The sound of insects in the tall grass and the twittering of birds in the treetops was all that accompanied Emma’s footsteps on the narrow dirt path. She was all alone, deep in the forest, her map and compass the only thing to guide her way. She wasn’t lost of course, Emma had walked this path a dozen times before. Emma loved this part of the country, the large forests and nature nearly unmarked by civilization. If you knew your way, you could walk for days without coming across any village or road. Emma knew her way, she had stayed at nearly every hotel available in the area. Once or twice a month she stayed the weekend to take these long, relaxing walks. Today, she had taken one of her favourite routes. It was a narrow path that climbed quickly along the side of the hill. On her left, on the side of hill, were huge grey boulders that had stood there for such a long time that they had trees growing in them. On her right, the forest plunge down into a narrow canyon with a calm, but deep river. Emma had often found wildlife in this spot, deer and other animals that would climb down towards this calmer part of the river to drink. She therefore kept a close eye on the forest to her right, hoping to see one today. What she did not notice was the growth of blackberry brambles that had overgrown the narrow path. The blackberry vines served as trip wires as they lay across the path; and Emma quickly lost her balance as she walked into them unawares. With a cry, she fell forwards; but when she grabbed the brambles, she recoiled from their sharp thorns. She rolled down to the right and with a shriek, she started to slide down the steep hill. With nothing to grab onto during her fall, her speed increased until she was no longer able to stop herself. Miraculously, she managed to reach the bottom without hitting a tree; even though her clothes were dirty and ripped from all the mud and bushes she had passed through. She made it all the way into the river; deep enough to swallow her whole.
Spluttering, Emma surfaced. She quickly swam to the shore and climbed out of the cold water. She was drenched, her ripped clothing soaked through and through. There was no way out of the canyon except for climbing the steep hill back up to the path; but first she needed to rest. She knew there was very little chance that anyone would find her, not many people passed on these small, forgotten roads. Besides, she was certain she could save herself. It was only a short walk back to the hotel if she reached the path.
From her backpack, Emma fished her emergency package. She unfolded the emergency blanket on the forest floor and placed her shoes on top. It was a warm day, so she decided to undress to help her clothes dry. Her trousers and t-shirt she hung on the lower branches of one of the trees. Her underwear she kept on. No-one would find her here, but she still didn’t want to go fully naked out in the open. She used some of her bottled water to clean out the scrapes on her arms from her fall. The deeper cuts she cleaned with alcohol and protected with some band aids. She had a few bruises on her ribs; but all in all, she’d gotten of lucky after such a fall. After taking care of herself, Emma wondered how long she’d have to wait for her clothes to dry. It was warm, but beneath the shadow of the trees, it could take a long time. Eventually she decided to make a small fire to speed up the process. With the tools in her emergency package it did not take long until she had a small, warm fire going. While her clothes slowly dried, Emma at her lunch at the bottom of the canyon.
Read the rest of the story on KC Perrin’s blog