The last thing you remember, albeit vaguely, is going to bed last night. It was dark out, and there were very few stars in the sky, when last you looked out the window. Waking now, the most immediate thought is that you're not lying in your comfortable bed, but on your feet. And while the sky overhead isn't midnight-black, it certainly doesn't look as if sunrise is just around the corner, either. Your bedroom is a thing of distant memory, instead you find yourself inexplicably here, in the middle of the forest, alone.
"Ugh..." Kai shifts and tosses in his sleep. "Don't wanna go to school right now... goo away..." The boy moans and groans like a brat getting ready for schol. Soon after turning toss and turning on the /ground/ he slowly starts to realize he's no longer on his comfy bed. "Huh... what the... this isn't my room....Daddy? Shawn? AJ? " He sits himself up and rubs his eyes, attempting to clear away his morning blurry vision blurry ness.
No amount of eye-rubbing brings the familiar surroundings of the bedroom back to your vision. Trees surround you onall sides, standing in silent judgment of the leaves in your hair. The sound of running water can be heard to the east,made all the more unmistakable by the eerie silence of the forest. There are no birds chirping, no leaves rustling at all.
After a few thoughts, Kai stands himself back up and checks the ground with his feet. "...helllo?" Kai speaks into the air. "Juliet? Neighbor? Sorry for sleepwalking onto your prop.. property..."
The ground is firm, loamy dirt. The air is warm, comfortably so in this early morning hour. There's no response to the words spoken, no neighbors appear to lead the way back to civilization.
Kai wiggles his bare feet in the dirt. "Boy scouts... think boy scouts... stay calm.." Kai thinks aloud, "I hear water... I'll try to find out where that is." With the sound of the running water, Kai pads his way over to the sound of running water while also keeping his treads silent and his eyes peeled.
Despite not having seen the water just moments ago, it doesn't take much time at all to reach the winding forest stream. Moving silently through the heavily forested area, you go completely unnoticed, or so it would seem, by the group of children playing here. There are discarded backpacks and lunchboxes strewn on the grass, as well as stray sneakers and t-shirts. It might appear that nearly half a dozen elementary schoolkids have decided to skip school in favor of going swimming today.
Kai peers at the lunch boxes and clothes, Kai thinks, "Maybe Daddy and Papa decided to drop me off at camp... but they would tell me. First." The treads closer to the stream looking out for any kids , "Hello? Any one out there?" Kai speaks out loud as well as looking out for any swimming kids.
Moving closer, you see four children wading in the stream, playing some kind of keep-away game with an inflated ball. The other two children are a bit older, a boy and a girl, and they sit beneath a nearby tree, caring for what appears to be a baby rabbit with floppy, grey ears. "Who are you?" calls a boy from the stream as he wades closer to the edge, perhaps to get a good look at Kai. "When did you wake up?"
"I'm Kai." Kai introduces himself with a warm and cheeky grin. "uh.. woke up? Maybe like ten minutes ago? What's your name?"
'I'm Jeremy,' the boy introduces himself, climbing out of the stream and grabbing a nearby shirt to dry his torso off with. Approximately eleven years old, he has a lanky build, standing a bit tall for his age. 'That's my shirt!'comes the protest of another boy, who promptly splashes Jeremy in indignation before clambering out of the stream as well. 'That's Aiden,' Jeremy informs Kai, tossing the shirt at the much younger boy, who can't be more than eight orso. 'Ten minutes?' asks the only girl in the stream, who is likewise shirtless along with the boys, though she's young enough, ten or so, that her chest doesn't look any different from the others'. 'Oh, you'll be going back to sleep again soon, then,' she says, sounding vaguely disappointed. 'I'm Kaylah,' she introduces herself anyway.
Kai grins at the other kid's antics then decides to claim a seat right by the stream. He dunks his toes in the supposed stream/water to help knock the dirt off his bare feet. "What do you mean Kayla... that I'll go back to sleep again? I just woke up.. I'm hungry, thirsty and I gotta pee and do all my morning things." The boy wiggles his toes in the water. "Nice to meet you all... how'd you all get here? Is this camp or something?"
