The Search Party

Posted: September 3, 2014 in Friday Fictioneers
Tags: , , , ,

This is my 100 word story in response to Rochelle’s wonderful picture. Thanks for keeping our minds working!

Campfire

Edward has been lost for a month.
“Need to leave,” Suzanna says over the wind. “Mountain’s changing – blizzard tonight.”
“You’re right,” Jonathon says. “We gotta’ go. No food. Not enough warm clothes.”
Firelight illuminates the evening just enough to pack sleeping bags, crampons, poles.
Suzanne throws trash into the flames. “Lighten the load.”
Headlamps bright, they begin their descent, ice axes clattering against their packs.
Midnight. Coals barely alive. Edward, headlamp burning low, stumbles into camp.
Emaciated, he rummages through the ashes, mutters, “Food. Please, God, food.”
One blackened sardine can, a bird bone.
Edward collapses. Broken arm bent beneath him.

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Comments
  1. Poor Edward! Great job.

    Like

  2. Oh, wow! Great job! One of the best FFs I’ve read in a while!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Elizabeth says:

    So sad! He arrived few hours late, and no hope now.

    Like

  4. Incredible what you packed in there, and kept alive through urgent style and meticulous attention to detail – so much that I wonder if it was purely research or you have been alpine climbing yourself..I grew up in Chamonix right in the mountains and everything you wrote rings absolutely authentic, as well as tense. Very exciting.

    Like

    • Chamonix! I visited Chamonix when I was sixteen. A L-O-N-G time ago. It was beautiful.
      I’m not an alpine climber, but I REALLY appreciate your thinking the details in the story a re strong enough to make you think so. Thanks so much.

      Like

  5. This reminds me of the book “into the void” but a less happy end.. I hope Edward still makes it.

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  6. Ellespeth says:

    I hope the other two make it down safely 😦 This flows so nicely, Alicia. I liked the headlamp bright/headlamp low image and feeling.
    Ellespeth

    Like

  7. The heartbreak of being just a little bit too late after surviving an entire month! Not a pleasant death coming, either.

    janet

    Like

  8. K.Z. says:

    what a very tragic ending… there’s a lot packed into the story and i very much enjoyed (perhaps “enjoyed” is the wrong word) the descriptions of Edward’s suffering

    Like

  9. plaridel says:

    poor edward. the best thing he could hope for is fall asleep before he freezes to death.

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  10. Dear Alicia,

    Just a moment too late. How frustratingly sad. You wrote it well.

    Shalom,

    Rochelle

    Like

  11. I felt sucker punched at the end. Poor Edward. You did great, Alicia.

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  12. I don’t think Edward is going to make it, just a few hours too late.
    Claire

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  13. Wow! Such a terrifying predicament. Horrible timing for Edward and those who miss his rescue. Well done, Alicia!

    Like

  14. Timing is everything. Thanks for reading. Hope everything goes more than well for your daughter. As my mom says when I leave after a long visit, “I go through a happy lonesome.”

    Like

  15. hafong says:

    Oh I fear it’s not a good ending. You make it so real. Are you a climber?

    Lily

    Like

  16. draliman says:

    Tragic – all that time he was missing and it came down to just a few hours late. Great story!

    Like

  17. So tragic, the mountains can be cruel. Who knows, if the others had waited for those extra few hours perhaps none of them would have made it. BTW I lived in the French Alps for a little while, and had the pleasure of visiting Chamonix too.

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  18. Alicia, Tragic and realistic story. The others had little choice. It was a real life and death situation. Well written. —Susan

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  19. rgayer55 says:

    Extremely well written. My favorite story based on this prompt.

    Like

  20. BrainRants says:

    So close, yet so far. Good work.

    Like

  21. Dee says:

    Alicia, you packed so much in here, well done. Feel so sad for Edward, fear he’s not going to make it
    Dee

    Like

  22. shanx says:

    Sad! Very well written and you’ve captured so much in few words. Wonderful 🙂

    Like

  23. Amy Reese says:

    Great use of the prompt in this one, Alicia. This is why I will never try mountaineering. I feel a chill as I read this. Great story!

    Like

  24. Nan Falkner says:

    Dear Alicia, Some search party – just as they leave, Edward shows up and there’s nothing to eat. Poor guy and Jonathon and Suzanna ruined his homecoming. Good story Alicia, can you imagine how totally devastated he would be when he got to the base-camp and no one was there. Great job as usual! Nan 🙂

    Like

  25. Wow, I could feel the desperation and hopelessness.

    Like

  26. Oh my gosh, your story creates so much emotion! Very well written.

    Like

  27. Rachel, it seems like it’s been awhile since I’ve heard from you! Thanks so much for reading and leaving a reply. Hope all is well. Alicia

    Like

  28. Blake says:

    I really like how you use the restrictions of the word limit as an aid to characterisation here, e.g. dialogue such as “Mountain’s changing – blizzard tonight” suggests people who are too tired, too pressed for time to waste a single word. It works really well.

    Like

  29. Alice Audrey says:

    OH, too bad he missed them by such a narrow margin. If they were looking for him, they should have left more than trash, just in case.

    Like

  30. subroto says:

    Sad ending. It’s a part of the risk adventurers take. The diary of Robert Scott found after his death contained the followiing “We took risks, we knew we took them; things have come out against us, and therefore we have no cause for complaint, but bow to the will of Providence, determined still to do our best to the last”

    Like

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