This is my contribution to this week's Wordzzle. Wordzzle is a game in which each week word lists, used to create stories, are given on the blog Views from Raven's Nest
. Participating users post their stories on their own blogs.
This is my entry number 44, for Wordzzle week 100.
Ten Word Challenge: transfixed,
He watched the Saturday morning cartoons
, and the treachery
therein. It had started as a lark
, but he sat there now, transfixed
. He felt his brain being driven back to basics
, the overlays of civilization falling away, until there was just the fear, and the fascination, and the tension. He felt he was seeing a sampler
of terror, infused with a fragrance
of frustration and utter failure. He watched, trembling, as pregnant
pause after pregnant pause brought forth yet more disasters. He tried once to gather his resolve and his strength, recalling perhaps how the Spartans
of old had held out against all obstacles, and tried to turn it off. The remote fell from his limp paws, however, as the Road Runner prevailed yet again and his adversary met a particularly ugly fate. The coyote sat there, watching, a whine escaping from between bared teeth, a whine that slowly grew into a howl, a howl that seemed as if it might never end.
Should he be a he-man, an outdoorsman, go camping
, wrestle bears, save people, be a hero, and enjoy the blandishments
of others? Such things were transitory
, though, and rapidly
faded away. He looked among the other plug-ins
. Ah, here was one for President. That looked more promising...
It's amazing how rapidly
things can change. He had been out in the wilderness, hiking along remote streams and forested slopes, camping
each night in a new place. Everything had been going well, until one night a horrible fragrance
had gradually spread throughout the area, increasing until it was stifling in intensity. Then something had come and taken him, and he didn't remember what happened after that.
When he had woken up, it was daytime, and he was alone. He was laying on branches that had been formed into a bed, or perhaps nest. He was in an open area the size of a small house, surrounded on three sides by the mountain. A partial cave formed at the back where the inward slanting slope provided a partial overhang.
He walked to the front and looked down. The slope was very steep, but should be passable, at least for those who came prepared. He wasn't prepared now, though, and lacked even the basics
. Everything was back in camp, wherever that was, even his shoes. It looked like he might be here for a while. He wasn't sure how to get out in stockinged feet.
He spent the rest of the day alone there, and examined the place thoroughly. There didn't seem to be any easy way out. Some plants grew there, but he didn't see anything that looked much like food. There wasn't any water either, though he supposed there would be quite a bit when it rained.
Late in the day he crouched by the edge and looked over again. There just didn't seem to be any way he could keep his grip for very long. He would start sliding, and the slide would turn into a tumble, and a series of falls, toward the trees below. If nothing else happened he would eventually have to try it, though. It was that or stay here and die.
He meditated for a while on the treachery
that had put him here, and on how transitory
life could be. If this was something from the cartoons
, a fix would appear, even if the fix was something impossible. If this was something bad happening on a computer, downloads or plug-ins
might be available to fix the problem. Life wasn't that easy, though, and sometimes fixes just weren't there.
That night the creature came back. He had been sleeping, but became aware of the smell, and forced himself awake. He saw a huge figure, indistinct, coming towards him. It was carrying something, and thrust it at him, making strange hooting sounds. He tried to push the material away from his face, feeling branches and maybe roots, and what seemed to be huge hairy fingers. The creature was persistent, though. He rolled, trying to get away, and the creature grabbed him. He pushed out at it, and felt a huge belly. He was puzzled for a moment, and then realized the creature must be female, and pregnant
. He paused, momentarily transfixed
by the thought, and then the creature was pushing his head down, into the mass of sticks and roots. He struggled violently, swinging his arms and kicking, hitting whatever he could. The creature grunted and threw him through the air what seemed to be a considerable distance. He landed awkwardly and painfully on his shoulder, and lay there moaning. The creature came to him and began to roll him back and forth, slapping at him and screeching. It went on and on, and eventually he lost awareness of it.
When he awoke it was morning again, and again he was alone. He went to look at what the creature had brought him, and he found that it was indeed some branches and roots. He guessed it was supposed to be food, but he wasn't sure it was something humans were meant to eat. He gingerly gnawed at the roots for a while. They tasted strange but not overly bad, but he couldn't bring himself to eat much of them. He wondered if he was going to be reduced to eating wrens and larks
and mice and bugs, and a whole sampler
of forest life. There didn't seem to be much of it where he was, though, and he wasn't sure how he would catch any of it anyway.
