Fellow slicers, I’m experimenting with fiction again! I’m new to fiction, so be patient with me!
Alice ducked into her tent just as the rain started to come down hard. The seven o’clock sky above the trees was ominously dark, and the wind and the rain pounded the tent, making the tent fabric flap loudly. Alice felt as though she and her little tent were going to be blown right of the tip of the mountain, into the vast and deep green mountains of Vermont.
Sitting in the middle of her tent, Alice wasn’t sure what to do now. She had set up her tent in a race against the storm, and it had descended upon the mountain top so quickly she hadn’t had time to think. She reviewed her mental checklist: Had she remembered to put down the footprint, before setting up the tent? Yes. Had she pulled in her pack? Her soaking wet boots? The food… oh crap. The food.
Alice had remembered to take the stuff sack out of her larger pack so that she could string the food up in a tree–where bears and would not be able to reach it. But then she had left it on the ground in her hurry to get into her tent.
Alice unzipped a sliver of the tent door and peered out. Sure enough, her food sack lay on the forest floor, among flurries of wet leafy debris, about 200 feet away. Right at that moment a gust of wind roared, and the rain poured a little harder. Alice’s mind raced. What to do? Leave it and go out later? Wouldn’t it must be even darker later? Leave it all night? What if the bears get it? What would she do without food? Without wasting another moment, she decided.
Alice scrambled for her flashlight, put on her wet boots, pulled on her rain pants and rain coat, grabbed the rope and caribiners she had brought just for this purpose, and popped out of her cozy tent and into the storm.
The moment she stepped foot outside the tent the sky crashed with an enormous thunder clap. Alice started counting aloud, “Thousand one, thousand two, thousand three…” By the time she reached her food she had reached “Thousand six” and still no lighting. “Thousand ten…” CRACK. She saw and sensed the crackle of lighting and the not too far off distance. Two miles away. That’s where the lightning was. She would need to work quickly.
Alice grabbed the stuff sack and tied one end of the rope to it and deftly made a loop and attached the caribiners to create a system that would fool the bears, just as she had done all the other nights. She tied a small rock onto the other end of the rope, to make it easier to toss further, and tossed the other end of the rope toward the highest branch she could find. Ugh. This was the part that she always had trouble with. Toss as she might, the rope wasn’t going very far. Her first tossed missed the branch by a mile. She tossed again. No luck. Again.
Thunder rolled, raising the hair on the back of Alice’s neck. In the pouring rain, she frantically tried to toss the rope over the branch again. Again. Again. The crack of lightning was even closer this time. She didn’t need to count to know that. She hurled the rock toward the branch again and this time she was successful. Aha!
CRACK. Not lighting. The rock. Alice put her hand to her head and immediately felt a huge egg on her forehead. She looked at her hand, covered with blood. And just after that, she saw spots in front of her eyes, and then the forest began to spin. Her last thought as she fell to the ground was, “I didn’t tie up the food yet!”