Demetri flew as high as Alex would allow him to go. Sometimes, Demetri was as high as a flock of geese, flying in V-formation as if he were one of them. Other times, Alex would make him stay lower, brushing past gnarled weeds and blossoming flower bushes as if Demetri were a fighter jet.
Of course, Demetri was neither a fighter jet or a goose. He was a Spark Fly drone, purchased for Alex’s 16th birthday. It wasn’t as high tech as Reggie’s Mavic Pro Quadcopter, but Alex had been just as excited about it when he first opened it.
It was the third gift of four he opened, but as soon as he did, he immediately ran outside to take it for a ride. Mr. Odinstov, having anticipated this reaction, had already taken it upon himself to charge the machine so it would be ready to go that morning.
It was good that he did. Alex had no intention of coming in before dark with this new high-tech toy to play with. He named the machine Demetri, after his late mouse, and vowed that he would always take care of his new pride and joy, no matter what.
Which is how he found himself at the edge of Black Creek Forest this afternoon, Demetri had already flown over most of the county, Alex was sure, and the battery light on the controller had just gone off.
“One more flight,” Alex said in a hushed voice to himself.
He lifted Demetri as high as he could go, well above the lush, green trees that stood like soldiers at the edge of the meadow. Then, he allowed him to do a nose dive, right into the thick of the forest, keeping an eye the whole time on the monitor in his controller, being sure to duck under and dive over any limb or bush that may try to reach out and grab Demetri.
He scooted under a low hanging branch in front of him and skirted to the left where he then had to hop another branch that he missed by mere centimeters. He passed a small beaver dam, a robin’s nest, a man swinging an axe, two squirrels playing with a nut, and, wait.
What was that man swinging an axe at? Alex let Demetri hover for a few moments, unsure of whether or not he wanted to go back. Surely his eyes were just playing tricks on him. He couldn’t have seen what he thought he just saw.
The battery light on the controller started blinking more frequently. He needed to bring Demetri back or risk losing him in the forest at dusk. He shuddered to think of going in after his new friend.
He slowly turned Demetri around, trying to get him to fly a little higher without pushing his battery life to its limit. He hovered for a second and then, slowly, he edged Demetri forward, curiosity getting the better of him. He flew back in the direction of the axe-wielding man, only to see blood-soaked leaves below him. The man and his axe were nowhere in sight.
Alex turned white, and his heart practically leapt out of his chest.
Where was he now?
He looked down at his controller to see that Demetri’s light was starting to pick up speed, indicating that his battery was getting down to its last drops. He anticipated it would take Demetri another 30 seconds or so to exit the forest.
Did he have that kind of time? What if the axe man knew where he was?
But he couldn’t leave Demetri. If he did, he knew he would never find him. He looked down at his controller and floored it, making Demetri’s camera resemble the hyper-speed scenes from the Star Wars movies as he whizzed past tree after tree, branch after branch, slowing down just enough to miss each one.
Alex was hyperventilating, scanning the forest edge while also keeping an eye on the screen in front of him, terrified that the axeman would emerge before his beloved Demetri.
He glanced back down at his screen, willing Demetri to go faster.
“Come on, come on!!” He repeated, dancing in his boots as he waited for Demetri to emerge from the wood.
His worst fears were realized, however, as the man wielding the axe emerged from the woods, walking right towards him. Then another man stepped out after him, covered in what appeared to be quite a bit of blood, although he was walking quite fine.
Alex stood frozen, not quite sure what to make of the bizarre scene in front of him. The axeman looked angry, shaking his head as he charged towards Alex.
“Bill! Bill! Wait up, dude. You can’t act like this every time it doesn’t go your way.” The man covered in blood was saying, throwing his hands out in frustrated exhaustion.
The axeman, or Bill, didn’t respond. He kept his head tilted down, shaking it at the ground as he pumped his arms and continued moving towards Alex.
What the hell is going on? Alex thought, fear paralyzing him in place as he watched this huge man make his way towards him.
Just then, Demetri came tearing out of the tree line, heading right for Alex. If Demetri kept up this pace, he would get to Alex with enough time for a 30-second head start.
Bill, the axeman, heard the buzzing sound and looked up, catching a glimpse of Demetri, who was descending quickly towards Alex.
“There’s that damn thing.” He yelled and scanned the field for its owner. A look of pure rage spread across Bill’s face.
“You!” He growled, picking up his pace as he continued on course towards Alex.
Demetri was only a few yards out and closing fast but couldn’t keep his height. Alex knew he was going to fall a few feet short, and the axeman was closing the gap.
Alex analyzed the distance between himself and the man, and himself and Demetri.
I can make it. He thought to himself as he sprinted towards Demetri, preparing to pivot quickly the second he got the small drone in his hands.
He had just wrapped his hand around Demetri’s back when he felt a large pair of hands grab him by the shoulders.
“Bill! Knock it off! Let the kid go!” Yelled a second man who had just emerged from the tree line. He was covered in sweat, huffing and puffing under the weight of his camera equipment.
“This is a private set, kid. Take your little drone and get out of here!” The large man yelled, loosening his tight grip on Alex’s shoulders.
“Hold on a second, Bill.” The sweaty cameraman puffed, just catching up to the terrified Alex and the axe murderer. “You have back up batteries for that drone of yours, kid?”
Alex looked up at the large, burly man apprehensively. “Uhh, yeah.”
“Well, let’s see if we can use what ya caught.”