500 Word Short Story
A Matter of Perception
Scott A. Gese

500 Word Short Story

Larry and Tom had planned to hike the Grand Way Trail. Larry was the type who didn't put too much planning into the things he did. Tom on the other hand tended to over plan. He didn't like surprises.

Larry wanted to catch a ride with a friend who was going past the trailhead. He would pick them up that evening. Tom wanted to take his car just in case something unforeseen happened and they needed to leave early. Tom won out. They had to pay a fee to park the car and now Tom was concerned about it being vandalized.

As they hiked through the woods along a small river, they came to a fork in the trail. The main trail kept to the river. The other climbed to a high meadow then back to the main trail. Larry wanted to take the high trail. Tom wanted to stick to the trail they were on. The side trail looked steep and he wasn't sure where it went. They decided to part and meet up again where the two trails re-converged.

Larry took the upper trail. It wound through beautiful high meadows full of wild flowers. He took photo's of the grand vista with no less than five sno-capped mountains in the distance. He also saw a black bear with two cubs. It was well worth the trip up the hill.

Tom kept to the well used river trail. He had his taser out and picked up a big stick as he walked along. He hoped he wouldn't see a bear or a cougar. He kept his eyes on the trail ahead.

When the two met back up, Tom was relieved that he hadn't somehow gotten lost.

They came to a waterfall. A small trail led hikers behind the falls. Larry was all for taking it. He had never been behind a waterfall before. Tom wanted no part of it. The trail was narrow and looked slippery. If he wasn't careful he could end up in the river. He would have to hike the rest of the way in wet boots.

Tom sat on a stump and waited as Larry easily took the trail and experienced the thrill of walking behind a waterfall. He sat back for a few minutes and took it in. When he came back to the main trail, Tom was waiting. “Thought you got lost or something,” commented Tom.

As they walked on they came across a couple who were camping just off the trail. Larry struck up a conversation with them and they invited the two to join them for a cup of coffee. Larry was all for it, but Tom was concerned. He didn't know these people and was leery about drinking their coffee. He reluctantly took a seat by the fire but kept to himself.

The following day, Larry couldn't stop talking about what a great time he had. Tom thought it was a boring trip and doubted he would ever go back.

© Copyright 2018 by Scott A. Gese All Rights Reserved.