Hazel is on the Wifi

34 Degrees Below Zero

A story by Hazel, Rewritten bMothi.Boi.

Chapter One  - Another Terrible Begining To A Day In This Frozen Hellscape










The jarring sound of the alarm pierced through the silence of the room prior, rudely interrupting my peaceful slumber. Groaning, I reached out to the bedside table, fumbling for my phone, but it was not there. Confused and disoriented, I struggled to comprehend the source of the noise. After groggily scanning the area, I realised my phone was on my desk across the room. Annoyed, I let out a frustrated breath.


As I swung my legs over the edge of the bed, my feet touched the cold, hardwood floor, causing me to wince at the unpleasant sensation. I shuffled across the room, rubbing my eyes and still half-asleep, and picked up my phone. The alarm was a song I loved, but the harsh, grating buzz it made when it went off was enough to make me hate it at that moment. I tapped the screen to turn off the alarm and crawled back into the warmth under the covers, eager to catch a few more precious minutes of rest before starting my day.


However, my plans for more sleep were soon interrupted by a nagging thought that wouldn't leave me alone. Even though I didn't want to do it, I knew I had to check it. With a deep sigh, I kicked my warm blankets away, watching them fall over the metal handrail of my bed and onto the floor. I got up and headed back to my desk to double-check the time. It was already 7 am, and I cursed under my breath that I couldn't afford to miss another day. Despite my reluctance to leave my cosy bed behind, I knew I had to face the day, so I slowly walked to my closet and picked out something to wear that wasn't dirty or too small. 


My room was a mess. With piles of clothes and junk lying around, my mother and older sister nag me to clean it up. But I am too lazy to do it, and the thought of tackling such a daunting task seemed overwhelming. Nevertheless, I quickly grabbed a black t-shirt featuring one of my favourite video game characters in his iconic green palette, with a flower crown on his head and flowers behind him. The text on the shirt read: My thoughts will follow you into your dreams, which always put a smile on my face.


I then scanned through the hangers in my closet until I found my red winter coat. I grabbed it, feeling the soft fabric between my fingers. It was warm and snug, perfect for the chilly weather outside. I decided to pair it with a stylish blue pair of coated jeans that I had recently bought. As I put them on, I admired how well they fit me and how comfortable they were. After considering my options for two types of boots, I decided on my black lock-on winter boots with matching long black socks. Looking down at my outfit, I noticed something odd in my coat's pocket. I reached in and pulled out a pair of dark grey fabric gloves. "Perfect," I exclaimed. I separated them and smoothly slid them over my hands.


Now. That I'm all prepared for the day - Let me introduce myself.


Hi, my name is Oliver Smith. I am seventeen years old, and I live in Findlay, Ohio. I'm just a regular teenager. I am not that tall. I have straight brown hair and plain blue eyes. I live with my mom, my younger brother, Mike, and my older sister, Jane, in a house near the railway lines. 



My hobbies are playing video games and chatting with friends online. Besides that, I am interested in sports, specifically basketball, which I consider myself good at playing despite my mother's opinion about me being clumsy, which I have to admit to and say. "She's right." I give out a sigh of defeat at the thought of it.


Speaking of my clumsiness, I have a history of breaking my phone, even though my mom bought a metal protective case. I must have butterfingers.


I sighed as I made my way to the kitchen.


As soon as I stepped into the kitchen, my eyes instantly landed on my school bag resting on the smooth, cold counter. Its familiar weight and shape brought a sense of comfort to me, but it also left me with a feeling of uncertainty. I couldn't help but wonder whether someone had packed lunch inside or if it was empty and waiting for me to fill it.


I don't know whether it's the former or the ladder, but either way, there's no way in the world that I'm making a packed lunch today. I'm too tired to make a Peanut Butter sandwich. However, relying on tasteless and unappetising school food for lunch makes me shudder. Unfortunately, if my bag turns out to be empty, I have no choice but to endure the monotonous and bland school lunch. 


"I wonder," I thought, "if Sam brings a packed lunch today, maybe he could share some of it with me." I couldn't help but smile at the cheeky idea.


However, my thoughts were interrupted by the growling of my stomach, reminding me that I was already feeling hungry since I hadn't even had breakfast yet.


I let out a deep sigh. Pushing myself further in, I went past the island where I had left my bag and approached the lower counter where the pantry was. Scanning through the boxes below, I searched for my favourite cereal box. Finally, I found it and picked it up, placing it on the island.


With hunger pangs growing, I walked towards the fridge to grab some milk. But to my dismay, I realised it was nowhere to be found - just like my father's habit of being absent from my life. Annoyed, I cursed under my breath, "Damn it!" I cried as I slammed the fridge door shut. "And I was looking forward to the marshmallows too." 


Jane was supposed to go shopping yesterday, but she forgot. Now, I had to settle for something else to eat. The only acceptable option was my mom's diet crackers with peanut butter - a perfect combination that would satisfy my hunger.


As I excitedly ripped apart the crinkly packaging, the floorboard let out a slow creak and in walked Jane. 


