The Wild, Part Three

Looking over the side of the raft, Michelle could see the outline of the plane sitting on the bottom of the lake. It couldn’t much more than fifteen or twenty feet down. An easy dive, in warm water but the lake was anything but warm. She felt a shiver work up her spine just looking at the clear water.

Without a thermometer handy, she could only guess at the temperature outside, but she thought it was in the mid-fifties. Definitely not swimming weather, especially since it was probably in the lower forties overnight.

She felt Samantha’s eyes on her, and she glanced at the girl. She was touched by the concern in the girl’s eyes, and she smiled as reassuringly as she could. Samantha gave her a tentative smile and said, “Are you sure we need to do this?”

“Yeah,” Michelle said, sighing heavily. She stripped out of her shirt, then wriggled out of her jeans. As the chilly summer air found her bare skin, she shivered. She hadn’t even made it into the water, and she was already cold. Glancing at the girl, she said, “There are things down there we really need, else I wouldn’t be here shivering my tits off.”

“I know,” Samantha said, then grinned, “I’m just starting to like you. I don’t want to lose you now.”

Michelle carefully moved close to her and gave her a lingering kiss, “Not a chance.”

Before she could lose her nerve, Michelle sat on the side of the raft, then slipped backward into the freezing water. It was a shock to the body and her breath caught in her throat. She had to force the air from her lungs when she surfaced and sucked in another breath greedily. Hyperventilating, she held onto the raft until she managed to catch her breath.

She ducked under the water, kicked hard toward the bottom of the lake. The water was so cold that it sapped her energy, but she made it to the hole torn in the fuselage. It was a shock, seeing the faces of her dead classmates and she had to fight the urge to scream. The horror of it nearly knocked the wind from her lungs, and she had to look away or drown.

Glancing back at their swollen faces bobbing in the slight current in the plane, she wasn’t sure she could do this. Her heart ached for all the poor souls trapped in their seats, her classmates and teacher. She wanted to scream again, not in fear but rage that so many young people had been taken by the storm and lake.

She closed her eyes until she had herself under control, then told herself to keep her eyes straight ahead. Easing into the whole in the plane, she was glad the sun only found its way into the porthole windows at a weird angle, revealing the cabin just enough to navigate and helped mute the nightmare all around her.

She used the seats to pull herself deeper into the plane until she was in front of the cargo webbing that held their baggage. Her fingers didn’t want to cooperate, made numb by the cold and the horrors all around her. Finally, she managed to unhook the net and grab the pelican case that contained the class project.

Making her way out of the plane, she swam for the surface, relying heavily on her legs to get her there. The trunk made it hard to swim, and she was gasping for air by the time she broke the surface. Samantha hauled the case into the raft, then held out her hand.

Michelle shook her head, sucked in a few deep breaths then bobbed under the water, again. She swam through the hole in the side of the plane, then made her way to the back. Digging through the pile of luggage, she found her backpack, slipped in onto her back. She dug deeper, looking for Samantha’s bag. She remembered it had Snoopy on the front because she had been annoyed that she and Samantha liked something the same.

There was a clock ticking in her head, and she was about to give up on finding the bag when she spotted it. Snagging it, she swam out of the plane. Again, she had to keep her eyes straight ahead, else the horrors around her would weigh her down. Survivor’s guilt tugged at her heart, even though she knew there wasn’t anything she could have done for them.

She cleared the plane and realized she might have pushed her luck too far. Her legs felt leaden, unresponsive. The cold had completely sapped her strength, and she struggled to ascend through the blue-green water. She gritted her teeth and made her body keep moving.

Her lungs were burning, and she was still a few feet down. She was kicking but not moving any higher. It was like the water was pulling down on her, wanted to claim her like it had her classmates. She fought and raged but couldn’t seem to get anywhere. She could see the boat but couldn’t reach it. Her hand stretched toward the surface as her lungs heaved. She couldn’t hold her breath any longer.

Samantha’s hand darted into the water, snagged her hand. The cold water relented and Michelle broke the surface, gasping raggedly for air. She clung to the raft, too tired to get out of the water. Samantha took the bags from her and tossed them into the boat, then hooked her hands under Michelle’s arms. Together they managed to get the girl into the raft. Michelle lay in the bottom of the raft, shivering.

Samantha pulled off her shirt, drying Michelle off as best she could. Michelle wanted to do it herself, but her body wasn’t listening to her. Her motor skills seemed to be slipping, and she knew that was an early sign of hypothermia. She relented and let Samantha helped her back into her clothes, then wrapped the space blanket around her shoulders.

Michelle’s lips were blue, and she was shivering so hard she was almost vibrating on the rubber bottom of the raft. She was okay with the shivering because she knew if it stopped then she was in bad shape. Her father had taught her the symptoms of hypothermia and the stages the body went through on its way to the cessation of breathing and ultimately cardiac arrest.

