Borne on the Wind

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Flash Fiction  |  House: Booksie Classic
Lost in the wilderness, a hiker has a bizarre encounter with a moss-man.

Submitted: December 07, 2014

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Submitted: December 07, 2014



"You lost?" a voice boomed out from nowhere.

Startled, Haley spun around. There, not ten feet away, a man sat on a moss-covered rock. He too seemed covered in moss. Man and rock blended so completely with their surroundings that she would never have noticed him if he had not spoken.

"Where the hell did you come from?" she blurted out.

"I am borne on the wind a great distance." Moss-man replied cryptically.

Haley fought to regain her composure. Trekking alone in a vast wilderness, she was acutely aware of her vulnerability. She was determined to show no sign of weakness. If this guy wished to do her harm, she was ready to strike back with whatever means she could muster.

"You didn't answer my question." the man said with authority.

"It depends." she replied. "I am hiking north on the Snowy Hills Trail. If I am still on the trail, then I am not lost."

An awkward pause ensued. Haley used the time to size up her situation. The more closely she examined the stranger, the more confused she became. The "rock" upon which he sat was in fact a motorcycle, a very silent one that purred softly, audible only during brief moments when the wind died. He had a rifle slung over his back that, at first glance, looked like a harmless stick. His camouflage was so perfect that she wondered if she might be having an hallucination.

"You're lost." the stranger announced. Then, drawing a bottle of water from a moss saddlebag, he inquired if she might want something to drink.

Haley did indeed want a drink. She had accidentally wandered off the Snowy Hills Trail three days previously with only one day's worth of supplies. She eagerly accepted the water as well as a survival grade protein bar also proffered by the stranger. She ate and drank slowly, deliberately, so as not to reveal her desperation. She remained worried that Moss-man might be intent upon doing her harm.

"What shall we do with you now?" the stranger mused.

Reaching deep within the moss heap, the stranger came up with two cloth satchels which he tossed at Haley's feet. One contained a half dozen MRE ration meals. The other held six liters of bottled water.

Pointing into the distance, the stranger commanded, "Strike due east for twenty clicks. You'll find a highway. Anybody driving by will be sure to help. These supplies ought to hold you until then."

Turning around, the stranger glided away silently as if he really were borne on the wind. Haley stood there in amazement. Were it not moving, the moss ensemble would be virtually invisible. Only then did she realize that she must have wandered onto one of the secret military proving grounds that dot the American West. In addition to a three digit number, the license plate on the phantom motorcycle read: U.S.M.C. Reconnaissance.

Copyright © 2014 W.C. Bell; All rights reserved.

© Copyright 2018 Whiskey Charlie. All rights reserved.

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