Jane passes by me without as much as a glance in my direction. Her eyes are on the coffee maker sitting at the corner of the counter, where she placed her mug below its dispenser. I watch as Jane rummages through the jar on the other side of the machine, searching for those tiny cups filled with coffee or hot chocolate mix that are to be used to make a hot beverage, “Don’t even try to ask me what those are. I have no clue,” Although Jane can be a hard person to deal with at times, especially in the mornings, she remains a constant and comforting presence in our home. She has always been like a second mother to me and our brother Mike, from preparing meals to helping us with our schoolwork. Her admirable qualities have earned her much respect and admiration, but her morning grumpiness has also given her an unflattering nickname.


After her coffee poured, she grabbed the sugar jar and headed towards the fridge, only to realise the same thing I had a few minutes ago.


The sound of frustration reverberated through the house as if it were trying to escape her body. Her voice shook with irritation as she yelled out, "Dammit! Seriously, we're out of milk again!" The exasperation in her tone was palpable as she threw her hands up in the air, balled them into tight claws, and paced back and forth.


I couldn't help but smirk as I finally spoke up, enjoying the moment. "If you had gone to the store like you were supposed to yesterday, we wouldn't be in this predicament." I popped another cracker into my mouth as I spoke - savouring the taste of it.


Her response was immediate and sharp, cutting through the silence. "Shut the flip up, Oliver! You're the one who uses the entire bottle for your two measly bowls of cereal every morning!"


I knew she had a point, but that didn't stop me from defending myself. "It's not my fault if the bowls are small!" I shouted back, trying to justify my actions.


"The bowls are fine! You just drink too much milk," she retorted, her frustration mounting with every word.


I could see her irritation growing, but I couldn't resist getting in one more jab. "No, I don't!" I insisted, my voice rising in defiance.


"Oliver, you're so annoying! Don't you see I just woke up, and I'm already upset because of you!" she exclaimed, her tone laced with irritation and exhaustion.


Now fuming, I left the house, slamming the door shut behind him. My mind was racing due to the fight with Jane, and I couldn't help feeling agitated and upset. I quickly put on my hat and waited for the bus to arrive, hoping to forget the situation.


As I stood there, lost in my thoughts, I suddenly saw a yellow school bus entering the neighbourhood. My heart sank as I remembered that Tyler, the notorious school bully, was due to return from suspension that day. I knew that Tyler held a grudge against me and couldn't help but feel a sense of dread at the thought of facing him again.


Desperate to avoid confrontation, I hastily put on his headphones and turned up the volume, hoping to drown out the world around me. However, as I stepped onto the bus, I could feel Tyler's piercing gaze from the back of the bus. I met Tyler's stare, and the look he gave me was one of pure malice, like a death stare that sent chills down my spine.


The first few minutes on the bus were the most nerve-wracking for me. Sam, my friend I had mentioned earlier, wasn’t here yet, and Tyler's behaviour was unpredictable. I knew Tyler could lash out at any moment, and I was on edge.


Finally, the bus stopped in front of a house that I recognised. I waited anxiously for the doors to open and let Sam in. Finally, Sam boarded the bus, wearing a brand new coat with the words "Cave Camp" emblazoned across it. He sat beside me, a smile on his face.


"Hey, Oliver!" Sam greeted me warmly. "You don't look to be yourself today. Is something bothering you?"


I sighed, feeling annoyed by the altercation with Jane earlier that day. "Yeah, I'm just a bit annoyed. Anyway, I see you've got a new coat. What's it about?" I asked, trying to change the subject.


“Oh, yeah! I haven’t told you about him yet. They are this cool singer I like, his artist's name is Cavetown. I got into their music a few weeks ago! I can’t believe I haven’t told you about him yet,” He exclaimed, “Here, give me your phone. I have to show you a song of theirs!”


I gave out a sigh as I smiled and rolled my eyes. I reached for my phone out of my pocket and handed it over to Sam's eagerly waiting palm. I didn't even need to unlock it for him. Sam had done things like this so many times that he practically knew all my passwords by heart, and I had no shame in keeping them from him. I took out one of my earphones and handed it over to Sam.


I couldn't help but smile softly as I watched Sam's grin grow goofier by the second. He stuck his tongue across his right cheek and said, "This is my favourite song! What do you think?"


"Sam, the song just started. Let me listen to it first," I chuckled.


There was a brief pause before and after Samuel apologised for his excitement to show me the song.


"Hmm," I hummed as I started to get lost in the song.


"So, what do you think?" Sam asked.


"It's good. Too good. It's very calming. I can imagine myself falling asleep to this," I said as I started to feel a little dizzy.


Sam laughed quickly. "Yeah, I felt like that too when I first heard this one."


"What's it called?" I asked.


"Hazel, do you like it?"


I laughed. "I said it was good, didn't I? Of course, I like it," I grinned. "Heh, I love how I can always count on you to find the good stuff."


As Sam and I became deeply engrossed in our conversation, we suddenly heard a commotion behind us that we hadn’t noticed before. It sounded like someone was furiously banging their fist on the wall of the bus. A voice belonged to a man who was enraged about something boomed throughout the bus, catching us off guard. We could feel the tension in the air as the man’s voice echoed through the small chamber of the school bus, causing everyone to stop and stare.


“Oh no,” we both said in unison, as we turned around to see whoever the poor unlucky soul was to piss off Tyler. As we peered over our seats back, we saw him yelling towards a somewhat tall, chubby-isk red-headed kid.


