Bam, bam, bam! That was the sound of a rock hitting a door consecutively. Jennie was desperate to find out where her best friend and colleague had disappeared to.
It all started when Jennie and Jenna were driving up the steep and windy road to the start of a hike. They parked their car in the dusty parking lot and Jennie went to pay for parking, while Jenna got their backpacks out of the trunk. Once Jennie finished at the parking meter, she placed the ticket on the dashboard and checked their car of all valuables. Good thing she did because Jenna had forgotten her phone in the car. A naughty burglar could have easily stolen it.
They then walked to the map and discussed their route for this weekend.
“Should we hike to the Rocky Road or to the Plain Plateau,” Jenna asked.
“The Rocky Road,” replied Jennie, trailing the road on the map with her finger.
“It’ll be bumpier and “The Plain Plateau” really does sound plain. Do we have all the essentials packed up? You know, eight liters of water, four servings of food for each of us, a rain jacket, a GPS tracker for each of us, a warm coat, a first-aid kit, and most importantly, if something goes wrong, a tent to spend the night in along with a sleeping bag.”
“All clear! Let the fun begin! Oh wait, before we begin, I need to use the restroom quickly, be right back.”
Jenna heads to the portable bathroom. After spending five minutes in there, Jennie felt the situation had started to get concerning and went to check on Jenna.
“Jenna, is everything alright? It’s been quite little bit.”
There was no response, except for the eerie sound of a stall door.
“Jenna, if you can hear me say something,” Jennie said, urgently.
There was still no response.
Jennie started to get anxious, and quickly concluded that something horrendous must have happened to Jenna.
After scanning the ground, she found a rock to throw at the door. It barely made a dent.
“Bathroom doors aren’t supposed to be this strong,” she thought.
She tried again, this time making a tiny, tiny hole. She continued to use the same rock and finally, after almost 45 minutes, she made a hole big enough for her to fit through. As soon as she walked in, she knew something was off. There was no Jenna. She was gone, and no one knew her whereabouts. Jennie reached into her pocket and dialed 911, wondering why she didn’t do that to begin with. However, given the circumstances, her call did not go through. There was no cell service in the middle of a forest.
Frustrated, Jennie glanced around the restroom one last time. That’s when she discovered a hole in the wall tucked behind the toilet just big enough for someone to crawl through. Or be dragged through. Right there, might have been the last place Jenna would ever be seen.
Jennie started to panic. What had happened to her best friend and colleague? Would she never see Jenna again? After spending a couple of moments to process the catastrophe, she ran out of the restroom, asking multiple people passing by for help.
“Have you seen a young woman with brown hair wearing a pink tank top and blue shorts?” Jennie questioned.
“Nope. Is she missing? If so, I can help with the search,” a stranger responded. He sounded strangely calm.
“I would appreciate that; my heart is pumping like a lunatic. Jenna, the woman who is missing, is my best friend. We grew up together, and I can’t comprehend losing her.”
“Do not worry, I assure you we will find her. I will not give up and neither should you. For now, stay positive. Do not go thinking about the worst scenario because now would not be a suitable time to.”
“I will try my best but genuinely, this is an extremely daunting experience. Who knows what is out roaming the forests, the dangers hidden upon the towering trees.”
Once Jennie gathered a search team with just a couple more individuals, they began searching. Hours after hours, nothing turned up. They searched every ditch, every hole, even the treetops but there was nothing. No disturbance in the art of nature. All you could hear were people screaming, “Jenna, Jenna where are you? If you can hear us, say something!” However, all that was useless. Nothing came back once they yelled, and everyone’s voices were almost gone. At this point, all they wanted to do was give up. They had no choice. Jenna still had not turned up after more than five hours. Jennie started to get even more distraught than she already was.
“Five hours and still no Jenna.” Jennie said. “What do we do?”
“Stay calm Jennie, no rush.” A member of her search team responded.
Now, it had been eight hours since they started searching and they were covered in bug bites. The sunset was beautiful which pushed them off track for a little. Once the sun set, they had no choice but to start heading toward the parking lot. The tent Jennie had brought was not big enough to fit everyone and it would not be safe for her to stay alone in a forest not knowing what was hidden. As she started to walk back, following the path that they had taken, Jennie’s heart was beating out of her chest. Her gut was telling her to stay and continue searching, but she had not brought a flashlight and she knew it would not be a good move for her to stay back and continue searching. Just then, she remembered that Jenna had a GPS tracker on her. She whipped her phone out at lightning speed, just to find that the app reported that Jenna was offline.
The thirty-minute car ride from the forest to Jennie’s house felt like a lifetime. It felt like the longest car ride in her life. As soon as the garage door closed with a thud, she burst into her house and dialed 911 as fast as her fingers could manage. She then spoke with a dispatcher.
“911, what’s your emergency?” the dispatcher spoke.
“My name is Jennie, and my friend disappeared into the Timberland Forest. She has been missing for around nine hours now. We searched for her for about eight hours, but nothing turned up. Can you help us?”
“Unfortunately, there is nothing I can do since it has not been forty-eight hours since the incident. If your friend still doesn’t turn up after forty-eight hours, you can call us again and we’ll do the best that we can to try and find your friend. For the time being, do not give up.”
Jennie then called Jenna, but it went straight to voicemail. Luck wasn’t on their side today.
The next day, Jennie gathered with her search team again. As she stepped out of her vehicle, it felt like she was stepping into a refrigerator. Although it was mid-way through July, it was still chilly outside in the morning.
“Alright everyone, are you ready?” Jennie asked. “Make sure you have a tent and a sleeping bag in case we cannot find her today. A flashlight would be useful too.”
“We’re all ready. Jennie, you’re in charge from now on. Lead the way,” her team responded.
The search began once again. However, this time the team was way more prepared. This time, they had megaphones to make their voices louder. This time, they had bug spray, so they would not be covered in bug bites again. This time, they had walkie talkies so they could spread out and cover more ground. This time, the search would hopefully be more successful. Again, hours after hours, nothing turned up still. After eight hours of searching and being nine miles away from the parking lot, Jennie heard a little murmur. Almost the sound of a weak cry. She dashed toward it. Maybe they had finally found Jenna.
After what felt like an endless minute, she found Jenna, only to find her taking her last breath.
“Who did this to you, Jenna,” Jennie questioned, holding back tears.
To Be Continued...
Allison Li is a 6th grader at International Community School. This is her first story with the Youth Review.