The forest – part 2 of 4
Fantasy, horror, gay coming of age
After a good start, strange noises in the night and odd rock statues leave the hikers deeply unsettled.
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The forest – Part 2
Ten minutes after discovering that their camp had been surrounded by rock dildos, the trio had repacked all of their belongings into their metal-framed backpacks ready to set off for home. Their conversation was muted as they pondered the meaning of the sculptures.
Hugo unzipped the front of his pack to take out his phone. He didn’t expect a signal that far away from town, but on the off-chance that he might still get one, he wanted to double-check their position on his GPS app. The phone was not where he thought he’d left it. He searched the other front pocket, then the two pairs of side pockets. It was in none of them.
“Hey, have any of you guys picked up my phone?” he asked.
“Nope,” Finn said, and Sam shook his head.
Hugo opened the main compartment of his pack and slowly emptied it onto the ground, laying his gear out methodically, and carefully checking that the phone had not somehow been wrapped in an item of clothing. He even looked inside the cartons of food. Soon, he was absolutely positive that it wasn’t anywhere in his gear. He patted the pockets of his cargo shorts, although he was certain that he would already have felt the weight. He even unfurled his sleeping bag and shook it, but it was nowhere to be found.
“Would you guys check your gear to make sure it hasn’t gotten mixed up in your stuff somehow.”
Finn and Sam followed suit, going through their own gear with the same thoroughness.
Sam was the first to make a disturbing discovery.
“Hey my phone’s gone too!”
They both looked to Finn.
“Don’t look at me like that. I didn’t take them” he protested.
He continued going through his gear, emptying it on the ground beside Hugo’s. Soon, it became apparent that he was not hiding their phones.
He swallowed hard and looked intensely at Hugo.
“What? What’s up Finn?” Hugo asked.
“My phone’s gone too,” Finn replied, his voice strangely flat as he struggled to hide his fear. “Hue, how could someone do that? Get into our camp and take our phones, and leave all that Blair Witch shit around?”
Hugo looked solemn.
“I dunno, but I think we’d better pack our gear up quickly and get the fuck away from here.”
They repacked quickly and shouldered their packs. Finn kicked and stomped the last of the fire out while Hugo and Sam did a quick sweep of the clearing in search of their phones.
“Nothing,” Hugo said, rejoining Finn by the stream. “Not a sign of them. Course, someone could have just thrown them in the pond and we’d never know.”
“Fuck it, let’s just get out of here Hue. I just wanna get back to civilisation at this point,” Finn said.
“Yeah, me too,” Sam agreed.
Hugo nodded and they set off back along the stream.
Three hours later, Hugo pulled out his map and studied it.
“We should have reached that decline ages ago.”
“What decline?” Sam asked.
“The hill, where the stream fell through the rocks. You said it looked like mini-rapids, remember?”
“Oh yeah, I do remember. That slope killed my legs.”
“Yeah, mine too. But it was less than two hours from the camp, and we’ve been walking gently downhill almost the entire time. We should have got there even quicker.”
“Did we miss a fork in the stream?” Finn asked.
“I don’t see how we could have. I mean, we’ve been walking right on top of it the whole time.”
“What do you want to do?”
“Let’s take a break and see if I can work out where we are.”
The three friends sat down and pulled out their canteens which they had filled with water from the stream before setting off from their camp. Hugo studied the map closely. On the large scale, the landscape was easy to read; mountains west, and a long very gradual decline over the course of 20 miles to a valley containing their town of Carver to the east. More mountains north, a major river between them and town, running north to south and a highway running parallel to it. But on a local scale, there was almost nothing to distinguish one part of the forest from any other. Hugo looked at his watch, and the built-in compass indicated that they were indeed facing east. But other than that, there was no way of telling how far they’d travelled.
Eventually, Hugo sighed.
“Look, I don’t know exactly where we are. We’re still headed east, and we haven’t crossed the Wash,” he said referring to the river. “That runs all the way to Hanning City 40 miles away so we can’t go past that without knowing it. I suggest we keep on walking until we find something we recognise. Even if we come out on the highway way south, we can always follow it north back to town. Or camp right on the edge of the road if needs be. I’d prefer that to spending another night in the forest wouldn’t you?”
Finn and Sam looked at each other. Neither of them wanted to find out who had laid the boner rock piles, or what message they were intended to convey.
“Yeah,” Finn said. “Agreed.”
They continued walking for another two hours then Hugo saw something that made him stop. He frowned and gestured.
“Hey did you guys see that?”
“What?” Sam asked.
“The air kind of shimmered. Like heat haze but all around us.”
“Nope,” Finn said. “Didn’t see a thing.”
