Campfire

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The lights were off. Three tall young men in winter clothing heft backpacks through a very poorly lit corridor. One a canine; a jämthund, the other two a snow leopard and a tiger. The canine was a few steps ahead of the cats when he peeked into a dark room to the left.

Samuel: This place looks good.

Samuel's breath condensed in the air. He immediately strode into the room. The cats, walking close to each other, followed suit. Several feet into the room, the lighting was even worse.

Samuel: Y'all see anything?

Samuel fiddled with his pocket.

Jaydin: Kind of.

Gabriel: Pretty wide open.

Pulling out his phone, Sam turned its flashlight on to see much more clearly.

Samuel: Alright cool.

The room was quite spacious, if not a bit cluttered with broken down objects thrown in mostly-organized piles near the corners and walls. Sam accidentally shined the flashlight in Jay and Gabe's direction, prompting them to squint and grunt. They covered their shining eyes for a moment.

Samuel: Shit, sorry.

Sam put his phone down, flashlight still on, then took his backpack off. Unzipping it, he turned it upside down and let three individually packaged logs of synthetic firewood hit the middle of the hard floor. Sam reached in and pulled out the foldable grating that was stuck in there. As Samuel knelt and arranged the logs and grate into makeshift grill, Gabriel sat down nearby. Jay sat too, a little close to Gabe's side.

Gabriel: You think anyone saw us come in?

Jaydin: Didn't see anyone.

Samuel: Me neither man.

Jaydin: Don't worry 'bout it really.

Sam reached in his back pocket and pulled out a zippo-style lighter. Flicking it open and lighting with a spark, he lit the corners of the packaged firewood's paper. Afterwards, he turned the flashlight off on his phone and put it back into his pocket.

Samuel: Yeah dude. Nobody's worked on this place in forever. Don't know what they're planning.

Jaydin: Some renovation.

Gabriel: What made them stop though.

Jaydin: Taking their sweet ass time.

The small flame at the edges of the papers soon took up into a somewhat large but controlled fire in the middle of the room. Its light cast decent enough brightness over the immediate surroundings.

Samuel: Hey dude, can you pass me a can?

Jaydin: Yeah.

Jay took off his own backpack, setting it in his lap and unzipping it. Reaching in, he took out the first can he felt; a can of "fully cooked" synthetic bacon and tossed it over to the dog. Jay reached deeper in the bag, making a bunch of metal clinking noise before he pulled out a can of cooked country style baked beans.

Jaydin: You want something too Gabe?

Gabriel: Sure thing.

Jay gave his bag over to the tiger, who went looking in it for something good to eat. Sam pulled open his can by the pull tab and put it on the grate above the makeshift campfire.

Jaydin: Gimme a spoon. Should be in there.

Gabe soon took out two spoons and a can of smoked tuna. He gave one of those spoons to Jaydin. Jay opened his can, and with the spoon he started eating already. The spoon tinked against the snow leopard's piercings.

Samuel: You not gonna heat that up man?

Jaydin: Haven't eaten all day. It's not frozen, so eh.

Gabriel pulled open his own can and sat it on the metal grating as well, careful not to get singed by the wisps of flame. He then sat back beside Jay.

Gabriel: So what do you guys do? Just cook food and sit around?

Jaydin: Heh, ask Sam.

Samuel: Well, whatever comes up really. Like last time we listened to music and watched videos awhile and...other stuff.

Gabriel: Hah, Sure yeah.

Jaydin: We come out to relax, basically. Feels better doing it for real than in a game where you just get shot by some KOS asshole.

Gabriel: Yeah, true. It is good to get out of the house once in a while.

Samuel: I hear ya.

Jaydin: I never really did anything fun outside the house in high school. So better late than never I guess.

Gabriel: Sorry to hear.

Jaydin: Wasn't your fault.

Gabriel: Yeah but I mean, ...

Jaydin: Don't worry about it. It's the past. Even though I do get homesick sometimes...if you think about what I'd be losing if I went back then I get back to reality soon enough.

Samuel: Blessing and a curse, yeah?

Jaydin: Pretty much.

There was a pause.

Samuel: What about you Gabe? You play any PC games?

Gabriel: eh, Mostly the old shooters and singleplayer stuff. I don't get much free time to invest much time in survival stuff. Just come back to find my shit stolen.

Samuel: tch, Ain't that the truth.

While the two guys talked, Jay licked his spoon and put it back in his half-empty can of beans, then set it on the tile between his boots. The cat reached into his hoodie's central pocket and pulled out a pack of cigarettes. Taking one of them out, he stuck the far end into the base of the fire to light it.

Jaydin: You smoke? Gabe?

Gabriel: If you're offering I mean...

Jay brought the cig to his lips and took a drag, then pulled in a breath of more fresh, colder air to hold in. He then offered the same cigarette to the tiger. Gabe seemed to pause for a split second before taking it from Jay. All the while, Sam was busy checking his phone thoroughly. Gabe tried a drag of the cig, which quickly made him hack and cough. He pulled up his shirt with his free hand to cover his mouth. Jaydin leaned closer to Gabe, touching their shoulder and arm with his.

Gabriel: ach...You still cold, Jay?

There came another pause. Jay's farther ear swiveled out.

Jaydin: ...No

???: Hands up! Stand up! This is the police!

Multiple bright flashlights suddenly shone upon the three young men the instant the orders were shouted. The boys' hands shot to the sky, so involuntarily that Sam ended up dropping his phone. They then rose to their feet slowly. Slouched over trying not to look aggressive, Gabriel spat out the cig in his lips. The boys whispered frantically to each other.

Gabriel: Is this part of your camping trip?!

Jaydin: No!!

Policeman 1: Quiet! Y'all are trespassing. And settin' shit on fire?

Samuel: It's not like that!

Policeman 2: He said quiet. Just do as you're told, and you can explain later.

Sam had the best view of the policemen. They were directly behind Jay and Gabe; three of them, blocking the only exit with weapons drawn. One of them put their weapon away and came up behind Jay. He was the first one to be handcuffed. A fourth one came around the corner while the other two boys were handcuffed.

Policeman 1: Hightower put the fire out, we'll take care of the kids.

Policeman 4: Yep.

Gabriel, Jaydin and Samuel were grabbed under the biceps and forwardly escorted back the way they came. Out the dark corridor, out into the frigid air outside again, three police cruisers awaited outside with their red and blue lights flashing bright. The boys were put in separate cars...