Wayward Park

Written by
Ethan CT Burwell

For a moment, the little green bridge reminded him of the ones he had driven over on his business trips. It had now been just over an hour since Jack and Jill had packed their backpacks and pulled out of their driveway. The combination of working full days for the past several weeks along with the confines of their tiny apartment had finally driven the both of them to the edge of their reliable sanity. This was the first day away from work that they been able to even consider enjoying since mid October. They both had arisen early that morning; a day off was a rare thing and neither were content to squander it away by sleeping. Having nothing demanding of their time nor energies, the couple allowed themselves to linger over their coffee as they sat staring out the small kitchen window and at the over grown lot next door. Abandoned piles of wood and debris littered the technically vacant property; there the only things that lived were the tall gasses and wild shrubbery that had reigned since the snow melted months ago. For Jill, this was too much. “I can not stand being in this house,” she declared. Jack looked up to her as she rose from her chair. There was no look of surprise on his face; the same feeling had been growing in him for some time now, as well. “Why don’t we go for a drive?” he offered. The suggestion was instantly approved. The two packed a backpack with some light necessities- a water bottle, a snack. The truth was that neither really knew exactly where they were about to drive off to or when they would return- neither one cared.
No more than a quarter of a mile past the little green bridge the road came to an intersection. Pausing, to try and decide which way to turn, Jack and Jill surveyed the town of Lostwood, which they had just entered. The intersection was plastered with hand made signs. Most of them were long outdated garage sales, however, one sign in particular caught Jill’s eye- Free Community BBQ @ Wayward Park. The couple had been driving down back roads non stop for nearly an hour now. Their stash of Life cereal wasn’t running low, however, the thought of a free community barbeque was enticing; even if the though of potentially having to be social on their day off was slightly disenchanting. At Jill’s instruction, Jack pulled on to the shoulder close enough to ask a woman walking along the side for directions. “Excuse me, do you know how to get to Wayward Park?” The woman approached the car, “Wayward Parks? Oh certainly. My husband, Jasper has been going there just about every day since we started redoing our house. When it‘s done it‘s going to be absolutely gorgeous!” She spoke fast and with a great deal of energy. “Let’s see, Wayward is on Nearly Avenue, which is way across town. The best way to get to Nearly form here would be to take a left, right here and then head straight until you get to Circle drive. Go to the first light on Circle and take a right, that will put you on Random Road. You’ll want to stay on Random for about a half a mile or so until you get to Pauper Place. You’ll know when your on Pauper because of all the big fancier houses. Take the second left on Pauper and then turn left on to Wright Street. Now, Wright is a one way so make sure that you actually take the left on Wright don’t turn the wrong way. Keep on Wright for about another half a mile, and then take a left off of Wright and on to Rage Road. Rage Road is sort of the main street in town, so you may run into some traffic, but stay on Rage until you get to River Road. I’m not really sure how far down Rage Road River Road is, but it’s right before the big hill- you can’t miss it. Nearly Avenue is right off River Road and Wayward Parks is about four or five miles down Nearly Avenue. And there you have it- Wayward Parks. It‘s about a fifteen minute drive.” For a moment the stress of Jack’s job resurged on the dark side of his eyes. If the woman had taken a breath while explaining, he had missed it. In fear that she might, for some unforeseeable reason, start talking about her house or husband, Jake… Jasper… something…, or some other topic which he had no interest in, Jack unquestioningly thanked the woman and proceeded to take the left that she had first mentioned. “Jack, are you sure that you got all of that?” Jill wasn’t convinced. “Of course! We take the left, and then straight until Circle, then a right on to Random at the light, then Pauper place with the big houses. A left on to Wright, a right on to Rage, and from Rage on to River before the hill, and then five miles on Nearly- and Wayward is on Nearly, of course. Fifteen, twenty minutes, no problem.” Jill still wasn’t convinced.
Forty-five minutes later, Jack and Jill drove through the gates of Wayward Park. Exhausted from searching and low on gas, they rolled to a stop beneath a healthy Walnut tree. Being about fifteen-minutes past the point of arguing, the two passively stepped out of the car. They walked around to the front of the car, and simply leaned back against the hood taking in the scenery of the “park” that lay in front of them. “Wayward Parks- Top notch lumber, and tools that you can rely on” the sign on the grey nearly vacant warehouse read. Jack and Jill both gazed from the hood of their car through the far side of a chain linked fence where abandoned piles of old wood and debris littered the property. There the only things that lived there were tall gasses and wild shrubbery that had reigned since the snow melted months ago.

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