Horizon’s Calling

Chapter 7: Only One Can Remain

I stand up and start walking over toward her tent. She drops haircut guy onto the ground. He hits the ground hard and lets out a long groan. He then begins to lift himself up.

He says after catching his breath, ”What are you two even saying, what… ”

Tall girl says, ”Just shut up and watch, this guy knows what hes doing. ”

I get to the entrance of her tent and hold open the flap. I look back at her,

”Since you were so kind to physically harm my two friends here, Im sure you won mind if I inspect your tent. ”

Tall girl laughs and then says, ”I like you, I like how you think. Be my guest. I promise there isn anything you haven seen before already in there. ”

I duck under the flap of her tent, go inside, and begin to look around. To no surprise, shes got the same stuff that I got: just a sleeping bag along with some spare clothes, a canteen, and a backpack.

Haircut guy stands up next to tall girl and asks, ”I don get it, whats he doing in there? ”

She replies with a grin, ”It would be no fun if I just revealed the answer, just pay attention ”

I begin to sift through her clothes. Theres nothing between or underneath them, the same goes for the sleeping bag. Nothing inside or under that too. I look up and around the walls of the tent. Guess the answer lies within the tent itself. I go back outside through the entrance.

Haircut guy asks as I begin to walk around the side of the tent, ”Well did you find anything? ”

I begin to make a full circle around the tent, inspecting every part of it. Up and down. Left to right. Nothing. But that just means theres only one place left to look.

I make my way back around to the front and haircut guy says, ”Im beginning to think this is all a big waste of time, stop messing around and lets… ”

I put my hand up and he stops talking. I walk over to one of the stakes pinning the tent down and kick it out of the ground. The tent shifts and I look back at them as tall girl grins, haircut guy looks confused yet curious, and tall guy is laying face down on the ground. I can tell hes breathing heavily in and out by the way his back is rising up and down.

I look back at the ground where the corner of the tent used to be and see some black marks connecting to something still below the tent.

”There it is, ” I say.

Haircut guy asks, ”There is what? Hello?? Can somebody tell me whats going on?

I go on, ”When the girl who just beat both your weak asses mentioned that our numbers aren the only thing that we were all individually given, the only other possible thing that could also qualify as our own are each… ”

I lift up the tent a bit more to reveal the rest of the black markings, showing the letter A, ”… of our tents. ”

Tall girl says as she leans back on one foot, ”Color me impressed, well done, you figured it out. ”

Haircut guy looks amazed and tall guy just puts a thumbs up as he still lays facedown on the ground.

Haircut guy grabs the notebook and pen off the ground after it was dropped when he was put into a chokehold. He writes the following under the rest of the list.

Sleepy girl – 9 (A)

He looks up as he taps the notebook with his pen and says while looking around at the three of us, ”This is it, the next clue. ”

He puts his fingers to his mouth and whistles. He then follows that up by yelling, ”Everyone come and meet over by the supplies again! ”

I look back at the campsite to see hazel eye and purple hair girls get up from tending to the fire thats now made. The two guys talking in the tree jump off. The tall and short guy stand up as they
e talking and the long braids girl walks out of her tent. Everybody starts making their way over again.

Everybody gathers around as haircut guy says with a tone of excitement, ”Sorry for calling you all back over here again so soon, but there is something super important that I want you all to check for me. ”

He gulps and switches his tone into a more serious one, ”Whether you have or haven realized it yet, we have all been given our very own numbers. If you look on the back of your shirt or the shirts around you, you will see various numbers that range from one to sixteen. And I think we may have figured out why. Can you all do me a huge favor and go over to your tents and lift the stakes out of the ground? If you check underneath, there should be a letter or a symbol or something. Once you find out what that is, come back over and tell me, please. Thats all. ”

People begin to turn and walk back to their tents and remove their stakes.

I see haircut guy walk back over to the slab and sit back down, I sit down next to him. Tall girl sits on the other side of him. Some people have already begun to walk back over and form a line.

