this is a series of anthologies within the same stories. there are 25 students and 5 teachers and everything overlaps over a series of nights.
It was the middle of summer as the bus made its way up the long stretch of mountain path. This was going to be a two week trip full of nature and learning with five expert teachers and twenty-five willing students. Well… almost all of them were willing. Edith June sat in the back of the bus trying to drown out the overly exaggerated and fast talk of the two annoying cheerleaders in the seat beside her and in front of her. She had heard it all before and although the threats were sometimes funny, the issue was getting out of hand.
"Mimi, will you please give it a rest? We broke up, end of story." A deep voice said in front of Edith.
"You stay out of this. You broke up with me to be with that slut." Mimi said, flipping her brown hair over her shoulder.
"I broke up with you because you kept waking me up in the middle of the night with drunk phone calls and asking me to pick you up at nightclubs."
"You're so old fashioned. I told you when we got together that I wanted an open relationship and you agreed."
"I was taught that an 'open relationship' meant that we were open with each other, no secrets."
"Even I could have told you that that wasn't the case." Edith chimed in.
The boy the voice belonged to sat up and looked over the seat at her. He made a face.
"Well a lot of help you were, then."
"I know a lot about your life, Day, but I try not to get involved in your relationships because there's way too many of them."
Daymond (Day) Hailey was Edith's next door neighbor and had been since elementary school. They were secretly best friends due to the fact that Daymond was higher on the social ladder than she was. Edith was considered a Goth whereas Daymond was a jock, even though he really didn't play any sports that she knew of. They talked often but she tried not to get involved with his relationships because a lot of them ended with feuds between girls and Edith didn't want to get involved with any of it.
Besides, it was boring half the time and just showed Edith the desperation of being accepted. Edith didn't even want to be on the trip to the forest, but Daymond had begged her to go for company. He said that Mimi and Nika were going to be going and he wanted someone civil to be there to help him keep his sanity. Now Edith understood what he meant, but it still didn't make the journey any less annoying. At least the trip would be somewhat interesting and Edith liked science, so getting away from home for two weeks may not have been a bad thing.
"And I was like, 'Jason, do it again!' and he banged me like six times in a row. It was so magical."
"You're so lucky. You always get the hottest guys."
The two girls turned to the seat beside them as the red head looked up from her book. The black haired beauty made a face at the other girl.
"What did you just say?"
"I said that you two were disgusting. Are you really happy about your conquests and just giving your virginity away?"
The young Asian girl laughed. "Check it out, Valerie: virgin alert."
Valerie laughed. "You only think it's disgusting because you haven't had any, have you, Liberty?"
"So what?" Liberty said with a nonchalant shrug. "I feel comfortable in my own skin; I don't need someone doing me to make me feel special."
"Aw, that's what virgins say." Valerie's friend, Winter, said with a mocking look of pity. "It's so sad that you think that way."
The two girls laughed as Liberty rolled her green eyes. Unfortunately, she was also stuck as a group with the two when they would be going out in the field for research. She knew that she would be having to do all the work and wasn't looking forward to it.
Guthrie Young was listening to some show tunes on his iPod while his two friends kissed in the seat beside him. He made a face at them being so crude on the bus and not even caring about if he was there or not. He should have been used to it by now. Hannah had always been pretty and when they hit middle school she blossomed into the most beautiful flower that attracted all the bees. While Guthrie was grateful that Hannah hadn't left him behind on her popular adventure, he did wish that Ferris Clark hadn't been able to snag her up. He used to be a drama geek like him and then over the course of one summer it was like God blessed him ten times over and he came back looking super attractive and gained the confidence to ask Hannah out. Now they were inseparable in so many ways than just their relationship.
"Guys, is there a way to turn off your snogging?" he asked in both seriousness and jest.
Ferris looked out the corner of his eye and then smiled.
"Dude, stop watching us like a porno."
"I can't, you're doing it right in front of me. Good thing we're in a public place or I think yall could be a porno."