Her thoughts were a little sluggish, but she thought she was okay. Still, she wasn’t out of the woods, yet. Samantha needed to get her to shore and next to a fire as soon as possible.

As Samantha rowed them ashore, she felt her eyelids getting heavy and she kept having to force them open. Each time it took more of herculean effort, and she knew it was a losing battle. It was a matter of time before she slipped into unconsciousness.

It spooked her how fast hypothermia was setting in. She forced herself to sit up straighter.

“I’m not doing too good,” Michelle said, a little concerned by how slurred her voice sounded.

“We are almost to shore,” Samantha said, worry written all over her face.

“I think I overdid it,” she said.

“Yeah, you did, asshole,” Samantha said, making Michelle laugh. The girl grinned at her.

“Can you keep talking to me? I don’t want to go to sleep,” Michelle said.

“What do you want to talk about?” Samantha said, rowing faster.

“You,” Michelle said.

“Me?” Samantha said, blinking in surprise.

“I think I’m falling in love with you,” Michelle said, her head getting too heavy to keep up, “and I want to know more about you before I pass out.”

Samantha looked at her funny and Michelle tried to rewind what she had said. Her thoughts were fuzzy around the edges, but she thought she had just told Samantha she loved her. It wasn’t exactly a lie, but she hadn’t meant to say it.

“Um,” Samantha said, still giving Michelle that funny look, “what do you want to know?”

“I didn’t mean to say that,” Michelle said, wondering if she had enough blood in her face to blush.

Laughing, Samantha asked, “So you aren’t falling in love with me?”

“I’m just saying I didn’t mean to say it,” Michelle said, then realized that wasn’t a denial, “can we pretend I didn’t say it?”

Samantha gave her a warm smile and said, “I don’t know. I’ve never had a girl tell me she loved me before. I think it’ll be a long time before I forget it.”

“Great,” Michelle said, shaking her head. Her vision swam, and she decided she probably shouldn’t do it, again.

She glanced at the girl and saw her smiling. Samantha hadn’t freaked out about Michelle’s accidental admission, so maybe she was feeling it, too. The smile seemed to say so. Or maybe it was Michelle’s hypothermic mind seeing what it wanted to see.

“So what did you want to know?” Samantha asked, rowing the boat.

“What do you like? Movies, music… Those sort of things,” Michelle said, then added, “the real you. Not the preppy cheerleader.”

“Hey, I like cheering,” Samantha said, laughing, “that part isn’t fake. I like hanging out with the girls and cheering our team on.”

“You look good in the uniform. I’ve always thought that,” Michelle said, then blinked at her response. Again, it was the truth, but she hadn’t meant to say it. The cold was making it hard to filter her thoughts and gate between her brain and mouth seemed to be wide open, letting everything out.

“Really?” Samantha asked, amused. She seemed to realize Michelle was a little out of it.

“Great legs,” she said, meaning to say that one. She managed a grin for Samantha.

“Smooth talker,” Samantha said, laughing.

“What else do you like? Besides cheering,” Michelle said, her head dipping forward. She didn’t know if Samantha responded or not because she slipped into unconsciousness…

Only to snap awake as their little raft pushed ashore. She opened her eyes and saw Samantha stepping over her and onto the bank. The girl managed to muscle the raft out of the water and onto the bank, no easy feat with it weighed down by the bags and Michelle’s dead weight. She wanted to help the girl, but her body just wasn’t into it.

Samantha came to her side, helped her out of the boat. Michelle was a little embarrassed by just how much help she needed. The girl all but had to lift her out of the boat. With her arm around the girl’s neck, she leaned heavily on Samantha as they began shuffling toward their camp. Just keeping her legs moving was a matter of will. Her body wanted to give up and lie down, but only her determination kept her on her feet.

As they passed their old camp, Michelle thought they should have built a fire here. She hadn’t thought about it at the time, and she kicked herself for the lack of forethought. She looked up the winding path that led to their new home, and it was a daunting trek.

They only made it another fifty feet before her legs gave out completely. In a response to the cold, her body had pulled all the blood from her extremities to keep her core warm, and her legs were numb. She tried for her feet again but couldn’t regain them.

Samantha scooped her up like she was a new bride, grunting at the effort. Michelle was impressed as they started shambling toward the cave. The girl was stronger than she looked.

“You are one tough chick,” she said, or was pretty sure she said. Things were getting kind of hazy around the edges, and she thought she was going to pass out, again.

“Years of cheerleading,” Samantha said, smiling, “good for the legs.”

“So they are functional and not just pretty?”

Samantha laughed and said, “I guess they are.”

“I’m sorry you have to carry me,” Michelle slurred, her eyes drooping closed…

…She came to again when she heard Samantha say, “What the hell?”

Opening her eyes, she saw sad wisps of smoke coming off their dead fire. Frowning, she wondered why the fire was dead. They had built it up before leaving, so it’d still be burning when they got back. It shouldn’t be dead.