Tall guy walks up to us and says, ”My letter is O. ”

He walks out of the way as blonde-hair girl walks up next and says, ”Mine is R. ”

Haircut guy begins writing some stuff down as more and more people join the line.

Blonde-hair girl steps off to the side and says to tall guy, ”It doesn really make sense. Why would there just be one letter for each of us? ”

Tall guy replies as he looks at us, ”You
e asking the wrong guy, but it seems those three may have figured something out. ”

I watch people come and go and then look back at the notebook and what it has down.

Scar guy – 15

Me – 8

Giant guy – 3 (L)

Short guy – 2 (N)

Nice girl, blue eyes – 11 (R)

Strong, tall guy – 5 (O)

Long braids girl – 4 (Y)

Hazel girl – 12 (L)

Tree guys – 14 (A) and 16 (N)

Purple hair girl – 6 (N)

Sleepy girl – 9 (A)

Tall guy walks over and peers over us at the notebook and says, ”Im not really following. Maybe we have to reassemble these letters or numbers someway…? ”

Haircut guy replies as he looks out at everyone, ”It looks like thats probably the case. But we still got two more letters… ”

He looks at me and points toward a tent, ”Thats my tent right there, could you go see what my letter is? We need to write down yours as well. ”

I say as I stand up, ”Yeah, just give me a minute here. ”

I walk over to his tent and find the letter C under the first corner I check. I then walk over to my own tent and check two corners before finding the letter I under the back left corner.

I say as I begin to walk back over to the supplies, ”Guess third time really is the charm. ”

I take my seat again and say, ”Mine had the letter I and yours had the letter C ”

Haircut guy writes both those down as he says ”Perfect, now we got everybodys that is still here. ”

I look at the notebook again.

Scar guy – 15 (I)

Me – 8 (C)

Giant guy – 3 (L)

Short guy – 2 (N)

Nice girl, blue eyes – 11 (R)

Strong, tall guy – 5 (O)

Long braids girl – 4 (Y)

Hazel girl – 12 (L)

Tree guys – 14 (A) and 16 (E)

Purple hair girl – 6 (N)

Sleepy girl – 9 (A)

Haircut guy then begins to write something new down in his notebook toward the bottom of the page. They
e empty blanks with numbers underneath each one.

He says as he clicks the pen, ”This will help organize things better, and maybe like the strong, tall guy said, we gotta reassemble or unscramble these letters to find some sort of answer. ”

Tall girl says as she looks at the notebook, ”I see what you
e doing. Maybe you got some smarts in you after all. ”

Haircut guy replies a bit embarrassed as he begins writing again, ”Well, lets just see if this idea gets us anywhere. ”

The bottom of the notebook reads:

_ N L Y O N _ C A _ R E _ A I N

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16

Haircut guy says, ”Looks like all we are missing are the letters to numbers one, seven, ten, and thirteen. ”

Tall guy nods while looking at the notebook, ”Looks like it, guess we have to wait for them to get back. ”

Haircut guy looks up and says, ”Or… we could try to figure it out ourselves right now. Hey everyone! You see the four tents that haven been touched yet? Could you guys go check out what letters those ones have as well? ”

I think to myself as I stare at the bottom of the page. Damn it, I wish they didn leave. Who knows what we are about to figure out and it might be crucial that they are here to witness this. Of course, we could tell them later on but this might refer to something about our surroundings. That would probably be the worst-case scenario, especially for those four.

People begin to start talking over each other as they wander off to the untouched tents, ”Yeah for sure! ” ”I wonder what this is all about. ” ”I don know but its kind of fun, isn it? ”

Tall guy brushes some dust off his clothes as blonde-hair girl and him look at haircut guy

Tall guy says, ”Well go check it out too, ” as blonde-hair girl says cheerfully, ”Well be right back! ”

They walk off and haircut guy says looking back at the notebook as he says, ”I wonder what this all means… it may be a message, or perhaps just another clue to something else… ”

I say, ”Weve come this far, and no message that is this detailed and taken this many steps to get to is meaningless. Thats something Im sure about. ”

People begin to walk over as the short guy with light blue hair says, ”We found the letter N. ”

Haircut guy jots down the letter below the message and says, ”Thanks, got it. ”

Hazel eye and purple hair girls walk up as purple-haired girl says, ”Her and I found the letter E. ”

They walk out of the way as the two guys that were sitting in the tree earlier walk up after them.

