The Climb part II (segments 2 & 3)

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Jim paused mid-sentence, his mind leaving Narnia behind. Georges words stirred a sense of excitement in him, as he thought back to the winter two years ago when his friend George was trapped in a cave while hunting his last big buck.

I checked with Patrick, and he said it would be alright for you to go with me. We’ll take old Blue along as well.”

Blue was jumping up on the bottom rung of the ladder barking up a storm.

Jim had not been up to the cave and had only heard George telling him about it.

He stuck his head out of the treehouse window and gave George a big smile.

Sounds like a great idea to me. I need a break from reading all my books and I would love to hike up to the cave!”

George felt a surge of excitement knowing he would get to spend the day in the woods with Jim. It also brought back some strong feelings about is ordeal on the mountain.

I will stop by your house in the morning around 8:00. It should be a beautiful day in the mountains.”

Okay,” said Jim, “as he shifted his mind back to Narnia.”

***

It was the end of June, and Jim was enjoying the carefree days of summer. His teacher at Windy Gap Middle School had introduced him to C.S.Lewis’ Narnia Chronicles. Since school was out, he could not put the book down. He hoped to read the whole series by summer’s end.

George was his dear friend, who unknowingly to Jim, was now being replaced by adolescent interests. Even so, he still enjoyed his time with him and Old Blue. Their hike up to the cave would be a great time to reconnect.

Jim rolled out of bed at 7:00 AM and went to the kitchen to pack a lunch for the hike. His mom greeted him warmly and helped him get two ham sandwiches, an apple, a granola bar, and two Hershey bars. He filled his boy scout canteen with water.

Patrick reminded him to take along his Leatherman multi-tool.

You never know when you might need it.”

At 8:00, Jim heard Old George’s truck come rumbling down the gravel lane. He was out on the front porch before the truck even reached the gate. As the truck stopped, Jim hopped up onto the seat next to George and Old Blue. Blue barked a friendly welcome.

Good morning, Jim,” greeted George, “looks like a beautiful day for a hike,”

Good morning, George. It sure does,” Jim said, as he reached over and scratched Old Blue behind the ears. Old Blue edged closer and laid his head up on Jim’s leg.

Jim waved out the window as the old truck started down the lane.

***

Note:  I decided to revisit my story of The Climb and have Old George and Jim go back up to the cave where George was trapped in a snowstorm while hunting. I will be doing several segments each day.

Stony Rubbish

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Stony Rubbish

Jim loved going up to Old George’s house to visit. George waved when he saw Jim coming up the lane on his mountain bike. Old Blue bounded off the porch, barking with joy, as Jim arrived.

Hi George” “Hi Old Blue!”

Hello Jim, come on up, sit on the swing awhile!”

Jim plopped down on the swing, while Old Blue lay down by George’s feet as he rocked in his old rocking chair.

I guess you heard about the Presidential Election coming up in November? Jim said.

Oh, don’t get me started,” George replied. “Back in my day you could take a man at his word. These days it is all meaningless political nonsense!”

What are the roots that clutch, what branches grow out of this stony rubbish?”

Seems all of them will say most anything to get elected. Truth and integrity are lost.

***

Today at d’Verse, Mish asked us to use a line from T.S.Elliot’s poem, The Wasteland, and write a Prosery piece. It is flash fiction and must be 144 words that includes the line: “What are the roots that clutch, what branches grow out of this stony rubbish?”

I decided to continue my story with Old George and Jim, this time addressing politics.

Join us at: https://dversepoets.com

The Climb … segments 10-11-12

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George awoke stiff and cold from his unsettled night in the cave. Sunshine reflected off the shimmering snow outside, with the promise of warmth in its rays. George picked up his gun and made his way into the morning light. The sun on his face felt wonderful and took away some of the chill he felt. All around spread a world of white with only a whisper of a breeze in the trees above.

As he ate the last half of his granola bar, he was glad he kept the water bottle in his inside pocket. His body heat kept it from freezing solid. George knew his climb down to the valley below would help him warm up. Stomping his feet, numb with cold, he felt his joints talking to him telling him he was much too old for this kind of activity. His left arm was tingling again and he had a slight tightness in his chest, so George popped a glycerin pill and let it dissolve under his tongue. He always carried them with him for situations like this. His heart was not happy with all the strain, but the tightness and tingling soon subsided.

As George prepared himself for his climb down the mountain, he noticed some tracks in the snow outside the cave. On closer examination, he saw the imprints were cat tracks as big as his hand. The tracks left the cave entrance and trailed up the hollow. George looks further and noticed slight spots of red sprinkled very lightly in the snow next to the tracks.

He recalled what he thought was his bad nightmare from the night before. Did a mountain lion actually visit his cave last night? Did George actually take a shot at her grazing her just enough to bleed a trickle of blood in the snow?