The poor soul was the new kid.


“You wanna know something, you red-headed freak? No one takes my seat. Especially a soulless ginger like you! Go rot in hell!” yelled Tyler.


Tyler then proceeded to push the kid across the bus violently, and he banged their head on the floor near me. It was hard to tell at first, but they were crying.


"Hahahah." Tyler laughed with malice in his voice. "Now, you’ll think twice before messing with me, soulless redhead." He spat.


I don't know what happened, but I got furious at Tyler. Even though he scares me, I did something no one has done before. 


I tried to fight back against him.


"Shut up, Tyler!" I yelled, "You're the only soulless person here!"


Tyler looked at me with disgust and even more anger. He just finished crossing his legs, and he sat down. He let out a grunt as he began to get up again.


After that stunt, Everyone On the bus looked at me. Tyler stared into my soul with the eyes of someone who was going to murder me as the ginger kid took refuge at my feet.


"Seriously, Smith?" he chuckled, "I thought I had taught you better than this?" Crack, his knuckles said.


"Well, I may as well teach you again. Maybe you'll learn your lesson this time,"


He ran towards me but stumbled as the bus abruptly stopped, causing everyone to lurch forward, except for the new student and Tyler.


"Enough," the bus driver exclaimed, "Tyler, get off my bus!"


Tyler stood up from the floor and brushed off his pants. "Why would I do that?" He asked, his tone filled with even more anger.


"If you don’t exit the bus immediately, you will be suspended from using the bus service for a month. Please leave the bus now."


Tyler stood there, ignoring the bus driver's demand, and scoffed again. "God, he loves scoffing so much. Tyler does it all the time." I thought to myself as I tried to add commentary.


I attempted to take my eyes off Tyler until the bastard decided to speak again.   


"I'm not going anywhere, and there's nothing you can do about it, you old hag." He smiled, revealing his sharp, disgusting teeth. Here's something you should know about Tyler - For as long as I've known him, his heart and attitude have always been as cold as the world outside.


The bus driver let out a growl as he got up from his seat - Mr Victor then proceeded to walk towards the back of the bus. And you could see a little fear in Tyler's eyes as he scrunched down to avoid his stare.


"Get off," scowled the bus driver. I couldn't hear what Tyler said next, but I saw the driver grab the back of his shirt, similar to how adult cats pick up their kittens by the collar. 


I couldn't help but chuckle, and many other kids did.


The enraged driver dragged Tyler towards the entrance. With a sudden jerk, he flung Tyler out of the bus, causing him to lose balance and fall on the cold, snowy ground. His head hit the ground hard, sending a chill down my spine. The onlookers were shocked as the driver drove away, leaving Tyler lying outside in the snow. In a state of excitement, some kids rushed to the back of the bus, hoping to get a better view of the scene outside and probably finally get to sit in the back for once.


I felt a moment of pride for standing up to Tyler, but it quickly vanished as someone tackled the back of my shirt and jacket. I turned to see it was Sam. Damn, I had forgotten he was here.


"Ollie! Are you crazy?!" he argued. "Why did you do that? Has the cold air finally frozen your brain?!"


"Don’t scare me like that again!" he whined as he hugged me tightly.


I chuckled and apologised to Sam, but my attention moved again as someone else spoke up.


The soft and shaky voice of the new kid pierced through the silence, interrupting my thoughts. I quickly adjusted my position and turned to face them. 


"Ollie, was it?" they asked. 


"Yes," I replied, "My name is Oliver." 


Their name was Alex. They seemed hesitant and nervous as they rubbed the back of their neck. "Um. I wanted to thank you for what you just did," they said. "Back at my last school, no one had ever tried to help me when I was in trouble or danger." They giggled and continued, "Thank you for helping me out just now." 


I felt a sense of empathy towards them as they shared their past experiences. It made me happy to know that I was to make a positive impact on someone's life, even if it was just a small act of kindness.


Oddly enough, I didn't feel cold at that moment. For some reason, I felt warm inside. It was as if my heart paused for a second before starting to beat rapidly.


I just stayed there. As I watched and listened to Alex apologise to me for the awkwardness. They then went to find a new empty seat in the back of the bus.


“School is going to be weird today, isn't it?"


The bus slowly wound its way through narrow roads, stopping at every corner to pick up the remaining students. Finally, it arrived at our school, and amidst the hustle and bustle of the crowd, Sam and I got off, ready for another day of learning, or not really.



As we approached the entrance of the building, Alex managed to catch up with us and restarted our conversation from the bus. We chatted about the usual things, like how our weekends and what games we played.


As we entered the crowded hallway, I couldn't help but feel overwhelmed by all the noise and commotion around us. I let out a sigh and groaned to Sam, "Ugh, I already have a feeling that as soon as Tyler spots us, he's going to kill us!"


Alex added, "Yeah, Tyler didn't seem too happy about being kicked off the bus, or at least that's what I could tell as we drove away."


Sam almost stumbled over his words for a moment, lagging, but he quickly caught up and said, "Don't worry, you two! I'll protect you!" He grinned and pulled his baseball bat out of his backpack.


