Posts Tagged ‘campfire stories’

28th August
2011
written by amber

A Love Story

When the bear attacked my husband in Harlequin Valley, we both knew he was in desperate need of medical attention. Even though we’re both doctors and even though we’d brought far more ‘good drugs’ than any common person would have, we didn’t have what he needed – a blood transfusion, strong antibiotics and an operating room.

After I bandaged him up as best I could, I told him, “I’ll climb up on top of that ridge and try the cell phone.” We were two days hike from Cadomin, the nearest town, but we hadn’t had good cell service since we left Hinton.

I left him with the bear bangers.

The ridge was a mountain shoulder, a good 300′ scramble up steep scree but it took me only 45 minutes. All for nothing; the cell phone didn’t work up there.

When I got back, he looked far worse. “I’m not leaving you again, ” I promised.

“You have to, otherwise I’ll die,” he said.

I didn’t want to say that I thought he was going to die anyway, and soon. I didn’t want to watch him die while I was unable to stop it, but I didn’t want to leave him to die alone or, worse, for the bear to return and finish him off.

He argued with me. He reasoned that he hadn’t gone into shock, he was still lucid, proving that the trauma and blood loss weren’t as serious as they seemed, that timely medical assistance could save him.

He swore he would stay alive until I got back.

So I set out, 24 kilometres to travel unless I ran into another backcountry party. I ran that trail, tripping over roots and rocks and getting up with barely a pause, storming through the many creek crossings.

Four hours later, only 12 kilometres down the trail, I arrived at the Whitehorse river and saw smoke from the outfitter’s camp on the other side. Slipping on wet stones and being pushed downstream by the thigh deep water, I eventually made it across.

The men there had a satellite phone and they called 911 for me. An interminable two hours later, the helicopter ambulance arrived and picked me up so I could show them where to go.

I’d been away for six hours. As we flew up that narrow beautiful valley, I wondered what we’d find at the tent and if I’d made the right decision.

The Story 365 project is a year-long marathon of short story writing, with a new story posted every day on this website from May 1, 2011 – April 30, 2012. Stories must be a minimum of 200 words. Please help me by adding first line suggestions in the Comment section.

This story came about from a conversation with fellow hiker, Jan Chant, about whether or not a dying loved one should be left alone in an attempt to get help. The story is about the decision, not about the outcome – however, when I read it at the campfire, everyone wanted an ending.

So – here it is, by popular demand. – As the helicopter descended, I saw my husband waving weakly at us.

 

 

 

 

27th August
2011
written by amber

Bleached Bones

July 1879

The Englishman was trouble from the start. I knew he would be, even before we left, but some bigwig at the Northwest Trading Company had forced me to take him along on my surveying expedition. The Englishman wanted to take photographs of flowers.

Naturally, he didn’t take to the rough conditions of the trail. He complained that there was no milk for his tea; he complained about the repetitive meals of bannock and rice. When we shot squirrels, he complained about the stew Marie made from them.

The horse boss was especially annoyed with his demands that all his heavy photographic equipment be kept in one pack box even if that made it difficult to balance the load on the horse. The Englishman was brutally critical of the horse boss when six of his photographic plates were broken during a run-away caused by a hornets’ nest.

My two surveying assistants, being young, were impressed with the Englishman at first, his fancy ways and talk of his manor house and all, but they soon saw through him and ridiculed him when we were off surveying.

Marie didn’t see through him. She was my woman, I thought, but when I returned after three days away from camp, I found her with him, her head turned by false promises and silly gifts.

George, the horse boss, was beside himself with anger. He told me that Marie was, in fact, his wife, but she had started a love affair with me strictly for the purpose of convincing me to hire them both for the trip.

We were both betrayed; we had both had enough of the Englishman, as had my surveying helpers who discovered he had consumed all their liquor while we’d been away.

We all agreed to kill him and report that he’d died by falling off a cliff. We wrapped his body in canvas and took it to a lonely meadow in a high valley which we’d seen on our surveying trip. A pleasant spot but so remote that no one will ever go there.

July 1979

Joe and me were rebuilding the trail up over Moose Meadow Pass and we dug up these bones. At first we were thinking some kind of animal, but then we saw the skull. It was, like, from a person, and it had two holes in it. Like bullet holes.

Cool, hey?

The Story 365 project is a year-long marathon of short story writing, with a new story posted every day on this website from May 1, 2011 – April 30, 2012. Stories must be a minimum of 200 words. Please help me by adding first line suggestions in the Comment section.

This story was inspired by the sight of my fellow hiker, Jean-Christoff, carrying a heavy duffel bag to the pack horse – it sure looked like there was a body in there!

