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Rated: 13+ · Fiction · Action/Adventure · #2067605
Ken's climb to a mountaintop is a painful disaster.
The Body

         “I’m the King of the world!”

         After screaming that claim as loud as he could, Ken looked around, a smug smile on his face. His tanned features revealed a rugged yet soft look. His jet black hair was blowing in the wind at the top of this mountain. He felt good, he’d trained for months to complete this climb, and knew it was quite an achievement. Okay, he hadn’t climbed the Matterhorn or Mt. Everest, but this minor unnamed peak was his first conquest.

         “Man, I really do feel like I’ve accomplished something. Just last week I was at home with my honey, relaxing by the pool, contemplating this coming climb. Now, I’m on top of the world.” Ken realized he was being a little foolish, but climbing here alone had been a bit of a challenge. He had trained for months for this one moment, now that it was upon him, he felt a bit let down. He knew he had to do this again, on a more challenging scale. He wanted to scale Everest, but that was out of his reach right now. He figured climbing small peaks was a start, and he’d work his way up. His next major goal was to climb nearby Mt. Rainier. That would require a lot more training, more strength and stamina. But for now, he did feel like the king of the world.

         Ken turned to head down the path he’d trodden to get here, slowly working his way down the steep incline. He had not needed special climbing gear for this, he was a beginner after all. That would be purchased for future climbs; today’s climb had been more of a hike up a steep hill than true mountain climbing. He’d walked past a couple of steep cliffs and longed to climb their faces. He knew he was not prepared for that kind of climb, not yet. He also knew he’d need a teammate to accompany him on his future climbs. A logical choice was his best friend Alan. He and Alan had been friends since grade school. It was Alan who raised Ken’s initial interest in mountain climbing. Alan worked as an instructor in wall climbing and held the record for the fastest ascent of a two hundred foot wall. It was this accomplishment that had been responsible for Ken’s being here today.

         As he ambled carefully along, he reveled in the peace and quiet of the great outdoors. He treasured these moments; they made him feel one with nature. He was lost in his reverie, imagining coming climbs and the ultimate feeling of accomplishment he would feel when he finally climbed a real mountain. He didn’t notice, or remember, the vine snaked across his path. His left foot slipped under the snake shaped limb, and he tripped over it, losing his footing. His mind quickly came back to the present, and he knew he’d committed a cardinal sin of trekking/climbing. He had not paid attention to his surroundings, and may have to pay for it. For a brief moment he teetered, arms flailing in a windmill fashion as he sought to maintain his balance.

         Just as he was regaining his balance, the wind picked up, and a strong gust caught him square in the face. He fell backwards, landing hard on his tailbone before rolling to one side. A loud scream escaped his throat as he realized he was rolling towards the cliff’s edge.

         'This can't be happening to me! I am going to be the world's greatest mountain climber, I'm going beat every record there is in mountain climbing. I am indestructible, I am invincible, I'm me, Ken!' These thoughts ran through Ken's mind quick as a flash, and at that moment Ken saw his true self. It wasn’t pleasant, for he saw a self-centered man who thought only of himself and his abilities. He knew his girlfriend thought he was a perfect doll, and he had thought he was too. If he somehow managed to survive the next few minutes, he vowed to change his ways.

         “Oh God, please, Nooooo!” he screamed as he rolled out of control. Reaching the edge of the cliff, he rolled once more, his body in free fall. For a brief instant his mind relished the idea of flying, then he realized he was really falling instead of flying, and knew it was a long way to the ground.

         His body hit a large boulder with a crunch that could be heard for miles, the breath knocked out of his lungs. Flopping like a fish out of water, his body flew through the air again, before hitting the rolling incline. He rolled and twisted uncontrollably, each twist and turn adding to his already broken body. He knew his spine was shattered, and felt first his legs, then his arms go numb as they too were shattered by the unforgiving earth.

         He finally came to a stop about five hundred feet below his starting point. Groaning in pain, he lay on his back, eyes staring into the bright sunlight. He couldn’t move and knew he was most likely paralyzed. While he didn’t want to die, he prayed for a quick death. He knew it would be hours before he was missed since he had left without telling anyone. He looked around as best he could, trying to assess his location and injuries. He saw one leg twisted up at an impossible angle, his toes pointed towards his face. He looked away quickly when he saw something shiny protruding from his pants, and knew he’d seen a broken bone. He gulped fast and often to keep from vomiting, knowing that if he did, he would drown in his own vomit. A large black bird landed nearby and walked confidently towards Ken.

         “Go away!” he screamed. Except the scream was more of a croak. The bird ignored his cry and continued to walk closer. He couldn’t help watching as the bird jumped on top of his grotesquely angled leg and picked at his flesh. Thankfully, he felt nothing due to his injuries. Suddenly, the bird flapped its wings and took flight. For an instant Ken was thankful, then he heard the snorting of a large animal and shuddered inwardly.

         From the corner of his vision, Ken saw a large black bear amble towards his prone body. Once again he screamed, not to scare the bear away, but in fright. He felt himself slipping away and knew he was near death. Fortunately, he wouldn’t feel much if the bear chose to have him as its lunch. Ken knew he was losing touch with reality when he thought he heard a woman’s voice calling to her child. She was encouraging her daughter to get outside and play with her best friend Skipper.

         Margaret shooed her daughter out to play and continued cleaning house. Her daughter Barbara was the light of her life; she felt lucky to have a daughter as mischievous and industrious as she was. She used her imagination to build small worlds in her room or outside as she played. Margaret entered Barbara’s room and shook her head in amazement, smiling the entire time. Barbara had placed her favorite blanket over the chair. She loved mountains and everything outdoors. This blanket depicted a mountain scene, and draped over the chair as it was, the top of the mountain was the top of the chair. Around the foot of the chair were her dolls and other assorted toys. Looking closely, she realized that Barbara had once again deformed her favorite doll, a male doll she had named Ken. One leg was twisted at an impossible angle, its arms also bent and contorted. It was lying at the foot of the ‘mountain’, with a large plastic black bird on a decorative tree nearby. A stuffed black bear lay next to the doll, as if sniffing or searching for food. Margaret knew that once again Barbara had been imagining she and her imaginary boyfriend were mountain climbers.

         Next door, a car pulled up to the empty house. A family had bought the house and was moving in today. It was a young couple, their only child was a boy with jet black hair named Ken.

Jim Dorrell

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