“Nor did I,” Sam confirmed.
Hugo looked around and he saw something to his left that disturbed him even more.
“Buff over there. This shouldn’t be possible.”
“What do you mean?” Sam asked.
“Those steep rocks, that looks like the base of the mountain. That means the stream is running uphill. That’s impossible.”
“But we can see it’s running downhill. It has been the whole time,” Finn said.
“I know but still, there’s the buff. And we should be way down the slope, far from the mountains by now. We should go up there. Climb the rocks. We can get out bearings if we get above the treetops.”
They walked up to the steep rock face. It inclined upwards at a 70-degree angle, and rose at least a hundred yards before angling backwards out of sight.
“This is much higher than the trees. At last, we can finally get our bearings,” Hugo said, certain of his plan and relieved that they would soon be able to get a positive fix on their location. Follow me, keep your weight forwards, don’t rush, and for fuck’s sake don’t fall!”
His two companions followed as Hugo carefully ascended the sandstone buff. They climbed in silence, conserving their breath as they made their ascent. After a while, the angle of ascent shallowed and then they emerged onto a flat area dividing two buffs. They walked onto the safe terrace, and Hugo scanned the terrain in a wide arc behind and below them. Then he stopped dead, and his blood turned to ice.
“What the fuck!”
He was looking to the west, where, far off in the distance was their town.
“Is that… is that Carver? But, how can we have crossed the Wash? Or the highway? And how have we come so far?”
Finn looked and said nothing, his brow furrowed. Hugo rubbed his temples. He was starting to feel a headache building. He felt as though reality was warping. What he was seeing was impossible. There was no way they could have become that turned around in the woods, especially as they had followed the stream for a good deal of the way.
“I have no idea Sam,” Hugo said, controlling the fear that knotted his stomach, “but if we walk along this ridge, we should be able to keep town in sight all the way back.”
He worked hard to stay calm for the sake of the others.
“I dunno how far it is away,” he continued. “I’d guess maybe seven miles. We can do that in well under two hours.”
Sam turned to Finn.
“What do you think Finn?”
Finn seemed withdrawn and his eyes had taken on a fixed stare, as though he couldn’t believe what he was seeing. Seeing the normally cocky older boy looking shellshocked was unsettling to Sam.
“I don’t know what to think. There’s no way we can have covered a whole day’s walking in three hours AND crossed the highway and the Wash. None of this makes sense. I feel like I’m going crazy. Like none of this can be real.”
Sam tried to encourage the older teen.
“I know what you mean, but I think Hugo’s idea is best don’t you? At least we can keep Carver in sight the whole way. That sounds like a good thing huh?”
Finn looked at him slowly and Sam could see that the boy was really not handling the situation well. He looked remote and distracted.
“We’ll do that then, huh,” Sam affirmed, not waiting for an answer.
He turned back to Hugo and the older boy nodded.
At 19, Hugo was the oldest of the group. In two years’ time he’d be too old to be a Venture scout so he was training to be a Scout leader and he was the calm voice of reason that everyone always turned to.
“Sam, why don’t you take point, Finn in the middle and I’ll go last okay? Keep well away from the drop, and keep Carver in sight the whole time.”
Sam nodded and they started walking.
In an effort to distract them and lighten the mood, Hugo started talking about a pool party they had all been to earlier in the summer. Everyone at the party was older than Sam, and it made him feel ten feet tall to be invited. He chatted with enthusiasm about the day, and a girl whom he had hit it off with. They’d had a three-week fling before parting as friends.
Hugo talked about the other girls too, and about another boy, James getting stripped naked and thrown in. Sam laughed as they remembered the incident. Eventually, even Finn joined in.
“I got it on with Cara at that party.”
Sam turned and grinned.
“You and Cara? Cara!”
He puffed up his cheeks to confirm that they were both talking about the same girl. To say that Cara was a big girl, would be like saying Michael Jordan wasn’t bad at basketball.
Sam made an immature fucking gesture, pumping his right index finger into his left fist.
Finn grinned and nodded.
“How could you?”
“Carefully. With ropes,” Finn joked.
“Awww, now that’s cold. Now I feel bad for her,” Hugo said grinning.
Finn turned to him with a cheeky grin.
“Hey fat chicks like to do the nasty too you know!”
“Lucky that you were there to help then huh?”
Sam returned his attention to the path smiling to himself. He was so grateful that these guys had taken him under their wing. He almost said something sappy, but he bit it back. He wished that he could tell them how much they meant to him without seeming dumb.
Ahead, the air momentarily shimmered for the second time. He waited to see if anyone else would mention it, and when they didn’t, he ignored it. The last thing he wanted to do was creep Finn out again.
