Codey’s World Story Collections Best of Friends Ending by Trab

The Best of Friends

Beginning by Codey ~ Ending by Trab

The mini-van pulled into the parking area at the trail head and three excited teens piled out and began unloading their gear for the three day hike and camping trip. The three had been camping alone before but their parents had never let them be too far from home on previous camp outs. Now, at fifteen, their parents had agreed to a three day, two night hiking trip through the national forest. They would be on their own in an isolated area and even though their parents had some misgivings, all had agreed that the boys were mature enough to take this trip.

Jason and Jared Turner were identical twins and Logan Matthews was one of the few people, outside their family, who could tell them apart. The three lived on the same cul-de-sac in Circle City and had lived their entire lives there. When they were five and in kindergarten, something had clicked in Logan's brain and he just knew which twin was which.

When they reached seventh grade and were no longer in a single classroom all day, Jason, who was a math wiz, and Jared, who found History and other Social Studies to be no problem, would change clothes in the boys room and take tests for the other in the classes they were good at. As far as they knew, Logan was the only person on to their little scam and, since they were all so close, he'd never said anything. In fact he thought it was cool that they were able to fool the teachers like that. Logan was no slouch in school either and all three got decent grades.

The twin’s dad watched as the boys unloaded the car and piled their gear on the grass. “Have you got everything? You won't want to be out in the woods and find that you've forgotten something crucial.”

“Yeah, Dad. We're sure. We've triple checked the list and packed everything.”

“Okay boys, have fun and remember the rules. Stay together and stick to the route you marked out on the map for us. Remember, there's a lot of bears out there and they're filling up for the winter. We don't want any of you to become bear chow.”

“Awww Dad, we’re not little kids anymore.”

“I know,” he said grabbing the twins into a hug, “but you’ll always be my little boys no matter how big or old you get.” Then he reached over and grabbed Logan pulling him into what became a group hug. “You’ll all always be my little boys.”

Jared was the first to pull away. “So, Dad, don’t you think it’s about time for you to leave?” he asked with a grin.

“Ha ha ha. Okay, I can take a hint. You boys have fun and stay safe. Logan’s dad will pick you up the day after tomorrow at the Willow Lake trail head at four pm.” As he was pulling out of the parking area, he gave the boys a honk and a wave.

“Jeez! I thought he’d never leave.” Jared said. “Come on dudes, the wild is calling us.” The first couple hours were an easy climb but then the trail became steeper. The easy chatter and joking that had passed the time away in the beginning were replaced by heavy breathing and an occasional grunt as the trail wound its way to the top of the ridge. As they passed a milepost, Jared pulled out the trail guide and looked at it. “Just about a mile left to the ridge, guys. We can have lunch there.”

“A mile?” Jason moaned. “Oh God, why did I let you guys talk me into this? I can’t go any farther until I rest some.”

“Come on Jase, it’s only a mile and then it’s an easy hike to the trail fork for Devils Canyon. We can rest awhile after we have lunch.” Logan said.

“No way! I’m not moving another step until I rest some. Why aren’t you guys as wasted as I am? I know I’m in as good condition as you are.” Jared never answered, he just smiled. Jason frowned at his brother, “Okay dickhead, what’s in my pack?”

“Just regular camping stuff.”

“Regular camping stuff like what?”

Jared shrugged his shoulders. “You know just regular stuff. Toilet paper, ground cloth, some dried food, a couple bricks, canned food…”

“Whoa, whoa, whoa. A couple bricks? You put a couple bricks in my pack?”

“Well, actually it was three.”

Jason glared at his brother and dropped his bag on the ground and started unpacking it. “Why the hell did you put bricks in my pack?”

“It just seemed like the right thing to do.” Jared said, shrugging his shoulders.

“You are such an ass sometimes.”

Logan was sitting on his pack and laughing at the twins antics. What made it even funnier was that he knew, if Jason had packed the bags, he would have done the same thing to Jared. For over ten years he’d been watching the twins pull dirty tricks on each other. They’d fight about it and, as soon as they calmed down, they’d just go on like nothing had happened.