"We're just kissing, Guthrie." Hannah said, sitting up. "Lighten up a little."
"I'm not mad, sheesh." He said, looking out the window.
The sun was setting in the distance and he sat up, looking over his seat.
"Hey, Mr. Bloxham, are we almost there yet?"
"We will be in a couple of hours." The older man said as he read a book. "Just enjoy the ride."
"It's just been almost two days and we haven't reached the grounds yet. Where exactly are we going?"
"Like we said, we're going to Visnefar Forest. There is a wide range of unique wildlife in this forest and from what I understand there's not much known about this forest so it's practically a virgin forest."
"Hey, just like Liberty." Winter said from a few seats back.
"Good one!" Valerie said, the two high fiving.
Guthrie made a face as he looked at the older Hispanic man from over the seat.
"So we'll be the first ones to get any information on the forest? What exactly does that mean?"
"That's what this trip is all about. With the help of the science teachers and outdoor ed teachers, we can get a full grasp on the functions of the forest and it's ecosystem."
"But isn't there an ecosystem that's kind of a pattern for all forests?" Hannah asked, moving away from Ferris to sit at the edge of the seat.
"As in 'don't all forests do the same thing'?" Hannah nodded. "No, not necessarily. Some forests have more herbivores than carnivores, others have more rodents than mammals and so on. The amount of animals and types of animals within a forest change the structure of the way the forest works."
"So then what are we doing?" a boy named Lytton Ferry asked, pushing up his glasses.
"Like I said, studying the forest. We can gather data on the animals that live in the forest, types of trees, landscaping, etc. If we can get it done then we will be the first school to ever have topographical information that even the government doesn't have."
"Cool, we'll be famous." Another kid said.
"Aren't they the cutest?"
"Well they are married."
"Not the Blounts; Mr. Johns and Ms. George."
"Oh, yeah, they are kind of cute."
Priscilla Count and Keila Bear watched the two single teachers from two seats back as they shared a seat together in the middle of the bus. They seemed to be having a pleasant conversation and Priscilla sighed, batting her eyelashes.
"I wish I was Ms. George. She's getting all the attention from Mr. Johns."
"The only difference is that you would probably tell him; Ms. George doesn't have that in her. It looks like they will only just flirt." Keila said, playing on her cell phone.
"I have to get them together."
"What are you, a yenta?" she asked, lifting her head up quickly. "Stay out of it, Priscilla."
"Because you suck at matchmaking. You keep thinking you're good at it but whatever guy you put us with ends up being douchey or an idiot or something."
"That's not true."
"You had me paired up with Buster Leon for God's sake." Keila growled, thumbing to the obnoxious greasy-haired boy who was rocking out and playing air guitar. "If I had believed you, I would have been subject to that."
"Did you give him a chance?"
"No, why would I? He's the crudest, rudest, and overall douchebaggiest guy I've ever met. The couple of girls that I saw that had gone out with Buster said they wish they had never met him."
"You never know until you try…" Priscilla sang.
"If you can't even stand Buster Leon, then why in the world did you come on this trip?"
The two looked over at a bright redheaded girl who was reading a survival brochure that featured knives, traps, and guns.
"You realize that we're going to be in the forest where there are lots of uncertainties including rain, mud, and moss. Can you handle that?"
"Why are you being so melodramatic?" Keila asked.
"And what does liking Buster have to do with dealing with the forest?"
The girl put the brochure down and looked at them.
"I'm just saying that it's true that Buster is really nasty but the forest is going to be even nastier. If you can't handle a person being that way, then what makes you think you could handle a whole ecosystem?"
"You're getting too into this conversation and this adventure, Helen." Priscilla said.
"Just because you guys came to stare at our teacher doesn't mean that the most of us didn't come to learn. Besides, I love doing stuff outside."
Priscilla turned to Keira and make a mocking face about Helen as Keira giggled.
