Virtual Kids Part 3: This is a Pickle

“This is far enough,” said Dylan. He and Rocky had been making fake tracks for the uglies to follow when they showed up.

“Yeah, we won’t have much time before they arrive,” agreed Rocky.

They backtracked along their sloppy markings and began tiptoeing around the ferns, leaving no trace of their steps. Dylan scanned the woods for cover. The choices were the ferns, rocks and trees. The ferns were good cover if they had to suddenly duck and hide, but would risk leaving them in the big uglies’ path. The rock was smooth and swirling, cooled lava flow from past volcanic eruptions frozen in time. They decided their best cover would be a bit exposed, up in a tree. With any luck the big uglies would be too stupid to think to look up.

“This is a good spot,” said Dylan. Is there a pocket knife in there? I’ll keep a lookout while you check the gear bag.”

Dylan inspected the bag. They had been provided a pocket knife, food and water, a flashlight, pen and a paper map. No SID.

“Yeah, there’s a knife, but no SID.” said Rocky. He and Dylan had hoped it would have been retrieved for them, even if it was broken. SID had been dropped while they were climbing the volcano, which meant its location was somewhere near big uglies’ hideout.

“Hopefully we find it before they do,” said Rocky.

“Where’s your sense of adventure?” said Dylan, a smile forming on his face. He grabbed the knife and cut and bunch of ferns. “Don’t worry, we’ll get it back. Maybe we’ll find Dynamo the old fashioned way.”

“What way is that?” asked Rocky, afraid to hear the answer.

“Sneaking up on the bad guys!” said Dylan, beaming a wide eyed, full teeth grin at Rocky through the bunch of ferns.

“Shh! I think they may be sneaking up on us,” answered Rocky. Voices could be heard approaching them. Rocky and Dylan scrambled up a tree. Dylan had just enough time to place the ferns around them for cover.

There were in fact three big uglies headed in their direction, all wearing black t-shirts and sunglasses, with their unmistakably giant features. Their ridiculously large feet crushed the ferns as they walked. On the ground, the ferns came up to Rocky and Dylan’s necks, but barely scraped these guys’ knees. Rocky was suddenly wishing they had climbed higher. He could have reached out and touched their heads, if he’d wanted to. He most definitely did not want to.

“Over here!” grunted one of the uglies. They had fanned out, but one had found Dylan and Rockies’ entry site, where they were dropped off and ran into the trees. That was the bad news; the uglies knew Rocky and Dylan were back on the island. The good news was they were following the wrongs tracks, which followed the lava flow. Dylan and Rocky wanted to head toward the volcano to find SID, where it had been dropped. The uglies headed away from the boys.

“They’re gone,” cheered Rocky. “It worked!

They scrambled down the tree and carefully made their way against the swirls of the lava flow, toward the volcano.

“You know we’re headed toward their hideout,” said Rocky.

“I’m counting on it,” answered Dylan. “Our mission is to locate Dynamo. We’ve got to unscramble their transmissions to do that, but we don’t have SID. So, maybe we can just eavesdrop a little.”

“Why do you do everything the hard way?”  moaned Rocky.

“Cause it’s fun!” answered Dylan. “Hey, look!” Dylan pointed to a clearing they recognized. That’s the spot we found before climbing the volcano. If SID is on the ground, it’s going to be in that area.

Rocky looked up, viewing the tall mass of rock they climbed, recognizing the clearing below. Yup, he thought, this was the spot he had hoped to never see again.

“Let’s go to the base and scan in both directions.” Rocky was looking at the map. He had determined their location on the map as the side of the volcano nearest the beach and the rock clearing. He made a note on the map along with their drop-off site.

“All set,” said Rocky. They fanned out on either side of the base, careful to look out for incoming uglies.

“Here, I found something!” yelled Dylan.

“Did you find it?” asked Rocky.

“Sort of,” said Dylan. He was standing on a rock clearing, and in one small spot at his feet there with tiny droplets of colorful ooze, mixed in with a few shards of glass. “These are bits of the screen I bet.”

“Definitely broken,” said Rocky, disappointed

“And definitely gone too.” replied Dylan. “They’ve got SID, otherwise there would be more parts here.”

“I never thought I’d say this, but I hope it doesn’t work at all now.” said Rocky.

“Only one thing to do now” said Dylan “With no SID, we’ve got to find them, and Dynamo, ourselves.

“I was afraid you’d say that.” said Rocky. “At least we have this map. I’ve marked our entry point and this site. If only we could back track our steps during the chase, we could locate their hideout.”

“Piece of cake,” replied Dylan.

“Really?” asked Rocky surprised. He knew Dylan was confident, but this was a bit of a stretch. They had run all around that volcano, and this island was about the size of their whole town. He was afraid to ask what Dylan was scheming.

“Yeah, piece of cake,” repeated Dylan. “All we have to do is allow them to catch us and they’ll take us right to their hideout.

“That’s a crazy idea!” blurted Rocky. “They’ll kill us. We’ll be locked up. We’ll starve, lose all of our health.” Rocky was so frustrated with Dylan he didn’t see the uglies coming up behind him. He noticed Dylan had said anything in a while and was standing cross-armed, trying to conceal a smile, looking just past Rocky’s head.

“They’re right behind me aren’t they,” asked Rocky, more quietly this time.

“Why aren’t you running?” grunted the one in the lead. The other two circled around Dylan and Rocky, hands out in case they decided to run.

“Woops. Didn’t see you there,” answered Dylan.


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