They continued walking for another hour before the terrace came to an end. The town of Carver was closer, but not as close as Hugo has hoped. They had closed the distance by about a third. That meant it was still likely more than ten miles away. He couldn’t figure out how they could have walked so far past their target.
He looked up the steep walls of the buff ahead. They extended up a lot higher and at a steeper angle.
“Too dangerous to try to climb. We’ll have to drop back down, but so long as we keep the rocks to our right side, we’ll hit the highway soon or later,” he said.
“We already missed the highway once,” Finn said.
“Yeah, but this time we’re staying close to the bluff. I don’t think we can pass it again,” he said with certainty that he didn’t feel.
Neither Finn nor Sam was thrilled to be going back to the forest level, but the logic of Hugo’s plan was sound. If things got weird, they could always climb back up the rocks.
They scrambled carefully back down the buff, tiredness and apprehension weakening their legs. Their former forced light-heartedness diminished the nearer they got to the tops of the trees and then below.
Then they were back to the forest level. Sam was relieved to discover that the forest felt lighter; airier here, and the sounds of birds in the branches was much more pronounced. He smiled.
“What’s up?” Finn asked.
“Just the birds. I didn’t notice them earlier.”
The others didn’t even need to concentrate to hear the thronging sounds of life in the tree branches.
“Oh yeah,” Finn said, “Funny how you don’t normally notice them.”
The mood returned to its lighter tone, and they continued heading west along the bottom of the buff. Despite their positive mood, they were still leery of wandering back into the trees.
After 45 minutes, the buff took a sharp almost 90-degree turn to the left, as though cutting off their path. They couldn’t see how far it continued in that direction, but there was a gap in the rock face that looked as if the rocky cliff had cracked apart millennia ago, and had long-since weathered smooth on its exposed faces.
Hugo looked at the crack. It was easily eight feet wide, continuing in the same direction they had been walking. Although he could not see how far it extended, it was bathed in daylight as far as he could see.
“I say we carry on going straight through,” he suggested. “You guys okay with that?”
Finn and Sam nodded their assent and the party continued on into the wide crevice.
20 feet along, it opened into a large chamber. You might have described it as a cave, except there was no roof. But there were ancient paintings covering the walls.
“What the fuck?” Finn said.
“They look like cave paintings. Prehistoric people used to make them,” Sam said.
“And Native Americans,” Hugo added. “But I never heard of any in this part of the country before. Guys, this could make us famous!”
They examined the paintings. They formed a mural that circled the sunny chamber. In every picture, they depicted naked people of two sizes. The larger ones all had lines radiating out of them.
“They’re dancing,” Sam said.
“I dunno,” Finn mused. “They’ve all got boners.”
Hugo made an observation.
“I think it’s some kind of sex ritual. To make the crops grow or shit. Look, there’s some pictures of the sun,” he said pointing to multiple suspended orbs also with lines radiating from them.
“There’s no women,” Finn said.
“No. Maybe to help the hunt then?”
They studied the paintings more closely.
“Hey look, the little ones are giving dick statues to the bigger ones,” Sam said.
“Oh shit. Let’s get out of here Hugo,” Finn said.
They passed through the chamber continuing west, and they found themselves in a second roofless chamber where the murals continued. These were raunchier. Some of the stylised figures were sucking each other off, and others knelt on all fours while they were fucked, the stick erections between their legs indicating that they were enjoying it.
“It’s a fucking gay orgy,” Finn said.
“Yeah, looks like it,” Hugo agreed.
But Sam was no longer interested. He’d seen something that drew his attention. Resting on the ground to the north, lay his phone.
“Guys,” he said in a cautious voice. “My phone.”
Finn and Hugo instantly turned to him as he stepped forwards tentatively and picked it up.
“Are you sure?” Hugo asked.
“Yeah, it’s in my Fallout 4 case.”
“Has it got any charge left?”
Sam pressed the side button and the screen flickered to life.
“Yup plenty. But there’s no signal. There’s a video on pause.”
Finn and Hugo gathered round, looking over Sam’s shouders.
“Play it then,” Finn said.
Sam pressed the play button and the video resumed. It was zoomed in on his own face. He was grinning wildly, then the camera swept downwards to reveal his hard dick in his fist. It measured no more than four inches long; way below average; but he was pumping it frantically and laughing as though jacking off was the edgiest thing in the world.
“You dirty motherfucker. Who’d you send that to?”
Sam dropped the phone in horror and it landed face up. His face bore an expression of shock. He stepped away from the device.
“I didn’t take that. I don’t do sexting. You never know who’s gonna share them.”