Then she saw their water bag had ruptured, flooding the fire pit and putting out the fire. The thin foil must have been weakened by the repeated heating and cooling and had finally given way. Michelle didn’t blame it, since what they had been using it for wasn’t what it had been designed for. Still, it had picked a very inopportune time to die.

The cave was still warmer than the air outside, the rock walls acting as thermal mass and giving up the heat they had stored while the fire was going. Still, she had stopped shivering, and she knew from what her father had told her that when you stopped shaking, your body could no longer warm itself. She needed the fire in a bad way.

Samantha laid her on the platform, smoothing the blanket around her. Her eyes were full of concern as she said, “I’m going to gather something to start a fire with.”

Michelle nodded.

“Just hang in there, okay?” Samantha said.

“Hanging,” Michelle slurred.

That didn’t do anything for Samantha’s worries, and the girl hesitated to leave her. There were tears in the corners of her eyes. Finally, she made herself leave Michelle’s side and head out to find the materials to make a tinder bundle.

Alone, Michelle fought to stay awake. Those little lapses of consciousness she had had scared the hell out of her, and she didn’t want to slip into another.

She heard the scrabble of loose rocks at the entrance to the cave and thought Samantha was back already. Instead, she found Blue looking at her. Her heart started racing, and she knew she couldn’t fight the wolf off in her weakened state.

Blue whine and pawed the rock at the edge of the cave. Her eyes were full of concern, a curious emotion on the wild animal’s face. Michelle blinked, realizing Samantha wasn’t the only girl worried about her.

“Come here, Blue,” she said, opening the blanket.

The wolf hesitated, still standing outside the cave. She seemed to understand the cave was off limits, to recognize the boundaries of their relationship. Her beautiful blue eyes found Michelle’s and the girl nodded. Like the footing was unsure, Blue came into the cave cautiously. She looked at the smoldering fire nervously, then at Michelle. The girl nodded again and Blue came to her. Sniffing her, Blue whined anxiously.

Michelle wondered if the wolf could smell her condition. They say dogs could smell sickness in humans, and she wondered if it were true of wolves. She figured it was since wolves and dogs shared a common ancestor.

Mewling, Blue licked Michelle’s face, a show of affection and concern that seemed weird from a wild animal. It seemed more appropriate for a pet. Still, it made Michelle smile.

The wolf stretched out beside Michelle, and the girl snuggled against her for warmth. She pulled the space blanket tight around them. The crinkling of the foil made Blue nervous, but she didn’t run away. She had put her trust in Michelle, for better or worse.

“Good girl, Blue,” she slurred. The wolf settled down when it realized the crinkling foil wasn’t a threat to her well-being. Just a nuisance.

The warmth of the cave and Blue’s body heat were slowly thawing her out. Slow was good, she thought. Her father had said it was dangerous to warm a hypothermia victim too quickly, but she couldn’t remember if that was only for severe cases or more moderate cases like hers, as well. There was something about not heating the extremities, but her brain was a little fuzzy around the edges, and she couldn’t recall why.

There was the scrabble of loose stone at the cave entrance and Samantha appeared. She stopped just inside the cave to blink at Michelle and Blue. Recovering from the surprise, she grinned and said, “I’m gone ten minutes, and you already have another girl in your bed. For shame.”

Michelle managed a smile for the girl.

“It’s okay, Blue,” Samantha said, sitting by the fire pit, “I’ve got her now.”

The wolf looked at Samantha, her ears pricked. Smiling, Samantha nodded at the mouth of the cave, “Scram, Blue.”

Michelle pulled back the space blanket, and the wolf scrambled to her feet. She paused to lick Michelle’s face before sauntering out of the cave. Michelle watched her go, feeling a fondness for the strange wolf.

“You know,” Samantha said, carefully building her tinder bundle, “no one is going to believe this story when we make it out of here.”

She couldn’t argue with that statement. She barely believed it, and she was a part of it.

Samantha had her tinder bundle assembled and found the battery and wire. She glanced at Michelle and crossed her fingers. When she shorted the positive and negative leads of the battery with the wire, the thin copper started to glow an angry red. She pressed it to the dried grass and strips of bark she had gathered, and it began to smoke almost immediately. A few more seconds and it caught fire. She put some small sticks around the bundle, then gently blew until the flames began to build.

Michelle felt the first tingling in her legs as circulation began to return to her extremities. It felt like her legs had gone to sleep and were just waking up. Only worse. Then the shivers were back, her whole body twitching uncontrollably. She knew the shivers were a good sign, no matter how miserable they made her. She was rattling the blanket, she was shaking so hard.

With the fire going, Samantha came to her, slipped under the blanket with her. The girl held her as she shivered violently. Michelle was glad she was there, some small comfort in her misery. The symptoms of recovering from hypothermia seemed a hundred fold worse than the condition itself. The shivering, the pins and needles in her legs and arms, the bone-deep ache all over her body. So much discomfort after just a short dip in the lake.

