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  1. #1

    Join Date
    Feb 2008

    Short Story Writing Assignment

    Something for school but i thought i would post it here, someone might get enjoyment from it.
    And yes, the ending is quite cheeseball.
    People always assume loneliness was the hardest part – It wasn’t. Isolation is simple, I had always been a bit of an introvert. That’s not to say I didn’t get lonely. Everyone needs someone, but someone is the reason I ran. In retrospect I wish I just could have been a bit more affectionate to people I loved, cared for. But that was not how I thought back then. All I wanted to do was avoid conflict. I hated conflict, ever since I was young. You know, parents fighting and all. And so, I ran. My memory of the first day is still crystal clear. So pompous, so confident, I really thought I knew it all. I had so much to learn. I was quite young and fit at the time so hiking wasn’t very hard. Even with all the supplies that lay on my back. I made it about 15 kilometers in the first day. However that was barely scratching the surface on how far I had yet to go.
    I setup my tent near a nice clear embankment by a river. The night sky was so beautiful, I thought, as I snacked on a recently cooked can of pork and beans. I just stared and watched. The next few days were easy. Hiking, setting up camp, watching the stars, it was so amazingly simple. So unlike the life I left behind. Before I came I was so busy. Don’t get me wrong, I prefer routine but it needs to be enjoyable! Not like the one I had. Wake up, go to the office, come home, fight with the misses, sleep, and do it all again. Emily hated what the routine made us. That’s why we fought.
    As days of hiking turned to weeks and food ran low, I knew I needed to start hunting. But that was okay, the old me was too convinced, to self assured to think a task like this could prove difficult. I decided to not make any ground that day, but rather gather food, before I would continue on. So I left all my supplies excluding my gun and my canteen back at my tent, and set out to hunt. I don’t remember exactly what I thought; it was going to be easy? The forest was just going to yield me game to shoot? Nothing, I learned, was ever that easy. I tracked all morning thinking I was on the trail of some creature, until I realized that dumb creature was myself! I was following my own path! Going in circles! I was furious at my own stupidity! It was starting to get dark by then and I decided to head back for camp. At least I was sensible enough to pick myself some berries to eat. When I found my camp, berries in hand, words escaped me. My tent was torn apart and my sleeping bag lay half soaked, dragging in the stream. A bear had done this. My mind churned, this was a huge blow to my confidence. I found myself salvaging the rest of my things when, as if to mock me, it started to rain. Soaked to the core, laying in the pile of wet fabric, praying for sleep, my mind went once more the life I left behind.
    I always had an affinity for nature. Some nights on my way home from work I would take the back roads and drive past the farms. From there I could see the mountains, nature, and I longed to be with it. Obviously I couldn’t. I could barely convince Emily to go on camping trips in the summer. She was more of a – what would be known as – a “city” girl. She preferred things like drive in movies and shopping days. It was about two years into our marriage we started to really move apart. The office was proving especially over powering, we hardly had time to be intimate. Yet I still persevered through, for her. I provided for her. She was beautiful, elegant, and it was still all a waste.
    The night with the bear changed me. I was different, and I could feel it. More alert, more alive. Senses were now intensified, senses I barely knew I had, sharpened. There could be no more mistakes, I was careful. I knew what this forest was capable of, and I respected it. The first kill was a very rewarding experience, yet not without trouble. Up until then I had been living off berries I picked and salmon I had learned to snare in the river. I was still very cautious about leaving camp, so for about two weeks I completely pushed the thought of hunting from my mind. Yet I was human, and my stomach yearned for something more fulfilling than fish and berries. I scrounged my brain for all the knowledge I had of hunting and tracking. I had read enough books on tracking, and I learned a lot that first day, tracking my own trail, so that part was no problem. It was making the shot and hitting the target that was going to be a challenge. So I trained myself, set up dried leaves at distances, and tried to hit them. After a week I could hit a leaf, first shot, at one hundred yards. I regained a little bit of confidence.
