Walt wandered the desert floor for a second day. His faint resolve had almost completely disappeared. Two days ago he left the parking lot for a trail he had never taken. Three hours later, and four trail forks, Walt found himself lost at the foot of the mountains with the desert floor before him. His meager canteen of water had given out the next day. At the time he wasn’t worried. Walt was convinced a search party would find him. After all, he had opted to leave the mountain behind, making it easier to see where he was. If only he knew. The first night was spent on the ground. He spent most of the night awake, fearing what might happen upon him. He prayed he would not have to try and survive a second night.
Walt chastised himself as he slowly walked across the sand. He had left his cell phone in the glove compartment of his car. Maybe it was God’s way of telling him he should not judge his friends who carried their phones everywhere. It was one thing to turn it off and be “unplugged,” but another to throw away the cord completely.
Walt was still lost in thought and didn’t notice the stone before him. He tripped and stumbled. His left leg nicked a cactus and he danced around as if he could escape the pain. Fire shot up his right leg. Walt screamed and kicked. He saw the diamondback rattler go tumbling. It slithered off in the opposite direction. The pain made his head spin. and he dropped on to the dirt. Fear filled his mind and he quickly looked around. His deadly foe had retreated and there was no signs of any other snakes.
Walt took off his belt and pulled it tighter than he could stand above the snake bite near his ankle. He needed a stick, but there was nothing nearby. He worked to maintain consciousness and tied off his belt. Walt stopped, closed his eyes, and tried to breathe. He opened his eyes and looked at his left leg. There were three large cactus spikes sticking out of his pants. He did not feel their pain compared to the venom working to destroy his other leg.
He removed the spikes. Heat, dehydration, and poison brought about an intense headache. Walt closed his eyes from the bright sun in a vain attempt to deaden the pain. There was nothing left to do but pray. “God, I can’t barter, I have nothing to give. Please get me out of this nightmare. I don’t care how, just please help me.”
He knew he couldn’t stay on the ground. Eventually, something would come along. Another snake, a scorpion, a tarantula, or something else. Walt looked around and spied a few large stones poking out of the sand nearby, the perfect place to sit above the dangers of the desert floor. He worked to gather the resolve that had escape him earlier. Walt slowly got up. Pain ran up his leg and he attempted to throw up, but was only met with dry heaves.
He took small, stuttering steps to the stones. Looking around in the shadows under the rocks he was thankful he found nothing hiding underneath. He drug himself up, laid on the hot surface and closed his eyes. Even though he knew he was baking it did not matter. He was safe for the moment. Then shade and a slight cool breeze wafted across his body. He opened his eyes to see a stray cloud temporarily block the sun. He thanked God for his mercy and wondered what would become of him
He was certainly in no condition to walk. Although safe for the moment, the heated rocks would beckon the snakes when night began to fall. He could see no way out, but he had to try. The mountains he had left behind gave some protection from the elements, but they were at least five miles away as the crow flies. There was no way he hike that and live. Every step he took just hastened the venom attempting to destroy his body. It looked hopeless.
Time went by, and the poison began to affect his mind. He thought he saw deer, and then a waterfall. The world became blurry and begin and spin around him. He knew he was in trouble, and then everything went black.
“Hello, are you there, Walter?”
Walter opened his eyes. Was this another hallucination. He was in a helicopter. An EMT hovered over him. He looked and saw an I.V. needle coming out of his arm. He could barely speak. “Where am I?”
“There you are! You’re aboard medivac one. You are a lucky man. We’ve been searching for you for over a day. Thank goodness you were on the rock where people could find you. We’re giving you anti-venom and fluids. It should not be much longer to the hospital. I’m not sure, but the doctors might be able to save your foot.”
He smiled at the EMT. “What’s your name?”
“Just call me Joe. Rest now, you’re safe.” Joe checked the I.V.
Walt gave a weak smile and closed his eyes and let his body begin to heal.
If you like this, please check out my website: Gary’s Writing Corner