George emptied the shells from his rifle. Only five shells in the gun instead of six! Still not believing what he saw, he climbed back into the cave. Sweeping the leaves aside, he found nothing. Then over in the back corner lay his expended shell. He could not believe what he was seeing. In the middle of the night, in his sleep, he had taken a shot at a mountain lion. Who would believe this tale? He knew Jim would love this story.

*****

Feeling extremely cold, George knew he needed a fire to warm himself before starting down the mountain. Dragging out a pile of dead leaves from the cave, he added some small dead limbs from the bottom of the white pines nearby. The leaves were dry from being in the cave and he soon had a blazing fire going. It was enough to take away some of the chill from his body.

By now the sun was shining through the tree tops and the pines covered with snow sparkled like a million diamonds. Overnight the snow accumulated to a foot and a half deep. It would take quite awhile to wade through it all and make it back to his truck.

When the fire had burned down to embers, George covered them with wet snow to put them out. He new it was time to start moving.

Deep snow made walking difficult for George, but he slowly made his way down the west side of the hollow so the morning sun could help warm him in the frigid morning air. After walking for an hour, he brushed the snow off a fallen log and sad down to rest. He really needed a drink so he scooped up some fresh snow and melted it in his mouth. The cold water trickling down his throat refreshed him.

As George was ready to trudge on, he heard a rustling in the pines across the way. In a moment two doe came into view followed by a third. George sat real still knowing they could not tell him from the trees, except by smell or movement. Suddenly they stopped and sniffed the air, ears perked up listening for any movement. Since the breeze was blowing up the hollow, it carried George’s scent away from them, so they continued moving slowly nibbling at the ends of young saplings sticking up above the snow.

What a beautiful sight to see thought George as he watched them moving further up the ridge. Another noise drew George’s attention back to the pines. George could not believe his eyes, as he watched the old buck come into view. He stood tall with a majestic rack that spread above his head like a king’s crown. Being cautious, he always seem to follow the doe who checked to see of there was any danger ahead. The old buck stopped and sniffed the air unaware that George was just across the hollow. It was as though he sensed something different in the morning air.

George’s heart was racing as he saw the buck come closer. This was the chance he had been waiting for and talking about for years. Now the opportunity was right in front of him, with a clear shot that few hunters could miss. George raised his rifle and looked through the scope. The cross-hairs focused right behind the old buck’s shoulder.

Photo: Dwight L. Roth

A continuation of an earlier prosery prompt from d’Verse Poets Pub….  Scroll down my site to see earlier segments.

The Climb… segments 8 & 9

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Back home in Windy Gap, the sun was setting and George had not returned home. Since his wife had died three years earlier, he had live alone with his old hound dog, Blue. Like George, Old Blue had also seen his better years. He thought it best to leave old Blue at home for this trip.

Down at the end of the gravel lane, his neighbors the Clancy’s lived with their ten year old son Jim. Patrick and Nora were wonderful friends who looked out for George since his wife died. Nora took George hot meals from time to time and often invited him down to visit.

Patrick heard the roar of the old Dodge truck as George headed down the lane in the hours before sunup. George mentioned earlier that he was headed out hunting on Moonshine Ridge, hoping to come across the old buck that had eluded him the last several seasons.

George told Jim hunting stories and how he dreamed of getting one last trophy buck. Those who had seen the deer said it looked like he might have a rack with as many as fourteen points and weigh at least 200 pounds.

When Jim came in for supper that evening, he announced that George’s truck was not at the house and Old Blue was barking up a storm inside the house. With snow beginning to fall Patrick decided to go up and check on Old Blue and see if there was any sign that George might have returned home and left again.

*****

Patrick climbed up the steps to the porch and peered in the window. Nothing seemed disturbed as Old Blue jumped up at the window with a deep mournful wail. Jim found the key under the old crock on the porch and let himself in. Old Blue greeted him happily, jumping up on him trying to lick his face. Patrick left Old Blue run out in the yard to relive himself. He saw there was no water in Blue’s bucket and no food in his bowl. Very unusual for George not to tell anyone to feed Old Blue.

He went to the cupboard and took out the bag of dog food, pouring some into the food bowl. Blue eagerly gobbled it down crunching the hard bits between his teeth. Patrick added a little more and filled up his bucket from the old pitcher pump. Seeing the snow falling faster he had an uneasy feeling about what might have happened George in this extreme weather.

When George did not come home by 9:00 PM, Patrick knew something was wrong. He called the Sheriff’s office in River Bend, ten miles away. After telling the Sheriff what he knew about the situation, Sheriff Taylor said with the storm closing in, and with six inches already on the ground, there was no way they could send a search party into the mountain to look for George before morning. It would take four-wheeled-drive vehicles to make it back to Windy Gap. He told Patrick to meet him at the Sheriff’s office at 7:00 AM. They hoped George found shelter from the storm; otherwise, his chances of survival were very slim.

Photo: Dwight L. Roth

Earlier segments:  https://rothpoetry.wordpress.com/2021/08/18/the-climb-three-more-segments/

The Climb… segments 5-6-7