He envied them for the closeness they shared. He had a younger sister and they were close but it was a different kind of closeness. It was more of a protector closeness and not a companion/confidant closeness. He and the twins were the best of friends but even that paled next to the relationship the two of them shared. He often wondered what it would be like to be so close to someone you could share secrets without worrying that they’d tell someone else. His laughing stopped as soon as the word secret manifested itself. He couldn’t laugh anymore.

Neither of the twins noticed he wasn’t laughing as they continued to bicker. “Look at all this canned stuff.” Jason complained. “This is way more than I could eat. You’ve given me two of everything.” The realization hit Jason like a slap at the back of the head, “You turd breath! I’ve been carrying your food too! You are so gonna die!” Jared just smiled a sheepish smile and then started ducking the cans being thrown at him, “If you’re gonna eat it, you can carry it!”

Jason carefully replaced the gear from his pack while Jared picked up cans and dumped them in his. Although the twins were so much alike physically that few could tell them apart, there were differences in their personalities that were very pronounced. Jared was more impatient and tended to just jump into things as well as being on the hot head side and was a poor loser. Jason was more reserved and tended to be calmer in his reactions to new or unusual situations. Jason also tended to defer to his brother nearly all the time. It wasn't that Jason was a follower as much as he disliked confrontation.

Jason put his pack back on and fastened the belly strap but Jared was kicking through the weeds beside the trail like he'd lost something. “Come on, Jared, Let's get moving.”

“I can't yet. I can't find my fruit cocktail. You know I like it...where the hell did you throw it?”

“How am I supposed to know where it is? If it'd been in your pack, where it belonged, you wouldn't have lost it.”

“Damn!” Jared said pulling his own pack on, “what kind of camping trip will this be with no fruit cocktail?”

“Hello, Earth to Logan. Anyone in there?”

Logan was still lost in his own thoughts when he realized Jared was talking to him. He looked up into the smiling face of Jared. “Sorry, I guess I was day dreaming.”

“Well, wake up then, dude, and let's get a move on.”

Jared started up the trail, and Logan fell in a few paces behind him, with Jason bringing up the rear. They'd gone a couple of hundred yards when Logan noticed Jason now walking beside him.

“Hey,” Jason said.

“Hey, yourself.”

“You okay dude?”

“Yea, I'm doing okay. Why?”

“Well, you just seem a little out of it today. If something's bothering you, you can talk it over with us, you know.”

“No...I'm fine. I've just been thinking about some things lately.”

“Well, when or if you need to talk, we're here to listen.”

“I know, dude. Thanks.”

It took them a half hour to reach the ridge and they stopped to eat the sandwiches their mothers had fixed for their first lunch.

“What did you get?”

“Peanut butter and jelly and a ham and cheese. What about you?”

“She made me the opposite.”

“The opposite?”

“Yea, ham and cheese and a peanut butter and jelly sandwich.”

“You guys are so whacked!” laughed Logan.

“Yea? Well at least we have some variety in our lives Mr. roast beef sandwiches.”

“I don't always have roast beef.”

“Oh yea? What have you got then?”

“I haven't looked yet.”

“Well then, look.”

Logan was laughing inside because he knew what he'd find. His mom always made him roast beef sandwiches when he needed a packed lunch. He pulled a sandwich out, unwrapped it, and took a bite. “Well, what is it?” Jared asked.

“I’m tasting it to see right now.”

“You don’t have to taste it, just look at it and you can tell.”

“It looks like a piece of meat in-between two slices of bread.”

“Quit stalling, asshole. What is it?”

“Okay, okay, it’s roast beef,” Logan said, laughing.

“YES! Jared is right once again! When will you losers learn not to disagree with me? I’m not wrong very often and, even when I’m wrong, I’m more right than either of you.”

Logan just rolled his eyes and continued eating his sandwich but Jason was giving Jared an angry look. “You know, your crap gets really old these days. Why don't you grow up?”

“What the hell are you taking about?”

“Your attitude. Jeez, Jared, you act like a two year old. If you're right about something or win a bet, you gloat. If you're wrong or lose a bet, you go berserk and accuse people of cheating just to make you look bad. You, seriously, need to grow up.”

“It's called self confidence, Lil Bro.”

“No, it's called arrogance, and being five minutes older doesn't make you my big brother. We're the same size and those five minutes don't count because you used them to tell the doctor what you think he did wrong in delivering you. You're a 'know it all' that can't stand to be wrong about anything.”

