Had this idea with my dad.

I am pretty happy how the story came out, albeit a bit short and a bit light on the tidbits I wanted our characters to discuss.

All in all, it culminates at a point I aimed to reach.



Tires crunched across loose gravel as a pickup rolled to stop amidst a vacant forested lot.

“Guys… here,” leaked a muffled voice from the vehicles interior. Three of the truck’s doors opened in tandem as three individuals, clearly in their early twenties, pulled themselves from the vehicle.

“All right Zack, you got the pack. We’ve both had it multiple times,” Kyle stated, the first hike related topic voiced so far.

“Aww man, cmon Kyle, It’s my truck!” Zack spat, jumping from the driver’s door; launching gravel with a crunch.

“Man, you really think we can afford something like a truck at university? This was the agreement when we started longer hikes.”

“Uhhhh fiiine,” Zack groaned, opening the back door and leniently hefting a large hiking pack onto his shoulder.

Securely locking the car, the trio moved across the gravel lot, making their way to the far corner in which a rotted information board creaked. Upon its plastic surface was printed a familiar trail route, cobwebs and decay evident along its edges.

“Seven miles?.. I don’t really think I’m up for this,” Kyle muttered.

“Well actually, that’s only to the falls. It’s a loop trail, so around 13 miles all in all,” Micah explained, pointing to the worn and barely visible index.

“Whoa, you trina chicken out? This trails a beast!” Zack prodded, pumping his fist in the air.

“No, I just need to be back by six, remember?” Kyle frowned.

“Well… I actually completely forgot, let’s get started fast,” Micah cut in, waving them towards the trail.

The trio moved towards the forested entrance, and with heavy steps on the inclined slope, started up the switchbacks layered above the lot.

“Hey… Mikey… how’s Cassie?” Zack heaved, the inclined trek taking its toll.

“Well… She umm, takes school… very seriously. Not much… time for us,” Micah responded, breathing equally as laborious.

“Darn,” Zack returned, visibly wincing. “Thought something… would finally… work out for you.”

Following Zack’s response the trio fell into silence, save either the rustle of wind through pine or a venturing lark.

For a time they trudged down the trail amidst fern layered undergrowth, shimmying past the occasional mud pit born of early Autumn rainfall. The precipitation was thick deep in the forest, and dew clung to their clothes like crystal beads.

Soon they were all stumbling and grunting, pulling themselves round bend after bend of rich forested tedium.

After a while they came to a small incline, water evidently having run across which, based on the mud’s disposition. At the top of the hill, just over the bend, stood two cypress trees, one to either side of the trail.

“Hey… how about… we turn around after… those trees?” Zack called from the back of the group, still lugging the colossal pack. “Why’d… we even… bring this thing?” he gasped.

“Never know… when it’ll come in handy,” Micah responded as the group crawled up the muddy slope.

Upon reaching the top they hunched over, hands glued to knees in an attempt to seize their breaths.

“I’ll check how far we’ve gone,” Micah asserted. Straightening his back, he reached into a cargo pocket and drew out his phone.

Swiping the dark screen he stated his assessment. “Well, we’ve been going for over an hour so I’d say we’re at least halfway. We should probably start heading back if you wanna be on time, Kyle,” he explained, glancing in the formers direction.

“Yea sure… thanks,” Kyle replied, still catching his breath.

“But you take the pack, chicken,” Zack added, tossing the pack his way.

“Aw, cmon,” Kyle groaned, catching the pack with a heavy underhand; promptly swinging it over his shoulders.

“Ya know, Cypress trees are kinda a symbol of mourning,” Micah randomly stated, stretching his arms over his head.

“Really, like death or something?” Zack ventured, looking over.

“Well more like a symbol of life after death. The way their roots grow makes them incredibly useful for cemeteries; how they wrap around coffins or something. They’re also completely vertical, meant to represent the path to heaven.”

All three of them looked over at the straight trees towering to each side of the trail.

“Well, leave it to the kid with the religious parents to know this nonsense,” Zack chuckled, breaking the silence.

“This has nothing to do with that!” Micah spat back with the twitch of an eye.

“Yea yea, let’s get going,” Zack replied, waving them forward; Micah glaring into his hairline as they descended the slope.

They began to retrace their steps along the trail, passing through the twin trees yet again. The sloped descent proved much easier and they picked up the pace into a brisk walk.

After another span Zack shot a new question at them.

“So, why do you guys go to that university? I mean, it’s expensive as hell, and you can’t even have a nice big ol truck for some reason…”

“What?!” Kyle called out, having fallen behind the fast trotters due to the heavy pack.

“Nevermind slowpoke!” Zack shouted. Shrugging his shoulders, Kyle hefted the slipping pack further over his shoulder.

“The tuition is expensive because of the services they add on. I heard this last price hike was due to the new gym upgrade and programs,” Micah dispassionately stated.

“I think I’d actually prefer a place cause the gym, but like… shit. Guess I’d basically be paying for it?”

“That’s exactly what it is. The whole politics of University appeal, competition and all that.”

“Huh,” Zack replied. Silence descending on the forest once again. Not even the sound of a songbird calling out.

