Capturing the abyss by oliver818
Artwork by bd shutterspeed at FanArtReview.com
Warning: The author has noted that this contains the highest level of language.|
No one would ever witness this in the same way, Tony thought. At least he hoped they wouldn't. The view was wide, daunting, alive, almost mocking, dropping away hundreds of metres to the valley below. Curls of riverbed twisted out to the sea, and he almost laughed at his own frailty.
Earlier that day, mountain light had plunged into the tent, playing over his face like a kitten's paw. Pots and pans banged outside the tent, and the smell of fried eggs made his stomach gurgle. He grabbed his camera, and pushed his way out into the sunlight. He snapped a few photos of the unsmiling cooks, then made his way over to the cliff. The light had barely been enough to see where he was placing his hands when they had made their way up the day before, but now the thick, green forest that ran up the side of the mountain was clear and bright. In the distance, the trees faded to golden sand before meeting the white-tipped waves of the turquoise sea. He snapped away, trying to forget the aching in his legs.
"Ready for another long day, Tony?" Paul asked, slapping his hand down on Tony's shoulder.
"Yeah, why wouldn't I be?"
"Hey, don't be like that. You know we are just having you on about not being up to it, right?"
"Look, I'm just here to get some photos, and make some money, not to make friends. So if you could keep your jokes to yourself that would be great."
"Okay, then, have it your way." Paul backed off, mock saluting.
Tony didn't like being rude, but he also didn't like the macho bullshit that always came along with these trips. He loved nature, and had a talent for capturing stunning scenes. He just wasn't a people person.
The proof of that lay torn in half in his backpack. A simple photo, certainly not one of his best. It captured the moment just after his ex, Harry, declared his love to him. Six days and a lot of whisky later, their relationship had collapsed in a shower of accusations and curses. All his of course, he never could keep good things in his life. It wasn't that Harry was a bad person, or wasn't exciting enough. It was more a feeling that he wasn't worthy of this man's love, and so he had made himself unworthy by sinking into an abyss of alcohol abuse, petty tantrums and random sex. By the time he came out the other side, he was single and didn't know who he was anymore and had signed up for the first job he came across. It wasn't until he was half way up the mountain, exhausted and deep in self-pity that he realized what he had thrown away.
The tent was down, and his gear sprawled on the ground like dead leaves when he returned to the campsite.
"We're leaving in two minutes, Tony, with or without you," Paul shouted, shouldering his pack.
Everything fitted nicely into his own pack, but only when it was folded and carefully placed, and it was ten minutes before he was ready to follow the others up the steep path that corkscrewed round the mountain above him. His legs burnt, and his chest ached as he pushed up, wishing he had eaten breakfast rather than admired the view.
An eagle swooped, and he swung up his camera, moving forward to get a better angle to capture its graceful descent. The ice on the edge of the path gave way, and his feet slipped over the edge, his fingers grasped at thin twigs poking out of the frozen ground before he fell. His body rolled down the escarpment, his screams echoing up into the empty sky. A single branch stuck out over the cliff-edge and as he rolled past, his pack slipped over it, leaving him suspended, his legs dangling into the abyss.
To be continued...
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