1 Chapter 1

There was something wrong even then, and I shouldn’t have turned a blind eye and ignored it.

It was pure folly.

Pure folly to convince myself that I could change the situation, that my influence over him could have steered the course of our fate.

But I was wrong.


“You’re an idiot!” The loud scream behind me startled me. Ben was standing out of his car seat, pushing his head through the sunroof to let the cool autumn breeze blow hard upon his face. His screams echoed through the car before trailing down the old country road. His boyfriend, Taylor, did his best to pull on the side of his jeans while chuckling in hysterics.

“Ben, get down!”

“This is crazy!” Ben happily responded. He stretched his neck back all the way before letting out a long howl like a wolf. Ben was having the time of his life, but unfortunately for him, his sister had the good sense to slow down the car and pull over.

“What are you doing?” Ben complained to his sister, Ashley. “I was having fun up there.”

“I’m not getting pulled over by the cops because of you,” Ashley snapped. “Sit your ass down.”

Ben grunted at his sister in annoyance, but he was obedient enough to slip through the small sunroof and plummet back into his seat. Taylor did his best to hold back his giggles with the palm of his hand, knowing Ashley would lash out her anger at him as well if they didn’t behave.

Ashley pulled up her dark shades and settled it over her wavy brown hair with golden blonde highlights. “Will I regret inviting you guys to the campsite?” she sighed out with a hint of worry.

“No,” Ben and Taylor answered back at the same time as if they were misbehaved children. It often felt that way when they were together, it was rather hard to believe that there was a five year age gap between them. Taylor was the older, he was just a few weeks short of reaching an unbearable quarter life crisis.

Turning twenty-five would not feel like such a big deal if it wasn’t for the fact that Taylor was the oldest one in the car. In normal situations, Taylor with his shortly trimmed brown hair and large black eyes would give off a mature air about him, especially when it was accompanied with that famous brooding look of his. Once his long-time boyfriend Benjamin Shaves was around him, Taylor’s behaviour would entirely change. Whether it was for better or for worse, sometimes it was so hard to tell.

Apparently, Ashley didn’t have the patience for their childish behaviour today. “You know, I didn’t have to invite you,” she reminded them harshly. “I was fine with just going on this trip with Sara.”

“You need a man with you,” her brother jeered. “Who else will protect you out in the wild?”

Ashley pressed down on a button to close the sunroof. “I would hardly call it the wild,” she shot back as she looked overhead to make sure the sunroof was closed all the way. “It’s a campsite.”

“Yeah, an abandoned one,” Ben shot back, which immediately brought another fit of giggles from Taylor. “Why else would you get it so cheap?”

“Look!” Ashley turned around in her seat with her finger pointing at her younger brother. “Money is tight and I’m on a budget.” Her arm stretched outwards with her finger hovering over her brother’s chest. “I don’t need you to make snide comments. You know I just bought a new place.”

“Yeah, I know,” Ben drawled out with boredom, while he brushed his fingers through his curly honey blonde hair.

“And unlike you, I don’t have a partner to help pay for it.” Ashley made sure to turn her head to Taylor now that he was in control of his emotions. “So, the two of you shut up and behave.”

Ben smiled at his sister playfully, and then gave a slight nod of his head in open submission.

Ashley was satisfied, so she turned in her seat to start up the car.

“How much longer, Ash,” I finally spoke up, “until we get there?”

She glanced down at her phone and rapped out, “Fifteen minutes.”

“Good, because I have to use the bathroom at some point.”

“It won’t be as nice as the ones we have back home,” my friend reminded me. “But that’s country life for you.”

“More like, camp life,” I teased, and then rolled down my window to let in some fresh air. It was a cold October day, but I was tired of feeling the heaters blow all over me. My hand stuck out to feel the frigid air, noticing how the small hairs on my arm flickered upwards with goose bumps prickling my skin.

My black nail polish matched the sleekness of Ashley’s vehicle; a jetty black shade that reflected the sad grey lighting overhead, as if the sun had given up shining for the day. A lone road stretched before us, curving and winding through deep forestry, a world where only crimson coloured leaves shone in the shallow sunlight. An occasional yellow would peep into view, fading leaves that warned of a bleak winter fast approaching.

It was my idea to get away, wanting to escape the mundane existence of my all too repetitive life. It was as though something snapped within me, and next thing I knew I was pulling out my warmest winter clothing and calling up my parents to dig up my old sleeping bag. Ashley reluctantly agreed to go away with me this weekend, and it was by pure accident that her brother and his boyfriend decided to tag along with us.

“There’s a sign,” Ashley piped up with hopefulness. “Finally.”

“Blackthorn Campground,” I read aloud. “We made it.”

“Finally,” Ashley repeated. “Alright boys, you better behave yourself when we get there.” She tilted her head in my direction. “It’s like they are children.” I chuckled at my friend’s snide comment, knowing a portion of her words were true. “Sara, can you grab my purse next to your feet? My credit card is there.”

“Yeah, sure.”

“I think I have everything,” Ashley fretted as she pushed back her long-tousled curls. Strands of light honey blonde highlights blended well with her warm chestnut coloured hair; an alluring shade that often captured many a man’s attention. “I’m worried, you know. I have never done anything like this before.”

“Don’t worry. Camping isn’t as hard as it sounds.” The road widened to show a gravelled parking lot with only an old black pickup truck in front of a wooden building. “Besides we have a cabin! No worrying about putting up a tent and wondering where to go to the washroom.”


“It will be nice.”

“Sure,” my friend answered me with less enthusiasm than I would have liked. “But it will be cold.”

“We have sleeping bags,” I reminded her. “And they probably have cots set up for us.”

“Ashley!” Ben called out from behind her. “Why are there no cars here?”

“Because it’s Halloween weekend,” Ashley drawled out as if it were fairly obvious, “and we are the only ones stupid enough to camp out here.”

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