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The Midnight Trail - Part Seven

Part Seven

The sun was hanging low in the sky by the time I had come up with a plan. It wasn’t going to be easy though, and it relied on the things I had in my backpack and hoped that Chris had brought with him as well.

My leg ached as I sifted through the fallen rubble, searching for the bags among the rock, but I ignored it for the most part. Fortunately, they weren’t buried deep and I was able to find them within a few minutes, bringing them back to the shade of the tree to search their content.

What I was looking for was anything that I could use to make a sled. There was only one way to get Chris out safely and that was pulling him out with what little strength I had left. In my bag was a sandwich, lighter, a bottle of water and a light rain jacket incase it started to rain. It wasn’t much, definitely not enough to make the sled for Chris. I prayed that the other pack was better stocked then mine was.

The zipper was crushed by the rocks that had fallen on it, making it difficult to open. My arms strained as I pulled on the top of the pack like a bag of chips. It popped open suddenly, throwing me back onto the dirt. When I finally recovered, I noticed that inside the backpack was a treasure trove of hiking goodies. A knife, several packs of dried packed foods, three bottles of fresh water and the one thing was desperate for, a rope.

“Yes!” I screamed at the top of my lungs unable to hold back the amount of joy I felt. Climbing to my feet, I jumped up and down with joy. “I’m going to save you, Chris what ever your name is.”

With the rope in my hand, I went to work gathering long, straight branches that were thick enough to hold the weight of a person, but still not be too heavy to lift. I wasn’t sure how I was going to make this journey, but I had no choice. With the sun beginning to set behind the trees, I lashed the last branch together and sat back to admire my handy work. Four branches made up the frame, two long on the sides and two shorter branches top and bottom. They were tied together in the corners and then the rope weaved back and forth from side to side to make what could have been a terrible looking hammock. It wasn’t much to look at but it would do.

Carefully, I lifted Chris from the shoulders and pulled him onto the hammock. With his feet hanging off the end, I carefully lowered his head down, being wary of the wound on his scalp. It had stopped bleeding but there was no sign that he would wake.

I threw all the other supplies into one backpack and hoisted it on my shoulders. There was no time to waist, Chris needed a hospital and I was going to get him to one. With the light dimming, but still long from setting, I lifted the sled from the front with a grunt. It was heavy, but still easier than dragging Chris down the river bank. The sled dug into the ground as it moved along the lose ground, but we were making progress either way.

We rounded a corner and for a moment I thought I saw Jarrod standing among the trees, the smile on his face apparent, but when I blinked he was gone. A reminder that I wouldn’t let this trail take me down.

Finally, Shelby is on her way to getting off the trail and she is taking Chris with her, but the sun is setting. Will she be able to keep going when the light is gone and the predators of the forest come out?


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