Hike, Part 2 – Silence

Read part 1 here first.

George sat on his rock well past twilight and into night time, but Rod Serling didn’t show up, despite what his brother, Rob, had said. The silence was heavy, the lack of insect voices or small animals shuffling about in the underbrush was unnerving. George felt like he was the only person left on earth. Perhaps he was.

He got off his rock and sat on the ground with it at his back. Eventually he dozed off. By the time he awoke, to a tapping on his shoulder, his neck ached, his rear-end was numb, and the sky had turned a deep indigo.

“George!” said a voice. George opened his eyes and saw it was Rob.

“What are you doing back? And why didn’t your brother show up?”

Rob shrugged. “Maybe because he’s dead?”

“As good an excuse as any, I guess. Hey, do you know the way back to town? I think I’m a bit lost.”

“Why didn’t you ask last night? I just came from there. Not planning to go back.” Rob looked up. “Oh hey, there’s Rod now.”

Rod Serling, or the ghost of Rod Serling, crawled out from behind the rock and sat beside George.

“George,” Rod said, “have you ever considered that bump on your head from yesterday might have made it unwise to go to sleep?”

“I’m beginning to think so,” answered George. “Am I dead?”

Rob spoke up, “Is this the new show, Rod?”

“Rob, it’s what we call, the Dawning Zone.”

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Hike

A two-hour hike had turned into a six-hour-long ordeal. George sat on a rock and thought about where it had gone wrong. Was it possible that the bump on the head from not ducking low enough under the fallen tree made him miss the signpost? The markers along the trail were bright red. Then again, now that he looked around, everything seemed black and white, like he’d stepped into an old television show.

“You have,” said a voice from behind him.

“Rod? Rod Serling?” George asked the stranger.

“No, I’m Rob. Rod was my brother.”

“So, I’m not in the Twilight Zone?”

“Technically, no. This is just the sunset zone. Rod will be along in a minute.”

“Isn’t he dead?”

“Well, yeah. Technically.” Rob stepped closer and ran his hair over George’s scalp. “You really should have that looked at.”

“You’re telling me,” said George with a small laugh.

“Okay, gotta go. Say hi to Rod for me.” With that, Rob ran away down the trail that George had walked up.

To be continued