The day was coming to an end and they still hadn't reached the forest. Guthrie wanted to hurry up and get to the cabins and get a good night's sleep. He had turned off his iPod and was looking out the window when he spotted a deer. He jumped a little though, scaring Hannah, who had moved to his seat when Ferris wanted to take a nap in the full seat beside them.
"What the heck?"
"Sorry but that deer scared me."
"We're in a forest, Guthrie, you should expect deer."
"It's not that… I mean, the headlights in the eyes of a deer are kind of creepy, don't you think?"
Hannah watched the window as they passed by a group of deer as they all pulled their heads up just as the bus went by. She shuddered and pressed against Guthrie.
"You're going to see a shit-ton of deer here." The bus driver chimed in from in front of them. "They nicknamed this forest Cervine Forest because there's so many deer that they practically overtook the woods."
They passed by yet another group of them when Guthrie did a double take from his window.
"What is it?" Hannah asked.
Guthrie just laughed a little and shook his head.
"I think I might be hallucinating…"
"I could have sworn that one of those deer had really pointy teeth and growled after the bus."
"How would you know it growled?"
"Well I obviously didn't hear it but you can tell if something is growling, you know? Like I said, it was probably my imagination."
"Maybe." She put her head on his shoulder. "Stop squirming around so that I can sleep on you."
Guthrie rolled his eyes but put his head on hers.
Allegra Hill stared out the window in boredom in the night. She was sitting in the back row across from Edith. She didn't really want to go on this trip but she was failing science and Mr. Blount told her that she could bring her grade up to a passing grade if she came on this trip. She wasn't friends with anyone on the bus. Edith was alright company and better than most of the people there but she would have rather been home. The only thing that was halfway decent was the entertainment between Mimi and Nika about Daymond, but that got old quick and the shrill voices of the two made Ally just want to hurl herself off of the nearing cliff.
She sat up and moved to the edge of the seat to go to the bathroom that was right behind Edith when she looked out the back window and stopped. She turned her head a little in confusion and then sat in Edith's seat instead of going to the bathroom. Edith jumped at hearing someone sit next to her.
"What the hell?"
"Sorry but… can you tell me if I'm hallucinating?"
"Uh… what drugs you on? You got some?" she asked, perking up a little and leaning over. "What you got?" she whispered.
"I'm not on drugs." Ally growled. "I meant that I thought I saw something and wanted to make sure I'm not going crazy."
Edith sighed. "Fine… what is it?"
"Will you look out the back window of the bus and tell me what you see?"
Edith raised an eyebrow. "What?"
"Seriously, just will you?"
Edith grumbled as Allegra moved so that they could switch seats and Edith could look outside.
Edith looked out the window and turned her head in confusion.
"What the hell?"
"So I'm not dreaming?" Allegra asked, leaning over.
"You talking about the weird thing with the deer?"
"Man, I wish you were. That's creepy as shit." Edith said softly, moving to sit in Allegra's seat.
They both leaned into the aisle to watch the back window as deer after deer walked into the road behind them, watching the bus with unusual behavior.
"I'm not that great in science, but I'm pretty sure deer don't do that."
"Don't do what?" Daymond asked, looking over the seat.
"The deer are acting weird."
Daymond looked out and made a face. "Whoa… I wonder if anyone else notices. I'm going to text Ferris."
"He's asleep." Edith said without looking. "I can hear him snoring from back here."
"Then I'll text Guthrie." He said, pulling out his phone.
Guthrie felt his pocket buzz and he moved his hand to it, careful not to move Hannah.
Hey, have you noticed something weird about the deer?
Guthrie made a face but pushed Hannah off of him as gently as he could so he could look out the window. When he did, he lifted an eyebrow and texted Daymond back.
"Hey, Guthrie sent back a text. He said, "Yeah. Look out the side windows.""
The three of them did and Edith swallowed down her nervousness. The forest seemed to be lining up with deer and not in a random way that deer would come out. They were all watching the bus with a strange look and standing in a row along either side of the highway. Edith looked at Daymond but he was texting Guthrie back.