Sam and I have known each other for a long time. A fun thing about that is when we were younger, we used to play a game out in the woods. We would get one of our plushies to be the villain who would leave a hangman game with hints to find keys one of our parents hid for us. Sam's roleplaying character always had a baseball bat as his weapon, and I had a sword.


As we approached our classroom, one of the assistant principals called out to Alex.


 "Alex Anderson?" she called, "Can you come here for a moment? The main principal would like to speak with you." Alex looked a little confused but eventually agreed and nodded, waving us goodbye.


We entered the classroom alone without them, and the first fifteen minutes of class flew by, but there was still no sign of them returning. My mind began to race with worry, wondering if something unexpected had happened to them on the way to class.


Sam noticed my worry, and he reached out to rub my arm. "Hey, Ollie, are you okay?" he asked. After sighing, I whispered back, "I'm scared, Sammy. I'm worried about Alex. What if Alex was called to the office because Tyler somehow got there before us and lied to Principal Sampton?" I stuttered, "He might have told him something to make it seem like Alex was in the wrong like he did with Stacy and Michael!"


Samuel only sighed. "Oliver," he said, removing his hand from my arm, "they'll be fine. Principal Sampton knows Tyler better now. He wouldn't fall for something like that again."


Sam and I had started rereading our assigned class workbooks that our teacher had asked us to. And just as always, I just didn't want to do it, so I let my attention get sidetracked as I changed my focus towards the world outside our classroom window that faces the inside of the hallway.


And I couldn't help but notice that Tyler and Alex had stepped out of the principal’s office.


Feeling anxious, I tapped on Sam’s shoulder and asked:


"What's going on?"


Samuel looked up and out the window as well before tilting his head. "I don't know?"


We began to question things as the teacher became aware of us chatting and yelled:


Oliver! Samuel! No talking, you’re supposed to be studying right now, not talking!”


Sam arrived back from his study session looking quite nervous. I attempted to focus on my assignment, but the constant commotion in the hallway kept distracting me. I noticed Tyler's parents entering the office. But they left rather quickly afterwards.


A little while later, the bell rang.


“Alright, that’s the lunch bell.” Our teacher said, “After lunch. Today, we’ll go outside, and if you go to the cafeteria. We’ll be distributing water bottles for the forest walk.”


Sam and I stepped outside and approached the principal's office. We stood next to the door, nervously waiting for our turn to speak to the principal. The air was still. As we waited, we exchanged a few words in hushed tones, hoping to calm our nerves and prepare ourselves for what was to come.


When the door opened and Alex stepped out, we rushed to them.


Samuel was the first to yell something out as we did:


Alex! Is everything okay?” He asked, “What happened?”


Alex looked down, clearly a little upset and confused. “I don’t honestly know what happened. It all happened fast.” They said, “All I know for a fact is that Tyler got both detention and grounded, and he seems pissed off about it.”


“Oh,” Sam said, “Well, you don’t have to worry about a thing. I’m here now in case he comes to try and get revenge or something!” He began to trail off.


“Heh,” Alex laughed, “Thanks Sam. I was a little worried that he might do that.”


We all paused, confused until Alex broke the silence. 


“Oh yeah,” They said, “The Principal wants to talk to you two as well.”


I raised my brow, “Really, what for?”


“I don’t know, but I’d probably go ahead and see what he wants.”


Both Sam and I nodded our heads in agreement and entered the office.


“Ah, you two are already here?” Mr Sampton said, “Good, I needed to talk to you too as soon as possible.”


He said: “Oliver, I understand that sometimes justice needs to be done, but that was not the adequate way to give it.”


“But Tyler was hurting them. I felt bad, and I acted without thinking. I cannot let Tyler bully people like this.” I yelled.


“I understand. Friendship can be strong, but it’s our job to handle people like Tyler, and attempting to do that job could get you injured, and we don’t want this to happen, right?” He said in a tone.


And I just wanted to get this over with, sighed in response as I said. “Yes, Mr Sampton.”


“That’s all I wanted to say. Now go eat your lunch.”


After shaking the principal’s hand, I left the office and went to the cafeteria with my friends.


As I walked into my school's cafeteria, the chaos that awaited me was overwhelming. Tyler and his unruly group were up to their usual shenanigans, hurling plates and food in every direction. But something was different today - the atmosphere was eerily calm, almost too quiet for my liking. As I queued up with Alex and Sam at the counter, I couldn't shake the feeling that something was amiss. We quickly grabbed our plates and approached the table farthest away from Tyler's notorious spot, where he and his cronies usually sit. As we settled down, I noticed Tyler staring at me with a gaze that could pierce through my soul. Feeling uneasy, I spoke up with a trembling voice:


“I don’t like the way Tyler stares at me,” I said, “It scares me.


Alex looked up from his plate and up at me and said. “Well, he is mad at you right now due to this morning.”


“I wouldn’t be surprised if he tried to do anything about it.”


"He should have been suspended!" Sam exclaimed. 


"I can't believe the principal let him off with just detention. He deserved more than that." 


Trying to lighten the mood, Sam turned to Alex and asked, "So, tell us a bit about yourself. What do you like to do?" Alex shrugged. 


"Nothing special. I listen to music, draw, and go for walks. That kind of stuff."