She was beginning to wonder if it had really been worth it. Right now, she’d have to say no. Hopefully, she wouldn’t feel the same when she was recovered.

—————–

From where she sat on the platform, Michelle watched Samantha as she went about cooking some of the deer meat they had harvested from the fawn Blue had killed. She had enough blood in her face again to blush as she remembered telling the girl she loved her. It was even truer now than when she had accidentally said it, but she still wished she could put that particular cat back in the bag.

It was a little scary how fast she was falling for the girl. She’d never felt anything like it before, didn’t even know she could feel like this. Her heart knocked around in her rib cage in something akin to a panic. She was in love with a girl. Of all the things that had happened since the plane crash, this was the one thing she was ill prepared for.

A week, she thought, shaking her head. That was how long it took to go from general animosity to genuine affection for the girl.

She took a deep breath to get herself under control before the girl turned around and saw her blushing. She wasn’t sure how successful she was.

She felt she should say something but, at the same time, hoped if she didn’t mention it, again, it would just go away. The problem was, she didn’t think it was going to go away. Not for her and probably not for Samantha. The girl had been surprised at first, then amused when she tried to take it back, but there had been something in her eyes, in the curious smile Samantha had favored her with in the boat.

Sighing, she said, “Samantha… About earlier. You know, when I said I was falling in love with you…”

“Don’t worry about it. You were a little loopy,” Samantha said, letting her off the hook. The girl looked at her and smiled. Her eyes lingered a little too long, and she looked away in a hurry. Samantha tucked her hair behind her ear nervously, fiddled with the meat cooking over the fire.

Michelle looked at her for a long second, wondering if she was reading the girl’s reaction right. She had never been good at this sort of thing, still she thought she had seen something. Something that had set her heart to racing in her breast. She swallowed hard, started to say something but panicked at the last second. Maybe she had imagined it or misread the look. She’d look like a fool.

But what if I didn’t misread it, she thought, wringing her hands in her lap. She noticed what she was doing and stuffed her hands under her thighs before they gave her away. She couldn’t remember ever being this nervous before.

She thought about how the girl had looked at her yesterday at the lake, the warm smile she had favored Michelle with. She had thought then the girl might have feelings for her. Thinking about the girl lying naked in the sun, so beautiful kissed by the golden rays, she felt some of her reservations fade away. Looking like a fool was bad but letting the opportunity slip by because she was too scared to say anything would be worse.

“Samantha,” she said, making the girl finally look at her. Taking a deep breath that didn’t do anything for her nerves or her courage, she just went for it. Her voice was a little shaky as she smiled shyly and said, “I hadn’t meant to say it… Which isn’t the same as not meaning it.”

The girl gasped in surprise, her eyes wide. Her heart was racing as she waited to see what the girl would do, how she’d react. For a breathless moment, Samantha just stared at her, making her insecurities rear their ugly head. Her heart sank to her knees, and she tried to draw a breath to say she was just kidding or something equally lame but couldn’t get one past the knot in her throat.

She doesn’t feel the same, Michelle thought.

Then Samantha came to her and kissed her deeply. Pulling back, she smiled at Michelle and said, “I was kind of hoping you had meant it.”

“As weird as this feels to say,” Michelle said, laughing, “I love you, Samantha.”

Samantha laughed and kissed her, again. Shaking her head, she said, “It’s been a crazy week, huh?”

Michelle felt a little let down. The girl hadn’t said it back. Still, she felt buoyed because the girl hadn’t run away or laughed at her, either.

“I got on the plane not liking you very much,” Samantha said, crawling onto Michelle’s lap, “and four days later, ended up loving you… And all it took was a plane crash to make it happen.”

“Yeah?” Michelle asked, meeting the girl’s eyes. She saw the truth of it before the girl even opened her mouth.

“Yeah,” Samantha said, smiling, “I wouldn’t have carried your heavy ass here if I didn’t love you.”

Laughing, Michelle said, “You know, I think people might believe the wolf story before they believe we are in love.”

Samantha wrapped her arms around Michelle’s neck, grinning as she said, “I don’t know. One look at the goofy grin on your face and I think they’d believe it.”

Her cheeks turning crimson, Michelle said, “Hey.”

The girl leaned in and kissed her deeply, said, “I love you.”

Unable to keep the goofy grin off her face, Michelle said, “I love you, too.”

————————————————

Michelle was back in the lake, again, its green water freezing her to her very soul. She was kicking and flailing her arms, but she wasn’t getting anywhere. Something had a hold of her ankle, holding her back. Looking down, she saw the eerily glowing face of Mr. Hanley floating just below her. It was his hand around her ankle, clutching at her desperately. She kicked at his hand, but he had her ankle in a death grip. She had to get free, or he was going to drown both of them.

