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Posted on Tue Jul 12th, 2022 @ 12:26pm by Iris Walker

Mission: Episode 2: Northern X-Posure
Location: A State Park somewhere in New England
Timeline: July 29, 1990

Iris stared around at her surroundings. She did not remember how she had gotten there nor how long she had been there. The last thing she remembered clearly was running away from the compound after the explosion. She had vague memories of attempting to get someone to take her to a hospital, but nobody seemed to notice her. She had eventually given up, stolen some Tylenol and water from a convenience store- because nobody seemed to notice that she wanted to buy it- and gone to figure things out.

She obviously hadn’t, though, because she found herself on a park bench in a thin sleeping bag. She had no idea where she had gotten the sleeping bag, but decided to wrap it up and take it with her. As she spread the sleeping bag on the ground to start rolling it, she noticed a pack sitting next to the bench. Had someone left it there? Was it hers? If it was hers, where had she gotten it?

Upon opening it, she found it full of food and bottled water. Her head pounded and prevented her from thinking, so she decided to eat something and take some more tylenol if she could find the bottle. (Spoiler: she found it.)

Her head felt slightly better after eating and drinking some water, but not completely, so she took a couple of tylenol and hoped for the best. She must have a concussion. That was the only explanation. And her wrist was bandaged. It didn’t feel broken, though, so maybe she had sprained it and found a way to wrap it herself. She carefully removed the bandages just in case there was a wicked cut under it, but she found only a hideous purple and yellow bruise. That meant it had been at least a week as bruises didn’t turn that color for quite some time. Maybe it had been two weeks. It had been a long time since she’d had a health class, so she couldn’t really remember how long a bruise took to heal.

In any case, she flexed her wrist around a bit and experimentally lifted the pack. It seemed okay, if a little sore, so she assumed it had only been sprained. The question then remained if she had managed to get someone’s attention and they had taken her to a hospital or if she had wrapped it herself.

Her brain still felt fuzzy.

She was delighted to find that the thin sleeping bag rolled up into a tight little roll that easily fit in her pack. Was it really hers? The Tylenol was in it and she remembered taking that, so that was enough of a clue for her. Next order of business, find a public restroom. This didn’t seem like it would be easy as she was in some sort of park that was surrounded by trees. She scanned the area, trying to figure out which way to go and ended up just shrugging and heading into the trees.

Now that all of her necessities had been taken care of, she needed to figure out where she was. And what time of day it was. Glancing around, she saw the sun almost directly overhead. So either just before or just past noon. She would have to pay attention to which way it moved to get a better idea. And then she could find North, too, which would help her move in one direction, thus increasing her likelihood of coming across civilization.

“Look! There it is!”

Iris whirled around to see two people- one male, one female- dressed in uniform headed her way down a path on the opposite side of the bench. At first, she thought they were police officers, but then she realized they were park rangers. Was she in a national park? A state park? That would explain the bench in the middle of a forest.

“You’re right,” said the second ranger, sounding confused. “It definitely wasn’t there yesterday.”

They stopped by the bench, both staring at it with hands on their hips. “Do you think we somehow got the wrong trail yesterday?” asked the female.

“Definitely not,” replied the male. “See that marker down there? We definitely passed that marker.”

“Excuse me!” called Iris, attempting to get their attention. “Hey, excuse me! It was my fault! Can you hear me?”

But the two continued with their conversation as if she wasn’t even there, theorizing how someone may have stolen and returned a bench without anybody noticing. Eventually, they moved on and Iris decided to follow them. Maybe they would lead her to civilization….



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