Short Story #16

I am over half-way with my 30 short stories challenge. And challenging it has been, but also rewarding. My timing could have been better with all the end of year things that need to be wound up and taken care of, but the best time to do something that you want is NOW! Baby steps and I will get myself where I want to be. Just take the first step and crawl the rest of the way if you need to but keep the forward motion. Let me plod along with today’s tale. Enjoy and hope you’re all keeping safe.


Missing What is In Front of You?
 
Damian stepped back, and his foot slipped on loose gravel and he slid down the rock face. His fingers clawed for purchase on the rough brown surface losing a layer of skin in places. As his face disappeared over the edge of the precipice, he grabbed onto the last jutting edge, cutting a gash into his little finger.
 
He hung with his nose against the dusty wall staring straight ahead at the chips, cracks and various shades of browns in the boulder of this mountain. Concentrating on little movement to stop his handhold from biting any further into his flesh, Damian was unconsciously holding his breath. With the unknown lungs of a free diver he held longer than he ever had. When he finally released the air and sucked in some more his body shook, disturbing his grip.
 
Could he let go and grab back on immediately to adjust his hold or would he plummet over 200 meters to his death? Was this how his life was going to end? He focused on remaining as still as possible and fixated on the rock surface ahead.
 
When a drop of blood from his whitening clenched fist hit his forehead, he assumed it was a bird flying overhead, not willing to look up. Someone was bound to realize what happened and come to his aide. He just didn’t know how long his stamina would last. The bulging muscles that were extended against his cheeks were both a blessing and a curse. They held him up, but they also weighed a lot which made what he was holding up harder. He had never debated the advantages of a healthy body before. It had always been a must have for him. If his academics hadn’t gotten him into college then sports would have.
 
“Dude,” came his friend’s voice from above.
 
“Jason. Glad you realized that I was missing. Do you think that you could get some gear on and climb down and put me in a harness to be pulled back up?” Damian began to explain all the equipment Jason should gather.
 
“Wow, you’ve been thinking this through carefully and worked it all out while you’ve been hanging there.”
 
“Yes I did. Now could you please hurry up and get the stuff because I’m not sure how much longer I can hold on,” he said his eyes squeezed shut against the pain.
 
“D man, did you consider looking around for another solution to your little problem?”
 
“What are you talking about and why are you wasting time talking to me instead of helping me? You just need to climb down next to me and go below me to get me tied in.”
 
“No need. Let go of the rock Damian.”
 
“What? Are you mad? I know my way will work.”
 
“And so will mine. You have a ledge about a meter below your feet that is big enough to catch you, then I will lower a rope for you to climb back up. I told you that you need to broaden your view.”
 
“Huh!” he grunted, as he released his grasp and fell to safety.

by Debbie Gravett © 2020.12.10

Image by Philip Walker from Pixabay

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