Gathering around a bonfire with maybe thirty more people, Mitch and Phil were feeling quite satisfied. The fish Jason caught was both delicious and gluten-free which provided happiness to everyone involved. This was especially true for one of the villagers who went by the name of Daniel. Daniel didn’t know much English, but he knew enough to constantly inform everyone in the village of his atypical diet.
“I shall not eat bread,” Daniel said to nobody in particular as light conversation was had by everyone else around the fire. The lone exception to the normal conversations was Jason and Kelly who were in a heated debate, or so it seemed to Mitch and Phil. They may also have been telling one-liners back and forth in a jolly fashion. However, Mitch and Phil were just out of range to hear anything and therefore were going off of body expressions that they witnessed under starlight. “Grapes and nuts is how I say,” Daniel again muttered aloud to anyone who would listen. “I will eat these things, yes!” Not hurting anybody with his ramblings, or his diet, the villagers didn’t seem to mind Daniel. And if it weren’t for Jason and Kelly, Daniel would hands down be the most interesting person to examine that night for Mitch and Phil. Luckily, however, no one else in the village was like Jason, Kelly, or Daniel. In other words, everyone else was largely normal, save for their random quirks and idiosyncrasies. This was a much needed breather for Mitch and JCB, who both needed to be around normal people before getting back on the road in a wagon with nothing but Jason, Kelly, two horses, and countless sandwich bags.
“We should move soon so that we can reach the mountains before sunrise,” Jason approached them while speaking jovially, or while being dead serious.
“Wouldn’t we be better off waiting until the morning so that we can better see where we’re going?” Phil asked.
“These bandits rely almost solely on their vision. They’re practically incompetent at night by comparison to their day selves,” Kelly informed them, or perhaps was scolding them for not knowing.
“Then let’s go!” Mitch said hopping up from his seat around the fire, actually showing emotion. So, they headed towards the wagon making any final necessary adjustments before heading off through yet another treacherous path. This time Mitch and JCB at least had the comfort that they couldn’t get lost because they weren’t doing the driving. They still didn’t feel too good about their upcoming journey considering it was very dark outside and they had been informed multiple times that there absolutely would be life-threatening danger up ahead. That, plus the seats amongst sandwich bags, that were allegedly used as weapons, meant that this would be a long trip. And they knew it would only become longer if they decided to ask how exactly the sandwich bags were weapons. So, they feigned an attempt to relax in the wagon along the bumpy road as Jason and Kelly seemed to have everything under control, or be in a state of complete panic. No matter how much time they spent with these two, they’d never truly understand what was going through their heads. What felt like thirty minutes passed when in actuality it was a mere five, as they each remained on pins and needles. Mitch was handling it much better than Phil on the outside, but both were just counting the seconds until it was over. Another five minutes of rough terrain passed when they felt the wagon begin to slow down.
“What’s going on?” Phil asked the question he 90% likely knew the answer to.
“They’re here,” Jason said while scanning all around. “You guys stay here until the bullets stop flying.”
“Bullets?!” Phil mouthed to Mitch in terror.
“That’s a figure of speech, right?” Mitch asked just as Jason and Kelly grabbed some sandwich bags, got off the wagon, and began their search for trouble. Now tenser than ever, Mitch and Phil stood up in the wagon because staying seated was too difficult with all their anxiety. Moments later the sound of someone stepping on a dried leaf was heard behind Mitch’s side of the wagon followed quickly by loud rush of air. A second passed and they could hear a body drop to the floor like it was dead weight.
“You had better use every single one of your meals this semester when this is all over,” Phil told Mitch just before a gun shot was heard. They both hit the deck as more gun shots went off including one that ripped through the canvas exterior passing straight through each side. It passed through where both had just been standing. In between each moment of craziness, before they could even react there seemed to be yet another one. A petrifying array of gun shots and the sound of roaring winds, presumably from apple slices being slung about, were all that could be heard for what felt even longer than the entire ride up to this point.
“Why did we choose the side of the gun fight that brought sharply cut apples?” Mitch shouted at Phil what each one was pondering as they considered if there was any chance of getting away with their lives. And then, in the thick of the battle, there was a distinct sound of someone rushing towards the wagon. They couldn’t see who it was, and before any proper response could be taken Kelly was looking at them from the opening through the back of the wagon.
“Jason’s about to use a sandwich bag, so you guys should get out of here,” she said fearing for her life, or maybe wondering what Daniel was up to at that moment. And as Mitch and Phil each looked at her hoping for more information, she said, “Now” with great authority as well as laxity. “We’ve got their attention, now go stop Queen Brit.” Not needing to be told a third time, they both left the wagon and all its dangerous sandwich bags behind and ran full speed down what they hoped was the right path. They ran almost a quarter of a mile when they simultaneously heard and were knocked down by a massive explosion.
“Mon petit!!” Mitch shouted to the heavens. “Excuse my French. You don’t think…” he stammered before Phil cut him off finishing his thought.
“Sandwich bags?” Phil asked as they both started to sit up and look back in hopes of seeing anything in the darkness. Partially expecting a mushroom cloud of sorts, they both figured it was best not to dwell on whatever it was that just went down back there. Mitch got up and turned back around to look ahead and try to make out whatever he could see.
“That looks like the mountain they were taking us too, Phil,” Mitch said as he pointed straight and well above his four foot tall frame. “I guess we need to get through this area somehow.”
“Hopefully there’s some sort of passage through a valley or something around here because I’m not climbing to the summit of a mountain just to get past it.” Phil spoke as if he was already out of breath just at the idea of what lie ahead of them.
“Welp…” Mitch began a sentence he knew he couldn’t finish because he too was already slightly disheartened. Even still, they both knew that they were well past the point of no return as they began trudge on forward. The intense dangers that they had surpassed so far couldn’t prepare them for what lie ahead. This time in particular due to an uphill slope that added an unnecessary difficulty to the simple enough walking portion of their journey. And just as always, they were blissfully unaware of the danger that followed their every step and that had been keeping an eye on them for Queen Brit.