Title: Terror In The Woods (1/3)
Pairings/Characters (this chapter): Benny/Ray V.
Fandom: Due South
Genres: Drama, Mystery, Suspense
Rating (this chapter): G
Warnings (this chapter): None
General Summary: During a camping trip, Benny and Ray encounter something strange.
Chapter Summary: Benny and Ray are camping out.
Date Of Completion: June 20, 2020
Date Of Posting: September 8, 2020
Disclaimer: I don’t own ‘em, Atlantic Alliance does, more’s the pity.
Word Count: 1141
Feedback welcome and appreciated.
All chapters can be found here.
Under the stars,
In the woods,
No phones or cars,
Just the woods.
“Well, Benny, you did it again.”
Benny smiled as he tended to the campfire. “And what would that be, Ray?”
“You’ve got me out here in the woods, miles from any pizza parlor or movie theater, eating franks ‘n’ beans.”
“Sleeping under the stars, Ray.”
“Oh, yeah, fresh air and fresh fish, I suppose.”
“Tomorrow for breakfast.”
Benny smiled again and prepared supper as Ray pulled the cooler closer. He opened the lid. “Lessee, beer and Diet Coke and cranberry juice. Oh, yeah, and water. Pretty eclectic.”
“Well, I know you like beer, Ray.”
“Only in moderation.”
Well aware of Ray’s deceased father’s drinking problem, Benny had made sure to provide alternatives.
“Sorry we aren’t in Canada, Benny.”
“The Pacific Northwest is fine country, Ray.”
“Yeah, dark and dense and doesn’t Bigfoot live here?”
Ray rolled his eyes. He took out a can of beer. “Molson’s, of course.”
“Coke or cranberry?”
Ray handed Benny the can. The Mountie opened it and took a swallow. “Here, Ray, keep the beans from burning.” He handed the pan over and put a couple of hot dogs on sticks to cook over the fire.
Ray watched his lover with affection. Camping out was his style. Benny was the original Boy Scout.
“I’m sorry Dief couldn’t be with us,” Benny said.
“I dunno, Benny, I think Dief likes it better with Ma back home.”
“He’s getting fat.”
“Blame Ma’s cooking.” Ray shifted the frying pan. “This isn’t exactly ziti and meatballs.”
“Beans are very healthy, Ray.”
“So are roots and berries, but I wouldn’t want a steady diet of ‘em.”
“Fresh fish tomorrow will change your mind about my cooking skills.”
“Oh, I have no doubt about your cooking skills. Sometimes I have doubts about what you choose to cook.” Ray caught his lover’s smile. “Let’s throw in some hardtack while we’re at it.”
“I do have some hardtack if you’d like.”
“No, thanks, Benny.”
They ate the beans and franks and sat close together, gazing up at the stars. Ray decided that camping out was not so bad after all, though he still would have welcomed some ziti and meatballs.
“I love you, Ray.”
“I love you, too, Benny.”
“Ready for bed?”
Ray smiled as he regarded the crackling fire. “You mean a bed of pine needles and moss?”
“Oh, well, that’s a step up.”
They returned to their pup tent and enjoyed the solitude enthusiastically.
& & & & & &
“Yow,” he grumbled. “Nature at its finest.” He curled up tighter against Benny. Somewhere an owl hooted and branches swayed in the wind. He thought he heard a twig snap.
Must be some nocturnal animal. He felt a touch of anxiety, but the woods always made him nervous. Jeez, I hope it’s not a bear. Ray yawned and hoped he could get back to sleep.
& & & & & &
“Good morning, Ray,” said Benny cheerfully as he moved the frying pan over the fire.
“Already gone fishin’?”
“Yes. You were sleeping so peacefully I didn’t have the heart to wake you.”
“Thanks.” Ray rubbed his stubbled chin. “Boy, the smell of coffee and fish is a lot better than what I smelled last night.”
“Yeah, must have been the biggest skunk alive. Pretty strong.”
“Well, skunks do like the woods.”
“He must’ve been right outside the tent. Phew!”
“Not worse than some alleys in Chicago.”
Ray poured a cup of coffee. “Whoa, aren’t you slingin’ the zingers this morning?”
“I’m a crack shot, Ray.”
Ray smirked. He drank his coffee.
Benny took a fork and placed one of the fish onto a tin plate. “Out of the frying pan and onto the plate.”
Ray took the plate and dug in. “Mmm, Benny, you’re a good outdoor cook.”
“Thank you, Ray.”
They lingered over breakfast and finally cleaned up. Benny suggested a hike and Ray groaned but went along with his partner.
The weather was cool and they both drank a lot of water as they hiked. Benny conducted a flora-and-fauna course as they walked. Ray wore a long-suffering expression but dutifully followed his lover, admiring the view from behind. It was a decided perk.
Ray had to admit the scenery was spectacular. Benny sniffed the air and put a finger to his lips. They crept up to the some underbrush and saw a buck standing several feet away. The animal was still, listening for danger. Both humans and deer stayed frozen, but the buck finally bounded off into the woods. Benny managed to snap a picture with his camera.
“Wow,” Ray said.
Ray took a swig of bottled water. “I’m getting hungry, Benny.”
“Have some trail mix, Ray.”
“Oh, wow, what a feast.”
As Ray snacked on the trail mix Benny had given him, he looked around. He frowned as he avoided twisted roots and ruts in his path.
“Now, over here we see…”
“I’m getting a feeling of someone watching us.”
Benny stopped and turned. “Perhaps some wildlife or another hiker.”
“Benny, if my hair wasn’t shaved it’d be standing on end.”
“Like a rainbow.” Ray peered into the brush.
Benny scanned their surroundings. He sniffed the air. “I smell skunk.”
“These woods must be full of ‘em.”
“I doubt a skunk’s scrutiny would make you nervous, Ray.”
“Benny, a skunk always makes me nervous. I got better uses for tomato juice than getting out the skunk smell.”
The Mountie continued his surveillance but finally said, “We should go back to camp.”
“Lead on, MacKenzie.”
“You mean, ‘Lay on, MacDuff’.”
Benny and Ray hiked back to camp and set up fishing by the stream. This time Ray joined in and caught fish of his own.
“You’re a natural-born fisherman, Ray.”
“Not bad for a Chicago guy.”
“Not bad at all.”
They cleaned and cooked the fish and drank Diet Coke. Ray disliked the idea of drinking beer again.
“Without all the light pollution, the stars look so bright. And so many of them!” he marveled.
“We can see Sirius, the Dog Star, and Betelgeuse.”
“And of course the Big and Little Dippers.”
“And Venus.” Benny pointed to a particularly bright star.
“Too bad we can’t see Mars, too.”
“It’s the only planet in the solar system we’ll be able to colonize.”
“That’s a good observation, Ray.”
“Hey, you’re not the only deep thinker around here.”
Benny laughed. He sat down close to Ray and they continued stargazing.
Deep in the underbrush, something watched them steadily.
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