The children look among themselves for a few moments, an unspoken understanding passing through them. 'No, it's just somewhere we come to get away from it all,' Kaylah finally says, beckoning for the smallest of the children, a little boy of about five years or so, to come out of the stream. He does so reluctantly, his face scrunched up as if he might cry, but then he gets distracted by the rabbit that the two older, silent children are playing with, and he heads off that way. 'Don't you ever just feel like you need to get away?' Jeremy asks, sitting beside Kai. 'Well obviously you do, since you're awake now. I've been waking up for nearly three years now,' he says proudly. 'And Kaylah here has been waking up longer than all of us.' She smiles faintly, pulling on a pink, floral-print t-shirt. 'Since I was two,' she says.
"Yeah, I'm grounded right now because I drank some nasty liquid and hit a police officer in the face with my katana umbrella." Kai proudly thumbs his chest and titles himself "Kai the Demon Slayer." He chuckes to himself for a bit to glance at the younger boy who's about to cry, then at the rabbit, "I'm stuck in jail for like a week. It sucks. So heck yeah I wanna get away. Hey... what's the rabbit's name... and HUH Three years? So you're sayin.. I'm in a dream?"
No, you dork,' pipes up Aiden. 'This is when you're awake. That other stuff - that's dreaming. Because you're asleep, see?' the eight year old explains. 'See, most people spend all their time dreaming, pretending those kinds of things matter. Because we need to feel important and special, so we have schedules to keep and parents to care about us and all those things we want to matter.' Jeremy interjects, 'Don't forget about homework.' The other kids laugh, and Kaylah tells Kai, 'The rabbit doesn't need a name, it's the only one here. So we just call it 'The Rabbit', see?' She smiles prettily, stretching her arms. 'Tag,' she tells Aiden, touching his shoulder before darting away, into the trees. 'You're it!' she calls over her shoulder before she disappears.
"Yeah.. home work does kinda suck... being home early sucks... getting rounded sucks..." Kai seems to nod in agreement with someone. But when the two tag each other, Kai can't help but chuckle. "Heyyy.. I wanna play too..."Despite not being tagged, he wants to stick with the playing children so he decides to tread into the trees as well, not quite mathcing their pace. More or less keeping a distance but attempting to keep an eye on them? Just for the sake of not being alone.
'Come on!' Jeremy tells Kai, grinning at the younger boy as he too runs into the trees. 'I know a great ambush spot, I'll show it to you. That way if you're ever 'IT', you can head there and just wait for someone to pass by close enough and you can scare the crap out of them,' he laughs, slowing his pace to make sure he doesn't leave Kai behind. 'Come on!' he urges.
Kai runs as quickly as he can to follow Jeremy further into the trees. Being a gaming nerd, Kai is not fast as all, he's quite the opposite of athletic and pathetic in anything physical.
Jeremy runs ahead, deeper into the forest, waiting for Kai to catch up each time before he heads further in. The sound of the other kids nearby fills the forest with laughter. 'What do you do in your sleep?' Jeremy laughs, not unkindly. 'Read books? We've got to get you more into exercising, or you'll never make it when the Doors open,' he adds, his voice serious for a moment. 'Come on, we're almost there. Let me know if you spot any of the others,' he says, jogging backwards to keep an eye on Kai.
"What do I do in my sleep? uhh... snore?" Kai pants a bit as he matches the pace of Jeremy, "I just play videogames. Minecraft, Fallout.. Pokemon... and doors what doors?" He asks in his labored dialogue. "Dang twigs.. I got no shoes on..." Kai's pace slows a bit for him to complain like the little whiny kid that he is, but then sprints to make up for his slowdown.
As you sprint toward Jeremy, the world seems to slow. The trees blur, as if you're moving very quickly, the colors of the forest running together. There's an earsplitting ripping sound, as if lighting's struck just beside your ear, and where Jeremy once stood, there's now what looks like a twisted stop sign, inexplicably in the middle of the forest. You lose control of your limbs, everything moving in slow motion as you fall... fall toward the leaf-strewn forest floor, a branch tearing your sleep shirt as you go, and your head hits a sharp rock. You can hear, just before you black out, 'Aw... he's going back to sleep already.' Kaylah's voice, or maybe Aiden's.