Geographical Escape 2.9: A Change in Seasons

Photo credit: wallpoper.com

He was riding an avalanche. The rush was back. He had missed this feeling of spinning into the unknown. His spine was tingling. His hands twitching. Grabbing at her backside, he held on. The high had gotten higher.

When he released himself from her, she wrapped herself in a sheet and poured two shots of tequila. The burn in his throat was soothing.

“I am so glad that your truck didn’t start,” she said with a devilish grin.

They had met on the last run of the day, the only two left on the slopes. He had been lost in a mindless reverie when she suddenly appeared  at his side. They raced to the bottom together, both breathing heavily when they were done.

“Time for last call,” she said, leaving her skis in the lodge’s lobby. Well, a little night-cap wouldn’t hurt before he headed back.

The whiskey warmed them as they bantered comfortably at the bar. They left for the parking lot at closing time. Throwing his skis  in the bed of the truck, he hopped in quickly. It would be a long drive home and he would need to stop for gas and coffee. As he turned the key in the ignition, he was greeted with silence.

“Want me to jump you?”, she asked. Again, she seemed to appear out of nowhere. When that didn’t work, he concluded that it was the starter.

“You’ll never get a tow at this time. And the only repair shop in town is closed. I can call my guy in the morning and have him take care of it,” she said with a wink. “Meet me in my car.”

He placed a call his wife and his boss. No need to lie this time.

They rode in silence through icy mountainous and narrow roads. The night was deeply black.  There, at the end of a long driveway, stood a large cabin. He had arrived at a dark forested limbo and his body soared.

When his boots hit the snow, he knew there would be no turning back.

Geographical Escape 2.8: The Eye of the Storm

photo credit: www.atmos.washington.edu

Her earthy sensuality drew him to her like a magnet. He had not wanted to attend the art show opening but Joe had insisted he give it a try. Karen’s good friend, Ella, was showing her paintings and sculptures at a local but well-known gallery that night. Joe wanted another guy to join him.  He knew that Tom, his long-time friend since childhood, would not let him down.

He was surprised by the emotions her work evoked in him.  The images varied; landscapes, abstracts, etc. But it was the ones that displayed human relationships that grabbed his heart. He found himself not able to stand, so he took a seat by a window bench. From this vantage point he was able to observe the easy way she worked the room. She had a peaceful charisma about her and laughed easily. To Tom, she was the piece de resistance- a woman who possessed both an inner and outer beauty. Her auburn hair flowed onto her shoulders, her green eyes glimmered, her skin was neither porcelain nor olive toned. It exuded warmth- a place where he could softly land.

She found him there after the show was done.  “You look a bit out of your element,” she said.

“I want to buy one of your pieces,” he replied.

They had been inseparable ever since. Her calming self-assured nature provided him with a sense of peace that he had never known.  Together they created a life filled with children and solid friendships.

She still painted and sculpted in between raising the kids and creating a home. She had become active in the valley’s art community and it was there that she met the president of a nearby art college. He was impressed by her work and her leadership as well as  her promotion of the arts at the local level. He offered her a teaching position at the school and also wanted to commission her work.

As a result of this offer, Ella wanted to expand her studio space to the room above the garage. She had even gone as far as accepting a few bids for the job. Moreover, she had quickly said yes to the position. All three kids were in school full time and her schedule would easily fit in with theirs.

Tom completely supported her executive decision. His relief at not being caught helped make it easy for him. Summer ended. Fall began.  Work buzzed along smoothly. The studio went up quickly. When he had to work late, he would often find her there lost in her work. Many nights they made love on the floor amidst the spilled colors and clumps of clay. Her lips always offering words of love. Her hips like pearls of water.  Her skin once again giving him a soft place to land.

Summer Morning

photo credit: inspirationfeed.com

 The air is already thick with heat

 as I creep outside in my bare feet

The cool morning dew relieves

the daily ache in my feet and toes

The wet blades stick to my heels

and sneak in between my skin

      A delicious delight

   dancing with the sensation

                                                             

The day is still at rest

Only the voice of the train whistle bellows

 low and heavy

     through the wall of humid air

      sounding tired too soon

Geographical Escape 2.7: Breakwater

photo credit: www.searchlightphotography.com

A searing bile rose up in his throat. He ran to the bathroom and heaved noisily. His mind began to race. How could she have found out?  He thought that he covered his tracks. His world was about to implode.

