I follow a blog, SethSnap. In May, he posted the above picture and gave us the following prompt. “Your Story is a SethSnap (http://sethsnap.com/2014/05/01/your-story-submerged/) series in which you get to decide the story behind the photos. You can write a story, a poem or even just one word. You decide.I spotted this just under the water the other day. To most it looks like a simple submerged piece of wood. To you and I it is much more. Tell me what you see.” I came up with the following story.
Haley pushed hard. “What’s wrong with this door?” She gave it another, harder shove and as it flew open, water began to pour in from all four sides. Gasping for air she found herself floating in a river, the water cold as ice. The door floated beside her, snagged on a sandbar next to the river bank.
“That’s what I get,” she mumbled through chattering teeth. Getting out of the water was tough, she was numb with the cold and the bank here was high. By the time she reached the top, she was covered with thick, black river mud and had a foot long scratch from a tree root along the outside of her right arm. Hands full of last year’s fallen leaves scraped most of the mud off but she was shivering so hard her hands trembled. This universe jumping is going to kill me yet but this is better than the fire I found myself in two trips ago, she thought. I need to get dry before I freeze to death.
Haley struggled to her feet and staggered off through the woods. She found a path just a few feet away from the bank. A park then, she thought, maybe I can get some help. With arms wrapped around her to keep warm, she trotted along the path, no idea where it went. The first people she saw were a couple, walking arm in arm along the path, the woman’s head on the man’s shoulder. “Help,” Haley called out. “Can you help me?”
The pair turned around. The door never failed, it took her right to the couple she was here for. “What happened?” the young woman asked.
“I slipped on the river bank and fell in,” Haley responded, teeth chattering.
The guy took off his coat. “Here, put this on.” He helped her pull it on.
“Sorry for the mud, the bank was pretty high.”
“That’s all right,” the woman said. “I’m Ann. This is my boyfriend, Carl.”
“I’m Haley, thanks for helping me out. Sorry about the mud.”
“Come on,” Ann put her arm around Haley. “Let’s get you to your car.”
Haley had to think fast. “Uh, I came with my boyfriend. We had a fight and he left. I don’t have a car.”
Ann made a face that made it clear what she thought of a boyfriend who did that. “Well, we can take you home then. Come on, Carl. Let’s get back to the car.”
That was exactly what Haley was here to stop. “Umm, look, I don’t want to interrupt your nice day. If you’d just walk me to the park ranger station, I’ll call my roommate and she can come and get me.”
Ann was herding Haley to the parking lot. “Nonsense. It won’t be a problem.”
It will if I let you get in the car and drive off, Haley thought. How am I going to keep these two here for another fifteen minutes.
“We were finished with our walk anyway,” Carl told her. “So really, it’s no problem at all to take you home.”
They were at the edge of the lot. She had to think fast. “Uh, you don’t mind if I try and get some more mud off before I get in your car, do you?”
“No, of course not,” Ann said. “The bathrooms are right over there. It must be very uncomfortable being covered with mud.”
Haley nodded. The mud was starting to dry. She didn’t want to think about what kind of bugs might be biting her right now. “Thanks. The dried mud is starting to itch.”
So Ann walked her to the bathroom and Carl went to the car. “I’ll just pull it up near the bathroom, take your time.”
At the bathroom door, Ann told Haley, “There’s a coffee machine inside. I’ll get you something hot to drink to help you warm up.”
“You’re a dear,” Haley smiled at her. “I’ll be right here.”
Haley closed the door and ran her hands and arms under the water. Ann appeared with the coffee. “I put cream and sugar in it, hope that’s OK.”
“Sure,” Haley said. “I’m sorry to be so much trouble.”
“Not at all. We’ll be in the car. Take your time.”
Haley checked her watch, she needed ten more minutes. In five minutes she stuck her head out the door. “Sorry, Ann, Carl. Just another couple of minutes, OK?”
Carl waved and she went back to the bathroom. After three minutes she peeked out the door. Carl and Ann were snuggling in the front seat. Music floated out of the open car window. Haley took off the jacket and hung it on the door knob then slipped out of the door. She walked to the front of the ranger station and around the other side. From a vantage point in the woods, she watched the couple. Soon, Ann got out of the car and went to the bathroom. She called over to Carl. “She’s not here. She left your jacket.” They couple looked all around the station but after a few minutes, gave up and got in the car and drove away.
Haley trotted back to the river. Another couple saved. Their daughter would be born and grow up to be a great author one day. The door was where she left it. Time to go home.
Find more of the Forward Motion Flash Friday Group here: http://www.fmwriters.com/flash.html