"Oh my god!"
Edith looked back at Allegra as she pointed to the back window. Daymond looked up and even Mimi woke up from her nap and sat up to see what was going on. The four of them screamed and moved away from the back of the bus as a very large buck ran after the bus with tremendous speed, horns down and ready to strike.
"What is going on back here?" one of the teacher, Carson Johns, said, looking at the four students standing. "You need to sit back down in your seats."
"Mr. Johns, are deer supposed to be able to do that?" Allegra said with a shaky hand.
Carson looked out the window and yelped, falling into the aisle.
"Hey, everyone must remain in their seats-" the bus driver started,
"HOLY SHIT!" Daymond shouted, pointing to the front of the bus.
The bus driver looked from the rearview mirror and gasped, throwing her feet on the brakes. The bus skidded to a stop, making Carson tumble down the aisle towards the front and Daymond almost fell over himself. Everyone who was asleep was awake now as the bus stopped just short of a small herd of deer that was standing in the middle of the road, not moving and looking eerie in the headlights of the bus. The bus driver sighed in relief.
"Oh my god, go, go, GO!" Allegra screamed from the back of the bus.
Edith jumped over her seat into Daymond's just in time for the buck that had still been chasing them to ram into the the back of the bus. Its antlers grabbed hold of the emergency door and ripped it off the handles. The bus driver had to make a decision quick and so hit the gas, lurching the bus forward towards the herd of the deer in the road. Not wanting to hit the deer, she just kept pumping the gas and making the bus lurch more and more, hoping the deer would move out of the way.
Mr. Bloxham helped Carson off the floor and looked up at the driver.
"Will you stop doing that?!" he yelled.
"I'm trying to get the deer to move out of the way of the road. If I hit them it will do severe damage to the bus. They're just standing there like I'm challenging them." The bus driver growled angrily.
"Honk your horn at them." He growled.
The bus driver did, scaring everyone at the same time. The deer didn't move.
"Watch out, it's coming again!" Carson yelled to the back.
Everyone in the last five seats had moved up into other seats as the buck from before charged the bus at high speed. Ms. George watched in confusion as the deer charged the bus. Carson grabbed her shoulder.
"Ila, what's going on? Why are they acting like this?"
"I- I don't know. I've never heard of deer acting this way in all my days."
"Hey, um… doesn't this look like they are surrounding us." A freshman said, pointing out his window.
Everyone who had a window looked out one and sure enough, there was a deer on every side.
Edith turned back, wondering where the buck that had been heading towards them had gone. She screamed and slammed into Daymond, elbowing his nose. It was just standing in the gaping hole of the bus, staring at the students one by one.
"It's fucking counting us." Edith said, scooting around Daymond.
"Deer can't count." He said, backing as well though.
"They also can't run 70mph, but that one was." Oksana Blount, Yuri Blount's wife and outdoor ed teacher said in her Russian accent.
"How do you know it was seventy?" a boy said from beside her.
"Because the bus was going sixty and in order to get any momentum for ramming into the back of a bus, he had to go faster than we were."
"What's it doing?" a girl asked.
The buck suddenly backed out of the bus and walked off. The herd of deer in front of the bus moved and the bus driver sighed, putting the air brakes back on and hitting the gas.
Hannah and Guthrie looked out the window as Ferris woke up and sat up.
"What's going on?" he asked with a yawn.
"You could sleep through Armageddon." Guthrie grumbled.
"Uh… uh, Ms. Bus Driver Lady… Ms.- Ms. Bus Driver Lady!" Hannah yelled, trying to get her attention.
"Not right now, kid, I'm trying to-"
Guthrie moved Hannah just in time as a wave of deer flanking the left side of the bus all jumped towards the bus, ramming into it. The bus lost control and fishtailed violently. The bus driver looked over and tried to avoid the next hit but turned and slammed on brakes, more deer in the road. The forces from all around finally caught the bus and it flipped onto its side, sliding up the uphill path.
because deer are creepy as shit