Terror – Part IV

As he moved around the corner, hope burst forth as the ledge and the decline continued. Inspired, Harry pushed harder and the slope made it a bit easier. He was moving into the trees. He was going in the right direction, he could make it. The duration of the labour exhausted him. He took the bottle from his jacket and drank the remaining water. It wasn’t much, but he felt better.

Finally the ledge ran out and Harry found himself near the bottom. His dangling feet seemed inches away from the soft carpet of the forest floor. Not much further below the lower trail beckoned. The ground sloped away so he would have to be careful not to fall. Fortunately in front of him was a big Douglas fir only an arms length away. With a good drop it would block him from falling down the side of the hill and avoid further injury …he hoped.

Harry knew he couldn’t be impulsive, care was required. Taking several deep breaths he started edging himself forward. The soles of his boots seemed to be almost touching as he dropped. The moment his feet made contact he pitched forward losing his balance and slammed into the giant tree. For all its size it didn’t block his fall, it just bounced him off on to the side of the hill instigating a long tumble before finally coming to an unconscious rest on his back in a shallow pond surrounded by skunk cabbage.HPIM3166 (3)

It was pitch black when Harry regained consciousness. He was wet and cold. It took a bit of time to get some recall. He moved his good arm in an effort to push himself up right. His hand sunk deeper into the mud. He choked on a mouthful of pond water as he sunk. He turned his head. He would have to roll over on the broken shoulder. The pain would be intense, but he had no choice, he was sinking. He rolled and he cried, but he didn’t stop until he had rolled two turns getting the good arm on firm soil and pushed himself upright.

Fear drove him up on to his knees. He looked around, but in the dark he saw nothing, not even his hand in front of his face. Harry felt around until his hand bumped into something. With more feeling and fumbling he realized it was a log. With a herculean effort he got himself seated on the log. His feet were still in the water.

“Am I going to die here” he asked in a tone reflecting his growing desperation.

“Help me” he called out. The level of his call was still just a whisper and it hurt, everything hurt. His breathing was more laboured than ever. “Help me” he called again. There was no response. He called again and still nothing. It was impossible for him to move. The night eliminated any light and without it he wouldn’t find the trail. He bent his head and began to cry. Not because of the pain, but because at that moment, he gave up. He was going to die here. It was hopeless as his strength frittered away.

Then he heard something. It seemed to be rushing towards him. His first thought was a bear. Out of the dark it jumped up on him and began licking his face. It was Sadie, she had found him. He held her with his good arm. He was safe. He looked past her to see lights flickering through the trees. Sadie barked, the lights called to him “Dad, where are you?” It was Carl, his son.

“Over here” he choked in reply. “Go get him Sadie” he told her. She turned and ran a few feet and began barking. She wouldn’t leave him, but she would tell them where he was. In just minutes Carl was there shinning the flashlight on his father “Dad, you’re alive” he said as his tears joined his fathers.

Story by David Hutchison 100_0036hobn (4)

davidh@shaw.ca

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