Maybe Joe would have a clue. He inhaled deeply as he pressed the contact number on his phone. “Tom, buddy!  How’s it going out there?”  Joe answered in his usual hearty voice. “Karen and the kids and I thrilled that Ella and your brood will be coming down. And we are so excited to hear about Ella’s job offer and her ideas for the studio!”

Tom quickly shifted gears. He explained that Ella’s good news was the reason for his call. Without missing a beat, Tom told Joe that he was planning to catch the next flight home and surprise everyone down at the beach. He would probably be there tomorrow. Joe promised to keep it to himself.

With that decision, he bought himself some time. He took a long hot shower and scrubbed himself until his skin felt raw. Last night’s shenanigans, his abbreviated sleep on the sand, the strange  journey back to the motel and his recent emotional state had left him drained. He crawled to bed and fell into a deep sleep.

When he woke up the next morning, he was ready to go. He had enough clean clothes since he only had worn his cycling outfit for the past 48 hours. If his wife asked about the bike, he would just say that he stopped off at the office to get it after he landed.

He pulled into Joe and Karen’s place bursting with confidence. And there they were: his beautiful family: The boys with their jet black hair and his daughter an exact replica of her mother. Flowing auburn hair and those deep green eyes that you just lost yourself in.

He had returned to safer harbor. Or so he thought.

Geographical Escape 2.6: Fog

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He woke up with his face in the sand and a bone- cold chill running through his veins. He was completely disoriented as he sat up to look around him. The beach was encased in a thick fog.  He felt like a castaway who had washed up on the shore after a shipwreck. She was  a ghost once more. Forgetting his nakedness, he walked to the lean- to just to be sure . Yep. Just his bike and his pack. She was considerate enough to bring his clothes up from the beach before she left. He dressed quickly and pulled out his cycling jacket from the pack for extra warmth.

The fog made it difficult to follow the roads and anticipate the curves and hills that were easily mastered yesterday. He hoped that he was going in the  right direction to the ferry. He didn’t have any idea of the schedule nor did he know what time it was- he left his phone back in the room. He was trying not to panic as he carefully negotiated the route back.

He arrived at the town’s landing damp and still cold. Luckily, there was a general store that was open. He tried not to look too relieved when he found out they also served coffee and snacks. As he sat at the tiny service bar, he noticed that the ferry schedule was posted on the wall. None going out for four more hours because of the fog. Even Earl’s mail boat was hung up. “Don’t worry honey. Fog will lift soon. Earl was just asking about some biker over the two-way. He’ll be happy to bring you back once I get the mail sacks from  ‘im.”

While he waited, he drank more coffee and read yesterday’s news. He tried not to think about her and the sense of abandonment that he felt. He only wanted to feel warm again.

“Good gosh you old son-of-a-gun. You look like a lost puppy.” It was Earl.  “Time to get you back to the mainland, my friend.”

The ride back was quiet as the fog cleared completely. When they reached the pier, Tom noticed that the vessel that had been undergoing repairs was gone.  “Word is they left just after dawn. Needed to get ahead of those ocean storms.” Earl talked as if he were to trying to explain the situation. Well, what did he expect?  They treated one another like friendly strangers at best. No more. No less.

When he finally got back to his room, it was nearly 2pm. His phone was noisily vibrating with messages from home. He listened to his children sing their “Daddy I Miss You” song. Then there was a message from his wife.  Her tone was serious. “Tom, call me when you are not too busy with those endless meetings.  The kids and I are headed to Karen and Joe’s  until you get back.  But we NEED to talk.”

Geographical Escape 2.5: Open Water

photo credit: www.thesurvivorsclub.org

She was gone again at dawn. Another note- a map  with a big red X and the words  “Meet here at 1 and bring your pack.”  His body was feeling worn and sore so he rolled over and slept for a few more hours. When he awakened, he texted his wife saying that he had landed safely and he would be in meetings so he would be hard to reach. He showered, then headed for the diner and wolfed down the lumberjack special.

The route was easy to follow and ended at a lobster boat pier. Few boats were docked given the hour. The area looked deserted save for the mail boat and another vessel that was undergoing repairs. A fit guy of about 30 was working on the engine. Tom noticed that he sported a bike tattoo on his upper left arm.