Logan listened to the two brothers arguing but didn't say anything. He'd heard them argue about this before and he wasn't about to take sides, although he did agree with what Jason was saying. Jared's temper was legendary at school and in the neighborhood and had landed him in detention more times than he could count.

When they were eleven, and in fifth grade, Jared had gotten angry over a lost dollar bet on the World Series and had broken Jonny Walker's nose. Jon's nose still has a crook in it and Jared ended up in anger management counseling before they would let him back in school. After only three or four sessions, he'd convinced the therapist it was just two boys fighting and the therapist gave him a clean bill of health and allowed him to return to school. This incident had given Jared a “bad ass” reputation and, although he wasn't a bully, most kids steered clear of antagonizing him.

The twins finished their argument and sandwiches and the three boys put on their packs and started up the trail along the ridge. “Only about an hour to the Devils canyon trail spur so we should get to our campsite for the night with plenty of time to spare.” Jared said.

The boys made sure to make plenty of noise, as they walked, to warn bears and other wild animals they were there. It wouldn't be much fun to surprise a bear eating berries along the trail. Jared was in the lead and was singing “99 Bottles of Beer” over and over. Logan was next in line and he'd, occasionally, join in the song but mostly was quiet. Jason brought up the rear and nervously kept checking the trail behind them. He wasn't so worried about bears but he knew cats were curious and was afraid some cougar would decide to see what all the commotion was about. He was last in line so if the cougar decided it needed a teen for dinner, he would be the most likely target. The fact that no cougars had been seen in this area for twenty five years, didn't impress him. Cats are sneaky and are only seen when they want to be seen.

“Looking for cougars?” Jason hadn't realized Jared and Logan had stopped and was startled to hear his brother's voice so close. Jared knew of his brother's fear of cougars and delighted in teasing him when they were camping. Jared was standing there smirking at him and even Logan looked amused.

“Screw you, Jared.”

“Come on guys.” Logan said. “You can argue later. We're at the cut-off and still have an hour to go to get to the camping area.”

“Cut-off?” Jason asked.

“The Devils Canyon Trail.” Jared told him.

“We're not supposed to take that trail. We told our parents we'd stay on the main trail.”

“The main trail's for little kids and old people.” Jared snorted. “We took a vote and decided to take the Devil's Canyon Trail.”

“No one asked me to vote.”

“You weren't there when we voted and it wouldn't have mattered if you were because you'd have lost since we both voted yes. That's how democracy works lil bro. The majority rules.” Jared told him.

“I don't like this guys. Our asses will be in the wringer if our parents find out.”

“They won't find out.”

“What if something happens to one of us? If the rangers have to come rescue us, they'll find out.”

“The only thing that might happen is that you'll get eaten by a cougar and Logan and I can just say it carried you up there to eat you.” Jared said with a laugh.

“Come on, Jason.” Logan spoke up. “It'll be okay. That trail's shorter and has more to look at. All the main trail has is trees.”

“Okay, but I want it clear that I'm only going under protest and because Dad told us to stay together.”

“Gotcha, Bro. Your protest is noted and your ass duly covered.” Jared laughed.

“If we get there before it's to late, we can pick some berries for desert with our dinner.” Logan said.

Jason looked at him in shock, “You have got to be kidding! You want us picking berries in bear country? We might as well print some signs in bear talk, and hang them on our backs. 'Today's special meat, teen boys to go along with your naturally sweet berries'.”

“We'll sing while we pick.” Jared laughed. “Come on guys, the devil awaits us.”

“God, I hope not.” Jason said.


Ending by Trab

Not more than ten minutes had passed before they had lost site of the intersection far behind them, and several hundreds of feet lower in elevation. Just ahead of them they could see the trail edge its way along a bluff with a vertical drop of several thousand feet, on one side, and a dizzying climb on the other.

“One of us is going to have to take point guys.” Logan pointed out. “There’s only room for one at a time on that narrow strip. Who’s it going to be, Jason?” he said pointedly.

“Dammit Logan, you know that’s not fair. I don’t even think we should be here. You can’t make me responsible for leading us.”