Looking past him, she saw her classmates forming a ghastly daisy chain all the way back to the plane on the bottom of the lake. All their eyes were on her, pleading for her to save them. She screamed in horror, thrashing to get free of them. Their eyes went from pleading to condemning in a blink, and she felt guilt weighing her down even more than their combined weight.

She couldn’t squirm free, trapped just under the surface of the water. Mr. Hanley gave her a wicked smile and said, “Join us, Michelle. It’s dark and cold down here, but you are still warm.”

Gasping in horror, she sucked cold water into her lungs and…

Woke up coughing and gagging on the taste of the lake water in her mouth. She sat up on the platform, trying to draw a breath. It took her a long moment to realize it had been a nightmare, that she wasn’t actually drowning. Only then did the restrictive band of panic around her chest release her and she sucked air greedily into her burning lungs.

Her thrashing had awakened Samantha. The girl saw the fear on Michelle’s face, saw her struggling to get herself under control. Samantha wrapped Michelle up in her arms, held her tightly. Michelle clung to the girl, needed her warmth to help dispel the coldness of the dream.

“What? What is it?” Samantha asked, meeting Michelle’s eyes.

Taking a deep breath, Michelle said, “A nightmare. One helluva nightmare.”

“Do you want to talk about it?” Samantha asked.

Michelle shook her head, said, “No. Just give me a minute to shake it off.”

“Did it,” Samantha said, then hesitated before going on, “have something to do with… The plane?”

Her eyes widening, Michelle asked, “How did you know that?”

There were tears in Samantha’s eyes as she said, “When you passed out… You were talking in your sleep. Kept saying ‘Oh, their pale faces’.”

The color blanched from Michelle’s face as she remembered the way the sun filtering through the green water had made the faces of her dead classmates seem to glow. Samantha saw it, and the tears began to flow as she hugged Michelle tight enough to squeeze the air out of her. Michelle felt tears slip down her own cheeks, and she wondered if she’d ever forget what she had seen at the bottom of the lake.

They stayed like that a while until they were both cried out. Wiping her eyes, Samantha met Michelle’s eyes and said the thing she needed to hear the most, “There was nothing you could have done.”

“I know,” she said, with a sad smile.

Samantha looked at her for a long moment, then nodded. She offered Michelle her hand and Michelle took it. Not satisfied, Samantha crawled in her lap, needing the closeness as much as Michelle did. Michelle wrapped her arms around her. Holding the girl, she finally felt right, again.

Looking at the mouth of the cave, she saw it was starting to get light out. The night was just beginning to lose its grip on this part of the world, the first rays of the sun pushing the shadows back. Another hour or so and it’d be light enough for them to head down to the lake and retrieve their bags and the class project.

She said, “We might as well get started with the day. I doubt I’d be able to get back to sleep, anyway.”

“Okay,” Samantha said.

“Let’s eat something then we’ll go back to the lake for the gear,” Michelle said.

“Do you have an appetite now?” Samantha asked, getting off her lap, “you didn’t eat much yesterday.”

Laughing, Michelle said, “I was miserable. I still don’t feel a hundred percent, but I’m starving.”

Samantha grinned at her and said, “Well, eat well because you are going to need your strength later.”

“Oh yeah?” Michelle asked, raising her eyebrows.

The smile Samantha favored her with made her heart race. The promise of fun times later in that smile put a little pep in her step and suddenly she didn’t feel so bad.

Samantha got the fire built back up and started cooking some of the deer meat. While she did that, Michelle looked at their water bucket, saw it was beyond salvage. It wasn’t just a little hole; the whole bottom had fallen out of it. Tossing it aside, she glanced at their solar blanket. Push comes to shove, she could make another one, but she hoped there was something better in the pelican case.

They ate sitting side by side on the platform. Michelle kept stealing glances at the girl. She couldn’t help it. She’d never been in love before.

Their bellies full, they headed for the lake. No sooner had she stepped outside the warmth of the cave did Michelle start shivering. It seemed colder than before, but she suspected it was just her. Being hypothermic had left her sensitive to the cold.

As they walked, the blood began to flow, and she slowly warmed up. Having Samantha at her side, her arm around Michelle’s waist helped some, too. Probably more than the exercise. Her own arm was around Samantha’s shoulders, and she pulled the girl closer. Samantha smiled at her, craned her neck for a quick kiss.

The raft was where Samantha had left it, and Michelle felt her spirits lifted even more at the sight of her backpack. Even more so than the pelican case, she was happy to see that sturdy bag. She slipped it onto her back, grinning as Samantha did the same with her Snoopy bag. Together they hoisted the pelican case out of the raft. It was a lot heavier than Michelle remembered, and she wondered how she had managed to get it out of the plane and onto the raft. It weighed all of eighty pounds, more than two-thirds her body weight.

Maybe there is air trapped inside, and that made the case more buoyant, she thought, but that didn’t explain how they managed to muscle it into the raft. Shrugging, she decided to think about it when it didn’t feel like her shoulder was going to get pulled out of socket.

