Our last night at Heaverton Falls and I’m already upset about it. It’s been such a great experience here. We’ve spent days together, my girlfriend Cassie, my brother Todd and his girlfriend Elena, our mutual friend Steven and his stoner friend Roddie.
Roddie was a little stoned the whole time; I don’t think he moved from the chair near our campsite. But the rest of us went out and hiked the trails, found some hot springs, swam, even skinny dipped some, made fires at night, fished and relaxed, we smoked in the evening and drank throughout the day, and it was a perfect weekend.
The weather was exactly what we needed; cool and calm in the evening, and warm during the day but the shade from the tall trees helped keep us cool. Hearing the sounds of the local creeks, the life of all arboreal animals and insects about, really made the whole camping experience just ideal.
As I said before, I was already bummed this was our last night. It’s times like these you realize you don’t get too often, especially when you’re young and in love; you start growing older, creating families, working long hours, long days, and before you know it, you’ve bought a house, spent all your money on dogs or kids or school supplies, but that’s not us today. Not this trip. As it sun slowly sets and the moon rises high in the sky, I feel this is our last hoorah!
Todd and Elena are getting married next summer. Cassie and I will probably have a child in two years, and we are pushing the age of twenty-five, and I can see how my life is beginning to be and how it will end up.
This is why we have these nights, these trips, these camping excursions to forget the future and to be in the present moment, and the best part of it is, we are young. And I don’t know when we’ll be back to this very moment again in our lives. A bittersweet symphony. A Townes Van Zandt song would fit perfectly here, despite the debauchery and crazy conversations of what my brother and his girlfriend … fiancé are having.
I’m standing from afar, the fire glistening high, the beers being passed around, playing stupid games over and over and always have played since we’ve been in college, a time of reminiscent beauty. I love this group of fools.
They are my friends.
They are my life.
They are what make me whole in this world.
And I will always love this moment.
“Come over here, dear,” Cassie says to me, drinking on her Simpler Time beer from Wisconsin.
I smile looking at the scenery behind them. It’s a perfect picture. I take a mental photograph and begin walking close to her.
Todd throws me a beer and I open it.
“What’s the topic of discussion, Todd?”
“Just discussing different ice cream flavors we would want right now if we could have them.”
“Yeah,” Roddie adds, “I came up with the idea because, well, I’m just feeling a little munchie right now.”
“I believe you,” says Steven.
“Elena,” Todd turns to her and addresses, “didn’t you say you were abducted once?”
“No, no!” Cassie shouts. “I don’t want to talk about this.”
“Why not?” I ask.
“Not here! It’s just too creepy!”
“Not too creepy!” Roddie says.
“I don’t want it. It’s too real when we’re out here,” Cassie cries.
“It happened,” Elena begins, ignoring Cassie’s protest, “just on the other side of the campsite, if I could remember, correctly.”
“We don’t have to talk about it,” I suggest.
“I want to. It’s good to talk about.”
The rest of them began drinking and adjusting on the chairs and stumps, as I chugged the rest of the beer and Todd threw me another one and sat next to Cassie, placing my arm around her.
“It was the scariest thing I’ve ever encountered. I was sleeping in my parents’ tent. My sister and I and our two cousins from Ohio came, and we just went camping. Our parents suggested this spot. It’s very similar to this time camping, now that I think about it. The skinny-dipping, the beer drinking, the fishing, the relaxation, but something strange about this … it’s Steven and Todd. They weren’t here before. But there was me and my sister and the two male cousins, and we did the same thing we did this time. I don’t quite get it. I’m confused.”
“Confused about what?” I ask.
“Confused because I’ve done this before. I’ve been here before. At this moment. Like déjà vu.”
“No, freaking way…” Cassie’s voice trailed.
“Dude, you’re higher than me right now,” says Roddie.
“She’s,” adds Steven, “just trying to scare you.”
“No! No! Déjà vu is a serious thing,” adds Todd.
In the distance, above us, a flickering light, something unexplainable, not characterized by any known physics, a small light begins moving, and towards us with speed.
“What is that?” Cassie asks.
All of us stand up and look in the sky. This object comes at us. It’s quiet without noise and then appears.
The next thing I notice is I’m in my camping tent, and the rest of my family and friends are outside frozen, looking up. I leave the tent and look to them, approach them, and they are in stasis as if time had stood still, but then why am I able to move.
I hear a small branch break, and I looked behind me, and I saw it.
Something unidentifiable and with no mouth I heard it speak.
“The choice is yours,” it said, approaching me with its humanoid-like body but I knew it wasn’t human. “We take her, or we leave her, and take all of them.”
“It’s time for the choice.”
“One life for five?”
“I can’t decide this!”
“You’ve already made the decision. It shall be done!”
A blinding light overcame, and I saw myself looking down from the sky, and it began to become further and further from me, but I saw Elena alone and crying at the campsite. She had done this.