he woods were so much darker than she’d expected.
She stopped, enormous black trees looming overhead, mysterious sounds — bears? wolves? — emanating from the endless forest that surrounded them.
“Maybe this was a mistake,” she told Darrell.
He was already twenty steps ahead of her and it took a moment for his footsteps to stop their crunch-crunch-crunching through the deep dry carpet of dead leaves. Finally, he turned to face her.
“Well, of course it was a mistake,” he said. “We never should have left town. We shouldn’t have left the church in the first place.”
“I’m sorry,” she said, raising her arms and letting them flap back down at her sides. She wasn’t accustomed to second-guessing herself, or apologizing. “I guess we should just go back.”
“Go back? We can’t just go back! There’s no way we’ll find our way out of here at night.”
She sank down onto the leaves, let herself flop onto her back and stare up at the starless, moonless sky. The ancient running shoes she’d found in the charity bin, so comfortable when she first put them on her feet, were now rubbing and chafing, worse than nothing. The old man pants kept falling down, and the shirt smelled like her grandfather, before her mother and Jimmie Sue gave him a bath. She wished she could call her mother to come get her right this very minute. But while her phone still had juice, they were too far from anywhere to get a signal.
“What do you think you’re doing?” Darrell said.
“I can’t go on. I’ve got to get some sleep.”
“Are you crazy? You can’t sleep out here in the woods. You’ll get eaten by something.”
“I don’t care,” she said. “Anything would be better than just walking walking walking till our feet fall off. We’re probably going to get eaten by something anyway.”