 "I love to draw too!" I exclaimed. "Can I take a look at your sketchbook?" 


Alex smiled and reached for their bag. 


After rummaging around inside for a moment, their expression turned to confusion. 


"That's weird," they said.


 "I had it with me before getting on the bus. I was even drawing at the bus stop." 


Sam's face suddenly became serious. 


"Is your sketchbook red?" he asked. Alex nodded. "Yeah, why?"


 Sam leaned in and said, "Take a look at Tyler's bag."


Alex was petrified when they saw their precious sketchbook in Tyler’s bag.


“No!” They screamed, “How did this happen?! How did he get my sketchbook!”


They quickly went and grabbed me by the shirt. “Please, Oliver! Help me get it back!”


Alex! I am not getting in trouble again!  There’s probably a way of getting it back, don’t worry.”


Then the school’s bell rang, and the principal entered the cafeteria. Everyone’s attention landed on him.


"Students, please be prepared for the upcoming school trip. We will be walking in the nearby forest, so please pack what is necessary in your bag. One by one, please go to the principal to get a water bottle before meeting in front of the school. During the walk, you will be in groups of three. You may choose who you would like to be in a group." Mr Sampton announced.


“Looks like we will all walk together!” I laughed.


We got in line for water bottles, and when my turn came, I said. “Mr Sampton, Tyler stole Alex’s sketchbook.”


“Thanks for sharing this. I will see Tyler later.”


After getting outside the building, I quickly put on my coat and surveyed the area. Tyler was a few meters away and caught my attention. He had Alex's sketchbook in his hand and was placing it in a dirty and worn bag. I couldn't help but notice that the pencil case he had with him was also in a sorry state.


“Why would Tyler need a pencil case to walk in the forest?” I asked my friends.


“I have no idea. Tyler can be pretty weird sometimes. But I am worried since he has Alex’s sketchbook.” Replied Sam.


At the school's entrance, we saw a line of buses. We made sure to watch Tyler's board first. So we wouldn't end up on the same bus. The cold made me shiver, despite the layers I had on. I noticed Alex forgot their scarf.


I paused and sighed.


“Here,” I took off my scarf. “You can have my scarf if you want, Alex.”


“Thank you, Oliver.” They said, “For everything today.”


And there.


There it was again, that warm, fuzzy feeling in my chest towards Alex.


We all sat in the back seats to be calm. I was at the right window, Alex was next to me, and Sam was at the end of the seat. The bus started, and we left school.


The buses were all behind each other in the streets of the town. It was pretty chatty inside. Some people were listening to music, some were chatting, and then Sam tapped on my shoulder.


“What?” I responded.


“Wanna see something cool, Ollie?” He whispered.




Sam pulled his phone out of his pants.


“How on earth did you manage to bring it without being caught? As you may or may not know, you can’t have phones in school during activities! Only music players like iPods are allowed. We need to bring them to the principal when the class starts.”


“Easy! I stole my brother’s old phone and gave that one to the principal!” Sam exclaimed.


“Do you know we don’t have a cell connection where we are going?” I mentioned.


Sam shrugged, “Yeah, I know, Ollie. But it’s still cool, right?”


Then I noticed Alex hadn’t spoken since we got on the bus. They seemed worried.


Alex, is something wrong? Is this about your sketchbook? I promise you, you’ll get it back. I told Mr Sampton about it already.” I said, placing my hand behind their back and rubbing.


Then Alex started crying and put their hands on their face.


“It’s too late! I’m never going to see my sketchbook ever again! I use this sketchbook as my diary. He’s going to read it and make fun of me all year! “


“Hey there, everything’s okay! Like I said, I told Mr Sampton. He had your sketchbook. He will speak to him once we arrive! Your sketchbook will be okay!”


As Alex was crying inconsolably, I attempted to comfort them by giving them a big hug. During the embrace, I glanced over their shoulder to the back window of the bus next to us, where Tyler was seated reading Alex’s sketchbook diary. Tyler caught my gaze and gave a smile that seemed to suggest he knew why Alex was crying. I didn't want to draw attention to him and continued holding Alex close, doing my best to calm them down. It took some time, but eventually, Alex stopped crying, though they were still a little shaky. I held onto their hand to offer some reassurance. 


As I did so, I noticed that Sam had also seen Tyler with the sketchbook and was looking at me with worry. I silently acknowledged his concern and continued to focus on Alex.






Chapter Two - A Tussle Amongst The Trees.


As the bus came to a halt, we knew that we had finally arrived. The excitement among us was palpable as we got up from our seats and formed a line to exit the bus. Stepping outside, we found ourselves in a beautiful clearing that boasted a picturesque picnic spot with a sturdy wooden roof and several tables. It was a welcoming sight after our long journey. 


As we looked around, we spotted Tyler emerging from his bus. He gave us a sly grin that made us all feel uneasy. Nevertheless, we put on a brave face and made our way towards the picnic spot. Once we arrived, we quickly sorted ourselves into groups and took our seats at the tables. I decided to sit next to Sam and Alex. Alex was still looking quite stressed from the situation.


“May I have all your attention, please?” Mr Sampton shouted.


