Reminder: Free short story – see below “A Pearl for Your Enjoyment”
I don’t want to talk about tides or anything related to water today. After nearly 2 weeks stuck on this side of the creek, I’m beginning to wonder how long can a person live on pawpaw, eggs, mandarins, and stew. What am I whinging for? Many people are starving in the world at any time who would give up a limb for such a feast.
Current Weather and Tides
Plane tickets purchased. Yippee!!
Dates to remember:
‘Author Talk’ at Cooktown Library on Wednesday 3rd August 2022 at 10 am
‘Meet the Author’ at the Cooktown Nature’s Powerhouse on 5th August 2022 at lunchtime.
‘Author Talk’ at Burdekin Library on Wednesday 10th August 2022 at 10 am
Keep safe, Keep smiling, Keep reading, Keep writing.
A Pearl for your Enjoyment
This story evolved from a prompt: I checked the time on my phone, glancing in both directions before checking the time again
My heart skipped a beat as I stared at the blue battery-bar signal. How little battery time remained? I must have dozed for a minute or was it longer … maybe even an hour.
Pain burrowed into my skull. A groan lifted into the air around me. Gratitude provided a short relief as I thought of the SOS call, I had been able to make. This was quickly replaced by anxiety which chewed at my insides. As much as I wanted to check the time once more, I refrained from doing so. I must save any power left in the phone to direct the rescue party to my exact location when they reached the rough terrain in which I had come to grief when my horse had shied at an angry brown snake. A snake I fervently hoped had slithered off to far-away pastures.
A rustle in the grass to my right drew my eyes and dragged in my strangled breath which slowly escaped when the dripping coat of my faithful black dog parted the dried foliage. The sight of the water droplets falling to the ground beneath the dog reminded me of my thirst which had been drowned beneath the wall of pain. With one leg broken at an awkward angle and blood running from a useless arm laying by my twisted body, I forced myself to concentrate on a plan to remove the backpack from my shoulders. Hard though it may be to consider, the gods must have been with me to some degree this morning. Usually, my phone travelled inside the backpack but today it had been shoved, as an afterthought, into my shirt pocket.
Pain screamed at me from my neck and shoulders as I attempted to raise my upper body. Blood joined the groan dribbling from between my clenched lips. With a Houdini twist, the backpack was edged out from underneath me. It lay bloodied with one strap still around the fractured left arm. Tears erupted to add to the dust and blood on my face. Ragged breaths sent painful reminders to my head. My groans threatened to turn to sobs before blackness thickened before my eyes.
Was it the tongue swollen inside a bone-dry mouth or the pain from every part of my broken body which dragged me back to consciousness? The sun had shifted to my left. A scant shade from the gum trees lay across my face with the promise of more to come. My dog, Blackie, had disappeared – no doubt commiserating with Thunder, the horse, at the lack of attention from the mistress. Should I check the phone again? My phone – where’s the bloody phone. My one good hand patted furiously around me. The relief at feeling its presence recalled my mind to the thirst raging in my throat.
I lay the phone at my side with care before reaching across in an endeavour to remove the water bottle from the side pocket of my bag. Fingers devoid of any strength touched the familiar shape but failed to drag it out. A sob escaped into the country air. A kookaburra laughed from somewhere above me. Once more I gritted my teeth and attempted to ignore the pain from multiple sources. I willed my fingers to grip the neck of the bottle and pull. Tears of satisfaction joined the grunts of effort as the bottle now lay upon my chest. Small puffs sucked the air into my lungs. Water splashed down my chin as I used my teeth to assist in opening the lid. I sipped the warm water twice before securing the treasure close to my body on the opposite side of the phone. Unconsciousness fell upon me like a darkened shawl once more.
Hands, gentle hands, poked and prodded at the pain centres of my body. A warm voice assured me everything was alright. I did not feel alright. I felt as though I had fought ten rounds with a crazed boxer. Did I hear a scream – was that me? Pain seared up my leg. When I drew in the courage to look, the leg now lay aligned in a blow-up splint.
“Sorry, we took so long. We could not find you. We tried to call you on your phone but you have no battery left.”
My hand instinctively reached for the phone but it was not by my side. I found the water bottle and struggled to take another drink. A strong arm reached under my shoulders to assist.
“Only a small sip now.”
A small sip, I thought, I need a gallon of cold water at least.
“It was a horse and black dog that led us here.”
I would have liked to tell him it’s a wonder the black dog didn’t take his leg off but the effort was all too much. I let myself drift off to sleep.