Thursday, December 29, 2016
Flash Fiction # 231 -- Saving Everywhere. Part 15: Lost
I woke up very, very cold.
Snow lay all around me. I had landed on my back and hit my head. I wanted to curse as I sat up --
And then I laid back down and stayed very still. I was on a very narrow ledge with a precariously long drop down. Tall pines looked like toys beneath me, catching just a glint of silvery water in the moonlight. So far down that my heart pounded with fear just looking at it. If I had fallen that far, I would have died. I had no doubt about it.
I slowly turned my head and to my left, afraid that any sudden move would send me tumbling. I found a cliff that looked as shear as ice at first glance. I was trapped on a ledge so small that my legs nearly dropped off the far end. I was going to die --
I took better control of my emotions. My head hurt, but I must have mostly landed on snow and not rock. I ached, but nothing felt broken as I slowly, carefully pulled my legs upward as I sat up again. I had a little space here, and I took deep breaths. Calm. I had to think my way out of this mess. I had to get back to the others.
My choices were to go up or down. Down looked easier -- I could see a line of fallen rock I thought I could reach without too much scrambling over the cliff face. It looked treacherous, but I might make it all the way down --
But was down the way I wanted to go? Down to the bottom of the mountains only to have to climb back up again? The weather didn't look any better down there.
No. I needed to go upward and find the train track, and then follow it. The others would notice I was gone at some point. And even if they didn't, I could maybe catch another train and at least follow them to the other side of the mountain. As long as I didn't freeze first.
I suddenly realized that I didn't really feel as though I were freezing. Apparently, some natural magic had kicked in to save my life. I had an odd feeling it might have been what kept me from falling all the way, too. I had always thought of magic as something used to help others -- the idea that it worked for me was an interesting revelation. Would it help me get back to the others?
Could I use it to go up the cliff?
Then I thought about how I had ended up in this mess. Had Alsia pushed me off? I suspected so, and that meant the others were in danger from her. I needed to get to them, warn them --
I started climbing up the cliff. The work wasn't so hard as I had expected, though I had a persistent ache in his right shoulder and a headache that grew worse the higher I climbed. By the time I had reached the level with the tracks, I wasn't confident I could pull myself up.
Stupid to have gotten this far just to fall again. So I scrambled up over the edge and stood -- and sat down again because I was a bit dizzy. It passed, though. I felt colder, but eventually, that passed as well. I started walking, heading the way the train had been going. Upward, onward.
The absolute stillness of the area was overwhelming. I would have thought unnatural -- but really this was the most natural state I had ever seen. This was the world without man interfering. Movement caught my eye, and an owl swooped silently through the trees; if she found anything for dinner, it went silently to its death as well. I strained to hear the sound of the train, but it could have been hours ago when it passed. I had no way to know.
Though not completely. I had started walking up the train track. Deer sometimes moved in the nearby trees, at first startling me, but soon welcome companions. Not alone after all. I would have liked to walk with some of my friends who knew enough about magic to keep me -- and them -- safe. I was doing alright so far. Some of the magic that had been crammed into me back in Elsewhere was getting a chance to come to the surface, I thought. I hoped so. I was going to need more magic, wasn't I? Not only to survive but also to face the enemy.
Had Alsia managed to toss off any of my other friends? I kept an eye open, trudging up the mountainside, then through a long dark tunnel that bothered me more than I liked to admit.
I was finally too tired to go on. I moved to the edge of the trees, found a spot that had been blown clear of snow and curled up at the base of an enormous old pine. I was almost immediately asleep, too.
Though I supposed I would run out of magic. So maybe I better wake up and get going --
I awoke to a major snow storm.
Was I paranoid to think it had been directed straight at me? I sat there watching the snow pile up all around and considered everything that had happened since I was forced to run for Elsewhere.
No, this wasn't paranoia. My life had been like this lately, and the idea that nature had been turned against me was not something I even took much by surprise. Things had been going this way for quite a while.
The storm meant I had to use more magic. I could feel it starting to slip out of me. White stood on every side. I was alone, and I was not going to survive.
To Be Continued....