The Boy in the Woods: Part 1
“Finally!” Michael said as he sat down hard on a rickety kitchen chair. He looked around happily at all he had done. The floor was swept, the dishes were done, and his bed was made. “Grandfather would have been proud of me,” he said with a childish giggle.
Michael stood up, rested, and looked around. “I guess it’s about time I go get some supper,” he said. He walked out of the tiny house and across the yard to an old shed. He had to stand on tippy toes to see the numbers on the rusty combination lock. “1-13-23,” he said aloud as he twisted the dial.
It took him three tries, but Michael finally made it into the shed. He stepped inside and looked around. “I haven’t gone fishing since grandpa died,” he said. “Maybe I’ll go today. It’ll be like the good ol’ days.” Michael walked over to his slightly dusty fishing rod and grabbed it, then he looked up.
“Oh man,” he said as he realized that the tackle box was up on a shelf. “I can’t reach that!” He began looking around. There was a large tote in the corner. “Grandpa’s training gear!” Michael exclaimed, remembering that the box held his grandfather’s martial arts equipment. “That should be solid enough to support me!” He pushed the heavy box slowly towards the shelf.
“Got it!” Michael cried as he tugged on the handle of the tackle box.
As he pulled, Michael lost his balance. The tackle box hit the ground with a thud as Michael landed beside it. “Ow,” he said as he began to get up.
Michael checked the box to make sure it was alright, then he opened it to make sure nothing was damaged inside the box. He gasped as a bright light erupted from the box.
“What the…” Michael said as his vision began to clear. He reached inside the box and pulled out a palm-sized purple stone. The glow was coming from the stone, but it was disappearing quickly. “What is this?” he wondered. “Why would grandpa keep a glowing rock in his tackle box?” He shrugged and put it away. Then he closed the lid and picked the box up.
He left the shed and walked down the trail towards the tiny lake that was a mile away from the house.
Two hours later, Michael had caught himself a nice fish for supper. He cleaned it up and threw it in a bag. Then he grabbed his stuff and began the journey home. It was getting dark, so he decided to take the longer route along the road.
As Michael rounded a bend near the house, a car sped past him quickly. Startled, Michael reached out towards the car without thinking. “No!” he cried, terrified.
The car stopped moving forward. It seemed to jump into the air, then landed hard. The driver tried to start the car, but it wouldn’t move.
“Hey, kid!” the driver called, as she climbed out of the car. She was a tall teenager with blond hair tied back in a pony tail. She was wearing black tights and a purple t-shirt that was almost long enough to be a dress.
Michael gulped as he watched her come towards him. “Uh…yeah?” he said.
“What did you do to my car?” the girl cried. “Why did you do that?”
“I…uh…” Michael stuttered. “I’m sorry, I just…you scared me.”
“Scared you?” the girl cried. “Haven’t you ever seen a car before?”
“Yeah…well, not really,” Michael said. “People don’t generally come down this way.”
The girl sighed. “Do you have a phone I could borrow?” she asked. “I need to call a tow truck and my battery died.”
“What’s a phone?” Michael asked.
“Are you serious?” the girl cried. “How do you not know what a phone is?”
“Now what am I going to do?” the girl said quietly.
“You wanna come to my place?” Michael asked. “I’m having fish for supper.”
“Oh,” the girl said. “Sure…”
“Great!” Michael cried. “Follow me.” He led the girl the rest of the way to the tiny house. “I’m Mikey,” he said as they walked.
“I’m Bristol,” the girl said. “How old are you?”
“I’m almost 11,” Michael replied. “How old are you?”
“16,” Bristol replied. “I didn’t know anyone lived way out here.”
Michael shrugged. “I’ve lived out here my whole life,” he said. “It’s nice. We don’t get many people out here.”
“Where do you go to school?” Bristol asked.
“School?” Michael asked, confused.
“Yeah,” Bristol replied. “You know, where they teach you how to read and write.”
“Oh,” Michael said. “My grandpa taught me everything I know.”
“You live with your grandpa?” Bristol asked.
“I used to,” Michael said. “But then he got sick and died.”
Bristol gasped. “Oh no, that’s terrible!” she cried. “Who do you live with now?”
Michael shrugged. “Nobody,” he said.
“Nobody?” Bristol cried. “You can’t live alone! Who feeds you?”
“I do,” Michael replied. They arrived at the house before Bristol could say anything more.
Michael led her into the tiny kitchen. “Sit wherever you like,” he said.
Bristol looked at her options: two rickety kitchen chairs. She sat gingerly on the nearest one.
“I hope you like fish,” Michael said as he pulled out the fish he had caught earlier. “I picked some vegetables from the garden too, so this should be a tasty meal.” He began to prepare the food.
“You sure seem to know a lot about cooking,” Bristol said.
“My grandpa said that I would need to be able to cook to survive out here,” Michael replied. “He taught me everything I’d need to know to survive.”
“Oh wow,” Bristol replied. “Neither of my parents can cook. They have servants to do that kind of thing.”
“What’s a servant?” Michael asked.
Bristol shrugged. “It’s someone who does all your chores for you so you can focus on doing other things,” she said.
“What kind of other things?” Michael asked.
“Well…my dad’s an engineer, so he spends his time building things. And my mom is a physicist, so she spends her time doing math.”
“That sounds boring,” Michael replied. “I think I’d rather do the chores.”
“It’s not boring,” Bristol said. “One day I’ll be a scientist. I want to go into outer space and study life on other planets.”
“You mean like aliens?” Michael asked.
“Exactly,” Bristol said. “Every day we’re discovering new species to study. The latest mission discovered 5 previously unknown species on…I can’t remember the name of that planet.”
“Oh,” Michael said. “Are any of them intelligent?”
Bristol laughed. “Not yet, but maybe someday,” she said.
Michael nodded vigorously. “You can find the smart aliens, the ones that wanna take over Earth, and I can beat them up and save everybody.”
Bristol laughed harder. “Is that what you want to be?” she asked. “A hero?”
Michael nodded. “I want to be a martial artist like my grandpa,” he said. “And I wanna save people.”
Bristol shook her head. “You’ll never do that from here,” she said.
“You’ll see,” Michael replied. “But right now it’s time to eat.” He served them each a bowl of fish and vegetables.