City and Nature

Submitted into Contest #143 in response to: Set your story in the woods or on a campground. ... view prompt

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Fiction Inspirational Adventure

This story contains themes or mentions of physical violence, gore, or abuse.

      I always hated outdoorsy stuff; nature hikes, fishing and especially camping. Why bother going out into the middle of nowhere when you can have all you ever wanted in the city? Besides, there’s Wi-Fi. My friends disagree, of course. They tell me I need to be outdoors once in a while.

           “It’ll do you some good to escape from the screens you keep staring at all day.”

           I tell them I’ll go if only to get them off my back for a while.

           But the nagging begins again after a few weeks.

           “You know our ancestors would spend every day of their lives out here, right?”

           Yeah, yeah, I know they would.

           “They would also die of curable diseases or minor accidents at the age of 30,” I say. “So, it’s a fair trade off.”

           I never get a satisfactory response; my friends laugh it off like I’m missing some obvious point they all get.

           This last time we went began much the same as the others. Packing my things for the weekend, I always bring plenty of bug repellent spray. All shirts I pack are long-sleeved, no matter the weather. But the most crucial thing I always remember to pack is my solar charger battery pack. Now at least all that sunshine is actually good for something other than blinding your eyes.

           The campground we use is alright, at least there is running water nearby. We only spend a single night sleeping in the forest, so I can usually manage. Rarely see animals, so I can only post photos of the forest to my social feed. That is, when I actually get some decent reception.

           “That’s not the reason we are out here,” I get told. “We are supposed to be out here to escape that, put the phone away.”

           Reluctantly, I agree. At least it’ll save some battery power for later on when we are in our tents.

           The hikes are pretty good exercise. I find I can get up the stairs to my office easier instead of waiting for the elevator each morning. I find my friends stopping and admiring every detail along the way. What’s so special about this rock or that tree? They all look exactly the same, just different shades of green and brown. How anyone can actually look forward to this I don’t know.

           I don’t look forward to passing by the same coffee shops, chain restaurants and homeless. They are just there. Like a background wallpaper on your computer.

           “Hey, come see this tree, look at all the animals that live in, on or around it.”

           Yeah? How about: “look at this burger joint and all the homeless who live around it?”

           Why should I care?

           Just last month I saw a homeless guy getting roughed up by the police. Real pity, it truly is, but it’s none of my business. They shouldn’t be there. He shouldn’t have been there.

           After they finish inspecting the tree, we're off again. Off to see another boring sight. The trail is quite winding but fairly short, we usually finish in under an hour. The cell reception here is awful. I begin daydreaming of the workweek ahead of me. Thankfully, no projects to work on at the moment, otherwise this trip would be doubly a waste of time.

           “You guys want to go grab some wildflowers? They’re just down over there.”

           “I’ll stay here and wait for you guys,” I reply.

           “Suit yourself! I’m sure they’d look lovely on your desk at work.”

"You sure you don't want to come?"

"Positive."

           I can buy flowers anywhere in the city, and any kind. Why would I waste time getting these? I sit on a rock and wait. Cell reception still terrible. I’ll wait.

           I try to wait. Waiting staring at a bunch of shrubbery?

           The winding path branches off up onto a small rock formation that juts up out of the canopy forest. We went up there once and I had really good reception. They should be occupied for at least twenty minutes; I can go up there and at least try. My mind wanders.

           Am I scared? No.

           But this place is quite unforgiving. I guess for some, the city can be as well.

           I’ve seen several accidents. In the city that is, not here. I guess we’re extra careful when we’re away from civilization. Not so much in our own habitat. All seemed preventable. People really should look both ways before crossing the road.

           The view from this rock formation really is nice. Cell reception seems better, but not great. This photo will look great on my feed.

Even got a few photos from automobile accidents. Hit and runs, too.

Need a selfie to go along with this great view and a nice headline for the post.

enjoying the great outdoors #weekend #hiking #nature

No, too simple.

just out here enjoying myself surrounded by nature #justmeandthewild

*Upload*

           At least my coworkers will be jealous and I’ll have great stories to share.

           The view really is great up here. If the whole trip was just this, I could get used to doing it every weekend. I can even see some birds from up here.

           That homeless man really didn’t deserve what happened to him; it was heroic of him to do that brave act.

           Hey, I already got a like on that post. Well, I got something good out of this trip after all. Almost as good as the last time. The last time we went we saw something really remarkable. And did I capture a single second of it? No, because of course they told me to leave my phone back at camp. Who was right after all?

           But I’ve never seen anything like that in my life, the wolf came out of nowhere while we were up here admiring the view. It chased that poor deer fawn down. My friends were sure it was a goner, why would any adult deer risk getting eaten at that point?

The cruelty of nature. Not like the city, which is relatively safe.

           That’s not what happened, though. An adult came back and charged at the wolf. The scuffle that ensued even took the wolf by surprise. The fawn galloped away but not so fortunate for the doe. Once the wolf came to his senses, he tackled that doe and…

           Well, I’ve only ever seen something so selfless one other time in my life. The homeless man, a month ago, who lived around my office. A lot of people complained, the police came and roughed him up, threw his stuff in the back of a garbage truck. They were just doing their jobs, albeit taking a few extra liberties with the execution of their task.

           That was on my way to work, saw it with my own eyes. Thought about him all day. Thought about buying him something. Maybe a sandwich. The thought passed quickly. Not my problem, right?

           After work there was a big scene outside the office, apparently a delivery van almost hit a woman who worked in the building opposite mine. People really should look both ways before crossing.

           She didn’t die though. Just a few cuts and bruises; my office even put together a get-well card for her.

Someone did die though. It was the homeless man. One of the cops told me what he had heard from a witness. She finished talking with a friend and stepped backwards onto the road, intending to cross to the other side. Not looking behind her, she failed to see the van. The guy in the van, police later found out, was on his cellphone. He wasn’t paying attention. He was speeding right towards her and she was focused on saying goodbye to her colleague. He was later charged but barely skipped jail-time. Just probation.

           Here’s where the homeless man comes in. He saw all this from the other side of the street. Of course, he did – he has nothing else to do than notice the minute details in his environment – so he reacted. He dove towards the clueless woman, shoving her forward, away from the van and back onto the sidewalk. The delivery van driver failed to spot anything before it was too late and hit the homeless man.

           A lot of the bystanders were very sympathetic to the woman.

           When we were hiking later, we found the fawn that had escaped from the maw of death. It was reunited with the other deer. All except the doe that fought off the wolf.

           I got another like for my post. I think I should delete it.

April 29, 2022 23:27

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