The teenaged couple walked the well-worn path in animated conversation, trekking slow into the shadow of trees forming the forest’s edge.
Five hundred feet away, near where the young man parked his motorcycle, children locked in the boredom of mid-summer sparked to life, driven by a comingling of news with remembered snippets of tales from film and book. Moulding a new story like hands on fresh clay, within minutes the six believed the older sister of two, now on a lazy woods stroll, faced imminent danger.
A murderer they decided, disbelieving as ruse his projection of a personable young man calling on a hoped for sweetheart. They alone could see deviousness and schemed ploy, enacting a nefarious scheme by the lure of prey into the forest.
Axes grabbed and rakes wielded, each of the prepubescent six stood with an implement of choice, eschewing Monopoly, tire swings, and basketball for temporary membership in a vigilante childhood militia. Voices rose high, climbing with the size of the unfolding fabrication, youths testing their flight or fight instinct through invocation of the latter.
No teenaged beast would harm one of their own on their turf. Resolved to act, one stationed by the motorcycle, a rusted old axe poised for a retributive swing aimed at the crotch-situated gas tank. If the villain emerged alone, the axe would cleave the red tank.
The others readied plans for reconnaissance drawn on mental maps. Beyond the snoop phase, they would surround and capture the villain. No one expressed reservation, not a voice cautioned. All prepared to act.
Speculation ran wild. Fantasy hardened out of the ethereal, gaining shape and substance only the six could sense, and it fed the frenzy.
Out of the woods walked two, smiling and happy, oblivious to the threat disarmed by their dual presence.