It had been a difficult hike through the morning. Even after weeks of grueling training, relying on one’s other senses was misleading when trying to discern what path to choose if you were blind and most particularly challenging if you were a recent casualty of such a handicap. Barely able to keep up with his trainer and following the sound of his steps, Mark paid special attention to every sound Taylor’s body made as he walked through the trail. Following Taylor, his trainer, who was known for not taking special considerations when choosing a difficult turnout or trying to avoid a dip on the road or a tree branch blocking the trail, Mark had had his share of falls and felt overwhelmed almost to the point of frustration, the kind of frustration that makes one get distracted and loose track of the details that would let him know what terrain he was treading into.
Suddenly, he realized that Taylor wasn’t moving and it took him a moment too long to ensure that his trainer was still ahead of him. Mark chided himself for loosing track of his surroundings. In that moment, he could have missed critical details that would lead him to know his current location. A cold shiver ran through his spine as he realized he had no sense of direction. Somewhere in the past few minutes his mind had wondered and he had lost track of his situational awareness.
Tyler’s silence indicated that he had arrived at the proper location and it was imperative that he begun the assessment of his surroundings. He cleared his mind and took a deep breath to begin an in depth scan of what he could hear. He could almost feel the shape of the hills that surrounded him, painted by a light breeze that rustled leaves through the foliage of tall trees and a myriad of bird songs nearby. He smelled the different aromas in a medley of scents that included . . . perhaps moss, but although there was humidity in the air, there was no sound of running water nearby. It was this last detail that made him hesitate to name this location, but then, before he could hear it, his instincts shot an alarming sensation and with no time to second guess, he advanced rapidly towards the north as the direction of the wind indicated and four steps in, he reached a tree stump. By the way the sound had dispersed, he was able to feel the approaching mass and he stopped before bumping into it. Mark reached out with his hands and followed quickly to stand on top of the stump just as a flash flood rushed in. “Hansen’s Creek!” he said in a loud voice so that Taylor could hear. As Mark’s imagination painted a satisfied look of approval in Taylor’s face, he could see vividly in his mind the picturesque scene before him. Standing in the middle of the creek, as the violence of the water died down, he imagined that the old piece of lumber that had helped him crossed the creek many times before in the past few weeks was gone, tumbled and carried far away by the water that had been let out of an improvised dam some distance ahead into the hills. Now he noticed that Taylor was gone, probably using the sound of the water to mask his retreat and a bit embarrassed by a childish desire to please his instructor, Mark chided himself yet again for loosing track of his guide on the way back home.
Written by Margarita Morgan
September 9, 2014
This week’s exercise is a little different. I’ve given you a photo prompt. Your story should take place in an environment similar to this (other planets are fine or whatever). HOWEVER, your narrator is blind and has to tell the story without being able to see anything. Good luck.