“We will go into the forest in groups. And we will follow the ones you had on the buses. Each group will follow one of two paths. We will have a picnic at the end. And take the opposite paths to go back here. Bus one and two will go first: One will go on the left, and two on the right. The same goes for the rest of the groups!”


“Oh no,” Sam exclaimed, “We are in group two, and so is Tyler’s bus!”


“That means he’s going to come with us!” He said.


“B-But, won’t he be going on a different path from us?” I asked.


“I-I don’t know,” Sam answered.


Alex remained quiet. I attempted to communicate with them to discern their needs. A premonition of impending doom lingered within me, and unfortunately, my intuition proved accurate. Tyler, with the sketchbook, grasped tightly in his hands, suddenly climbed onto a nearby table and bellowed out a loud yell:


“Hey, you three!” He said, “I got some great news for you!”


“I found this sketchbook in the hallway with Alex’s name on it.” Tyler laughed with a disgusting smile as he pointed towards it, “And it turns out it’s that soulless ginger’s diary!” 


He changed his pointed finger from the book over to Alex’s.


Alex froze with fear as they looked up at him.


“And it turns out this freak is gay!” 


Alex gripped my hand tightly. I was powerless. Tyler was cruel, but I never thought he would go that far.


“A-And you know what’s even crazier? That freak has a secret crush on none other than Oliver Smith!”


“And look! They are even holding hands?!”


The sudden hush that enveloped us was deafening, and I found myself frozen in place, unable to comprehend what had just happened. In the blink of an eye, Alex had fled into the dark and foreboding woods, tears streaming down their face. My heart plummeted into my stomach, and I felt a jolt of panic and apprehension surge through my body. 


As much as I wanted to listen to what everyone else was saying, it all sounded like ringing, white noise.


All I was capable of thinking of right now was Alex. I left and ran away to where they went. 


As I ran, I heard Tyler yell behind me. It was the only sound I could make out of anything else.


“Get back here you. FREAKS!”


I quickly turned to look over my shoulder to scan him.


He took out the pencil case from his bag and opened it.




And it was a knife.


I darted through the dense forest with all the speed my legs could muster. I could hear a faint voice calling out my name from behind, but I couldn't stop or turn back. Instead, I bellowed Alex's name with all the air in my lungs, hoping for a response. But the only sound that echoed back was the eerie silence of the forest. 


My heart was racing, and I was so focused on escaping that I didn't pay attention to where I was going. Suddenly, I tripped over a protruding branch and tumbled headfirst into the icy snow. As I struggled to get back on my feet, a sense of unease began to fill my mind. It finally dawned on me that I was lost and completely alone in the middle of the vast and foreboding forest.


Alex!” I yelled, “Where are you!”


Alex! Are you here?!” I yelled again.


As I stood there in silence, not a soul in sight, I noticed snowflakes beginning to descend from the sky. Panic set in as I realised the only hope I had of returning to safety was to follow the path I had taken and retrace my footsteps in the snow. Without hesitation, I started to run in the direction I had come from, hoping to find my way back before the snow covered my tracks.


“Fucking, Damnit, Oliver.” I whined to myself, “You’re such a fucking idiot, why did you take off like that?”


“Can’t you do something right only once? No, you always get yourself in trouble.”


Alex is going to be hurt and even possibly killed because of you.” I cried.


Then I heard something echoing faintly in the distance. I recognised Alex’s voice. I stopped and immediately ran in the direction of where I heard Alex. The voice became louder the more and more I came closer. It was Alex crying. Then I saw them. They were sitting on the ground crying. I ran to them and hugged them, crying as well.


Alex!” I shouted, “Alex? Are you okay? Has Tyler gotten to you already? Are you hurt anywhere?” I cupped their face in between my hands.


They cried, “O-Oliver?”


“Are you mad at me?” They asked.


“No, are you okay?”


“Yeah, and yes, he did get to me, but I managed to lose him.” They said as they tried to wipe away their tears. “We are going to get out of this, right?”


“Yes, don’t you worry about a thing, Alex?” I said, attempting to help them clear them away.


I sighed before attempting to put on a smile. “Come on,” I patted them on the shoulder as I stood up, “Let’s follow my footprints and try to get back to the picnic.”


I helped Alex to get up. We turned around only to see that the footsteps were gone. They were covered by the snow that was falling. We were lost, and Tyler wanted us dead. 


“What are we going to do?” Alex asked.


“I don’t know,” I responded as I tried to sound confident, “L-let’s just try and find our way to the picnic spot.”


“Come on, Alex.” I grabbed them by the hand, “Let’s go home.”


We looked around to see if we could see something, a voice, a sound, something, but there was only the sound of the wind whistling in the trees.


We started walking where we thought we were coming from, but the snow was already falling fast and had covered everything, and we were scared.


Oliver?” Alex asked.


I turned my gaze back over to them, “Yes, Alex?”


“I-I’m cold and scared.” They said. They held my hand firmly, and I felt it becoming colder through their glove.


I paused for a moment as I sighed. “I-I am too,” 


I stopped and looked up into the sky past the still, mostly leafed trees. “The sun is setting, we should hurry.”


“The nights here go well below -60 degrees, and with that wind, it’s cold enough to take both of us if we don’t come back fast…”






Chapter Three - Alone Together.


