CAUGHT BY THE MIST ON THE WAY BACK 

He’d made a bad mistake.
The mist was moving quickly, very quickly. 
Already it had covered the top of the valley.
He was wasn’t stupid.
Getting caught by that mist, in these mountains, would be dangerous.
They’d crossed several streams on the way up, the grass was long, the path was already slippery.
No.
They needed the sun, they needed to see clearly.
They couldn’t get caught by that mist.
They’d left early.
The sun’d pushed the morning mist back over the crown of the valley. There was the breeze, but he hadn’t thought it would change. No, he’d thought the day would be fine.
A nice, sunny day.
A perfect day.
A bad, bad mistake.
They‘d made good time this morning.
They’d climbed the first ridge, crossed the two main streams.
Then they’d reached the forest, and the waterfall, just after 12, no, closer to 1.
They’d spent time swimming, lying on the rocks.
Now he knew they’d spent too much time there.
He’d been careless.
The sun couldn’t get in the wet, mossy forest.
They’d only seen the clouds building over the crown when they’d got out.
They were thick, dark, grey.
The same ones that had flooded the road, the campsite yesterday. No, he knew what was coming when he saw them building.
They had to move.
If the rain held off til the second river, they’d be ok.
There was that road they could walk back on.
But the ridge?
Wet?
He tried not to think about it.
Tried not to.
Just get there first.
He was hoping she didn’t see him, he couldn’t hide his limp any more, he could feel his ankle swelling, tight in his boot, pain in each step.
Just keep walking, keep encouraging, don’t stop, he’d deal with it later.
They couldn’t afford to stop.
The wind was picking up.
He could feel the cold, that damp wind, on his back.
No.
They had to keep moving.
They had to get to the ridge before the rain came.
They had to.
She wasn’t stupid.
She knew the urgency.
She hadn’t said anything for a while now.
She was trying to move quickly.
He knew she’d seen the clouds.
Obviously she was feeling that wind.
No.
She wasn’t stupid.
Did she know about his ankle? Had she noticed? Seen him wince?
She wasn’t stupid. She must have.
They hadn’t said anything for a while now.
Their pace had picked up, there were often glances back at the mist, now not that far up anymore.
No.
She wasn’t stupid.
She knew what was coming.
Closer and closer, quicker and quicker.

This is a work of fiction. Any similarity to actual persons, living or dead, or actual events, is purely coincidental.

The author

Nick Miles is a Durban based writer, with a zany and distinctive writing style.

He lives with his partner Sarah and their two dogs, Nandi, Maus and Ginger cat.