    And so when the targets changed from leaves to deer it was no problem. And unfortunately, I was back to where I started. I was as arrogant as ever. At the time I thought I learned my lesson. I was a man now! I could shoot a gun to catch my lunch. Nothing could stop me. I was such an idiot. The forest was not done with me yet. I decided to head back. I had started my journey in June and according to my watch it was now mid September. If I didn’t make it back before December, when winter sets in, I would surely die. Even with my hunting skills. The week before I decided to head back I was making camp on a tall mountain. The view was breath taking and even from a tall peak such as that, I still could not see a hint of civilization. Descending mountains is hard but not impossible. You just need to be careful, exactly what I wasn’t. I don’t know if my carelessness was born from my eagerness to get home, or from my arrogance I had from hunting successfully. All that matters is I slipped. Lost my footing and started to tumble. I remember falling in vivid detail. At first it was dirt below me until I hit a rock patch. This is when I started to get cut. Inflexible rock sliced my skin to ribbons. I screamed out in pain. The rock face slanted into a cliff, a free fall. Luckily when I landed on the boulders I was upright. Rather than the rocks snapping my neck they only snapped my leg. The last thing I remember before blacking out was the sight of white bone poking through skin and muscle.
    When I opened my eyes it was dark. I only had a few fleeting moments of consciousness to ponder anything before I blacked out again. In those moments I thought of Emily. I missed her, yes, but how could I forgive her. In our third year of marriage I knew I was losing her. I was suspicious, she was out at late hours, on the phone with strangers claiming to me there were “old friends”, and generally ignoring me. In my head I defended her. Yes! Those were just friends; she was just out at late hours for appropriate reasons. Instead of thinking something was wrong with her I thought there must be something wrong with me. I pushed all the reasons she was unresponsive on me and tried to fix myself. Yet, I still couldn’t shake my suspicion, my instinct. It was in February that my greatest fears were confirmed. I had an idea to fix everything, spark our relationship again. I begged my boss to let me leave work early and on the way I bought flowers and picked up Chinese food, her favorite. When I got home she came running to the door, clad in just a blanket. I asked her why she was wearing just that and she shot me a glare. At that moment the man walked in, I didn’t know his name yet, I didn’t want too. It would have just made me hate him more. My mind froze, my whole body, I couldn’t take it. All the work I did, just for her, meant nothing. I sprinted back to my car; I had to get out of there! As I left I heard her say something about getting a divorce, I did not want to hear it.
    I opened my eyes once more and checked me surroundings. I barely had my torso upright when a searing pain from my leg made my body fall down again. Then I heard a call. Human? Yes it was muffled but I could tell this sound was not from an animal. My emotions were split. It had been a long time since I spoke to anyone, shared thoughts. Half of me wanted to die then and there and not deal with any of it. The other half coveted for companionship. I called back “Hello?” The words left my mouth and sounded alien, even to my own ears. “Keep yelling, I’m on my way” The expression sounded so different from everything else in the forest, yet I understood them. “I’m here, I’m here!” I yelled. I heard the man’s footsteps walk very close and stop. His voice sounded uneasy. “Jack? What, What are you doing here?” I looked up at him, hatred ignited, I recognized him. “I thought, I thought you were dead…. You’re alive!” He hand me his canteen. “Drink this” I drank and looked up, caught his gaze. We stared at each other for what seemed like hours. It was him, the man that took my wife. The anger was consuming, unbearable. But I knew what I had to do. “I forgive you.” The man said nothing and just kept starring. He then clued into the situation. “You, you forgive me?” “Yes.” I forgave him and I meant it. I could finally let go. It was the right thing to do. The man burst into tears, and just kept shouting apologies. He grasped me, he told me everything. He told me that when I ran off Emily sent a search party, and that I was declared dead. He told me his name was Mathew. He told me he had marred Emily. He told me they had a child. And that they named him after me, that they named the boy Jack. When he was done talking I said nothing, just took it all in. It provoked a lot of emotion, and I could do nothing but let tears run down my face. Not tears of hatred, or tears of hurt, no not anymore. These were tears of forgiveness and joy.
    [center:7qmqkz8r]In God We Trust.[/center:7qmqkz8r]

  2. #2
    Mother Russia Cavolia's Avatar

    Join Date
    Aug 2008
    Soviet Russia

    Re: Short Story Writing Assignment

    Man, this is some amazing writing.

    The only thing confusing me is the duration of time.
    While reading i had in mind he was in the wilderness for around 2 weeks or something, but it seems he must have been away for longer because that guy married her and whatnot.
    I think you should make the timeline some clearer.
    (though mabey i don't understand or missed something because i'm dutch)
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  3. #3

    Join Date
    Feb 2008

    Re: Short Story Writing Assignment

    No i agree the time line does in fact need to be more clear.
    Thanks for your comment and to clear it up he was in the wilderness from june to september, that is five months. If you are wondering how they could have a baby in that time it is because the man and the lady were having sex before the protagonist found out.
    [center:7qmqkz8r]In God We Trust.[/center:7qmqkz8r]


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