The Adirondack Spirit Series #4
Traveling without warning. Nights lost to supernatural journeys. Is one young man fated to wander far from safety?
New York State, 1833. Noah Munch longs to fit in. Living with a mother who communes with ghosts and a brother with a knack for heroics, the seventeen-year-old wishes he were fearless enough to discover an extraordinary purpose of his own. But when he mysteriously awakens in the bedroom of the two beautiful daughters of the meanest man in town, he real-izes his odd sleepwalking ability could potentially be deadly. Convinced that leaving civilization is the only way to keep himself and others safe, Noah pursues his dream of becoming a mountain man and slips away into the primeval woods. But after a strong summer storm devastates his camp, the troubled lad finds his mystical wander-ings have only just begun. Can Noah find his place before he’s destroyed by a ruthless world?
From Chapter 8
The clouds have been gathering all afternoon, and the air seems thick with an energy I can’t describe. The light gray sky blackens, and the clouds churn in the darkening sky. I hear a howling wind in the distance, but the air is ominously still in my clearing. I scurry to bring everything into my wickiup, and I spread the fire in the pit. Just as I finish, it starts to rain. It feels like it’s raining sideways rather than straight from the sky. The fierce wind has found my clearing. I glance at my staked hide and wish there were something I could do to protect it.
I jump in surprise as the thunder cracks, and I feel a force of hot air hit me, like a blast of air from the blacksmith’s forge. Rain soaks my garments in the fifteen steps it takes me to reach the door to my wickiup. I change into my other clothes, draping the wet ones over the edge of the other bed.
The storm outside sounds ferocious. The thunder cracks almost continuously. The air feels like lightning. It is not just a single bolt; its power is everywhere, like a giant fishnet dropped over my world.
I can hear crashing sounds from the woods around my clearing. I hardly catch my breath from the sound of one tree falling in the swirling darkness outside when another crashes. I don’t know what makes me think of it; perhaps it’s providence. I lay on the floor and wiggle my way underneath my bunk. I cross my arms over my chest, and it occurs to me that I’m lying like a body in a coffin. I shudder and feel a breeze cross my shins. Danger surrounds me, and there’s nothing I can do about it.
There is a deafening snap followed by a boom. It sounds like the cannon that the old-timers set off on the Fourth of July, only tenfold. I can’t explain why, but I hitch my body up toward where the bunk meets the wall, away from the wall where the door is. Then my world crashes down around me.
I scream as a massive tree impales my wickiup. The branches of the tree surround me, pinning me like an eagle’s claws encircle a mouse. The limbs drive through the bunk above me. The limb that lands between my legs would have impaled me if I hadn’t shuffled upward at the last possible moment. Another limb comes to rest inches from my left side, piercing my bunk above me, and stabbing into the dirt floor beneath me. The crashing tree breaks the leg on the bunk at the side to my right, dropping the bulk of the bed onto my shoulder, pinning me, but not crushing me. At this point, I can barely turn my head. At the edge of my vision, I can see the broken bunk leg between my head and right shoulder, and I can feel the bed pressing hard into me. It is a piercing pain and it hurts, but it is not my biggest problem.
My heart thumps, and I am aware of the horror that surrounds me. The wind still howls, but I no longer hear the sound of trees crashing. I wonder if the worst of the storm has passed.
I must escape. Thin as I am, I figure there must be some way to wiggle from underneath the bed. I find no more than half an inch of room to move, in any direction. I push forcefully against the
immoveable prison that surrounds me. Where would I go anyway? Perhaps the wind will pick back up, and even more trees will crash on top of the ones that have me pressed to the ground and finish me off.
I can’t escape a sense of impending doom. I should be saying prayers of gratitude for having survived the impact. I recognize that the limb between my legs, and the limb I’m now resting my left shoulder against could easily have impaled my heart, groin, intestines, and yet I can’t help fear that the worst is yet to come. I gulp for air, gasping like a drowning man, and I feel like I’m being held underwater. A chill blows across my skin. I hear a whistle in the wind. My vision blurs, and then everything fades to blackness.
