“Hey Jules, how about we take a shortcut through the forest?”
One of the friends of Chad who got separated from them asked his friend beside him in between breaths.
The man called Jules looked at his friend who is running beside him with a slight frown and replied in between breaths, “Are you high, William?! Tell me if you are, because you just brought up an idea that could get both of us killed!”
The guy called William came to an immediate halt when he heard that and said, “Killed? It’s just taking a shortcut man!”
Jules also stopped soon after, and that one student who had running behind them since earlier soon caught up to them and ran past the two, “Hey, I might not be the brightest student in our department, but I sure hell know that the forest behind us is a no man’s land, because that place is certainly brimming with monsters!”
William laughed and said, “Monsters? Have you read too much fantasy books?”
Jules stared at his friend like he was looking at a fool, and the latter couldn’t help but get uncomfortable, “What? Why are you looking at me like that? Have I said something wrong? Do you think I’m an idiot or something?”
Jules facepalmed and thought inside, ‘F*ck, this guy is really hopeless. The saying all brawn and no brain is a great example of this guy’
He peeked at his friend through his fingers and said, “Dude, I’m talking about the animals that barely come in contact with humans! We’re literally and figuratively, in the middle of the f*cking nowhere! There might be large animals inside there that had never come in contact with humans before, like snakes! It might not be as large as those anacondas in that movie, but it sure as hell can kill us if there is one!”
“And I…sure as hell don’t want to be included in their menu, hell no!”
“So if you don’t want to turn into an animal poop at the end of the day, then get your a*s moving and start running! We’ve already wasted a lot of time chatting here! Chad and the others would certainly not forgive us if we fail this challenge!”
“F*ck! You’re such a killjoy man!” William angrily yelled as he quickly ran after Jules.
Unknown to them, a pair of eyes were watching them at the edge of the forested area of the island, and as the group of students passed by whoever or whatever it was, slowly retreated back to the forest along with a rustling sound after a couple of minutes.
Meanwhile, back at the campsite.
Through the help of the drone’s camera, the professor and the instructor beside him saw a couple of abnormal movements along the forest.
“There’s no danger within the forest, right?” The professor whipped his head around and asked the man standing beside him.
The instructor just grinned and said, “Our surroundings? Of course, professor! But if you want to head deeper inside the forest, then I wouldn’t recommend it, as there are large snakes living on this island. They’re not venomous but dangerous nonetheless, and from time to time, there are also saltwater crocodile that gets washed up here”
Professor Santos was shaken and he couldn’t help but get angry and said, “You…your company told us the place would be safe!”
The instructor just rolled his eyes at him, “Relax, aren’t we here to make sure your students are safe? Besides, all of us are armed with tranquilizer guns”
Santos was doubtful as he looked at the man from head to toe, “I don’t see any tranq guns on you or on your men earlier”
The instructor just gave a mysterious smile and said, “Just trust us, the company isn’t stupid to endanger the lives of your students, especially when most of them are born with silver and golden spoons in their mouths”
“But let’s hope that your students are not stupid enough to think that the forest is safe and takes a shortcut through it or else…” the man continued with a cutthroat gesture at the end.
When the professor heard that, he frowned as the faces of a few students came into mind, “Dammit, I hope Chad is able to keep those troublemaker friends of his in check!”
“Well, at least so far, no one took a shortcut through the forest. I say your students are actually pretty sensible with regards to the danger of the unknown” said the instructor with approval.
Michael had already caught up with the two girls, who were already quite tired from all the running, but it still made Michael admire them because Chad and his friends who are known athletes in their school and should have been leading the charge actually got left behind by these two women!
‘You’d expect nothing less from marathoners’
Then he turned his head towards the edge of the forest and thought with a frown, ‘And I can’t get rid of the feeling that I’m being watched, and it certainly is not that bird in the sky. There’s something dangerous in that forest, I just hope that the company would from time to time clean up this island’
Michael was wary and a little alarmed because he couldn’t get rid of the tingling sensation at the back of his neck. A feeling he gets when someone or something is directing their hostility towards him.
‘Still, I’m quite excited of what’s gonna happen next after this, and as someone who had never experienced this before, I will make sure that nothing troublesome crops us’
Michael was letting out a very dangerous aura when suddenly the voice of the two girls running in front of him entered his ears, immediately bringing back to normal.
“Mike, we’re almost there! I can’t believe we actually came first, and here I thought Chad and his friends would arrive first!” Maine shouted excitedly while pointing towards the path they took earlier.
Both girls slowly reduced their speed, and Lisa looked behind Michael and yelled, “Brandon, hurry up!”
Brandon, who was running a few meters behind Michael was already on his last straw, as his eyesight was already starting to blur while the feeling of lightheadedness worsens with every second, as the only thing that kept him going was his willpower and fear towards Michael.
Brandon stretched out his hand towards Michael while uttering his name, “M=mike…”
Hearing that they were almost near the finish line, the poor kid finally couldn’t take it anymore as his eyes rolled back and he fell face first on the ground.
Hearing that sound of something heavy falling behind him, Michael and the girls who witnessed it quickly came to a quick stop as they immediately hurried towards Brandon with Michael following behind them.
“Mike, Brandon is out! What are we gonna do? We’re almost there and the rest are slowly catching up” Maine said with a bit of panic in her voice, and it became even worse when she saw their classmates in the distance who are slowly shortening the distance between them.
Michael sighed and said, “Go on you two, I’ll carry him”
“Will you be fine?” Lisa asked, worried.
Michael nodded and said, “Yes, I carried him earlier and I’m still full of energy. I’ll just treat it like I’m working out”
“Okay, good luck!”
“We’re going first then!”
Then the two girls immediately run off, while Michael pulled Brandon up and placed him over his shoulders while muttering, “What a troublesome kid”
With the extra luggage he’s carrying, a couple of students who still had spare energy left quickly overtook him, but he didn’t care as he saw that they weren’t part of the same group and it would be useless even if they arrived first.
Before long, Michael, while carrying Brandon on his back, made it back to the campsite after an hour or so running around the island.
“Congratulations on coming first, take Brandon inside”
Professor Santos came over to their group to congratulate them before instructing Michael to carry Brandon inside.
As the minute passed by, more and more students arrived one by one, including Chad and his friends.
They would have immediately taken second place if their two friends who are still missing didn’t get left behind.
“William and Jules are so slow! Just where the hell are they?!”