Journey’s End (Story & Post)

August 3, 2011

He was battered and bruised. Sweat was dripping from his brow. Heat peirced his mind. He was exhausted. He stopped walking and considered his future. It didn’t look well.

“This will be my demise,” he thought to himself. “No man could continue in these conditions. I pray the Lord meets me with comfort on the other side.”

The trip was a disaster. His entire expedition crew started with 36 men. Now, after nearly 7 months lost in the jungle, it was just him. His last mate had succumbed to disease, probably malaria, nearly three weeks earlier. He wasn’t in any condition fit for traveling either. He was sure he had a fever, dehydrated, and starving.

The bones in his feet felt like gravel. He couldn’t go on.

“I will lay here. Maybe the heat will take me quickly.” he mumbled to himself.

He pulled off his pack. It didn’t have anything in it but it was still a relief to take it off. Maybe death wouldn’t be so bad. It would only take a little while. He was certain the only reason he was still standing was because of his sheer willpower.

But now his will had run out. He no longer wanted to continue.

He looked out into the landscape and took one last look at what drew him to this jungle. His expedition was sent here by King Ferdinand II in order to explore the new territories his country had claimed. He would be the first to pave the way for new colonies. But from the very beginning things had gone awry.

“It would be beautiful if it were not so venomous.” he mused. “Maybe the next group will come and find my dry bones. They will then bury me at home. That is the most fitting thing I can hope for.”

In his breast pocket he felt the paper. It was the last letter he had written to his wife, Emily. It had never been sent, but he kept it close to him in hopes that, if he were found, she might get to read his last thoughts. His thoughts of her.

In his last surveying of the land, he spotted a small flicker. A small fire.

A camp?

Rescue?

He knew he couldn’t make the walk down the valley. His legs would not move anymore after he stopped. His only chance was to call out and hope they heard.

He knew he would use all of his energy to just get the words out but it was his only chance.

“Still,” he said to himself, “I must try.”

He screamed until the blood rushed into his head. Before he blacked out he remembered how Emily looked on a Sunday morning. Maybe he would see her again one day…

***

“Where have you been?” the soft-spoken shadowy figure asked him.

I- I’ve been-” the man tried coughing out the words. The figure then gave him a little water to ease his pain.

The person began, “We didn’t hear word from your journey so a rescue team was sent out. We were getting concerned you wouldn’t come back. We have been searching for your team for months. Up until today, we thought all hope was gone, but we only found you. What happened?”

“I’ve been-” he looked for the words. “House sitting.” he whispered before he passed out again.

Emily looked at her exhausted husband. He was alive but was clearly defeated.

What had happened to make him utter such strange words?

Journey’s End © D.A. Bancroft

 

I”M BACK! No more house/animal sitting.

I know….the story was pretty lame…but I feel relieved like the weary traveler.

Full internet access. No dogs. No cats. No geckos. No turtles. No frogs. No more cleaning of animal feces and urine. No more wondering how the light switches work. No more anything.

Oh wait… I got hired.

So I guess let the worrying begin!

I would love to tell you all about the crazy hiring process that I’m going through but, hey, that’s not going to be very entertaining nor informative. That’s because I just do what they tell me and hope I’m doing it right.

In short, I will have less than a week before I get access to textbooks/materials/classroom/computers before students show up. So I will have to plan my entire year in the matter of a full work week.

Still, I’m looking forward to it!

I understand that it’s going to be hard and annoying at times but at least it’s my room. My plans. My effort. It’s all mine.

I’m not trying to sound very possessive or anything but I just haven’t been solely responsible for a classroom yet. I’ve only interned and that felt like there was a lot of ‘hand-holding’ involved.

I have a lot to say that I haven’t been able to say in the past week or so…so expect that to show up on here within the next week. This is really more of a “hey, i’m back” post…

So, what did you do while I was gone? (I hope it involves monster trucks and not cleaning up dog crap.)

D.A.

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3 Responses to “Journey’s End (Story & Post)”


  1. What did we do while you were gone? … I GOT MY NOSE PIERCED!

    And I’m so proud. I feel edgy and attractive.

    Congrats on being hired. You’ll do awesome.


    • I fought back the jungle! And when I come back people are getting their noses pierced?

      What’s happened to the world?

      And where did I leave my dentures.

      A few of my friends have gotten their septum’s pierced. All went well…but one was pretty crooked. Hope yours wasn’t!

  2. Sarah Says:

    Hey there.
    As you take the time to offer a very well designed and functional blog, I figured I would at least comment one of your amazing short stories.
    This one was a bit different than the other ones I’ve read. It was pretty short, but I think that’s what made it even more interesting and intriguing. The ending, and actually just the story in itself remain cloudy and full of mystery. I wish you had written a sequel (but that’s what I say for every single of your stories, so (well, actually no, I wish no sequel for ‘Bottoms up’. I don’t want to know what happens when he has to get out of the water. Poor boy.)).
    Anyway, you narrate the few events in a realistic way and setting; and you seem pretty talented when it comes to create and describe a character, and make the reader feel connected to the protagonist and his feelings/state of mind. Plus, you use a third person narrative, which makes the process of identification even more difficult, but it doesn’t seem to be a problem for you.
    And in this case, this explorer becomes very touching and interesting. His thoughts and despair are very well transcribed and we can easily relate to this very normal and yet mysterious character. The vocabulary you use is rich and developed, but not too much so that the syntax stays clear and the reading fluid. It makes reading you a very enjoyable moment.
    One sentence moved me a lot (and I guess it’s because of my very romantic and emotional side), and it’s this one: “Before he blacked out he remembered how Emily looked on a Sunday morning”. I don’t know, it’s just the very delicate form it took in my mind, the way simple words can describe such a sweet memory and emotion, and the soft idea of this man, thinking he’s about to die, remembering his beloved wife at such a futile and yet meaningful moment as a Sunday morning. It was a beautiful sentence, simple and strong, in the form and in the meaning.
    Also, the second part of the story, when he pronounces “house sitting”, doesn’t make quite sense in my mind. I guess my lack of vocabulary plays a role and the phrase ‘house sitting’ should make the reader understand something, at least a little thing. But I do have a few ideas (which probably are even weirder than what you actually meant), such as a satire of the exploration of foreign and already inhabited lands, or something like that. But maybe it’s really further than that? Or closer than that? Ah, I wish there was a sequel, or at least more explanations! :)
    But in any case, you did a great job at creating a big atmosphere thanks to powerful because subtle enough details and making the readers feel many things through their reading, with a tiny number words; so congratulations for that.
    So yeah, you definitely have a career in this passion but more importantly, you have a true talent and imagination.
    I hope you won’t mind my non-native English and the possible mistakes I’ve made.
    Have a good day off,
    Sarah.


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