In less than 500 words, write a flash about two characters who are trapped somewhere. Give one of your characters an irrational paranoia.
by Susan Warren Utley
“I can’t believe I let you talk me into this.” Julia peered through the darkness at the sliver of light coming from the hole through which they had fallen just ten minutes before.
“You didn’t have to come,” Ben said as he massaged his ankle.
Julia turned to face him, “Seriously? You practically begged me. You were all like, ‘First to Find! First to Find!’” Julia waved her arms in the air mocking him as she spoke. “Stupid game!”
Ben shot her a look, “It’s not a game. It’s a highly sophisticated treasure hunt using GPS coordinates…”
Julia cut him off, “It’s a game Ben and now we’re stuck in a hole in the middle of the woods.”
Ben stood slowly placing weight on his ankle and wincing in pain. Then he bent down to retrieve the Garmin he dropped in the fall. The screen was shattered but was still working. “I don’t understand. It should be right here.”
“I can’t believe you’re still looking for this thing! We’re in a hole Ben!” Julia began feeling the walls of the cave for footholds.
Ben searched the cave floor for the ammo can he was told he would find, “I must have entered the coordinates wrong. There’s no way anyone would have hid a cache in a cave.”
Julia rolled her eyes. “You better not have entered them wrong! The only hope we have of getting out of here anytime soon is when one of your greedy treasure hunting buddies shows up.”
Ben paced the floor back and forth searching for a stronger signal on the GPS. “There won’t be anyone else. At least not today.”
“What are you talking about? I thought First to Find was some sort of big deal. Like a race or something,” Julia said as she continued to search the damp walls.
“It is. But this is a non-published cache. I got the coordinates from a guy I met on a forum,” Ben replied as he made his way toward the back of the cave. “He said he’d hold off posting it and give me a chance to get the First to Find. Maybe there’s another entrance.”
Julia stopped and turned to face him, “What guy? You mean a stranger? No one knows we’re here? No one else is coming?”
Ben tripped and fell to the ground crying out as his knee shattered on a large rock. Julia rushed over kneeling down beside him, “Are you okay?”
Ben didn’t answer. He turned the GPS in his hand using it as a flashlight at his feet to find what he had tripped over. “Julia, I don’t think we’re the First to Find.”
Slowly she turned her head in the direction of the narrow beam of light revealing a single hiking boot. Reaching out for it she felt something wet and quickly drew back. In the dim light she saw that her fingers were red with blood. A tear rolled down her cheek. “But it’s just a stupid game.”
I am a huge fan of Geocaching, a real-world outdoor treasure hunting game where players search for hidden containers using GPS enabled devices. As of this post I have located 64 geocaches in six states all of which were published on the official Geocaching site. This story is meant for fun. One should never accept coordinates from a stranger and then wander off into the woods alone. That would be silly. To learn more visit Geocaching online.