With the case between them, they headed back to the cave. They had to stop a couple of times, switching sides to give their arms a break. Not completely recovered, the trek sapped all of Michelle’s strength. By the time they dropped the case outside the cave, she was out of breath, and her legs were quivering. Sitting on the case, she shook her head.

“Heavy,” she said, looking at Samantha, “how’d we get this thing in the boat?”

Laughing, the girl said, “I don’t know.”

Michelle slipped out of her backpack and pulled it in front of her. Digging to the bottom, she found the pair of sneakers she had packed and handed them to Samantha. Samantha took them, raising her eyebrows questioningly. Smiling, Michelle said, “Your legs look great in heels, but you are going to break your ankle on this ground in them.”

“Aww, you are worried about me,” Samantha teased, kissing her.

“Yeah, yeah,” Michelle said, laughing.

Frowning, Samantha ran her hand around the inside of one of the shoe. She looked at Michelle and asked, “Why is this dry?”

Michelle laughed and said, “Funny thing about having a survivalist for a father…”

“Seriously?” Samantha said, giving her a sour look, “your backpack is waterproof?”

“Nah,” Michelle said, then grinned, “but the insert is. It’s my dad’s own design.”

Shaking her head, Samantha said, “Now, I’m jealous.”

Michelle shivered. No longer struggling with the case, she was starting to notice the cold, again. Getting to her feet, she said, “Let’s drag this into the cave so we can see what we’ve got. You can lay your stuff out so it can dry.”

They put their packs in the cave, then muscled the heavy tote next to the fire. Michelle sighed as the heat started thawing her out, again. She popped the six latches that held the box closed and held her breath as she lifted the lid. These boxes were supposed to be watertight, but she knew a lot of manufacturers claimed one thing and the reality of the product was something entirely different. She let out the breath in a sigh of relief as she saw contents were dry and relatively unmolested by the plane crash.

She watched Samantha dump her bag out near the fire and start spreading things out to dry faster. Smiling, she realized she owed her father another hug and an apology. She had said she didn’t see why she needed a waterproof backpack that was submersible. After all, she was just going on a class trip. He had insisted, telling her shit happened when you least expect.

Very prophetic, Dad, she thought, shaking her head.

Returning her attention to the case, she wondered about the irony of their situation. It wasn’t the first time since the crash and probably wouldn’t be the last time, either.

Mr. Hanley was something of survival enthusiast, had even been on Michelle’s father’s trips a few times. He was also an avid reader of hunting and fishing magazines, plus any survival rag he could find. Which is where he found an ad for a contest being sponsored by Protek Survival Gear, where the company wanted their customers to submit videos on alternate ways to use their products.

Somehow he had slipped the contest by the school board, got permission to add the competition to his lesson plan. He wrote Protek with his intentions of making their contest into a class project, and they had sent him a goody bag of their products.

It had been April when he sprang the assignment on the class. They would be paired up at random, and they would each be given a piece of gear. They were to find as many alternate uses for their item as possible, demonstrating the uses in a class presentation that Mr. Hanley was to film.

Michelle had drawn Samantha’s name and ended up doing the project mostly by herself. They had gotten up in front of class and Michelle had shown all the ways you could use a handheld GPS unit other than the most practical and obvious one. She had even got to start a fire in school, which was kind of cool.

She and Samantha had gotten an A, and she had thought it was over. What she hadn’t known at the time, was that Mr. Hanley had submitted the video of their presentations to Protek’s contest. Protek had loved the video, saw a PR goldmine. They had offered to fly Mr. Hanley and students from the top five presentations out to California, where they had their company based. In return for a quick photo op and public demonstration at one of their conventions, the kids would get a sum of money, a bunch of Protek gear, and two days in the sun on Protek’s dime.

Again, Mr. Hanley got permission for a class trip, somehow. The project was packed up and put on a plane, along with the lucky ten students and the teacher himself. They were on their way to the presentation when the storm popped up out of nowhere.

She felt her eyes well up, looking into the tote. It was a painful reminder of the lives that were lost, stirred in her memories that made her heart ache in her breast. She could still see her classmates goofy presentations, and she smiled sadly.

Blinking away the tears, she took a deep breath and started riffling through the contents. She sighed with relief when she saw a heavy duty metal thermos, glad she wouldn’t need to make another water bucket. Holding it up, she got Samantha’s attention. The girl grinned and nodded her appreciation. She set it aside and kept digging. She found a pup tent that would sleep two, a rigged out backpack, a waterproof sleeping bag, a portable solar panel, a coil of rope with some basic climbing paraphernalia, and the GPS from her demonstration.

These weren’t the props from their actual presentation but brand new equipment. Protek had shipped them all new gear so they could do their presentations from scratch at the convention. Which was a good thing, because she had all but dismantled the GPS during hers. It had been a neat little pile of parts by the time she was done.