“What’s your problem, bro? Chicken? Cluck, cluck, cluck!” Jared teased.

“Up yours too, Jared. I’ll do it, but don’t blame me if things go wrong.”

“Nothing’s going to go wrong Jason,” Logan tried to appease him, not very successfully, as Jason stomped off ahead of them.

Quickly the others followed, Logan first, then Jared pulling up the rear. The walking convoy continued for a few more minutes, by which time Jason had disappeared around the corner, the others almost there.

“Ahhhhhhh!” The scream came from around the bend and the two friends started to run forward to see what had happened to Jason, hoping that it was nothing serious.

They found him huddled in upon himself, crying, blood oozing out from under him.

“Oh my God, Logan! Jason’s hurt. Save him. Help me. We’ve got to DO something.”

Logan, more calmly than even he would have expected himself to be, leaned over Jason, “Calm down Jason. Where are you hurt? We need to get you turned over to stop the bleeding.”

“Oh for goodness sake, it’s not ME that’s hurt, it this poor thing,” pointing at the bloody bundle on the ground as he stood up. “Dude, as I came around the corner I was in the nick of time to see this huge shadow, a really dark shadow, come right out of the blue like tigger on the warpath, and attack. I haven’t even had a chance to see what it was. Do either of you know?

Jared, less grossed out than Logan, took a close look. “Oh God, that’s sad, but weird. It’s a kangaroo rat! Those aren’t from around here…. Hey, we can use it for fresh meat at dinner!”

“Pulleeze! That’s just plain gross. Let’s just dump it over the edge, and the vultures will get it.” Jason exclaimed.

“Yeah, Jared. Just push it over the edge. And we should use some of our water to get that blood off Jason’s hands.”

“Ah, this is disgusting,” Jason muttered, as he took some of his water and cleaned off. “Yuck.”

Soon the 3 boys were heading back up the hill, still in single file, but this time Jared took the lead, knowing that he was the toughest one of the group, and wouldn’t be heard shrieking in fear at some little incident of nature. Barely 40 minutes later, and well after they had been able to resume walking side by side, kidding each other with jokes and insults, they heard a snuffling, mewling sound from up ahead. They slowed down to a stealthy glide, making no sound, and peered around the next bend.

There, in the middle of the path, was a cougar kitten. Although it was young, born that spring, it had obviously not seen too many hardships, as its fur was glossy and it had a well-fed look about it. It was crying softly, and looking about itself, probably wondering where ‘mom’ might be. Jason almost immediately began to freak out, silently, shaking with fear, as he figured that ‘mom’ might be stalking them, right that minute. Logan, being more protective of Jason than Jared could stand to be, touched him on the shoulder, eliciting a gigantic and reverberating scream. The boys then all freaked out, in reaction to this sudden noise, and ended up in a jumbled puddle of teens, backpacks, and walking sticks. It took only a few moments to realize that they weren’t under attack, and they regrouped to look around the bend again.

The kitten wasn’t there. Silence reigned supreme, as the boys looked at each other, thought about what to do next, and then slowly got up their courage to approach the spot at which the kitten had last been seen. As they got closer, they began to hear a very faint crying from off to their right, in some dense bushes. There were some dragging marks on the trail too, and they were beginning to think that maybe the cougar kitten was hurt, and abandoned. Some very careful searching and they found it, huddled under the thick stem of a bush. As they approached, it hissed at them defiantly, but they could see that one leg was twisted badly, and probably broken. It’s mother must have tried to help it, and then finally had to leave it behind. Without help, it was sure to die.

“It’s pretty hard to get in there, guys, but we’re going to have to do something, or this poor thing is going to die a horrible death from thirst. If we can catch it, and keep it from scratching us or hurting itself, we can get it to a park ranger to give it treatment.” Jared spoke with false assurance, looking only slightly less worried than the other two. “Logan, you’re slightly smaller than we are, so you should go in there and grab it.”

“Right,” Logan sneered inquisitively, “By myself? I don’t think so. Let’s try a better plan. Maybe we can lure it out with some of that blood scent from little hoppy that Jason got all over himself. Just look at his pants. It’s still soaked in it.”

