The young man walked on into the dark quiet of the mountain night. He dragged himself along the barren stretch of highway. The road signs were unreadable unless he went right up and regarded them close by the glow of his cigarette lighter. West Gate said a sign. West of where? Where was he? Questions new and old repeating themselves cyclically.
His hand was bloodied. He had brushed up against a patch of wild rose and felt the pain of the thorns tearing his flesh. When that happened he had bellowed like a beast and in his own mind cursed the moon and the stars. It was cold there, much colder than the place where he had gotten on the bus. After a seven hour nap this place, West Gate, was where he had woken up. The sensation of being in a dream was at all moments then for him quite strong. Were those stars he cursed even stars or were they mere illusory weavings of his tired, disordered mind.
Further along he dragged his weary body. Three cigarettes left. He lit one and savored the first drag fiendishly. He looked around every few seconds and always listened for sounds, for indication of life, wild or civilized. Nothing. Just the blackness, just the emptiness, just the cold. Another sign. Eighty-seven kilometers to Merritt it said. ‘Doable’ was the young man’s thought. Even with only two cigarettes, no food and no cell phone it was doable to get to that next town hopefully that same night.
A sound. A rattle. A snake. Where? He wondered if he had to worry about the snakes where he was. Back home the snakes were all harmless. Out there he did not know. Mindfully he stepped slowly away from the sound, maneuvering in the dark, trying to distance himself from the potential danger. His heart sped a little, as did his breathing. “Snakes, snakes, snakes, damn snakes,” he muttered to himself.
A foolish callow youth he was alone in that scene of crude desolation. Which plants were edible he did not know. The type of the local wildlife he was unaware of. He focused solely on basic survival. Ignoring pain and hunger and headache, centering all he had on the white line which ran at the highway’s rough edge. He found nothing of use in or along the ditch. An old boat seat tossed away. Some dead empty lighters. Nothing with which a blade or some handy tool could be fashioned.
He let out a groan. The hunger was striking like a spear’s stab into his soft shrunken stomach, one too deeply piercing to be ignored. He needed a gun, a knife, a spear, something. He knew there were deer plentifully ranged about, could see their tracks, every once in a while hear what might have been one crashing about in the surrounding bush.
But he had nothing. Only the hunger. Only the darkness. Only himself.
I like this. I could really picture the scenario and the mind state you depicted here. It's well written.
Thanks for sharing.
Thank you very much sipee. I had a great time writing it and I am glad you enjoyed it. Thank you.