The Fading by Anonymous
Mark regained his consciousness, and lifted his face from the dirt-filled ground. Who knows how long he’d been there? Refocusing on the situation, he suddenly realized he had been left behind. Where were the others? Jason? Martha? Or Chris? Had they been taken? Only negative thoughts entered his mind, until he realized; his pursuers seemed to have been off the track. His mind wavered, as he tried to regain the focus that had kept him alive for so long. Picking up his pace, he re-traced his steps. He was in a forest near a small stream, away from the compound, but far from safe. This wasn’t the first time that Mark had been in danger, but before now, at least his thoughts were safe. Never before had the figures that hunted him show such ferocity. But for some reason, they hadn’t tried to kill him. Instead, they had invaded his very mind, tearing away at his thoughts. But for now, Mark was safe; at least, as safe as Mark could be.
Chapter 1-The Dam
It was not an unusual day. Nor was it a day that signified any signs of misgivings. But for Marthus, this would be the beginning of the end. It was in the summer, a happy time that he would witness the event that would change how the next 6 months would progress.
It was 3 or 4 days into summer, and Marthus had no real plans. Sitting around at his home, the phone rang. It was Jason.
“Hello Jason.” He said.
“Hey, Mark.” Jason replied
Jason was Marthus’ old friend. Ever since the age of three, they had lived on the same block, and did everything together. Jason was more athletic in things, but not nearly as fast as the athletes in school. Jason and Marthus usually stayed with their own group, which had two others in it: Martha and Chris. But Jason’s tone quickly changed from casual to excited.
“Chris found something yesterday” He said
“Really, Where?” Marthus replied.
“Down near the old dam” Roger said.
“The old Dam” as they called it, was really just a collection of old and rotting logs that blocked the flow of water, into one point. It was just a few meters across, but Marthus figured, that with all the stuff that it clogged up there, something interesting was bound to turn up.
It was a few blocks to get to the woods. How forests go, this one was not massive, but large enough that led all the way to the outskirts of town. It was bordered by a small river, which led into the suburbs, then into town. Marthus knew Jason would be waiting at the old log-bridge they had made many years ago. It was a rickety old thing, but it held surprisingly firmly. More than once though, had they fallen in, and needed to fix it. The churning waters reminded him of why he was here. The dam. Marthus wondered what Chris had found there. But to his surprise, it wasn’t Jason or Chris who showed up first, it was Mara.
Martha was the only girl on Plywood Street, and Jason and Marthus had stumbled upon her one night, while they were looking around for someone rumoured to be missing in the woods. Apparently, Martha was looking too, but while we were following her, because we thought she was the missing person, she followed them. It ended up being a wild goose-chase. In the end, they strayed around until midnight till the ends met up, but by then, we’d found nothing. Well, we ended up becoming together, and proceeded to search until 2 AM. All we ended up finding were some odd assortments of glass. But what we really found, was a new friend. Ever since, we three were a group, until Chris came along.
Martha had long, flowing reddish-brown hair, which was flowing in the wind. Martha usually wore a black, hoodless black jacket over top of a striped long-sleeved shirt. Black gym shorts usually came next, but what really stands out, is her backpack that she takes everywhere. It has the oddest assortment off stuff in it, and even a small sword. How she fits it all in there is witchcraft.
Martha trudged to the edge of the stream, before looking up, and saying “Chris found something…interesting.”
“What?” Marthus asked, wondering what could possibly stir up such excitement
Martha pulled off the rope from around the small backpack, and uncoiled it. “It’s at the dam.” She answered, then scampered off into the woods.
Invigorated, Marthus followed. Martha continued to uncoil the rope, until they were just at the edge of the bottom of the hill. The hill, as they called it, was more like a very strange rock formation covered in dirt, and trees grew on it. Almost 20 meters across, and 7 or 8 meters tall, they used it as a sort of lookout. You see, in the entire forest, it was one of the highest and hardest to get to places. In fact, it took a month to get all the planks and supplies to make the little platform-huts that served as their view. But that was not where they were going.
Deep into the woods, the dam came into sight. Jason was fiddling with some sticks, and adding the fiddled ones to the dam. He paused when he saw Marthus and Martha approaching, then abruptly stopped and tossed them downstream.
“Where’s Chris?” Asked Marthus
“Probably at home.” Answered Jason. He stretched his arms, then stood up. “But that’s not why you’re here, right?”
“No, but what is this ‘big’ thing you found.” Asked Martha.
“Have a look.” Replied Jason.
Martha glanced at the dam, then took off her backpack as if to look for something. Jason motioned towards the dam, and Marthus looked at the dam blankly. There was nothing there. And Jason was clearly confused. He swamped his hands around, but they turned up bare.
“That’s some discovery” Martha commented.
Jason looked astonished. “It was right here! I swear!”
“Next time, I’ll make sure to let Jason find all the important stuff!” Martha stated, with an emphasis at the end.
“Well, why don’t you just tell me what this special thing is?” Marthus asked.
“Well Mark,” Jason began, “Here’s the thing. We found this photo lodged in the dam, and it was a picture of the hill!” Jason continued, “That’s not all, there was a person in the photo. It was all old and wrinkled, and sepia coloured.” Martha moved to say something, but Jason wasn’t finished. “But the thing is, is that-“
“Wait, what?” Martha interrupted. “So you’re saying this picture just washed in?”
“Well yes, but-” Jason started
“But where did it wash in from?” Martha asked. She had taken out a small clip, and tossed it perfectly into a hollow stump. Swish!
“Martha has a point, Jason” Marthus interrupted. Marthus was used to being called Mark, but to him, his name would always be Marthus. Strange name, he sometimes thought. For, as hard as he could think, he had never even heard of someone called Marthus. But there were a lot of Marks.
“Well, how’d it get here then?” Jason countered.
“It didn’t” Martha struck back.
“But it did!”
“I don’t see it.”
“Because someone must have taken it!”
“Who would want an old rotten photo?”
“Then who took it?”
Just as the Argument was about to spark a war, a familiar voice called out from behind.
“Looking for this?” Chris.
Now, Christopher Mezer came relatively late into Plyworth elementary school, and wasn’t really friends with anyone. He moved all the way from some place in Greenland. But soon, Chris met Jason, Mark, and Martha when he was scavenging for bugs to feed his turtles. But that wasn’t the reason they came to be friends. It was one night after school, a few days after the turtle encounter, when Jason found a strange footprint in the ground. Chris, who lived on the same street as Jason, told Jason how to find out what creature made them. In the end, Chris found out that they were Wolf-prints, and after several failed attempts to find it, Chris broke down laughing. Marthus asked why the hey he was laughing so hard, and Chris, teary with laughter, told us that they were just deer-prints. Well, at that point, the three could have either clobbered Chris, or laughed as well. Fortunately, he got away with a bruise in the arm from Martha, and from then on, it was four not three.
Chris held out a careful hand, which held a picture of the hill, as Jason said. Before anyone had a good look at the picture though, Jason ran to grab it. He nimbly hopped a log, then tripped into the mud. But whatever curses he was about to cry out were postponed by a series of sirens, which killed his remarks. Jason was drowned out, but told everyone to listen. These sirens sounded louder, and were coming closer, and closer, and then at their highest volume, they stopped. Then, a loud bang that sounded distinctly like a gunshot a gunshot rang through the trees.
“Clear the woods, clear the forest!” Screamed a demanding and troubled voice.
“It’s not safe here.” Jason stated. And this time, no one disagreed.