Thursday 27 March 2014

Dark Burden

By: Michael Carta.

Deep within the heart of the Adirondack Mountains a man continued trudging on the trail he had carved with years of dedicated footsteps. He had an undying love for the nature around him and it served to distract him from the other temptations in his life. He had successfully isolated himself for nearly five years with only limited contact to any other human every six months when supplies were needed. Finally, after several hours of hiking over the foothills, Tom reached the base of the only mountain he had yet to climb in the area. 

“This is it, Mount Marcy; elevation 5,344 ft.” Tom said to himself as he sat on a nearby rock to ready himself for the journey.

“You’re wasting our time, we could be doing things that are more suitable for-“

“I want to see the summit; it’s the highest elevated point out here. You know this is one of our goals”

“No, it’s one of your goals, and a stupid one. Think of what else we could be doing!”

“You don’t understand. I need this. Nature has created this wonderful place for adventure and exploration. It is ours for the taking!”

“Have you forgotten how good and crafty we were? Or the thrills we had almost getting caught?  Nothing out here can even compare to the rush.”

“Enough! I am getting to the top of this damn mountain and I am done arguing with you! I feel like Tom Hanks in that movie when he spoke to a volleyball. What’s wrong with me? This is like some kind of demented telepathy.”

“Calm down, it’s not telepathy since you’re talking to yourself. We’ve just been up here too long; the altitude changes how your brain functions that’s all”

“Yet, I have been talking to you since way before we came out here... Nice try.

“I told you we were crafty!”

       Tom stood up, adjusted his belt, and took his first steps towards the incline of his new challenge.
The warm autumn air provided him with a soothing calmness as he ventured onward. Periodically he would stop and look around to take in the beauty that surrounded him. The vast foliage of dying leaves dazzled his eyes with color. Tom was drawn to the purity and unbiased nature of nature. She was not afraid to show herself and had such mystery. 

     After four rigorous hours the summit was in sight. Tom leaned against a tree for a quick rest and to assess the best approach for the final assent.

“Look out behind you; you can already see the view.”

“Not until we get to the top. I want to full experience with no spoilers. You really do not have any patience. Everything to you is instant gratification.”

“What can I say; we are a creature of habit. It’s your instincts man.”

“I want to earn it. Maybe nature made these mountains to inspire man to climb to the top. Now we are always searching for new mountains, summits, goals, and achievements. The harder you work for it the more fulfilling the reward is at the end.”

“It sounds like you’re just a horse with a carrot hanging in front if its face. You’ll never be truly satisfied and tomorrow this will all start over again.”

“Even so, at least I will be satisfied today. Come on, we are almost there, even you can enjoy this next part.”

    Effortlessly Tom scaled several boulders and lifted himself onto the peak. He sat in bewilderment as he peered out across the horizon. The magnificence was endless as far as the eye could see. Mountains stretched out in all directions complimented by the countless clouds overhead.  He took a deep breath and felt relief from all stress and anxiety, he felt truly free.

“See, what did I tell you? Wonderful is it not? I could stay up here forever... How can people stare at a screen all day in a cube when this is out here? …Finally you are not saying anything. You have left me alone; my dark burden is gone…”

    Tom let time slip by unnoticed as he sat enlightened. Eventually, he would turn to the west and took in the massive sight of Lake George. His gaze traced the familiar shore line that would lead to his camp and he slowly became conscious of his existence and less lost in the moment. Suddenly, he noticed slight movement on the shore that caught his attention. A small white dot sat where the water met land, but it was too far to make any real distinction.

“It’s a boat you know…Boats have people and they’re probably on shore… all alone.”

“It could be anything, you do not know that. This area is completely remote and isolated. The chances anyone coming out here are impossibly low.”

“That is why we should go and introduce ourselves. Clearly it was meant to be; why else would they pop up now?”

“I wish you would just get out of my head and stop poisoning my thoughts!”

“I am your thoughts. You should just embrace it like you once did!”

“That’s why I have had to live out herein he first place because of what you made me do! Now we are far from any person, any temptation; for their protection. That sacrifice was not easy.”

“You said it yourself. This area is very remote. No one would ever find them, or even know where to look. You can easily scuttle the boat off shore after we’ve had our fun and it would be like nothing ever happened. We’d better hurry though, since we don’t want them out in the open too long, or worse; leaving without saying goodbye.”

     Tom’s hand moved to the hilt of his hunting knife and he felt his adrenaline surge. A devilish smirk came across his face as his eyes darkened. He took deep slow breaths and toyed with the idea in his head.

“If we leave now and are cautious we can get there in a few hours- right before dark.”

     Tom Jumped up and was now oblivious to the majesty around him. Quickly he began his descent into the darkness of the trees and his soul. 

“Forgive me father, for I will sin.”

1 comment:

  1. Good read! Kept me engaged me whole time. You should check out this online short story contest running now on Tallenge-
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