One of them who has a long, sharp nose says while pointing his thumb behind him, ”I found the letter O over there. ”

Haircut guy jots down the letters E and O.

A yell comes from across the campsite, ”Hey!! ”

Tall guy stands up and walks around to the front of the tent to get within line of sight, although we could all see him when he stood up. Blonde-haired girl walks out behind him.

He yells, ”We got the letter M over here! ”

Haircut guy yells back, ”Thanks, you two! ”

Tall guy puts a thumbs up in the air as blonde-hair girl waves her hands, smiling. They both start walking back toward us.

Tall girl holds her ear as she says, ”Did you really have to yell just now? There are people sitting right next to you. ”

Haircut guy writes the final letter and says, ”Sorry about that but that should be all of them now. ”

I look over at the bottom of the page again.

_ N L Y O N _ C A _ R E _ A I N

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16

N E O M

He says, ”The last four letters, once we fill them in, the message should be complete. ”

Tall girl looks at it and says, ”Well it shouldn be too difficult, based on some of the blank locations… only certain letters of the four could fit in each one. ”

Haircut guy nods as he points at the first blank and says, ”If this is truly a message and words are involved, this has to be a vowel because writing an N or M wouldn make sense. ”

He then shifts his finger down to the end, pointing at the blank for number thirteen, ”And in this spot, there can be a vowel because it wouldn make any sense having three vowels in a row. ”

Tall guy walks and leans over the crate to look down at the notebook.

Tall guy says as he points at the first blank, ”Yeah, you
e right. And here… look at the first blank, if you put the letter O there, it makes the word Only ”.

Haircut guy writes in the letter O as he says with a grin, ”Holy shit man… good stuff. ”

Tall guy crosses his arms, shrugs and says playfully as he closes his eyes, ”I know… Im a bit of a genius, feel free to keep mentioning that as long as you like. ”

Haircut guy ignores him as blonde-hair girl says while looking over my shoulder, ”Wait, try putting the E in the next blank. ”

He writes in the letter E and mutters, ”That fits too… ”

Tall girl gives a side-eye as she looks up at tall guy and teasingly says, ”Seems youve been outdone Mr. so-called Genius. Looks like she might be the queen compared to you. ”

Tall guy scoffs and mutters quietly, ”Well if shes the Queen, that makes me the King… because we both each figured out a letter… ”

Blonde-hair girl starts laughing as I hear haircut guy say quietly, ”I- I figured it out. ”

I look over at him and see a look of fear on his face. I then look down at the notebook. No wonder he froze…

Tall guy says as haircut guy writes something down on the next page, ”Thats awesome, well you gonna tell us? ”

Haircut guy slowly holds up the notebook for us all to read. The empty spaces are filled as it reads:

O N L Y O N E C A N R E M A I N

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16

On the next page, he diagonally wrote:

ONLY

ONE

CAN

REMAIN

Haircut guy quietly reads out, ”Only one can… ”

In unison tall guy, tall girl and blonde hair girl say looking at the notebook in fear, ”…remain. ”

Haircut guy sets the notebook down as other people begin walking over and reading it.

A commotion breaks out, ”What does that mean? ” ”Is this all just some prank? ” ”Does this have to do with us? ”

Haircut guy stands up and announces, ”We don know what this message means so do not panic! We are still figuring things out and… ”

A piercing scream comes from within the forest and echoes its way into everyones ears. I slowly turn and look toward where the sound came from just to hear more terrified screams and yelling getting closer and closer. Everyone else also turns toward the sound, with their faces swept with a multitude of emotions.

Suddenly, somebody dashes out of the forest. I see blood beginning to leak out from his skin as he sprints back covered in twigs, scratches, and leaves… his face capturing an unforgettable look of terror and fear.

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