“Then who…?” Hugo asked looking at the screen.
The camera panned around to reveal the clearing they had camped in the night before. The fire burning brightly. Then it showed Finn and Hugo, and they were both jacking off as well. Finn was dancing around laughing, making exaggerated pumping gestures on his nine-inch erection, while Hugo had formed a tube between both fists around his more modest dick and thrusting his hips as though having intercourse with his hands.
“What the fuck? That never happened!” Hugo said, picking the phone up.
Then the video changed, to show the three laughing boys all fucking their rolled up sleeping bags, their bare asses rising and falling.
Before they could cum, the scene changed again. Sam was on his knees while Hugo slammed his boner repeatedly into his hole.
“Go on Hugo, fuck him harder!” video Finn called, laughing, on the other side of the pair.
“That never HAPPENED!” Sam screamed.
He was outraged at the idea that he would allow himself to be used like that.
The phone was recording from a low vantage where it could take in Sam’s happy reaction. He noticed with disgust that the video version of him was hard, and was clearly enjoying being reamed in the firelight. His video cock bounced and twitched, clearly eager to cum. Precum started to drool from it, swinging like a sparkling pendant as Hugo fucked him. He started to moan like an over-acting porn star. Hugo gripped Sam by the hips and he fucked the 16-year-old harder.
Sam’s cock spat its seed, discharging a huge load of surprisingly thick spunk up past his head onto the ground in a series of massive and powerful squirts, and at the same time, Hugo also noisily came, filling his hole, and moaning as he did so. His spunk dribbled from Sam’s hole.
In the darkness, more moaning voices filled the air.
The moaning seemed to fill the cavern, bouncing off the walls. The atmosphere was balmy and intoxicating.
“That never happened! That never happened!” Sam screamed. “I wouldn’t. There’s no way. I’m not…”
A lump grew in his shorts.
“Turn it off! turn it off!”
Hugo offered the phone to Sam. The sound of orgasmic moaning from the phone bounced off the cavern walls. Sam looked at the phone in horror and staggered backwards until he fell onto his butt on the sandy ground. He realised that both Finn and Hugo were also hard. Finn’s erection was impossible to miss.
“Your dicks are hard!” Sam said in horror, as though expecting his companions to jump him at any moment.
“So is yours,” Finn said.
Sam looked down at himself, dismayed by the lump he saw between his open knees. An expression of horrified confusion distorted his features.
“But I’m not gay. That never happened. It didn’t!”
“Sam,” he said in a soft voice, “Sam, we know it never happened. We’d remember. There’s no way dude. There’s something crazy going on here. Someone’s messing with us.”
“But how could they even know we’d come this way? And what about us crossing the Wash and coming so far?” Sam babbled “And the paintings and the noises?”
“He’s right Hugo,” Finn said. “There’s no way this is just people messing with us. There’s something totally fucked up happening man.”
Hugo thought about it for a few seconds.
“You’re right. This is fucked. Supernatural maybe. Let’s get out of here and get back to town as quick as we can.”
He stepped towards Sam who was still sitting on the ground, and Sam scooted fearfully away from him, until he was stopped by the wall.
“Sam, dude, have I EVER done anything to hurt you? Even an unkind word?”
He offered Sam his phone but Sam drew his hands away as though it was radioactive.
“I don’t want it.”
Hugo stopped the video, but the after-echo of orgasmic grunting seemed to linger in the cavern.
He offered a hand and Sam stared at it as though it was a snake that might strike at any moment.
“Sam,” he said softly, “you can’t stay here. It’s not safe. We’ve got to keep going.”
Sam timidly accepted the outstretched hand and Hugo gently pulled him back to his feet. Sam looked even more emotionally scarred than Finn had just a few hours earlier. He leaned close to Hugo’s ear.
“Hugo, I’m terrified,” Sam whispered trembling.
“Yeah, me too,” Hugo admitted, looking him in the face with an expression that said that they were brothers in arms.
Sam reached behind and felt his butthole to see if it was sore. It wasn’t.
Hugo watched him.
“It never happened buddy,” he reassured.
“But that was me!”
Sam looked at him with big, scared puppy-dog eyes. Hugo hugged Sam, careful not to let their boners touch and held him tight offering the sort of comfort that a big brother might provide. He held him in his embrace for 20 seconds, before parting.
“Someone’s fucking with us Sam. Come on, we’d better get going,” he said kindly.
They headed towards the western opening in the cavern. They could see the forest beyond.
“Hugo one more thing,” Sam asked in a small voice.
Hugo put his arm around Sam’s shoulders and hugged him as they walked.
“What’s that Sam?”
“Who was holding the phone?”