I’ve spent considerable time wondering what I should write in my first blog post. Now, I’m not sure why it took me so long to choose. I’m a writer, so why shouldn’t my first post be a sample of my creative writing? This text began as an exercise for a class on writing creative fiction. My professor showed a picture he took from the top of Mount Whitney and asked us to write a scene which could have taken place on that spot. This flash-fiction piece was my response.
by Maris McKay
The cold morning air turned each breath into tiny puffs of fog. Amy held her hands up to her mouth and breathed on icy fingers. When Sean had arrived at their dinner date two weeks ago with a permit for a two-day hike of Mount Whitney, she’d actually felt some excitement when she agreed to go with him. If nothing else, it was an excuse to go shoe shopping. He’d told her she would need new hiking boots and offered his credit card. Could anyone blame her for buying two pairs of heels since she was shopping anyway?
She started nibbling the tip of her glove, too cold to take the gloves off and chew on her fingernails. Sean hadn’t seen the bill yet, and the way they had been fighting she was not sure she wanted him to. Even as cold as it was last night, they had not slept together and he was gone when she woke up. She wished he’d gotten a permit earlier than the end of October. There was only a light dusting of snow, but it was too cold to be doing anything other than curling up near a fire with a book and hot chocolate.
Amy started pacing again, the rock making gritty noises under her boots. Sean’s pack was still where he had hung it out of reach of the marmots, so she knew he had not abandoned her to find her way back to civilization alone. From up here, she could see the comforting green of grass and trees that promised warmth in the valley below, but she was not sure she had paid enough attention on the hike up to find her way back down.
She had wanted to camp at Mirror Lake, but Sean said it wasn’t allowed. They’d spent the night at a small sandy area a little ways off the main trail, before Trail Camp, which Sean said would be too crowded. He said he went hiking to get away from people, not camp with them. If that was the case, Amy wondered why he had brought her along.
The sky was getting lighter. Amy looked at her watch. It was 7:32 already, and Sean had said he wanted to leave by 7:15. It was not like him to be late.
“Sean,” she called. Her voice bounced around the rocks a few times and faded to nothing. There was no answer. She looked around the rocks, searching for some sign of where he might have gone. But not even a marmot scuttled over a rock to disturb the stillness. She felt suddenly, frighteningly alone, and she did not know what to do.