The creature didn't come back that night, nor the following night. The next day he dug in the dirt with a rock, hoping to find something, anything. He found some worms, and to his surprise, he ate them. He could really use some water now, but none was available. He worried about the creature coming back, but almost hoped it would. He hoped it would bring him something to eat, something that looked more like real food. He had given up on trying to fight it. It was simply too big. Even the ancient Spartans
would have trouble fighting such a thing. And if he somehow managed to really hurt it, it would likely strike back much harder, and he might not survive. He thought of trying to talk to it, but there seemed to be a significant language barrier, and he wasn't sure anyway what niceties he could say or blandishments
he could make that would convince it to let him go.
The next day it rained, and he spent a long time trying to catch drops from the air, but finally abandoned it and began drinking from the dirty puddles. He found himself eventually crawling along the edge, drinking from little streams of water shooting out over it. He moved along it, searching for better and cleaner streams, when suddenly he slipped, and slid over the edge. He grabbed and clawed desperately at the slope, as he slid down it, water rushing around and over him. Finally he came to a slightly depressed area and managed to stop. He clung there, unable to move, almost drowning in the water, as the hours wore on. Finally the rain eased up, and then stopped. but he found he still couldn't move, as there was no place he could go without sliding again. As the day darkened into night, he began to shiver uncontrollably, and he was afraid he would lose his grip anyway, and be lost.
Then a giant hand grabbed him, and he was thrown over a hairy shoulder and carried back up the slope. It brought him back to the nest of branches again, somewhat scattered now by the water, and laid him down. In a minute it threw something down by his face, something that smelled like a fish. At least it wasn't branches and roots this time. He was too tired to do anything right now, though, too tired to do anything at all.
In the morning, he found a sharp rock and scraped the scales off and began to eat it. He wasn't used to eating raw fish, particularly like this, but he got quite a bit of it down before he began to feel sick. He stopped eating and went off a ways and sat down, waiting for the feeling to pass, hoping that it would. By midday he was feeling a bit better, but still not ready to eat any more of the fish yet. He saw some more worms in the mud, but wasn't quite ready for them either. He found some puddles to drink from, and toward the end of the day nibbled some more at the fish.
The next night the creature brought some fungi, and he really wasn't sure if he could eat that, but he tried it and it didn't seem to cause him any harm.
Over the next few weeks the creature brought him various things to eat, usually some form of plant life, but sometimes other things. He had difficulty in eating a lot of it, though, and found himself growing thinner and thinner. He began to talk to the creature, and while the creature seemed interested, he wasn't sure it understood anything he had to say. Nevertheless, he talked to it about his life, and about why he had been in the mountains, and about how it wasn't going to work out keeping him here, that he was slowly starving to death. The creature occasionally made comments in its own language, and seemed sympathetic, but still kept him trapped there, on the mountain. He showed it his skinny arms and legs, and his ribs, and his stomach, and pleaded with it in a voice that was increasingly faint, and increasingly sounded strange in his own ears.
One night as he slept the creature came and picked him up and carried him away. He swatted at its back ineffectually for a while, and then gave up and just mumbled complaints in an odd, old-man's voice, before growing too tired even for that. After a long time the creature set him down, and then he was alone.
In the morning he found that he was back in camp. The tent was still there, leaning to one side and partially collapsed, and the pack of supplies was still hanging from the tree where he left it. He got a can of Spam from it and found he barely had the strength to open it. He did manage to open it, though, and ate the whole thing. He drank the water in his canteen, and then got some more from the nearby stream. He ate and rested for a few days before he felt well enough to pack things up and start the long walk out of the wilderness.
He wasn't sure why the creature had captured him. Perhaps it just wanted companionship. It had realized in the end, though, that it wasn't going to work out, and had brought him back. Perhaps it had understood something of what he had said, but more likely it had seen that he was getting skinnier, and in the end wasn't going to survive. It was nice of the creature to bring him back, and not just continue to keep him until he died.
He could never say anything about it, though. Few people would believe it, and those that did would fill the woods, looking for it, most of them trying to shoot it. He didn't want that. He would just say that he was lost for a while. That was easy to believe. He had been gone a long time and looked it. They probably even had people out searching for him now. In fact, he saw a helicopter in the air, coming this way.
Labels: fiction, wordzzle, writing