* * *
I’m not sure how long I’ve been out as I ease back into an awareness of living within my body. I can’t hear even the slightest of sounds. I open my eyes, and I can see the bottom of my bunk, two inches from my face. I gaze down my body, and I can see my left foot. I wiggle my toes, and I’m glad to see them move. Beyond my foot, I see a mouse, and it looks like it is nibbling on something. I think of the dried meat that I had brought into my wickiup at the beginning of the storm. I didn’t know that mice ate meat.
I feel hot and extremely uncomfortable. I need to urinate. My breeches are wet and clammy already. I am disgusted at the thought that I have already pissed myself, perhaps more than once. I lick my lips, then swirl my tongue over my teeth. My mouth is dry, and I realize how thirsty I am. Then my stomach grinds. Tears stream down my face, and I can hear the blood in my ears again. I can’t move my body in any direction. I can’t get any leverage to move, push, bang, scrape, or reach for anything to save myself. Every small movement comes with the fear that I will make my situation worse by upsetting the balance of the mass above me. I just wish I were home. I think of Ma and Moses. I think of Arminda. I close my eyes. If I’m to perish here, I should like the vision of Arminda to be the last thing on my mind as I slip away.
Somehow accepting my fate calms me, but my demise doesn’t come.
Ultimately, I’m unable to hold back any longer. It was one thing to realize I had soiled myself when I was unconscious. It is another thing to do so, knowingly, consciously, as the uncomfortable wet feeling radiates outward, spreading to the middle of my thighs, my belly, and soaking to the seat of my breeches beneath me. I feel the anguish of a young boy, wetting the bed, only worse. I’m a grown man. There’s nothing I can do about it, and now I must endure the discomfort. I wonder how long it will take to dry. Then I think of the deer hide. I should be urinating on that. I wonder how long it will take me to die. It’s better to take a chance on living. I’ll put everything I have into an escape, but first, I need to rest again. I close my eyes and sleep.
I wake again, unsure how long I have slept, and I wonder why I can’t just go to sleep and wake up somewhere else. Now would be a great time for that to happen. If only I could control it. What good are skills if you can’t exercise them upon command?
My arms remain crossed over my chest. I push, pull, and wiggle in every direction, and there isn’t the slightest budge, no matter what I do. I can twist my body slightly, but I can’t draw my legs together on account of the branch that’s lodged between them. There isn’t a single direction I can push toward that gives me any hope of escape. I am able to take both hands and place them on the bottom of the bunk above me. I push as hard as I can with what little room I have to maneuver. I feel a slight movement. Perhaps it is one-sixteenth of an inch of movement. It’s not much, but it provides the only hope I have.
I keep trying to push at the bunk above me, but to no avail. Sometimes I’m able to replicate the slightest of movement above me, but mostly I can’t. My arms tire easily, my muscles are weak, and I’m not strong enough to push my way out through the bunk above me.
I think of my hatchet, planted firmly in a stump by the firepit. I fantasize that the hatchet is in my hand as my mind wanders off again.”
Thank you, David Fitz-Gerald and The Coffee Pot Book Club
About the author
David Fitz-Gerald writes fiction that is grounded in history and soars with the spirits. Dave enjoys getting lost in the settings he imagines and spending time with the characters he cre-ates. Writing historical fiction is like making paintings of the past. He loves to weave fact and fiction together, stirring in action, adventure, romance, and a heavy dose of the supernatural with the hope of transporting the reader to another time and place. He is an Adirondack 46-er, which means he has hiked all of the highest peaks in New York State, so it should not be sur-prising when Dave attempts to glorify hikers as swashbuckling superheroes in his writin
Website: https://authordavidfitzgerald.com/ also https://www.itsoag.com/
Amazon Author Page: https://www.amazon.com/David-Fitz-Gerald/e/B076CJK284
This novel is available to read for free with #KindleUnlimited subscription.
Universal Book Link: https://books2read.com/wakinguplost