500 Word Short Story
Sudden Darkness
Scott A. Gese

500 Word Short Story

She stared into the darkness unable to move.

She had heard it and now she felt it. Something or someone was staring at her. A cold chill worked its way up her spine to the back of her neck. She could feel the hairs standing on end. A sudden shiver of fear came and went.

What had she heard? She wasn't quite sure. The next camp stop was still a quarter mile away according to the map. The last mile of the trail had dropped down into the trees blocking out the low hanging sun. Darkness had come on too quickly and she wasn't prepared. A tactical flashlight/stun gun combo hung from her backpack. It was readily accessible. She kicked herself for not getting it out sooner. But now, any sudden move might bring whatever was out there down on her.

Decisions needed to be made.

Candice was an outdoors person. Always had been. She camped and hiked with her family as a kid and continued to enjoy it throughout her adult life, usually by herself. She liked it that way. Nice and quiet. Time to reflect while enjoying the natural beauty that surrounded her. Learning survival skills played a big part in her life. She knew how important they were especially when a person was out on their own, which is why she was being so hard on herself right now. She knew better.

She decided to move. Slowly reaching behind her hoping to find the flashlight that was hanging from her pack. No luck. It was too far and out of reach. The backpack would have to come off. Even in the cool night air, sweat was beginning to bead on her forehead.

Eyes straining to pierce the darkness, ears straining to hear any little noise, muscles tense and twitching, nerves ready to unravel. How did she want to remove it. Slow and deliberate right where she stood. Slowly stoop low to the ground and then remove it. Slowly step off the trail first; or just do it in one swift motion and hope for the best. Whatever she was going to do, it needed to be sooner than later.

The decision was made. She whipped off her backpack as fast as she could, but before she reached the stun gun, whatever was out there swiftly pounced on her. She screamed and lashed out kicking and thrashing her arms as furiously as she knew how. Whatever it was suddenly jumped back. There was silence. A light came on. A man holding night vision goggles stood before her.

He was holding his side. “I'm a cougar and you're dead. Damn, I think you might have broke a rib.”

Candice was still trying to catch her breath. “Freddy, you bastard. You're lucky I didn't get to my stun gun.”

“No, you're lucky, Lucky to be alive. This survival class is all about keeping you that way. You made a vital mistake. Let's get to camp and talk about this.”

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

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