She pulled the backpack in front of her and started going through its pockets. In one pocket, she found a basic first aid kit. In the big zipper pouch on the front, she found a folding shovel and ax combo. That made her groan, thinking about the shoulder killing work of making the platform with the tiny saw blade on the multitool. She found a compass and rain poncho, in another. Hopefully, they wouldn’t need either.

Setting the pack aside, she picked up the GPS. She hesitated to turn it on, afraid of what it might tell her. Finally, she pushed the power button and let it start up. While it went through its routine, she looked the unit over. She had hoped to see something that indicated this was a higher end GPS unit, one that featured either an emergency two-way radio or a distress beacon function but it didn’t appear to be. It was just a generic unit that was suitable for hiking or biking.

Still, it would be a godsend if they had to walk out of here.

The word Searching appeared on the screen, and she held her breath. It seemed to take a long time for the unit to find their position and that made her even more anxious. When the screen finally loaded, she cringed, even though she had already suspected the truth of their situation. They were in the middle of nowhere, miles and miles from civilization.

She scrolled south from their position, figuring that was ultimately where they wanted to be. The States were south. She cringed again, seeing how far she had to scroll to make it to a town big enough to show up on the map. Shaking her head, she powered off the GPS unit to save its battery and set it aside.

Getting up, she went to Samantha’s side. She hunkered down next to her, looking at her soggy clothes spread out on the ground. The girl had packed like she had, expecting the hot California sun, but she did have a pair of jeans and one long sleeved shirt.

Pointing at her little bikini, Michelle grinned and said, “You probably won’t need that.”

“It’s a shame, too,” she said, laughing, “I was so looking forward to sitting by the pool.”

“I don’t know,” Michelle said, kissing her, “I think you got a little sun at the lake. And no pesky tan lines. Still, I wouldn’t have minded seeing you in it.”

Smiling, Samantha said, “Maybe if we get out of here, I’ll model it for you.”

“Promise?” Michelle teased.

“Promise,” Samantha said, kissing her deeply.

Michelle felt her toes curling and she kissed the girl back passionately. They fed off each others desire, and soon the pelican case and their backpacks were forgotten. In their eagerness, they clawed at each other clothing. Navigating blindly, they managed to get onto the platform before they were completely out of their clothes, but the last scraps of clothing didn’t last long.

“Mmm,” Samantha said, smiling at her, “This is better than last night. You just went to sleep on me.”

“I’ll try to make it up to you,” Michelle said, letting her hand slip down the girl’s stomach and between her thighs.

Samantha moaned as her fingers mashed her labia and teased her bud in lazy circles. She put her arms around Michelle’s neck, kissing her deeply as her body began to move against Michelle’s hand. Breaking the kiss, she pressed her face into the crook of Michelle’s neck, moaning thickly. Her hips undulated against Michelle’s hand, moving faster and faster as the girl became excited. Her breathing was fast and hot on Michelle’s neck and her arms tightened on Michelle. The sounds of her arousal filled the cave.

Michelle’s free hand roamed over Samantha, thrilling to the smooth skin under her fingertips. She couldn’t get enough of the girl, her touch greedy. Samantha responded to her caresses, her cries getting louder.

“Oh God,” Samantha said, breathlessly. She kissed Michelle’s neck, then pulled back. Her face was screwed up in pleasure as she looked Michelle, then kissed her passionately. Or tried to, only to moan into Michelle’s kiss.

Michelle kissed the girl’s neck, then her collarbone. Samantha leaned backward, putting her weight on her arms. Taking it as an invitation, she kissed the slope of one breast, letting her tongue trace around the pink areola. The girl’s back arched, pushing the breast against Michelle’s mouth. She trapped the stiffening nipple with her teeth, drawing a thick moan from Samantha. She didn’t let up until the girl was a panting mess. Then she moved to her other breast. She worked the girl into a state, her body writhing against her mouth and hand.

Kissing her way up, she pressed her lips to the girls and Samantha let her into her mouth. She could feel the girl’s growing excitement in her kiss. Her fingers moved faster between the girl’s thighs, and Samantha had to break the kiss.

Samantha met Michelle’s eyes, and Michelle saw the girl start to come, saw the widening of her eyes and the realization as it spread on her face. It was kind of sexy, watching the girl surrender to ecstasy. Her eyes squeezed shut as her body exploded with pleasure, her cry cutting off half way as the climax took her breath away. She looked almost surprised as her body shook out of control and she had to push Michelle’s hand away. Her hips still jerked even with her hand gone, as if her nerve endings could still feel the ghost of her touch. As she finally became still, a blissful smile spread on her face, and her eyes opened. The sated look she favored Michelle made her smile.

