If you took the wrong turn off the main forest trail, chances were, you could get lost. Anyone knew that. Dylan knew that too, but the need to go see what kinds of berries hung on that bush just a few paces away from the trail overrode his rational thinking. And who knows how to think rationally when you're ten and only had a couple hard-boiled eggs for breakfast? Pine needles crunched under his feet as he stepped in between roots and, avoiding raccoon holes, finally made his way to what looked like a blackberry bush. But the berries weren't blackberries. Number one, they were golden in color. Orange, almost. Number two, they were shaped a bit differently, rounder, as opposed to a conical in shape.
He reached out for one and promptly plopped it in his mouth. A burst of tart sweetness tickled his taste buds and he proceeded at grabbing another one, and another, and another.
"Dylan, where are you?" Angie's voice pulled him to a halt. He froze with yet another berry barely touching his lips. His freckled face grimaced in exasperation, summer sun dancing across his cheeks.
"I'm coming! Just a minute! I need to pee!" Lying was easy, as always, and Dylan hoped that his sister would let this fly. After all, it was not his idea to go search for mushrooms, and he was tired of being a sidekick to her and her obnoxious friends. She dragged him with her only because she had to look after him while mom and dad were gone shopping. And, of course, on mom's insistence, she had to get him outside "to get fresh air and not be stuck all day long in front of computer." He hated these trips, always either serving as a punching bag for her soon-to-be-boyfriend or a repository for their jokes, starting from his red hair and ending with his jumpy gait.
"Well, make it quick then and get your ass over here. Got it?" Angie called. "Catch up, we're not waiting for you." A few choked laughs followed this.
"Sure!" That was directed towards Angie in a bright cheerful voice of a smaller agreeable sibling. "You can suck it." He added under his breath, and ventured further away, to the next bush.
It took less than a minute for Dylan to clear both of them, since there weren't many berries to begin with, but when he looked a bit beyond, there was another cluster of bushes in the grove, beckoning him. He shrugged his shoulders and decided that it won't do any harm if he quickly ventured out there. In a few minutes he was in front of them, grabbing at berries greedily. He took another step and saw a small incline lead to the base of the hill and continue into a clearing of sorts, with something dark standing hidden under the overgrown vines and more golden berry bushes. A hill? No, it was definitely not a hill, but a manmade structure covered with green.
"Whoa!" Dylan exclaimed and promptly forgot about his sister. "I think it's a house." His curiosity took over and he sprinted down, falling once and rolling on the grass, picking himself up and making his way to the object in question. The closer he got, the more certain he was it was, indeed, a house. A cabin, perhaps, or a shack, very small, maybe ten feet by ten feet by ten feet...
"Wait, it's a cube. Its roof is flat." He stood an arm length away from one of the walls, lush with greenery and completely hidden under a latticework of twisted vine twigs. He was afraid to touch it, afraid to push the leaves apart and see if it was made of wood or of metal, and if there is a door or a window in this wall. Instead, he circled the shack, carefully stepping around, in between what seemed to be a tree wall planted by someone. They grew to close to each other and too close to the shack, leaving only a corridor of about six feet between themselves and the structure. On all four sides.
On the third circle Dylan worked up his courage and came up closer to one of the walls, to where he supposed a door might be, because it was facing the clearing from where he came, so it seemed a logical place to start. He slowly raised his arm, and, trembling, poked a finger quickly and retracted it. Nothing happened. He then pulled the leaves apart and saw that it is indeed made of wood, some old oak or pine, and painted orange and looking old, very old.
"This is so cool..." He muttered and looked back briefly, suddenly wanting the company of Angie and her friends like never before. "I'm not a coward, I don't need you." He turned back his head and licked his lips. "You will see. I can do it myself. I will find the door, look inside, and then I will run back and tell you what I found. All alone. You just wait."
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