"Where is this place?" lrianda stuttered in her words, face flushed with fear drawn all over. Her breath raced rapidly whiles her eyes helplessly searched around but found no one.
The only sound she could hear was the loud howl of unknown creatures and wild birds. The cold breeze, coupled with the tensed atmosphere created a strange aura which sent shivers down her spine.
The darkness was so densed that the thick woods made visibility quite impossible.
"Where am I," she swiftly lurked around. " Anybody there?, Please help!!,".
Her trembled voice echoed in the woods.
It was the second expedition camping at HARRIS HILL ACADEMY and this year, they decided to make it big, visiting the HAZEL BED FOREST RESERVE. Moments after the students, together with their teachers had lodged in with the forest guides, they decided to take their first stroll around it's serene environment to which they will later meet at the entrance for their various tents and check ins. Mrs Ann, being in charge of the whole expedition took it upon herself to do the welcome formalities before their dispersal.
"Alright, gather around, guys" She said while beaming with smiles. In no time, she was surrounded by all the kids and the rest of the teachers with their inquisitive gazes fixed on her.
" I welcome you all to Hazel Bed Forest Reserve." She added and the kids chorused their response. "Before anything else," She went on. "I'll like you all to take a tour around to explore the environment. Due to this, you'll be put into groups of Five which will be lead by a teacher each ", she stated and the crowd broke into cheers.
" You can take as many picture as you wish but please, take note, no wandering off nor leaving your group without permission from your teacher. Are we clear?"
"Yes, Ma'am ", they chorused.
"Great. We'll meet back here at 4pm– stay safe. You're dismissed ".
The place was suddenly thrown into rumpus, following her last words. Within a few minutes, each kid had his or her group as instructed and Irianda and her friend, Milly were no different. They were part of Mr. Del's group which was group 4.
"We're all set now– hope you all got your water bottles ", he queried.
"Okay. I'll lead the way then." He announced and strolled off ahead of them. The kids followed cheerfully. " We all heard the instruction, No wandering off. We only got two hours before 4pm. Hope you all cooperate".
"Okay, sir". They answered calmly as they followed him towards the direction of the cages of the animals and the woods at the far left of the entrance.
In no time, they approached the cages. The kids gazed around happily, admiring the beautiful creatures. Some even began taking photos while others took notes and lrianda was no different. She was super excited with the site that met her eyes so much that she couldn't hold still.
" Wow, Milly", she called to her friend whose gaze was fixed on a peacock a meter away from them, shifting her attention to her direction.
"Look at those gorillas, they're so huge", she added cheerfully.
" Wow–, you don't say, Irian". Milly eluded in awe. " Come on, take a photo of me over here". She added, positioning herself well in front of the cage where the gorillas were.
Irienda quickly took out her camera. With a smile, she muttered.
"Okay. Here we go, ready?"
Milly instinctively nodded in response and Irianda took a shot. "Done– my turn now", she added cheerfully, handling over the camera to her. With a few shots, Mr. Del's voice intruded.
"Alright, guys. We're all done here. Let's head to the forest – I'm sure you'll be more excited to see the wild flowers blossom".
" Yes sir ", they all roared cheerfully and followed his pace.
Just when they got to the entrance of the forest, Mr Del announced.
" Here we are but because its getting late and our time is almost due, we won't go through the forest. The tour of the forest will be lead by the forest guards tomorrow so we won't miss our route and get lost in there, okay ?".
"Yes sir ", they chorused.
"Great, so for now, you can look around and ask questions before we take off back to the meeting grounds", he added.
The kids nodded in response. They lurked around, asking questions and noting down some few things as the tour leader lectured on.
" So now, I'll take the last question and then we're done here", Miss Bambie, the tour leader eluded.
" Awwn", the kids roared, not so happy to leave.
"Come on, guys, we'll be back here tomorrow ", Mr. Del assured.
" Okay, my question is on wildflowers. Why are they called wildflowers ", Pamela queried.
Miss Bambie smiled.
" So, wildflowers refers to any plant that has not been genetically manipulated. " She stated.
"Which means it was not intentionally planted – That's why its called wildflowers. And we all know, they are the source of all cultivated garden varieties of flowers."
" Alright, so this ends our tour. We'll continue tomorrow ", Mr. Del added, turning to Miss Bambie's direction.
"Thanks a lot, Bambie. We'll go back now", he said to her and she nodded with a smile.
" My pleasure. Call on me anytime when you need assistance ".
"I sure will. – Now, guys, let's go back". He said to the kids as he lead the way.
"Thank you, Miss Bambie ", the kids chorused as they turned to leave.
" Welcome guys", she said.
The kids calmly followed them as they trod back, chatting among themselves. Irianda and Milly were the last behind the group.
As they turned, Irianda noticed a reddish glow coming from the forest. She instinctively paused in her steps.
" What's that? ", she grumbled mentally to herself. " Milly, do you ", she queried on, turning to Milly but she was far gone with the rest.
She sighed, " Well, got to find out what that is".
Irianda without further thoughts, sped towards the direction of the glow without anyone's notice.
END OF FLASHBACK
That was to as far as Irianda could remember but nothing was adding up to how she got to where she was. She was still pondering on these when a sudden sound of birds shot up from the woods filled the atmosphere, making her to swiftly lurked around with ears edged.
She thought she heard some voices at that moment but there was nothing.
A sudden footsteps approaching from the distance, a few miles away caused her to tumble, losing her balance in the process.
It's 4pm and all the various groups had already gathered back from their tour as instructed. Mr Del's group was the last to arrive. Mrs Ann welcomed them back and required they take a roll call to make sure everyone was present. Just then, Milly noticed Iriand's absence.
"Irian? , Irianda ", she called, searching through the crowd of students but had no response. She quickly asked among their friends but everyone had no idea where she was.
" Oh, no, this can't be good", she mumbled and sped to Mr. Del. " Si– Sir Del? " She called.
"What is it, Milly." He answered turning towards her.
" Irian ", she stuttered, almost out of breath. Mr. Del gazed anxiously at her as he struggled to understand what she was trying to say.
" Is Irianda, she's no where to be found", she concluded.
"What?" Mr. Del said as a flush of panic swept up his face.