Highly Commended Story - Adventure to Nowhere
“Adventure to Nowhere” by Seth Phillip Gaugler, Katy Christian Academy, USA, is the Highly Commended story in the senior category of the second biannual Short Story Contest 2019.
Seth Phillip Gaugler is 15 years old and a sophomore at Katy Christian Academy in Katy, Texas. Seth enjoys writing fiction, computer programming, playing chess, and video games. Seth recently won 2nd place in the chess tournament at the ACTS convention in Lufkin, Texas. His future ambitions include getting a Computer Science degree and to publish a book.
Adventure to Nowhere
I knew she wanted something from the moment she walked into the room; not that there was a problem with that. I’ve asked for things from her before, sure. But I was always reasonable with the things I asked for; I never pushed the limit.
She might be my friend but she’s just a bit... much. I’ve never been the adventurous type, I like the expected, I like knowing what’s going to happen. Not her though, she’s unpredictable, the wild card. I’ve never been able to tell what she was planning; she is indeed the one variable in my life that I don’t quite understand. But she had this look it her eye that gave me a bad feeling. She said, “pack your bags, we’re going on an adventure.”
Of course, we were.
I knew it was going to be absurd, I just knew it. And I could have easily told her no. But... she has never led me astray before and I’ve always trusted her. So, I’ll follow her to the ends of the earth if I have to, and from the looks of it, I just might.
* * *
So here we are in the middle of a desert.
I’m not even sure how we got here! And while we’re walking through this million degree weather, I finally ask her the question I’ve been thinking this whole trip “Where are we going?” She looked back and just smirked at me “You’ll know when we get there.”
Well that’s just great! I’m traveling through a desert with a crazy woman, and I don’t even know where we’re going! Why do I put up with this? I would like nothing more right now than to crawl into my bed and take a decades long nap. Then I see her reach the top of a sand mound and proudly proclaim (to no one in particular) that she is the queen of all that she sees. I’m swift to point out that there’s nothing to see for miles except for sand. She just laughs and dismisses the comment.
How can she be having so much fun right now? I’m tired, I’m hungry, I have sand in my everything. Just generally miserable. But there she goes, practically skipping across the sand, which in and of itself is very impressive. She may be adorable but I swear, this girl is going to be the death of me.
* * *
Finally, after wandering in the desert for what felt like hours, we found civilization. It wasn’t anything grand, a town with a population of probably around six thousand. But it was night when we got there so we went and found the closest bed and breakfast.
When I saw the bed it nearly brought me to tears. I could practically see the open arms inviting me to come and rest. I swear when I hit the bed, I heard angels singing in the background. So, when morning came, we found a café to “recharge” as she put it.
We sat down and I asked her for the umpteenth time “where are we going?” She looked at me for the longest time without saying anything. Almost as if she was having an internal struggle whether she was going to tell me or not. “Let me worry about where we’re going, just enjoy the journey,” she said as she downed an entire cup of coffee in five seconds.
I still don’t understand why she can’t tell me where we’re going but I guess I’ll stop prying. Maybe she’s right, maybe I should start enjoying myself.
We traveled for a few more days after that. We ventured through a forest so thick you could barely see the sky through the trees. I probably tripped three dozen times on random roots that were just sitting there doing absolutely nothing.
But she would always pick me up off the ground and we would laugh about it after. We journeyed through a valley that was both beautiful and terrifying at the same time. We almost died when a rock just decided to come loose and almost fall on us for seemingly no reason. TWICE! But we made it through, we prevailed.
We somehow found ourselves in a tundra. I should really start paying attention to how we get into these situations. It was everything I imagine it would be. Cold.
After everything we have gone through, we eventually made it; our final destination. It was a city, it didn’t look significant, but I did notice something that really stood out to me.
It had an airport!
“We came all this way when we could have just flown here!” I shouted at her in complete and utter confusion. She just smiled at me and said, “I told you, we were going on an adventure, right?” “Right.” I replied. “Well I had fun during our adventure, didn’t you?”
She patted my head, laughed, then started to make her way to the airport. I stood there contemplating what had just happened. I traveled halfway across the world for nothing? I could have stayed home and gotten so much work done!
Was there really no point to this journey at all? But as I saw her turn around and signal me to follow her, I had to admit. I did have a little fun.