He stumbled over the stones on the mountain, and put his hand out to steady himself. He sighed, and pulled his dirty jacket around him. He looked towards the small grey line that winds through these hills. He liked the silence of the mountains. He liked the soft tinkle of the water. Most of all he liked that there were no people. He always got overwhelmed in towns. He heard a cry, somewhere far off, deeper in the mountains. Someone in pain. He tilted his head to listen to the cry as it echoed around inside his head. He took a glance at the gray road. He knew that the time had come when he had to return. To move back amongst the people. He had forgotten so much, his head was full of a deep gray fog, but the voice cut through it. He turned, reluctantly away from the road, and headed back into the mountains that had become his home.
He trekked along the paths that he had made. The occasional rambler thought they were made by the sheep, or perhaps the goats. They were made by him, as he wandered the hills, trying to remember. As he made a small jump down, the tarnished chain around his neck clinked against his skin. He frowned, and pulled it out from his tunic. How did that get there? He looked at the strange metal circle with a faded purple gem in the center of it. It looked familiar, somehow. The wind blew at his coat, and looked at it like it was the first time he’d seen wind move fabric, he looked at it with innocent curiosity, and the medallion slipped from his fingers, forgotten. The cry in his head got fainter, and he began moving towards it again.
He saw the man lying on the side of the mountain. The man had obviously slipped, and from the way he was lying his leg had been broken, probably in several places. He stood and watched the man desperately holding onto the bush that was stopping him from slipping, and falling to what would be, from that hight, certain death. He could feel panic rising in the man, and it cut him. Slowly he began to climb up the hill towards the man, each step the pain inside him getting stronger. This man was alone in the mountains because he was running away from something. He reached his side and looked down at him, his face full of compassion. The man looked up at him, surprised.
“Please, Help Me…”
“Do you really want me to help you?”
“Yes, please.. I”
“But you came here to get lost. To die amongst creation”.
His voice was soft, seeking understanding. “Why did you come here to die?”
“I… I feel so alone.”
“So you want to get away from here?”
“I… I don’t know.. yes.. I suppose”
“Where do you think you go too?”
“I hadn’t given that much thought.”
“I remember a place, it was warm and shining. It was safe. I don’t remember where that is any more. Have you seen it?”
The man shook his head. Fear rising in him. He wasn’t sure if this man was here to help him, or hurt him.
He knelt next to the man. “Your leg.. it’s broken”. He reached down towards it. The man paniced, and tried to move his leg away. “Don’t touch it!”. The quick movement caused the shale to slide, and the man slipped a little down the hill.
“I’m sorry.” He said.
The man looked up at him, his face fill of despair and fear. He looked down at the man, the fear penetrating into his very bones. “I only wanted to see you smile”. He turned to go.
“No, wait, please….”
He turned around and looked at the man. “You don’t really want me to wait. Your afraid of me. You just want to be better. You no longer want to die.”
The man simply stared at him. He turned round, and leaned towards the man. “Take my hand.” The man stared at it, terrified. “Take my hand. ” The man reached up and took ahold of it, and he pulled him up, resting him against the mountain. “Your leg is fine, it may be a bit stiff, but I’m sure that it will hold. ”
The man looked at him, then looked at his leg, bending it experimentally. The man then scrambled to his feet and looked at him with abject fear, that felt like hot pokers running through him. The man whimpered, and then took off down the hill at a scrambling run. He watched the man run away, and his heart broke. If he knew what tears were he would have wept.
“I only wanted to see you smile”