Day 179: Your favourite recipe


There was a boy who got lost in the woods and never was found.

It’s not very fulfilling, when it’s put like that. Bread and water claiming to be a hearty meal, as opposed to the veritable feast that should flesh out such a story. Those words hang heavy and pregnant on the page, filling our heads with questions. Who is this boy, where are these woods?

What happened?

Read on and perhaps you shall be enlightened.


Michael Williams is seventeen years old today. He is slowly turning into the man he is supposed to become, but not yet. No, at the moment Michael is still a boy, all arms and legs and teenage angst. He is walking down the busy road, traffic flashing by but ignored by young Mr Williams who is far too engrossed in the tinny music that streams into his ears from his mobile phone. His hair is shaggy and long, with a fringe that covers his eyes to the point that he can barely see, but that is how he likes it and he won’t be talked out of it by his mother.

He swings his head from side to side, passionately playing an air guitar as he shambles back towards the school. He has survived the morning, with its oppressive maths classes and its faux hierarchy of cool people and geniuses, before getting his brief escape to the shops at lunchtime. Michael just floats through it all, oblivious to all the teenage bullshit, or so he thinks.

He’s heading out to the clearing tonight, with Charlie, Mira and Oscar. They’d already been a tight-knit group of outsiders when he’d moved to St Augustine’s and they’d welcomed him. He guessed that they’d just seen a fellow outcast who had something to give.

They meet up a couple of times a week. Charlie’s a bit older, so he’ll get some booze in and they can chill at his place. Perhaps they’ll go for a drive in Mira’s car, play some video games. Then on special nights, they’ll go out to the clearing. They’ll set some stuff on fire and Oscar brings the burgers. Michael has never tasted anything so good, all he wants is to eat another one of those burgers.

The memory of that taste gets him through the rest of the day. That and the anticipation for tonight. Watching Mira dance in the firelight, feeling the buzz as the beers flow. He slouches home when he’s finally released from the social prison and waits. He watches the sun get lower in the sky and as it ducks below the horizon that ten year old, canary yellow VW Polo pulls up outside and the horn sounds twice. He grabs a scarf from the hook behind the door. A shame that the only one he owns was knitted by his grandmother in the more shocking shades from the rainbow. He considers leaving it behind, but is now most of the way out the door.

‘I love you, Sweetie!’ His mother shouts as the door closes and he hurries to the car. The night has fallen quickly and the temperature with it. Mira is waiting with the door open and he hustles inside, smiling in response to her grin as she sees the scarf.

They drive to the woods, a little over the speed limit but it’s all about the thrill. Besides, even if they got pulled over Mira would just smile and the police would let them move on. They get to the woods in no time at all and the Polo sneaks in to nestle  against Charlie’s pick-up. Why Charlie had a pick-up was a question that Michael had never learned the answer to, but he was happy to go along with it all the while he was still accepted by these people.

The growing firelight throws shadows amongst the trees, illuminating the hidden pathways that lead to the clearing. The woods may not be large, but they are dense in their rank and file, great boughs spreading above them with the final leaves of autumn clinging on for dear life. Mira takes his hand in her own soft palm and leads him through to where Oscar and Charlie are waiting, the smell of burgers floating toward them on the slight breeze.

Michael is thrown a bottle of Budweiser and cracks it open with a hiss. Screw top bottles were a great invention he thought, as he let the night sweep him up. It passes in a blur. Music, dancing, even kisses from Mira and Oscar, both of them laughing as Michael blushes. They eat the burgers off the small barbecue, dance some more, drink, drink and drink until they fall to the ground in a pile.

Mira’s lips moved close to Michael’s ear, close enough that he could feel her breath against it. The slightest kiss grazes his cheek, then she spoke.

‘You like the burgers, then?’ She said as her hand moved onto his chest, slender fingers deftly unbuttoning his shirt. He nods, thinking it an odd question but letting that thought disappear as she rolls on top of him, straddling him. He is getting excited, completely ignoring the movements of everything else, the firelight, the heat from the flames, Oscar and Charlie moving for what he assumes is another beer. All he can focus on is her eyes, boring deep into his. She straightens up, lifting her head to the clear night sky. ‘Do you want to know how they’re made?’

The knife flashes gold in the firelight and abruptly descends.


The only sign that Michael Williams had even gone into those woods was a garish scarf lying near the remains of a bonfire. The newspapers ran the story every year after that, always with the same headline.

There was a boy who got lost in the woods and never was found.

All this writing is making me hungry…

The Idiot in Tin Foil



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