“Hey, you here for the ride to Stonington?” The voice was coming from the mail boat. Tom looked over and saw a  wiry old man at the steering wheel.  “Lauren told me to be expecting you. Climb aboard but take off those dang shoes first.”

As the old man revved the boat’s engine, he waved to the man on the pier. ” Good old Mikey. Getting that old girl ready for the sail south. Spends his winters doing triathlons. Plans on heading out sometime tomorrow.” Tom couldn’t help but notice the piercing look Mike gave him as he left the shore.

He had no idea where they were headed. The old man gave him the lowdown about the journey. Fifteen miles out from the mainland lay a small island whose mountains rose hundreds of feet above the water. Few people lived there and those who visited were ones that wanted  to hike its challenging trails or bike its winding roads. “Lauren is the perfect guide for this place. Knows every nook and cranny no doubt.”

When they arrived, Lauren was at the landing. “Thanks Earl. See you soon!”, she said. “Ready?” she asked Tom.

The ride was majestic as they made their way through the twists, turns and places with names like Trial Point, Duck Harbor and Sheep Thief Gulch.  The day’s light was just beginning to dim as they arrived at a small cove. It was completely private- a lean- to was off to one side of the beach. Before them lay nothing but sand and water.

“Take off your clothes. We’re going for a swim.”

The water was icy and nearly stopped his breath. She brought him close to her and wrapped her legs around his waist. They kissed long and hard. His body was numb with the cold. They fell into the surf at the water’s edge each taking turns with their knees in the sand. Their union was long and satisfying. He felt baptized by the experience.

Soon, she lit a fire in the sand and brought down blankets from the lean-to. They joined one another again and then once more before the flames died out. They fell asleep to the sound of the roaring waves.

Geographical Escape 2.4: Diving in the Deep End

photo credit: www.awakeninthenow.com

He wasted no time checking in. Same place. Same room.  He found his cycling clothes, packed up his energy bars and headed out on the same route. He had no idea if he would see her. He wasn’t one to normally tempt fate-he was too impulsive for that.  He rode and rode, often coming upon other cyclists but never Lauren.

He couldn’t help feeling disappointed as he pulled into the motel’s scrappy and weedy parking lot at sunset. He’d clean up, get a meal at that diner. In the morning maybe he would head over to the shop, see if she is there. If not, he could at least get some information on other bike routes to explore. He couldn’t think of leaving yet.

He smelled her before he saw her. The sweet scent of female sweat. She was relaxing on the bed in the waning light still dressed in her cycling outfit. Her hair was pulled into a ponytail atop her head with little ringlets falling around her face and ears. Her bike leaned against the dresser.

“Room was an easy entry”, she said.  “Just slipped my credit card between the dead bolt and the frame.”  A jolt went through his body. The rush that had been missing these past few weeks was back.  He climbed on her fully clothed, his mouth and tongue together with hers. The taste only energized him as they both attempted to remove the skin tight shorts and tops from themselves. Their bodies were sticky and moist. They reveled in the pungent scents and salty flavors created by the hard riding they had done. He savored the sweetness of her fruit and she was ebullient in response to the feast she laid before him. They moved in and out of one another with ease and vocal enthusiasm.

Darkness had descended when they were finally done. They took turns washing one another in a gentle, sacramental way.  And then hunger and thirst visited them like a wild animal. He wrapped her in a towel, puffed the pillows and ran to the diner for takeout and to the nearby store for beer.

They consumed the food and booze voraciously and then fell into a satiated slumber.  A few hours later he was awakened by the sounds of his own moaning. “I love dessert”, she said.

Geographical Escape 2.3: Nightmares

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He was enveloped in darkness. Sitting in a dank hole. Naked and surrounded by the fetid smell of his own feces and urine. Drip, drip, drip. Something-water, maybe- kept hitting the top of his head. He got up to feel his way around. SLAM!  His body rammed against metal bars. He gripped them tightly, screaming: “HELP! HELP! HELP!”  No words left his throat. Something was attempting to pry his hands from the bars.  He kept hearing his name and the sounds of rasping breath…

“Tom, Tom, wake up!” It was his wife. She was trying to loosen the grip of his own hands on his neck. He suddenly became alert but his breathing was labored and he was sweating profusely. “You were having a terrifying dream.” There was concern in her voice. He muttered something about pressure at work. Looking out the bedroom window, he noticed that the sun was rising. Good time to clear his head with a ride. He dressed quickly, filled his water bottles and hit the road.