It was almost dark. We were so cold and terrified, and we had no lights at all. Alex was holding my hand so hard that I couldn’t even feel it. 


“I’m sorry,” Alex said.


“What?” I asked.


“This is all my fault,” Alex cried, “It’s my fault Tyler is after us, and it’s my fault we’re lost.”


I paused, “No, it’s not Alex, and you know that perfectly well. It’s Tyler’s fault.” I said as I turned around to look at them face to face. “Don’t put yourself down like that again, alright?”


Alex said nothing but blushed before they let out a laugh.


“Well, at least if I die.” He blushed, “I’ll die with you by my side.”


Then I blushed.


“D-Don’t say that, Alex,” I whispered. I could feel them tighten their strength around my wrist. “We’re going to find our way home, either on our own or when they find us. We will make it out of here.”


As we walked through the darkness, we spotted a familiar shape - a snow-covered abandoned house. Its door lay on the ground, so we decided to enter.


The inside was cold. There was not much, but there was an old bed blanket. Somebody slept on it recently, as seen in the old beer bottles. And to my surprise, a fireplace with some wood still left inside.


“Oh!” Alex exclaimed, “I know how to start a fire. I learned how to do it when I was still a Boys Scout.” They claimed as they approached and bent down in front of the fireplace. “Let me try and start it..”


I did nothing to try and stop them as I stood near the doorway.


“Alright, Alex,” I said.


They then proceeded to grab a stick and an old wooden plank, and then. They got something out of their pocket. A Swiss army pocket knife.


“I’ve had it since I was thirteen, it belonged it my dad.” They smiled as they stared into the fireplace.


As I watched them I walked over to the mattress and sat down. I watched them dig a small hole in the plank. Alex then started to roll the stick fast in the hole, I could see them concentrate.


“It usually takes a bit before a spark appears.” They said.


They were rolling the stick for a few minutes. And I could already smell some smoke, and then I heard a noise. A growl, Alex stopped with their fire and looked through the window, that’s when we saw a bear.


Alex was terrified, they tried to speak but I covered his mouth with my hand. We needed to be silent. The bear was huge. I could see its eyes glowing in the dark. It made a terrifying roar. I could feel Alex trembling in fear and holding me as much as their muscles could.


The bear got closer, and as it, did it roared a second time. I could see its warm breath making fog. 


I suppose this is the end. Being eaten by a bear lost in a forest with someone I’m probably in love with.


But then it happened. Something I would never in my entire life have predicted.


“Don’t you touch them!” Yelled a masculine voice. We both could recognise it.


Then we heard something hit the bear hard. It turned around, leaving us alone, and then I saw him. It was Tyler. Yes, the one that bullied me during all my childhood, saving my life.


Tyler had a long and rusty metal rod in his hands. He began to fight the bear. There were repeated paw hits and metal pipe noises. Meanwhile, I and Alex were still inside the house, and this fight went on for a long time.


“Is he okay?” Alex asked.


I said, “I don’t know. But I’m cold.”


Alex went back to the chimney and attempted to start the fire a second time. I smelled the smoke again, and this time, a light. the fireplace quickly began to light up. We were safe.


Alex?” I asked.




“ I like you. You’re a good person.” They blushed.


“You’re a good person too.” I blushed.


We looked at each other’s eyes, and I could see the reflection of the fireplace in their eyes. They grabbed my hand, and it felt warm and comforting. We slowly approached our faces and then had a long and warm kiss. It felt good. It felt warm. It felt real.


“I love you, Alex,” I said.


“I love you too.” They replied.


Then we saw flashlights.


“They’re in here!” A voice shouted out.


Then the noises stopped. Both Tyler and the bear fell on the ground one after another.


The police were there along with the forest ranger. They had flashlights and everything. They shot at the bear and grabbed Tyler, still unconscious. Then they went inside the house and put blankets on us, and then the teacher arrived, along with my mom and presumably Alex’s Mom. My mom rushed to me crying, and so did Alex’s.


“Sweetie, Oliver!” She said. “There you are, my boy. My son. I was so worried.” She cried, cradling me in her arms.


“Mom?” I asked, “Can we go home now?”


“Of course, sweetie.” She smiled.


I then ran over and made a big hug to Alex, and then we went to the forest ranger’s car. It stopped at the school. There was no one in here. But our parent’s cars were in the parking lot. We got out of the car and went to our lockers.


Alex sighed and smiled, “What a long, stressful day.”


“I know, today was awful,” I whined.”But, at least it wasn’t so awful.” I said as I reached for Alex’s hand.


“See you tomorrow, Oliver.” They smiled.


“Have a good night, Alex.” I smiled back.


We got outside of the school and went to our respective cars. I climbed into my mother’s car and closed the door behind me. 


“I really need tonight’s rest.” I thought to myself. “Maybe if I’m lucky enough, Alex will be in my dreams tonight.”






Chapter Four - Three Days Later.


My eyes felt heavy- As I awoke to my alarm clock. 


I let out a groan as I lifted myself from my bed, expecting to be attacked by the cold air around me, but I wasn’t. Instead, it felt warm today.


“I guess Mom or Jane must’ve finally gotten the air conditioning fixed,” I said as I headed over to the desk to grab my phone again.


