Terror, Part I

“Don’t be long honey, we have a lot of company coming for your party tonight” she said as she heard the screen door slam.

“I won’t, I’ll be back in a couple of hours” he called.

She hurried to the door calling after him “You only have two hours, so don’t be late or I’ll cancel the party.”

“I’m only going up to Baden Powell, I won’t be long” he promised.

What the heck” Harry Chambers told himself as he headed for the trail. “It’s my birthdayand I can do anything I want on my birthday. ”

It sounded a bit petulant to him, but hell, it was fifty, the big one. After all, the North Shore Mountains were right here, right in his backyard. He could walk up the Nelson Creek Trail, catch Baden Powell and be back in two hours. Nice walk for his birthday. About thirty minutes into his hike he reached for his water bottle, opened it and took a swig.

 HPIM2278“Damn, forgot to fill it,” he said. Still it was almost half full. It was enough. The early afternoon sun was gentle, the trail familiar and the view spectacular. “A birthday view” he thought, “I’ll take a minute to stop at Canyon point, have look and see how the water is falling after three days of rain.”

Just a few hundred yards further and there he was. As he approached he could hear its roar. At the crest he noticed the fence was down, but he could still see the top poking up. He bent down and reached out to pull it up, instantly the rock his knee rested on, gave way.  

He fell at least 50 feet before he hit the tree, shoulder first. The impact took his wind and he missed a frantic grab to hold on, and the fall continued. Now he was over the edge and it was a straight drop of another twenty five feet. This time he landed back first on an unseen rocky outcrop. Somehow he stayed, the backpack cushioned much of the collision between him and the outcrop. He was however, unconscious.

Fortunately outcrop sloped back towards the cliff and kept him from falling further. His feetHPIM3184 (4)dangled over the side. Slowly he revived, got his wind back and tried to assess his situation. He wanted to sit up, but couldn’t. Pain was everywhere in him and about him. He forced himself to concentrate. His right arm was pinned under him. Again he tried to move. The pain from the shoulder shot through him as if he had been kicked. He lifted the other arm. It didn’t help much. He couldn’t reach anything as it was nearest the edge and there was nothing to grab on too.

He tried to call out for help, but it hurt. It was his chest. With his free hand he felt around and touched his rib cage, the pain was instantaneous. Had he broken a rib, he didn’t know, but the pain was vicious.

No matter, he had to free the pinned arm. Slowly rolling towards the edge of the outcrop removing his weight from the arm, it came free, but not without a price. The pain was excruciating, but it moved. He heard it pop, felt the pain and screamed. Nothing came out but his pain and only he heard it. It didn’t move much, but enough to roll back and have his arm beside him. Still he couldn’t move it, and each inch it did move was because of his body movement, and caused unbearable pain.

He was inconsolable in his pain. Laying there almost immobile, he had reached a point where the pain was beyond his capacity to endure. “Focus” he told himself. “What am I to do, figure it out Harry” he told himself. 

He was in real trouble and he knew it. If they didn’t find him soon he could die. He always thought terror happened at night, this was broad daylight. Tears ran from the corners of his eyes and he wondered “Where were the people?”

Part II, Saturday July23, 2011

A series by David Hutchison100_0036hobn (4)

davidh@shaw.ca

Photography by Francoise Mihatov

david@davidsnotebook.com