He refused to think about the nightmare. Instead,  he focused on the rush of riding fast and tackling the hills. For the next week, he was on automatic pilot. Rise early. Ride until it hurt. Work relentlessly. He made love with his wife each night with the sole purpose of feeling exhausted in order to ward off the fear of another dream.

The remedy was short-lived at best. He felt on edge. While work was going exceptionally well and home life was harmonious, the old churning and burning was kicking his ass. His boss was pleased with the latest project’s  completion ahead of deadline and suggested that he take an added break to spend time with his family. Tom took this as a sign. A way to remove himself once more. He had two more days at work to come up with another escape plan.

He told his wife nothing of his boss’ recommendation. He kept his bike at work on purpose so as not to raise any suspicion. When he awakened on Thursday morning, he told his wife that he was going to ride his bike on a route from the office. He took the first of two small bags with him and placed them in his truck. The following morning (still with the bike at work), he pretended to have gotten a text from his boss asking him to come into work ASAP. He took another bag with him under the auspices of another “ride” later. Just before noon, he placed a call to his wife, telling her that he had been called out to the West Coast site to fix a problem. He would need to fly out in the afternoon. No need to worry about clothes he told her. He had enough with him because he had been cycling from work.

By the end of the day, he was ready. The hard part was over. Surely a week of distraction would help cleanse the dirt from his mind and spirit. Before he knew it, his truck was moving northward once again.

Geographical Escape 2.2: Coming Up for Air

photo credit: warmnotes.com

He let out a sigh. Time to refocus. He looked at his watch: 6 AM. Good. He would drive into work and be home in time to see his wife and kids. A quick shower would wash away the remainders of last night’s  encounter. He dressed, put the note in his wallet and hit the road.  As he entered the highway a wave of nausea hit him like a Mac truck. He pulled over on the shoulder and crawled over to the passenger side of the pickup, opened the door and bent over. Must be the beer from last night, he thought.

He arrived at work earlier than usual and had a very productive day-meeting his deadlines with relish and very little pressure. He gave himself enough time at the end of the day to stop at the store and buy all the ingredients for dinner-wine included. He missed his wife suddenly and without a second thought, bought the biggest bouquet of flowers that he could find.

When his family arrived, the table was set, wine was poured and dinner was ready. They all looked relaxed after their respite on the beach and greeted him with joy and laughter. He felt good. At bedtime, the kids went down with ease-salt air does have that effect-so it was a pleasant surprise to find himself wrapped in his wife’s arms without either of them collapsing in exhaustion. She talked of their trip to the doctor’s and the home grown remedy for their daughter’s barking cough. How Karen and Joe opened up their home to all of them and of how the sea air had been a  rejuvenating experience. He listened attentively smiling inside and out. He kissed his wife tenderly and held her close. He loved the feel of her skin, the small rise in her stomach and how he could hold her breasts with his hands.  When he entered her he felt whole again.  She smelled like home.

Flash Fiction Frenzy

photo credit:  www.dailypainters.com

I am calling on my fellow bloggers, followers and more seasoned writers of fictional pieces for feedback on my recent foray into fiction. This is my first go ’round in the genre and I am trying not to panic and lose confidence in my developing ability for quality writing.

The initial installment of Geographical Escape was born out of Kellie Elmore’s weekly Free Write Friday Prompt. As with all of Kellie’s fine ideas, it took me to an unexpected place! A character was born and his story is still being told.

I am completely wrapped up and obsessed with writing this week. My heart is nearly constantly racing, I run hot and cold and I cannot slake my thirst! I know it is connected to the story and not to anything like this horrible heat and humidity, my vigorous exercise routine or perimenopause!

I want a story that is not too predictable, a character who is flawed-gray, not black and white. I want minimal dialogue so the reader is inside his head. In fact, I am not sure I even want him speaking out loud yet!

So there you have it.  Three installments published. A fourth ready for tomorrow and # 5 for Friday ( I hope).

In the meantime, I will break away every now and then to read your posts and comment on them.  Your writing fills me up!

Thanks for your help! 🙂