Monday July 13th, 2015

The exercise:

Write about: the first one back.

Because, even if it was only for one night, the first shower after coming back from a camping trip is pretty much the greatest thing ever.

Plus we were so busy doing a big pick Sunday morning that neither Kat nor I had time to have a shower before we left. Unfortunately we were harvesting an order for some friends who would be passing through later that day, so there really wasn't another time to do it.

Anyway. We had a lot of fun. The trip was organized by our bakery friends in honor of their son's third birthday, so there were lots of kids running around and the weather was amazingly cooperative. We got rained on once, for about ten minutes, and that was it. Considering the forecast was at one point calling for showers and possible thunderstorms, we were happy to take it.

Max had a blast, so hopefully we'll be able to find time to go for at least one more camping trip this summer.


The rules were simple: first man back to the house was the winner. That was all they told us and we were convinced that was all we needed to know.

That night we were stuffed into the back of a van. They blindfolded us and told us to keep our mouths shut, or else. Or else what? Man, I did not want to know. I already felt like I was in over my head by that point.

But there was no going back, no escape.

We drove for a long time. I could feel the left and right turns, the weight of the men on either side of me. I thought maybe I could keep track of them, find my way back that way. But then the driver steered us in a tight circle for over a minute and all hope of that route was gone.

Eventually we came to a stop. They dragged us out of the van but kept our blindfolds on. The fresh air was a relief after the nervous sweat saturating the confines of the van. They repeated their only instruction: first man back wins. I don't know about the others but I nodded my understanding.

My agreement, I suppose.

Then they told us to wait until the van left before removing our blindfolds, got back in the vehicle and took off. At least, I assume that's what they did.

Me? I had my blindfold in my hand and I was off and running before they had taken two steps. I figured, hey, if there was only one rule then there couldn't be any other rules to be broken.

And I was going to grab hold of any possible advantage over the others that I could find.


Greg said...

I thought all North American camping trips involved lakes, canoes, and grizzly bears? Has Hollywood been lying to me all these years?? Anyway, getting rained on counts as having a shower if you stand still and enjoy it :-P Sounds like a fun little trip, though I'm not sure I'd like trying to look after all those children out in the great Outdoors.
Your narrator seems like a very determined and motivated guy, he doesn't even seem particularly worried about being blindfolded, shoved in a van and then dropped off in the middle of nowhere. I appreciated his attempts to keep track of the direction he was taken in, until the tight circle ruined it for him, that was very resourceful. I am rather curious now as to how well he'll fare on his journey back!

The first one back
Enot Srif heaved himself up the spiral stone staircase. His left leg had been lamed when the Master of the Rituals had missed the goat with the basalt knife and stabbed Enot in the thigh by accident. The man had blamed the grey cloudiness of the God's anger, but Enot figured it was probably cataracts. He sighed, sweating, and forced his leg up another step, and then another, finally stepping out onto the smooth, tiled floor of the solar. The room was open to the sun, and empty save for the Master of the Rituals tied hand and foot and wriggling on the floor.
"Enot!" cried the man. "Is that you? I recognise that sigh and that stagger! Quick, untie me! Before the fiends return!"
"What fiends are these, then, Master?" asked Enot. He leant against the wall of the solar and wiped his forehead, flicking sweat away from his fingers with a practiced gesture.
"They seized me and bound me and brought me here! You must act quickly, they could return at any moment!"
"Relax," said Enot, "I think you're quite safe from that."
"Did you meet them already? Surely you never bested them – you're lame!"
"And that was uncalled for, Master," said Enot. He shook his head, and limped over to the recumbant form. "You lamed me yourself, for you can barely see at all and you lie about it. You should have surrended the mantle of office two years back, Master."
The man's face turned purple and he thrashed against his bonds, tightening the knots until they drew blood. "You lie, damn you! You lie!"
"I don't lie, Master," said Enot. "The fiends you warned me of? They are in fact just one man. Me. I brought you here."
"What?" The Master of the Rituals went still, so still that Enot took a step back, wary in case he was planning a trick. "Why?"
"Tell me about demons, Master," said Enot quietly. "Tell me about Axun."
"What? That's ridic – fine, whatever. Axun was the first of the children of men and he led them to Axun, the city that bears his name and then betrayed them. He left before they could pass justice on him. And all men look forward to and fear the day the first one comes back."
"So now, Master," said Enot Srif, stepping over to the man again and lifting him up. "Tell me what you get when you spell my name backwards?"
The man's screams only ended when Enot tipped him out of the windows of the solar and he hit the cobbled ground below.

Marc said...

Greg - hah, no bears, but there was a slow-moving river that we floated down for about half an hour.

I'm curious about his journey back as well. I should maybe look into it sometime and see what I come up with.

Fascinating scene here. Loved the details and dialogue. I am left wondering what comes next for your first one.