I scanned my notifications for a moment until I noticed I had a text message from a conversation app that I use to talk to my friends. I quickly tapped on it to see who it was from and saw it was from a username I didn’t recognise. I read the part that made it make sense.


It was a message from Alex -


Their  text message read as such:


“Anyway, how are you today, Oliver? :3.” I smiled with a slight blush on my face.


I quickly typed back, “I’m good. How are you today?”


Good too! Can’t wait to see you on the bus today.” Their text said.


“Same haha.” I texted.


They only sent back an emoji with a cat smile and tongue.


I laughed as I set my phone down and headed towards my closet to get dressed for the day. I scanned through it and pulled out a green t-shirt with black bars with text on it. The text read: “I can’t believe I paused my game for this.” and then grabbed black jeans.


I headed down to the kitchen. And I was about to scan the kitchen for food when I heard the bus coming. I quickly check my phone and see it's later than I thought.


I then quickly go to grab my bag and head towards the bus. When I enter the bus, everyone becomes silent. I start to hear chatter about me. This silence ends pretty soon as Sam rushes to me and yells:


Oliver! What the hell happened?”


I hummed, “Well, it’s kind of hard to explain. We kind of got into a sticky situation.” I explained.


Sam raised his brow, “What kind of situation? Did you get into trouble?


“Well, I got lost in the forest, but then I found Alex. And we found an abandoned house in the woods, and well-” I ended my sentence with an embarrassed voice.


“Well?” He asked.


“We kissed.”


Sam froze, and I could only assume it was because he was having trouble processing what I said.


“W-Well, if you two are happy together, then that’s all that matters,” He said happily.


“Oh! And we also fought a bear!”


“WHAT?!” He exclaimed, “You fought a bear?”


“Nope.” A voice shouted out, “I did.” The person said with a grin.


“Wait, what?” Sam asked, “You saved them? But I saw you run after them with a knife?” 


Tyler didn’t say anything right away. But nodded and said, “Yeah, you missed a lot of stuff yesterday, Sam.”


“That’s what you get for not following us.” He said.


“Wait, So. What does that exactly mean then? Are you guys friends now?” Samuel asked, confused.


Tyler sighed, “I-I don’t know, but we’re most likely not enemies anymore.” He said.


And then he paused, “I-I’m sorry. About what happened yesterday.” He said, “It gave me time to reflect on myself, and I’m sorry for all the mess I’ve caused you two over the years since we first met.”


I think I speak for both me and Sam when I say we were taken aback by Tyler’s claim of redemption.


“Oh,” Sam exclaimed, “Well, that’s- Surprising of you, Tyler.” He said.


“But, you’ve always been searching for trouble.” He stated before another pause. “How could you just change in a single night like that?” He asked, probably doubting Tyler’s words.


Tyler sighed as he thought. “Well.”


“I think it’s time to come clean about something. Something that I’ve never told a soul about. Not even people that I thought were cool.”


“The reason why I behaved the way I did.”


Tyler pulled up his left arm’s sleeve and revealed a large compression bandage. When he revealed this to the bus. It was surprisingly calm once more, and there was no chatter.


And everyone was focused on Tyler’s arm.


“It was my dad.” He claimed.


And then continued, “He always yells at me!” He whimpered, “He always tells me I’m a failure. And that I’m good for nothing. He gets angry about every little thing I ever do. And he puts so much pressure onto me that the only way I saw of staying calm was to push my anger onto others.”


“But yesterday, I realised it was all just one spiral loop that never ends. I realised that I couldn’t continue this behaviour anymore. I can’t force my problems onto others anymore.”


“I want to change. I want things to be better.”


“I want to be better.” He cried.


The bus fell into silence again. This silence broke when the bus stopped. And Alex entered.


We both blushed at the sight of each other.


No one said a single thing. Until a random kid in the back, now that it was free yelled, “Hey! There’s the gay couple again!”


And another one yelled out, “When’s the wedding!”


There was little laughter in the back until Tyler cried out for them to shut up.


Alex walked over to the three of us and sat down. They didn’t say anything as they sat down, embarrassed by the current events.


Sam entered the conversation again sheepishly. “Hey Alex, it’s fine. Don’t listen to those guys.”


“T-Thank you, Sam.” They said, “What is Tyler doing here?”


“I’m here to apologise. I understand if you don’t want to forgive.” He sighed, “I just wanted to give this back to you.”


He pulled a red sketchbook out. It was Alex’s diary.


“Oh!” Alex exclaimed, “Thank you.”


“I promise. I didn’t change or ruin any of your drawings.” He said, “In fact, I like your style. It’s cool.” 


Alex blushed out of embarrassment, “Oh, thank you- Again.”


“No problem.”


The four of us fell silent.


It took three more stops for someone to speak up again, and it was Sam.


“Oh yeah, Oliver.” He said, “I found more songs!”


“More? Already??” I asked. “Yup!”


“Come on! Hand me your phone!” He grinned as he shook me to get it.


I sighed as Tyler laughed.


As me and Sam started talking about the music he was showing me, Alex and Tyler ended up having a conversation together. And it stayed like that until we arrived at the school.




Keep Quarking...