Leaning in, Samantha kissed her heatedly, pushing her backward. Michelle laughed as the girl bore her to her back, leaning down from her hands and knees to kiss her. Michele’s pulse kicked up as the girl began to move lower. By the time Samantha gently spread her thighs wide, she was more than ready for the girl’s mouth. The first caress of her tongue sent shivers of pleasure through her young body. The hot, wet pressure had her nerve endings singing, and she couldn’t stop moaning in harmony. Samantha rolled her eyes up at Michelle, a smile tugging at the corners of her mouth. She trapped the hood of Michelle’s clit with her lips, gently sucking on it. The sensation was so intense she arched her back off the platform, then her whole body. Samantha went with her, never letting up her assault on Michelle’s clitoris.

The girl seemed to know just what her body wanted, had her writhing in ecstasy. With her able tongue, she teased moan after moan from Michelle’s slack mouth. Samantha’s fingers were digging into Michelle’s thighs as she tried to wrangle her thrashing body. The pain sort of melded with all the other wonderful sensations awash in her.

“Oh shit,” Michelle gasped, propping up on her elbows, “don’t stop. I’m going to come!”

Samantha looked up at her, meeting her eyes. The girl wouldn’t let her look away as the pressure built up inside. Pleasure swelled and swelled until she didn’t think she could take any more. She saw the girl smile as she pushed Michelle past the point of no return and her body stiffened. It was the last thing she saw before her orgasm forced her eyes closed and her body shook violently.

When she opened her eyes, she saw Samantha grinning down at her. Propping up on her elbows, she kissed the deeply. When Samantha responded to her kiss, Michelle knew it would be a while before they were going to get back to the pelican case. Grinning, she pulled the girl down atop of her without breaking the kiss. They lay like that a while, kissing and exploring each others body.

Eventually, Samantha grinned down at Michelle and got to her knees. Straddling on of Michelle’s hips, she lowered her body to Michelle’s. As they nested together, she leaned forward to kiss Michelle. The first roll of her hips brought a sigh from both of them. Michelle touched the girl’s cheek lovingly as their bodies began to move against one another. Both girls smiled as they found an easy rhythm, complementing each other perfectly. Samantha gave Michelle a pointed smile, and she winked at the girl.

Looking up at Samantha, Michelle found the roll of her hips fascinating, couldn’t tear her eyes away. She ran her hands up the girl’s thighs and onto her buttocks, helping her really grind their bodies together. Samantha put her hands down on either side of Michelle, leaning her weight on them so she could focus on the flex of her lower body. Michelle found something new to be fascinated by, the jiggling of her small breasts as their bodies came together. Her hands slipped from Samantha’s hips, up her flanks, and onto her breasts. She kneaded them until the girl bit her lip and groaned. Samantha’s eyes flashed at Michelle, and she knew the girl was excited by her touch.

Samantha leaned in and kissed her. It lingered until they were both gasping for air. Samantha finally broke it, pulled back to grin at her. Michelle saw the affection in the girl’s eyes, and it made her own heart swell a little. How the girl had gotten to her so fast, she didn’t know, but the heart racing in her breast belonged to Samantha.

The feel of Samantha’s body rubbing against her own felt too good to bear, a delicious torture on her sensitive nerve endings. She felt an orgasm building up steam deep inside and met Samantha’s eyes. The girl nodded, her cries growing sharper. Michelle fought the rising pressure in her body, wanting to come with the girl. There was just something intimate, something sexy about losing control at the same time. She saw Samantha’s hips start to jerk, heard the urgency in her cries and knew she was coming, too. Finally, she let go, and her body exploded with pleasure. Samantha stiffened atop her, crying out one last time. She collapsed atop Michelle, and they shook together.

Michelle smiled at Samantha, and the girl favored her with a smile that made her think, The girl’s insatiable. She wasn’t kidding about needing my strength.

She grinned, kissing the girl.

———————————

Some time later- just how much later Michelle wasn’t sure- they finally untangled themselves and stretched out side by side. Sated, she smiled up at the ceiling. That had been their most intense bout of lovemaking, yet.

Samantha rolled onto her side, moving against Michelle. Wrapping the girl up in her arms, Michelle said, “I love you.”

Smiling, Samantha said, “I love you, too.”

“I looked at the GPS earlier…” she said, finding and taking Samantha’s hand.

“Yeah?”

“We have two options- stay or go,” Michelle said.

“Go?” Samantha parroted, lifting her head to look at Michelle.

“We stay here, who knows how long it is until we are found. I haven’t heard any planes fly over or seen any sign of civilization,” she said.

“You want to try walking out of here?” Samantha asked, searching Michelle’s eyes.

“Not really,” Michelle said, laughing, “but I think it might be a better option than waiting.”

Samantha looked at her a moment longer, then nodded. Laying her head back on Michelle’s shoulder, she said, “Okay.”

2 thoughts on “The Wild, Part Three

  1. Lovely addition to their tale of survival and love. Their intimate time together makes me smile but the drama of their situation and how they deal with things are special too. Thanks Ebo

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