweet berries. I feel at ease, with blackberries in hand and the crisp autumn leaves falling to the ground. I soon have a handful, and there are still many more upon the bush. I sit upon the ground eating the berries until I am full. I look all around, and see if there is anything that I could use to carry some blackberries, so I can continue to move in search of the way out.
I search for hours around the clearing, but all of it is to no avail. By then, it is dark and the only light cast upon the area is the moonlight shining around the clearing. Since it is a warm, clear night I decide to sleep in the clearing, on the soft ground. I pull the hood of my black hoodie over my head and lie down. As I lie down in the clearing, I am hypnotized by all of the stars, shining in the night sky. In New York, almost no stars are visible, so that makes me wonder how far from the city I am. I lie there thinking, sleep should not come easy to someone that was taken from their parents, and the only life they know. It should not come to those who know little to nothing about the area they are in or what’s going to happen to them. However, to me, it is in fact coming very easily.
The next morning, I awake to a beautiful, sunny sky. I go pick more blackberries and eat a couple of handfuls for breakfast. I sit and think of how I’m going to get water. The juicy blackberries will keep me from getting dehydrated, but even they are not enough to quench my thirst. I decide that, that will be my first priority of the day. While I finish up the blackberries, I think of my parents. Surely, by now, they have a search party out for me. And I’m starting hope they don’t find me.
I walk around the perimeter of the clearing once again, before I set off to find water. I hope to find a bag or something I could use to carry some of the berries. The wind picks up, and blows the fall leaves into the air. A pile of leaves blows over, and reveals an old shopping bag, the letters on it have long since faded away, and I cannot read them. I snatch up the bag and inspect it to see if there are any holes. Fortunately, there aren’t, but, much to my surprise inside the bag is a fishing net and a knife. I sprint back to the clearing, back to the blackberry bushes. I take the net and the knife out of the bag and then I strip the berries from one bush, and I place them in the bag, which is now half full. Proud of myself, I go on my search for water because if there is a fishing net, surely there is water nearby.
I continually walk straight in one direction, I am careful to do so. The last thing I need is to not be able to find my back to the only source of food so far. As I walk, for the first time I notice birds chirping, squirrels running and insects buzzing. Once, I even see a deer gracefully run through the woods. With all of the calm, the thought of leaving the forest never crosses my mind. All I can think of now is how to survive, like a wild animal.
An hour later, I come across a creek. I soon realize that not only could it be a source of water, but also a source of food. Little fish dart around the water, if I could come up with a way to cook them, I’d be all set. I cup my hands and place them in the cool current of the creek. I bring my hands to my mouth and drink the refreshing water. I do this over and over again, until my thirst is no longer. As I do this, I think of how precious this water is, and all the things it can be used for: cooking, bathing, and of course drinking. Then, another thought occurs to me, how am I supposed to carry water with no container? I decide to look around and see if there is anything that can be used to carry water. I walk around the bank of the creek, and I notice something protruding from the bottom of a bush. Upon closer inspection, I see that it is a half-gallon jug and next to it, is a hunting knife.
I take the jug, down to the creek and wash it out. As soon as all the filth is gone, I fill it with water and take it back to the rest of my belongings in the clearing, next to the blackberry bushes. I decide to take the fishing net down to the creek, and see if I can catch anything. As, I walk, I feel a little spring in my step. I begin to feel accomplished. The whole idea of leaving has completely slipped my mind.
After three hours of trying, I have caught 4 fish, all about the size of my hand. I walk back to the clearing and place the fish under a bush, so they will not get too hot. Then, I try to make a fire. I go and collect some logs. Then, I place pine needles around, and atop the logs. Then, I rub two rocks above them, to try to make start the fire. After two hours of trying, it is starting to become dark, and I have a decent fire going. I go and get the fish, and clean them with the hunting knife I found earlier. I then clean the knife with the hem of my shirt. I go and get a stick, and with the knife, sharpen the point, and pierce the fish with the stick.
I hold them over the fire and cook them. Once I am sure that they are completely cooked, I have a nice dinner of fish and blackberries. For the rest of the night, I sit by the fire, feeling good over the things me, a little rich kid, accomplished. I sit and weigh the options in my head, stay in the woods where I feel so full and content, or, find my way back to my regular life where I do nothing, and appreciate nothing. By the end of the night, the decision is clear. I am going to stay. I’m going to stay, and work for what I get and feel happy about it. I am not going to worry over anything. I am a survivor; I’m going to make it.
- Title: Survivor
- Artist: QueenHylla
- Description: Charlie Johnson has everything he could dream of. He is used to getting what he wants and doing nothing in return. But, when he is abducted and left in a forest, how will he survive? Will he find his way out?
- Date: 03/02/2013
- Tags: survivor