“Can you go into my backpack? I think it’s over there,” he said, nodding to his left. “Can you bring my canteen to me?”
“It’s, uh, a bottle of water. It’s green.”
She looked up at him,
“Oh,” she said. “Canteen.”
“Nothing,” she said, inching back.
He turned his gaze to his bag and saw it open. His hiking supplies were strewn across the ground, and the canteen was empty.
Dave’s nostrils flared.
“Damn it.” He slammed the back of his head against the ground. Leaves crunched in his ears as Judy darted away.
“Wait,” he groaned. “Wait, Judy, it’s okay.”
“Are you sure?” she called out.
“Yeah.” He inhaled. “I mean, you can still help me. Can you get my phone?”
“It’s, uh, a little box with buttons on it. It lights up when you touch it.” He looked at his belongings. “It’s in the compartment you didn’t open.”
Judy returned to the bag. She rummaged for a second, then looked back at him.
“What does it do?”
“It, uh, it calls people.” His breathing relaxed. “I can call someone to come find me.”
Judy peeked into the bag again.
“I don’t see it, Dave.”
“It has to be in there.”
“It has to be.”
Judy turned her head toward the rising sun.
“It’s morning. I have to go to sleep.”
“I have to.”
“No, you have to help me. Judy, please.”
“I’ll come back tonight,” she said. “I’ll bring my friends.”
“Do you promise?”
“Yes.” She ran away.
He lay there, staring at the clouds and trees. Occasionally he rubbed his cheeks against his shoulder to get the bugs and fallen leaves off his face, but his neck would not support his head for more than a few seconds at a time.
In the afternoon, a storm came. Puddles of water collected in his mouth and he swallowed them when they were big enough. When the rain stopped, he relaxed his head and slept.