Thursday, 5 June 2008

Blog Story - Posts 4 and 5


The pull of the thaw was compelling me to step forwards, out, away. I wanted to breathe the fresh wet air, to be shrouded by sky. To leave behind staleness, cold, fear and most of all, hunger.

I forced myself to turn. Jed’s eyes were hollowed in his bearded face. His nose scaled and raw. The bruise on his head was still a lurid purple. Now he was trying to sit up. His breath rasped out of his throat.

“Wait” he said, “please wait.”

He was shaking the sleeping bag next to him. I heard Theresa moan and the cry of her hungry baby. I knew I should feel pleased she had made it through the night, but now there were four of us. I could make it alone, but with injured Jed and exhausted Theresa, with her new baby son? But if I left them, I knew they’d be dead by the time I returned.

I was half out into the cool wetness. Everything glistened. Clean. Fresh.

I was facing a new fear – the fear of living with myself if I left them now.

“I’ll be back” I said, without looking at them.

By angela h, on Blogspot


I walked out.

And I kept walking, though the snow was packed tight, dragging at me, and the pain was back. Yet everywhere, the world went on melting, dazzling. The wind slid softly through the trees and the sound of falling water became a pattering, as of tiny, hidden feet. I watched a bird rise from the branches and scratch a russet line across the sky. The day shouldn’t have been so beautiful . . .

I was determined I wouldn’t turn back. I wouldn’t even glance over my shoulder, not once. I tasted rotting wood beneath the sweet, hard tang of ice.

When the trees stepped closer and the snow began to thin a little, and to darken beneath my boots, I made my strides longer, faster. I broke into a clumsy jog, and then a run.

I let the branches whip at me, I welcomed the brief turn of my ankle against a frozen log - but it was no good. The thought of them kept pace with me. All that had happened was right there, in my tangled breath and jolting steps. There was no out-running it. The memories pressed in on me, bright and close.

Your turn . . .


Leatherdykeuk said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Leatherdykeuk said...

Sorry - previous post had grammar error.

Jed’s laughter in the tent as he pulled another royal flush against the pair of sevens in my hand, his whisky-breath harsh as he insisted on helping me take my t-shirt off. His eyes narrow and cunning as he stared at my breasts swelling beneath a tight sports bra.

Theresa just looked uncomfortable, her body still swollen from the birth of her son. Who drags their wife on a camping trip a week after she’s given birth? Jed, that’s who. I’d come to help my sister out, maybe protect her and little Ben from Jed’s drunken rages.

Maybe if I’d been stronger he wouldn’t have pawed at me. I wish I hadn’t pushed him so hard. Drunk, he’d knocked over the heater and the old tent had gone up in a blaze of glory. Hellfire in the frozen north..

I wish he’d died. I wish he hadn’t got drunk. I wish he’d let Theresa stay at home.

More than anything, I wish I’d never pushed him.

I stopped running and stood bent at the waist with my hands on my knees. The pain from my ankle tore into my stamina, but if I rested now I’d never get back up.

Chris said...

It had been Theresa’s idea. She wanted to give birth on the mountain. ‘It’ll be fine,’ she’d said when I looked doubtful. ‘Don’t worry, Sis. I’m fit and healthy. Everything’s normal. African women give birth in the fields. Please! Come with us. I want the baby to be born into beauty, peace.’
I’d say she was convincing, but I wasn’t convinced. Not really. But I went along with it. We packed up all we thought we might need. Food. Sleeping bags. Headed for the cabin where we’d spent most of the previous summer, lazing in the sunshine, singing, drinking. Late autumn. There’d been no sign of bad weather. We should have known, for god’s sake we should have known. The mountain, never trust the mountain. Not really. Not with your life.
The snow came. We were happy about it. Celebrated. ‘It’s a sign,’ we said. It was pretty. Then Jed fell. Tripped somehow. Crashed into a tree. I heard him calling us. Rushed out to where he was lying, his head gashed, his leg bent under him. Got him back into the cabin between us. Was it the effort brought the labour on?
And the snow just kept on falling.

Anonymous said...

I felt embarrassed to have given in to the very things all of us opposed.

Our aethiognostisist group prided itself on the application of logic, of rational thought overcoming emotion. The group would have approved of my leaving them behind to die but things were different now, our arrogant philosophy was put to the test and I was rapidly failing.

My steps slowed to a stop and I turned to head back.

The anarcho-humanist power ritual was supposed to be a bit of fun. I couldn’t believe our questioning had resulted in the ultimate answer. Hell hath no fury like a god scorned. The lightning had struck out of a clear blue sky and burnt the Aramaic symbols into Jed’s forehead. What had happened to Theresa was beyond comprehension, one flash of divine might and there were two. The conception may have not been immaculate but the result was very real.

Why had I not been affected? Was this my punishment, to be spared to wander in this frozen wasteland - was this purgatory? Was I the daughter of God?

My steps stopped re-treading the tracks they had made trying to escape. The cabin had gone. I moved toward the glass castle now shimmering where it had stood.

Dan C said...

The tiny animals of hunger had turned into raging bears, clawing and biting my stomach. How long had it been since we'd had any thing solid? A week, two?

An idea squirmed its way to the top of my mind, slick and anguiform. It stopped me in my tracks, a clear simplicity overcame me; a clarity which shone through to my fragmenting senses. The wind picked up and it began to snow, as the clouds rolled in. I turned to look at our lopsided shack, keeled over to one side, our blow-away shelter and the idea bit; a freezer.

My legs felt like drift wood as I walked back. I couldn't feel my feet anymore. Maybe frostbite had already claimed my toes. I didn't want to look. The reality of the situation gave me scant comfort. Thinking about my survival gave me scant comfort. It was our duty to survive though, it was our nature.

I took a deep pull at the crisp fresh air and felt it burn. It was air that I used to travel days for, but now I was numb to it. I prayed for dirt and pollution, smog and thunder, anything but this godd'am golden morning. This was a morning for fawns and foxes not for...not for what I was about to do.

I picked up a handful of snow and rubbed it into my face. I put another down the back of my shirt. I threw myself onto the ground and began twisting and bucking in the prisitne drift that had built up on the windward side of the shack. I lay freezing on the ground and listened to the weak movements from inside.

Megan said...

Posting has finished for the night. The very happy and grateful Blog Story is going to bed, but can't wait to find out what tomorrow will bring.

Hope to see you then (-: