From a Distance by R.T Hardwick

“Whatever you do, don’t look down.” 

I don’t know why we’ve climbed up here. He said it was easy. It isn’t easy. We’ve been walking for hours, twisting and turning, skipping past large stones and boulders, ducking in and out of an ethereal mist that chills you to the bone. 

There’s only a narrow ledge on which we’re standing and below us a drop of five hundred feet onto a pile of jagged rocks. 

Clouds are swirling all around us, making me feel giddy. He’s holding me, which is something, but I blame him for getting us into this mess in the first place. 

The fog has closed in behind us and we can’t find the track that would take us back down. We’re stuck here, marooned. We can’t get a signal, not up here. The temperature’s dropping like a brick down a mineshaft and soon it’ll be dark. 

We’re going to die up here. 

I can feel myself panicking. He senses my distress. He might have been foolhardy to bring us up here but at least he’s sensitive to my feelings. 

‘Cup your hands around your mouth and breathe in deeply. Exhale slowly. That’s the ticket.’ I do as he asks and I calm down a little. 

‘What do we do now?’ I ask. 

‘We wait.’ 

Darkness settles on us like a shroud. I daren’t move. I stand, transfixed, on the tiny ledge that’s all that stands between me and my doom. 

Then, from a distance, I hear voices. 

‘They must be at the top. Keep on looking. Shine your torch. There, up there, dammit! Watch your step on that narrow ledge.’ 

A man with a torch round his head appears. 

‘You stupid, stupid buggers,’ is all he says, as he takes my hand and leads me to safety.


Published in Issue #22

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