26th August
2011
written by amber

Camping on Mars

We walked out from the domed city, wearing our environmental suits and carrying all our gear, enjoying the low gravity. Compared to hiking on Earth, this was easy, even though we carried 85 kg each, not counting the weight of the environmental suits. But they’re full of servo-mechs to help support their own weight, so it would be cheating for us to brag about carrying their 40 kg.

We travelled 35 km to our destination, literally bounding along, but taking time to enjoy the beauty of the desolate yet colourful landscape. If you like rocks, Mars is the place for you. If you prefer trees, stay on Earth.

We set up our base camp at a spot where the subterranean water isn’t too far from the surface and we used our lasers to melt enough for our needs. We inflated our inso-tents into the cave made when the ice melted, attached our hatch and ducked inside just as night and -60 degrees C arrived.

We had to keep our environmental suits on until we used the air maker to fill the tent, then we struggled out of the constricting suits, putting cream on our rub marks and washing off the day’s sweat.

We set up our cots and sleeping bags, then Doris unpacked the cooker and put our dinners in. She’d chosen chick peas and protein and rice for our first meal. It was delicious.

We folded the cots to make lounging chairs and we watched the news and a drama, then Rick set the display to campfire and we told stories while we drank hot chocolate.

We all agreed that it’s great to get away from civilization!

The Story 365 project is a year-long marathon of short story writing, with a new story posted every day on this website from May 1, 2011 – April 30, 2012. Stories must be a minimum of 200 words. Please help me by adding first line suggestions in the Comment section.

This is another story that I read around the campfire on my backpacking trip, using the names of some of the people along on our earthly camping expedition.

25th August
2011
written by amber

Pigmalion

Dr. Drayer took me out for dinner tonight with some very important investors in his research. At least, he hopes they will be. But he was very disappointed with the way I behaved.

“Charlotte, how could you say that the wine tasted like poison?” he scolded me as he drove me back to the lab.

“Well, it did,” I said. “You told me I shouldn’t ever lie, don’t you remember?”

“If I ask you if you understand something, you shouldn’t lie. But if someone buys you something nice, then say good things about it even if you don’t like it. That is politeness.”

“I’ll try, but it’s confusing. Just like all those forks at the restaurant.”

“You used the dessert fork for your dinner,” he pointed out, “despite what I taught you.”

He should be happy that I used a fork at all. Mastering that has been hard for me. I still remember eating out of a bowl on the ground without any silverware. Dr. Drayer doesn’t know that I still visit my brothers and sisters, watch them in their unimproved state and wonder why he picked me.

They can’t talk, or understand, or use a computer, even hitting one key at a time like I do.

They can’t read.

I read very well and so I know that Dr. Drayer made a mistake when he named me Charlotte. Charlotte was the spider.

Wilbur was the pig.

The Story 365 project is a year-long marathon of short story writing, with a new story posted every day on this website from May 1, 2011 – April 30, 2012. Stories must be a minimum of 200 words. Please help me by adding first line suggestions in the Comment section.

This story is based on a challenge from my mother, Mary Bond, who suggested using ‘wine’ and ‘poison’ in the same sentence.

24th August
2011
written by amber

Red Tights

When I walked into the room, I couldn’t take my eyes off her, her red tights, her legs straddled wide and cuffed to the bed posts, her arms hand-cuffed to the headboard.

“The body’s in here,” I was told and they lead me to the bathroom. The man had been brutally bludgeoned to death.

There was no sign of the cuff keys. While we waited for someone to bring a hack saw, the girl told me what had happened. “I was already restrained when a man came into the room and took Fred into the bathroom. Is he dead?”

“Yes, ma’am, he is,” I told her, “and it isn’t pretty. There must have been quite a commotion. I’m surprised the guy didn’t do anything to you, you being a witness and all.”

“Oh, I was blind-folded. I didn’t see anything.”

The police who’d been first at the scene nodded and showed me the mask they’d removed from her face.

“Well, anything you can tell us would be helpful. When we cut you loose, we’ll drive you down to the station, get your statement and you’ll be free to go as long as you don’t leave town.”

I drove her down to the station myself. She was quiet and cooperative, leaving me time to think about the lack of a murder weapon and the missing cuff keys.

I had a hunch.

“Let’s take you to the hospital first, get you checked out. They said you were screaming for a while in there, before anyone came.”

“I’m fine,” she claimed, but I insisted and when we got there, I convinced an ER doc I know to xray her.

The cuff keys were in her stomach but the real surprise was her artificial leg, all battered and bent, the red stains hidden beneath those red tights.

The Story 365 project is a year-long marathon of short story writing, with a new story posted every day on this website from May 1, 2011 – April 30, 2012. Stories must be a minimum of 200 words. Please help me by adding first line suggestions in the Comment section.

This story was inspired by a discussion among my fellow hikers about using an artificial leg to beat someone.

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