“Nothing like a romantic walk in the hills to make you feel alive. Especially when something goes a little awry!”
I wrote this story for the following prompt.
Mindlovemisery’s Menagerie – Wordle —Sorrow, cringeworthy, miscreant, hide, hilltops, swivel, plaid, freeze, privacy, escape, mermaid, limp
Ragtag Daily Prompt — Straddle
Your Daily Word — Malapert
Word of the Day Challenge — Ludicrous
Misadventure in the Hills
“Where are we going, Martin?” Gemma gathered her bronzy hair and tied it back to stop the breeze from blowing it into her softly freckled face.
“Everywhere and nowhere.” Martin turned a circle, giving her a twinkly-eyed smile. He adored her figure-hugging rose-patterned khaki dress and cute plaid hiking boots, “Just look at the hilltops. It’s a magical adventure up here.”
Gemma turned her gaze to the grey stone crags and mossy hills stretching for miles around her. “It sure is magnificent; but I don’t see much of a magical adventure here.”
“What do you mean?”
“I mean, I see a large expanse of wilderness. A place where a person could get lost, freeze to death in winter, or fall and break their neck.”
Martin mantled his way onto a granite boulder, the first of several from a landslide that had covered the rabbit path last winter. “You have the wrong picture. Come up here.”
Gemma gave the boulder a fearful grimace, “I can’t climb up there.”
“Sure, you can,” Martin adjusted his shorts, dropped to a knee and offered her his hand.”
“Oh, alright.” Gemma interlaced her fingers in his and climbed up beside him with some difficulty.
“Well done my cute little, gecko.” Martin gave her a peck on the lips. “The nearest person to us is miles away. This for me is an escape from the craziness of the world. The insanity of government. The stupidity of people. A place to hide from the impending doom all around us. It’s a little bit of privacy too. I —”
“It’s not very private for you if I’m here,” Gemma gave a swivel of her hips and pressed close to him as she wrapped her arms about him.
“No, but it gives us privacy and time alone. Besides adventuring out here with you, makes being here even more special.” Martin kissed her forehead as he smoothed her hair. “Anyway, let’s continue our adventure.”
“I still see this is a difficult hike rather than an adventure,” Gemma shrugged and smiled.
Martin just sighed as he leapt a gap in the boulders, bounced on one foot, and kicked off the flat face of a higher stone. He planted his palms and bunny-hopped parkour-style over the last granite obstacle before landing neatly on the rabbit path.
“Show off!” Gemma took the sedate route of sliding down to ground level and walking between the boulders to regain him.
Martin bowed, “Why, thank you very much!”
Gemma giggled, “I know you don’t have a malapert personality and you’re in no way miscreant, but I think you like the danger, don’t you? That’s your adventure, isn’t it?”
“No, not really?” Martin took her hand as they climbed up onto the next ridge. “The adventure for me is exploring and discovering the unknown. See the lake down there?”
Gemma gazed toward the sun-dappled water far below in the valley. “It’s quite pretty.”
“Nobody goes there.”
“Why?” Gemma focused on him again, “How do you know?”
“I’ve never seen anybody down there, and I’ve walked here for years. Maybe it’s home to something dangerous keeping people away.” Martin pointed out a golden eagle hovering on the thermals in the near clear blue sky.
“Wow, she’s beautiful. And you’re silly. Nothing scary lives there.”
“You’re beautiful, and that’s the adventure.” Martin let go of her hand to scrabble across the top of the scree slope. “You see that lake could be home to a mermaid. The forest to the south could house a family of Sasquatch. Maybe the funny shaped hillock over there is the burial place of the giant. One of these rabbit paths could lead to a goldmine loaded with riches.”
“You, don’t believe those ludicrous legends, do you?” Gemma followed him across the loose rock. The angle of the pitch left her feeling a little scared.
“Doesn’t matter if you believe or not. It’s about the thrill of discovery. The hope of uncovering secrets.” Martin looked back at her. “It’s about allowing the mind to create possibilities and then enjoying life as you stride out to explore them.”
Gemma smiled, “I love that. Thank you for letting me join you on this advent—” A large piece of shale slipped out from beneath her boot and thundered down the slope. Gemma shrieked as she felt the scree plummeting under her boots.
“Gemma, no!” Martin ran back toward her but he was too late.
Gemma fell. Something cracked as she plunged through a hail of tumbling shale.
Martin descended after her at the diagonal. By zigzagging down the slope he minimised the amount of rock falling on Gemma. His heart pounded in his chest. Adrenaline flooded his system with the fear screaming in his brain.
