The Hole on the Path

Pain.

Head thumping. Hurts to touch.

Wet.

Through blurred eyes I see red on my hands. Blood. I close my eyes and rest my head on my fingers. Breathe. Sleep.

Darker now. Dog licking my face. Lola. My dog. Not now. Damn. I push him away.

Clenching muscles I inch up off my the ground but feel my body slump sideways, helpless, into vegetation. Something scratches my cheeks. Deep breaths and I twist my core up, turning to sit, pull damaged leg in, chest leaning on raised knee. Body feels stiff. Really cold. All over my body is so very cold. Foot feels numb.

What happened?

I remember putting on runners. And driving. Lola spinning around in the seat and nudging to get the window put down. After that, not much. Slowly open my eyes.

I’m in the woods. Evening, light is fading. Silence. Deathly silence. I’ve been jogging. Fallen. Hit my head. I breathe in and sit up straight, nestle my arms. My forearm and hand is scraped. My head is worst. I touch my temple and softly caress my eye socket, I can feel sticky, hardening blood when I blink. No idea how long I’ve been lying here. Must be hours.

I turn slightly to stand and feel immediate pain in my foot, my ankle, left. I fall back down heavily and crumple up in pain. When the pain subsides I carefully bend my knee to bring my ankle towards my hands. Tender. Shots of pain up into my hip. Head throbbing constantly.

I move onto hands and knees to crawl out of the undergrowth. It’s dim but my eyes are adjusting and I can see what looks like a very narrow track just beside me. I shimmy gently forward keeping the injured ankle lofted high. Lola is scurrying around to and fro urging me on but mostly getting in my way, he bangs off my raised ankle and I gasp in pain. Stop. Breathe. Christ.

I see a deep trench cut across the track. A fucking hole. Bastarding hole. What rotten luck. Probably stumbled into it and went arse over tit*. What stupid notion did I take running off the main paths? Stupidity. And no phone, no running partner, no idea where in the god damned forest I am. I’m furious. What to do? Silence all around. Not even the far off sound of a car or truck rumbling by. Could be two miles from the main carpark. Shit.

Start moving. I shuffle around the hole and down the track. The jolting movement is hurting my ankle. Briers jag my hands and knees. This couldn’t get any worse.

Then I hear clinks and the sound of voices. Lola darts behind me, peeping out, head down. Lights glimmer through the trees. Coming towards us. Total relief. Search party maybe. Try to croak a shout but voice fails me. Throat dry and jaw hurting. Two lights blinking. They seem to be coming towards me anyway. Lola gets spooked, runs the opposite direction. Some guard dog. I’m struggling to raise my voice when I start to hear the tone of the conversation. Angry voices. A roar.Hair stands on my neck. Strain to hear.

Then I hear panic in every syllable as a voice calls out, “Where the fuck are you bringing me? Where?”

“You know. You know.”

“Please please don’t, I’m sorry, I’ll get the money.”

“Not as sorry as you’re going to be…”

Twenty metres at most between me and them. I make the split second decision to push myself backwards into the scrub and hope not to be seen.

END

 

*head over heals.

 

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