The Cedarville Review 2024

58 FICTION A hot wind rushed through the trees as birds screamed above us. Pat grabbed for my hand once, but I smacked him away. We slid down the mudbank into the ditch when a car rattled by like we were fugitives on Magnum P.I. My faith in my cousins slowly started to melt, I had no idea where we were, and I knew they didn’t. Sean’s compass didn’t do us a lot of good in the dark, and Pat lost our canoe map in the swamp. After what seemed like forever, a hazy glow showed up on the horizon. Sean and Pat argued for half a mile over whether or not it was the sunrise. After another mile, the glow started to separate into individual neon signs. “See, I knew my plan would work!” Sean told us, then ran down the road. As we reached the edge of town, a sign beside the road said Radsby Georgia, population 104. We passed by a dark diner and a store and a few houses before we hit the far end of town, where there was a gas station with a pay phone. Sean slid a quarter into the slot. “What’s your mom’s number, Niki?” “What are you calling her for?” “I can’t call my mom, she’ll murder me.” “You have to, she's the only one close enough to come get us.” After a few more minutes of arguing, we dialed Aunt Kay’s number. “Uh, hi mom… yeah, I know it's late.” Sean looked like he was about to kill Pat. “I…I, here, talk to Niki.” He shoved the receiver in my hands. I tried to sound sweet. “Hi, Aunt Kay. You’ll never guess where me and the boys are right now.”