She came to rest in a sprawled position surrounded by a pile of grey rock.
“Gemma! I’m coming, can you hear me!” Martin leapt the rest of the way down the slope to her side.
“I’m here, sweetheart,” Martin dropped beside her and began hurling shale in all directions as he freed her. His sorrow came as hot tears trickling down his face. Worsened by the knowledge that in letting go of her hand he’d doomed her to the fall. “I’m so sorry. I never meant for you to get hurt.”
Gemma rolled onto her back and cried out in pain. Blood was oozing from a wound to her forehead. “It’s okay, it’s not your fault,” she managed.
“It is my fault. Where are you hurting?” Martin began to examine her, counting numerous bruises on her arms.
“My head and my right knee are the worst.”
“Okay, lay still for a while.” Martin clambered around her. He took one look at her leg and grimaced. She’d suffered the cringe-worthy injury of a dislocated patella. Her leg was bent at a slightly awkward angle. The kneecap was protruding out of the right of her knee. Although this wasn’t an open fracture, it needed relocating fast.
“Is it bad?”
“Well, it could be worse.” Martin took out his phone, looked at the screen and swore. Of course, there was no signal when you needed one.
“What does that mean?” Gemma tried to move again and swore. “Ah— Ow, it really hurts!”
“I know. It’s gonna be okay though, I promise,” Martin smiled at her as he smoothed his fingers along her leg. He hoped the stroking motion would help calm her in preparation for what he knew he must do next.
Gemma looked him in the eyes. Her face was white and the picture of fear, “What is it? I know something’s wrong.”
Martin sighed and shook his head, “It’s not fair to lie. Your kneecap’s dislocated. It —”
“Oh, no. Will it …” Gemma’s voice trembled as tears pooled in her eyes.
“It’ll be fine, but I have to straighten your leg and pop it back in.” Martin smoothed his hand down her shin until holding her ankle while leaving the other hand on her thigh.
Gemma nodded, “I trust you.”
“I don’t know why you’d do that. I’m bloody dangerous!” Martin gave a little chuckle as he slowly applied pressure to her lower leg and ankle.
Gemma gave a loving look. “You didn’t make me —arrgh!” Gemma’s eyes grew wide. “— Fall … It was an accident.”
Martin drew her leg around so the foot was level with the other and proceeded to flatten and straighten the knee. “I did. And I’m sorry for hurting you.”
“Just — get — it — done … I’ll slap you for it later, if you deserve it,” Gemma scrabbled with her fingers and squeezed down on some rocks as the pain flared in her knee again. It was so bad, she kicked out with her left leg.
Martin took the blow to his shoulder, “Ooofph! Or you can just belt me one now!” He commented with a grin as he continued to lift and straighten her leg.
“Hey, I deserved it and you missed my handsome nose, so it’s all good.”
Gemma chuckled, her face red and forehead sweating with the exertion of pain. “That’s a relief, wouldn’t want your mum thinking I’m beating you up.”
“Ha! She’d probably think I did something to deserve it and beat me up again!”
Gemma filled the hillside with her mirth punctuated by grimaces.
Martin laughed with her, he reached for her kneecap and without warning pressed it sideways with his thumb. With a sickening pop, it realigned itself.
Gemma swore as her whole body tensed with the pain, “Bloody hell! What did you do!”
Martin reached over and kissed her forehead. “It’s all over.” Taking her leg, he gently manipulated it. “How’s that feel?”
“About a thousand times better,” Gemma sucked in a deep breath and sat up.
“Amazing how the pain eases once back in place isn’t it.” Martin took off his belt and used it to brace her knee.
“Yes, how did you know to do that?”
“I suffered the same injury playing rugby at school a few years ago. The paramedics did to me just what I did to you. We still need to get you x-rays for the knee and treatment for your other injuries, but you should be okay now.”
“One problem, we’re still miles from anywhere.” Gemma indicated the hillside wilderness.
Martin helped her limp to her feet. “Right, straddle my back. I’m going to carry you as far as I can.”
“You sure?” Gemma wrapped her arms around his neck and allowed him to carry her.
“Yup, this is my punishment for getting you injured in the first place.” Martin set off along the valley. He knew there was a road two miles distant and hoped to get help there.
“I still don’t blame you. And I still loved being out here with you.”
“I’m still sorry, Gemma.”
Gemma chuckled, “I’m not. I proved this place is just as dangerous as I said it was. There’s not an adventure anywhere here.”
“Ha!” Martin chuckled as he walked on strongly. “I suppose we’ll call this a misadventure instead then!”
Thanks for reading my friends.
Have a great day!