Jason paled noticeably, as he realized for the first time that he was walking cougar and bear bait. He quickly stripped of his pants, and noticed with horror that the blood had even soaked into his undies down under the thick jean material. “Shit! I have to change everything. I’m not even sure if I packed another boxer, dudes. Darn.”

“Well, this is a good check to see if you passed the packing test. ‘Member when your dad took us out that time and you forgot your socks? You were so pissed off you could barely talk, right? Er…okay, maybe it wasn’t all that funny, what with the blisters you ended up with.” Logan couldn’t help but smile as Jason stood there in his full naked glory. He could hardly even admit to himself, much less his close friends, that he was feeling a bit closer to Jason than ‘just friends’ could account for.

A quick snarl from the cougar kitten put a stop to the fun though, as they thought about how to deal with this situation. “I think we should get close to it with Jason’s pants, then, when it starts sucking on the blood, we wrap the pants around his claws. After that, we can stuff him in one of the packs and try to get back down to the trailhead to get help before dark.” Jared was trying to be practical, but didn’t realize just how tough a little beast a cougar kitten can be.

Faster than anyone could have guessed, the kitten shredded the jeans into nothing resembling clothing. The friends had to rethink their approach, and quickly, while the kitty was distracted.

Just then, they heard voices coming from the trail ahead. Within moments, it was obvious who were coming. It was a trail making team. The male crew was loaded down with personal gear, as well as shovels, picks, and netting.

“Yes!” Jared yelled. “Help us, please. There’s a hurt cougar kitten in the bushes, and we think it has a broken leg.”

The guys stopped and soon found out what had happened, and that the blood soaked jeans were not indicative of an injury sustained by the 3 teens. The leader, a rather exotic sounding man with strong features and an Australian accent, had introduced himself as “Paul”.

“Well guys, I think I know the best way to handle this,” he said. “I’ll just call the ranger station on my radio and Old Bob’s your uncle.”

“Allo, Ronger Boyse? Comm in, Ronger Boyse. Allo!, Ya there? Paul ere, near the uppa fork on Devil’s Canyon Troil.” He released the mike, waiting for a reply, and then tried again. “Wake up, mate!” Turning to the boys, he muttered, “Dom insomniac. ‘E stoys awake all night, and then, juss when ya need ‘im, ‘e falls asleep. I’ll try again. Moybe ‘e’s got his broin in gea now.”

In unison, the twins blurted out, like a well-rehearsed comedy act, “Maybe he just can’t understand your English accent!”

“That’s Aussie-brats. Ya young louts ‘ave no respect.” “Jamie, ya up yet. Ah’m making enough noise ta wake the Devil.”

Finally he got a response, and it was quickly decided that a chopper with a veterinarian would be scrambled. They could expect to see the bird within about 15 minutes. With nothing to do but wait, they boys chatted with the crew, finding out all about the art of trail building and repair. It seems that normally repairs are done after the winter, but a flash flood had washed out a section several miles above the upper fork, and they had to come in right away, as there were hikers beyond the damage who couldn’t return if the trail wasn’t fixed.

“Ain’t never seen nuttin’ like this before,” said Tim, the oldest man on the crew. “The dirt was all washed away, with nuttin’ left but a bed of clay. 49 years I’ve bin doin’ this job, and if ya kynn believe it, nuttin’ like this ever happened before. Dang strange. Couldn’t believe m’eyes.”

Just then, the sounds of a helicopter began to grow, echoing down the valley. Moments later, the chopper had disgorged a load of men, and a very attractive woman, obviously the vet, since she was wearing a white lab coat and carrying a black bag. In no time at all, she had managed to tranquilize the tiny cougar, and wrapped it up. They all got into the chopper, even the trail crew, and lifted off. As the whirlybird disappeared into the distance, the boys were happy with the silence. They quickly headed for the fork, and the nearby camping area, ready to finally relax. They just knew that there was no way their weekend trip could get any more exciting than it had already been. Now it was time for relaxation and good friends, laughing together.

Did you catch the use of the CW names? Some were blatant, some were disguised somewhat. I tried to use the correct spelling if possible, but sometimes had to go with getting just the sound of the names.










boxer, dude




clay. 49




dark shadow

old bob

Old Bob's your uncle


undies down under










talk right. Er…



the mail crew

the male crew












Right! By myself?