“No Context” is a purposeless, sometimes whimsical, often cut short, and unpredictable addition to the blog feed of Charming Undómiel. This unique content is published once every other month.
Please voice your thoughts below in the comments after reading the September edition of “No Context“ in which…
I had heard about her all week. The being who was described as the very breath of the mountain air, the very rays the sun gives out in the dawn. I had listened with eyebrows raised at the folklore, the stories of the shepherd boys who claimed to have seen her as they guided their flocks up to the mountain pastures. But when I asked them about specifics, as in hair or eye color, they all shrugged and replied no one’s gotten close enough to see.
But there was a name: Diana. The name of a goddess–or the name of a girl who everyone in this loony village had seen but couldn’t describe, like mist that covered the mountain top beyond their small town.
So I decided to find out for myself on the last day of my vacation to see whether the stories were true, and go find this creature that no one’s ever talked to.
Does she even talk? Is she even real? Is this just a story to attract tourists and empty their wallets? The doubts settle in almost immediately as I begin the trek up the steep mountain path behind my guide, a gnarly old man who is so bent and wrinkled you would think it’d be impossible for him to walk up this precarious trail.
It is an unusual day, cloudy and cool, and the towering pines on either side of me rustle in the wind and bend over me like majestic, bristly soldiers. The clouds are interestingly peaceful to watch as they they line up according to colors, from almost white to the darkest color of gray. They don’t look angry, just, moody.
After an hour of rustling pine trees we leave them behind and trudge a worn, broad path cut into the mountain side. I’d be lying if I said I didn’t gulp nervously before following my wizened guide out of the protection of the pines and onto the side of the mountain. Nothing but air and the ravine below on one side, and craggy, jagged rock, covered in ivy, towering thousands of feet above on the other. Ravens call overhead as their black wings carry them across the troubled skies and up the mountain. And we’re still hiking up, up.
At the end of the second hour, and as the path narrows to the point where we are both edging along sideways, I begin to wonder if it would hurt if I fell from this high, and if I was an idiot to let these fables drag me away from the last day of my fishing vacation, and if this unassuming guide of mine just is wandering as far as possible to be paid more by the hour I agreed to pay. Also, how is he breathing so normally while I’m panting and pouring perspiration like never before in my life?
The path broadens out again and I breathe a sigh of relief, and grin in triumph at my guide, who hadn’t stopped to catch his wind like I had, but continues to move down the trail, holding on to the vines to keep balance. I fold my arms in frustration as I pull in a deep breath. This is getting ridiculous.
I just decided to give this old man a piece of my mind (which consisted of cutting his pay as well since he hadn’t answered a single one of my questions about the girl, where were we going, or about the weather) when suddenly my foot catches on a root and I almost pitch over the mountain side.
I grasp the ivy in terror and try to right myself while my guide, who is several yards ahead under pine trees turns around the rocky face and disappears from view. My heart is hammering so hard that I can’t see straight, which only makes me cling to the ivy even tighter.
“Hey!” I try and call out after him, but my voice is just a squeak; my vocal chords not yet recovered from the near death experience.
“Hey hold on!” I call louder this time as I gingerly dislodge my foot from the vine and shakily jog to catch up, letting out an immense sigh of relief as I leave the treacherous path behind and round the bend to find it…empty.
“Hello, where’d you go!?” I throw my hands up hopelessly. There’s no reply except for an ominous rumbling of thunder overhead.
Great, just great. I mutter to myself, gritting my teeth in frustration. I’m thousands of feet above sea level in a forest that I have never been in before with a storm brewing to boot. Before I can kick a tree, something cold hits me right smack in the middle of my head, sending shivers up my spine. Another one hits me on the shoulder, and then rain starts dropping everywhere, including on me. I look at the sky, my temper matching it’s attitude.
A clap of thunder bites my sarcasm in the bud and causes my heart to speed up a beat. What now? I glance up and down the trail in despair as gooseflesh breaks out on my arms, a reaction to the bitingly cold rain. My mind is telling me to go back the way I came. But that would require using the death-tauntingly narrow path between the mountain’s side and a three hundred foot drop down on some very pointy looking rocks–in the middle of a pelting thunderstorm.
“Yep not happening.” I shake my head firmly as I start walking down the trail to delay developing hypothermia. I know what’s behind me, zero idea what’s in front, beginning to shiver violently and have lost my guide.
He probably fell over and rolled down the ravine, I think bitterly as I trudge along, wrapping my arms around my soaked sweater. Serves him right, I add under my breath, even though there is no one around to hear me.
“I cannot believe I’m up here chasing a fairytale!” I yell, knowing that the only reason I’m talking out loud is to keep the slowly growing fear in my stomach at bay. I hike my drenched hoodie over my drenched head and keep plodding along, hoping to find either my guide or a cave or even a mountain lion to put me out of my misery.
A particularly terrifying clap of thunder makes the majestic pines all around me cower in fear and me quicken my pace.
Its really pouring. Gushing, even, like someone turned the ocean upside down in the sky. I can’t see a single thing, but I keep moving–honestly what other choice do I have? If I stay in one place there is a higher chance of being nailed into the ground by a falling tree or being fried by lightening, and I definitely don’t feel like accepting either of those options.
Suddenly a stone dislodges right under my feet, taking my balance with it, and I’m falling, falling, praying, falling, screaming, still falling and then I feel an explosion against my head and everything goes black...