“Let’s admit it, we all yearn for adventure. A trip to discover places unknown. Maybe a little peril to get our hearts beating that little bit faster. Something, anything to bring a little bit more excitement to our boring lives. The issue is when the adventure comes along will we truly be ready for it.”
“Blasted thing!” Niles slammed his fist into the screen of his satellite navigation system. He had to admit he relied on it too much. Didn’t excuse it for breaking down of the most important moments of course. “Come on! Find a bloody signal before I miss my turn!”
Mountains loomed large over the little white van. The lower reaches heavily wooded right up to the roadside. The satnav flashed on momentarily. ‘Take … left and continue for 2 miles.’ It requested.
“At last! So, I need the next left.” Niles grinned then groaned as lightning flashed overhead. The yearn from his dangerously full bladder had him driving a little too fast. He couldn’t wait to get to the village so he could stop at the motel for the night. Making the turn, he heard the deepest rumble from the leaden skies overhead. A wind-whipped up as if from nowhere.
“Wow! It’s going to be quite a —” A branch crunched into the windscreen causing a spidery crack to obscure his view. “— storm!” Niles swore as he wrestled with the steering wheel. Fighting to keep the van on the road and his emotions in check.
Within moments the road vanished replaced by a track. Worse fresh lightning signalled a deluge of heavy rain. With every passing second, the track grew slicker with mud.
Niles turned the windscreen wipers to full as the sky split with a terrific rumble and vivid blue lightning. The wipers were rendered useless by the tumultuous downpour. “Whoa! This can’t be —Oh, Shit!”
The track vanished in front of the van bending sharply to the left through the pine trees.
Slamming on the brakes, proved ineffective. The van had no traction in the mud and slid straight into the trees. Niles felt the ground drop beneath him. The side of the vehicle hammered against a trunk, throwing him against the steering wheel as the airbag detonated like a grenade against his face. His stomach lurched as everything began to tumble. Tree canopy and earth interchanged in his view a half-dozen times, as Niles was battered like sand and cement in a mixer. The van obliterated a blackthorn bush and came to rest with a heavy splat.
Feeling like he’d lost a wrestling match with a hippo, Niles knew two things: his nose was broken and the bigger issue; he was hanging upside down – just like his van. He could feel his face swelling to the point his right eye became useless. Feeling about, he found a lot of pinecones around him amid the debris of the crash. Eventually, his fingers closed around the glove compartment handle and he pulled it open.
‘Please make a U-turn when safe. Then turn left onto Highway Four!’ said the satnav coming to life.
“You should be a bloody comedian — mechanical pile of crap!” Fishing about his paperwork and pens, Niles found his penknife. He was grateful for the lightning, now. Those vivid flashes of light gave him the ability to see what he was doing. Holding his breath against the pain, he cut his seatbelt and splashed down onto the roof. A shriek of agony tore through his body; telling him of rib and leg injuries. The icy water saturating his clothes, sending a burst of adrenaline rushing through his veins. His good eye revealed the water rising in the cabin.
“Come on, Niles. You’re not dying here!” Sucking up his courage and fighting back pain, he hauled himself out of the shattered windscreen. He felt his left knee may be dislocated as it gave way and dumped him in water.
Niles crawled to the shore through the monsoon-like rain and dragged himself onto the muddy bank. At least the gaps between thunderclaps were growing longer meaning the storm was passing away.
All he could do was lay there taking deep breaths for how long he didn’t know. As the pain and shock subsided, Niles began to look about him. An orange glow caught his attention across the lake. A log cabin – a small hope of salvation within reach.
Dragging himself to his feet, Niles wrapped an arm around his broken chest and staggered towards the light. He went from tree to tree, hugging each trunk for a moment, sucking in air before moving onto the next.
The cabin was barely a hundred yards away and yet it took him over an hour to reach it. The elements and his injuries leaving him exhausted by the time he dropped to his knees at front of the door. He knocked with the last of his energy and collapsed against the log wall.
It was a few minutes before the door cracked open. “Good golly Gumboots! What in the unholy hell happened to you?”
Niles peered through his good eye and smiled as best as his broken face would allow. He was looking at an old woman wearing a flowered pinafore dress. “My satnav and the storm sabotaged me. Dumped me and my van in your lake.”
“You don’t say! You’re lucky to be alive, boyo. It’s a long way straight down from the track to the lake.” The woman bent under his arm and hauled him to his feet. “Let’s get you inside and see to you.”
“Thank you, I hurt all over, I’m soaked and boy do I need a piss!” Niles managed a chuckle as he was taken inside the cabin.
“Well, I ain’t got no posh facilities. You’ll have to make do.” Said the woman half-dragging him through.
He was amazed when he was sat on an old chamber pot. The cabin of course wasn’t on the mains plumbing.
The woman allowed him to refresh himself and then settled him on her sofa. By then he’d succumbed to the pain and quickly fell asleep.
It was three days before he awoke again. By then he was lying in a hospital bed in a nearby town. Niles would recover from his collection of injuries in time. It was an adventure he was glad to have survived and wished never to experience again.
Have a great day!