Scaling Mt. Everest was on his bucket list until ... A Folklore Contest Entry
|A Helping Hand
The wind screamed, protesting human presence at the Base Camp perched on the Khumbu Glacier. 17,000 feet down, 12,000 left, thought Chris as another gust of wind battered the tent, the flaps parting enough to allow a burst of cold air to cross his face.
The small party of climbers and guides had already spent a week acclimatizing to the altitude. The summer monsoon season was still months away so this storm was unexpected.
He reached inside of his parka and pulled out a small photo of Carissa. “Okay, you were right. This was crazy,” he laughed. “I promise, when I get back, I’m going to tear up my bucket list.”
With a sigh, he tucked the picture back into its safe place. “Nothing to do but wait, I guess.” Chris adjusted the heater and tried to sleep. They still had a long way to go.
Chris’s eyes snapped open. He blurrily tried to focus. It was then that he noticed the silence … broken only by his own gasping for breath.
He struggled out of his sleeping bag in the darkness. Reaching the tent flap, he pulled, only to find a solid wall of snow. “Oh, crap,” he muttered starting to dig frantically through the concrete-like snow.
His attention was diverted by a scrabbling sound. “I’m here,” he shouted, as spots began to swim before his eyes. I don’t have long, ran through his panicked mind.
He heard a ripping sound and looked up. A large, white-fur covered hand seemed to emerge through the tent top. Someone or something grabbed the back of his shirt … then, everything went black.
Bright sunlight danced across his eyelids, forcing open Chris’s eyes. He tried to sit up but hands pushed him back. He became aware of a mask over his face and the cold feel of oxygen feeding his starved lungs.
“What …” he began.
“You are OK. The storm buried us. Luckily, you were able to dig yourself free,” the accented voice of Tenzig, the lead Sherpa, reassured him. “If you hadn’t pulled yourself out, we might not have found you in time.”
Chris stared – and then said nothing. No one would believe what he remembered. He wasn’t sure he did.
“Sagarmatha has spoken,” Tenzig said, using the Nepalese name for Mount Everest. “We go back down.”
Chris was finally able prop himself up. Unclenching in his hand, he found a few wiry strands of white hair. He quickly tucked them into his pocket.
“That’s OK,” said Chris. “After this, I think I'm moving to Hawaii so I never have to see snow again” … or its inhabitants!” he thought wryly as he sent a silent thank you into the snow white hills.
An entry for the April round of "Invalid Item"
Prompt: Write a story about the myth of the abominable snowman or yeti as it's sometimes referred to.
Word Limit: 800
Word Count: 453