“Hey, Micah… What do you make of politics?” Zack asked.

“What?” Micah confirmed, stupefied.

“Ya know, politics… or something?” Zack clarified with a pained grin.

“Well… ummm ok… I guess I don’t really make anything of it. I don’t really care. In my opinion it’s just two sides of the same coin fighting for the chance to face upright. Urban citizens want what they think is best, and rural citizens want what they think is best. It explains all the polarization at least.”

“Huh,” Kyle replied.

“I mean, urban residents are generally higher educated, which also coincides with urban areas being democratic while the opposite is true for republicans.”

“Wait, you telling me I’m stupider than Kyle back there? He’s never even beaten me in chess!” Zack stated, pointing towards the pack hefting straggler.

“Ummm, you are aware education doesn’t exactly relate to intelligence. Also, yes, you barely graduated high school, and completely passed on attending college; in this instance you are less educated than Kyle.”

“Well… uh… that’s true.” Zack sputtered. “But you don’t have to put it so blunt shithead,” he spat, socking Micahs shoulder and eliciting a grunt.

“Well, what are you?” Zack shot after another pause.

“Like, which party I align with?”


Lightly sighing, Micah slowed his pace. “I don’t really align with any party… yet. I mean, I’m only a Senior in college. It’s too soon to choose… at least in my opinion.”

“But your parents are Republican, aren’t they?”

“They’re… more religious than political,” Micah muttered. But no, if I were to choose right now… I would probably be independent. I despise this party system, already just want to forget about politics, and I haven’t even decided on my beliefs yet! I probably sound like those social media preachers,” he sighed.

“Heh, going with the majority eh… Well hey man, all those social media people. They just want attention. Usually there’s jack squat behind that shit,” Zack replied.

“I wish,” Micah responded.

The group fell into silence once again, a tedium of towering pines passing by, the forest completely silent amidst the midday calm.

“Hey guys,” Kyle called, having caught up to the slowing pair. “Shouldn’t we have gotten back by now.”

“I don’t think so…” Micah muttered. “I don’t recognize any of this stretch. We should get to the switchbacks soon, I think?”

“Eh, it’s probably just like… a paradox or something man. It feels like we’ve been walking longer because you want to get back really bad,” Zack butted in.

“That’s not what that word means, but… I do agree. We’ve only been heading back for a couple minutes. You’ll make your appointment,” Micah replied, waving his phone in Kyles face.

“Shit… thought we had taken a break for a couple minutes back there. I mean we could pick up the pace, if only…” Zack tapered off, gaze fixing back onto Kyle as he lugged the large pack over his head.

“O shut it, numbskull!” Kyle snapped, tossing a stick towards Zack.

With a hearty laugh the group once again fell silent, the oppressive forest serenity weighting in from every direction.

Yet, the silence was once again broken as Zack found it necessary to quip in.

“So… what do you two make of all this?” he asked, spreading his arms to either direction.

“Ummm… it’s a trail?” Kyle hesitantly replied.

“No dummy, I mean life… what do you think of life?” Zack clarified, the others becoming even more confused.

“Well, I take it… life is like a trail, or more accurately a path. A path complete with all its twists and turns,” Micah butted in.

“What is the difference between a path and trail?” Kyle muttered, frowning.

“Trails end?” Micah ventured.

“Well paths end too… I mean, don’t trails go like… up and down, and paths are just flat or something,” Zack tried.

“Some trails are flat,” Micah stated.

“O shut it bread face… and also, then what’s at the end of a path? Don’t trails go somewhere.”

“We sure do have a lot of useless conversations on these trails,” Kyle grumbled.

“Well that’s just life… and what’s at the end of life, huh smartass?” Zack shot back.

“Ummmm… Death?” Micah ventured, clearly confused.

“Well then, I wonder where that puts us… Hey Micah, you believe in heaven?” Zack asked, peering towards him.

“You believe in hell?”

“Ummm… I don’t know man, with all the morally grey shit going on in this place or whatever, there’s gotta be like… somewhere in between, ya get me?” Zack quipped back, clearly irked.

“Isn’t that where we are? In between I mean.” Micah rebutted.

This shut jack up for a solid five seconds before he found it necessary to once again continue the conversation.

“Aw man, I don’t know! But like… getting damned to one extreme of the spectrum for all eternity, based on loads of grey actions no less, just seems… fucked, dontcha think?”

“Whatever you think man… I am the one with the religious parents after all,” Micah chuckled.

“Eh, why should I care,” Zack snapped, returning his attention to the forested path.

Kyle looked at his two oblivious and best friends. A grin split his face as he thought back on Zack’s attitude. He knew that no matter how chippy the two got, they did enjoy eachothers company.

Yet, his smile faded fast. Something was definitely up. Maybe they took a wrong turn somewhere. Heck, he recalled passing a fork or two.

He just prayed he’d make his meeting.

Categories: Short Stories

1 Comment

דירות דיסקרטיות בחיפה loveroom.co.il · August 21, 2022 at 11:13 pm

Im very pleased to uncover this site. I need to to thank you for ones time just for this wonderful read!! I definitely enjoyed every part of it and i also have you book marked to look at new things on your website.

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