In the novel The Hike, a father and daughter leave for a backpacking trip in the Big Horn Mountains of Wyoming. However, an ominous orange fog covers the landscape and causes humans and animals alike to experience a quick demise.
The father and daughter duo survive the event by climbing higher on the mountain until the fog dissipates. On the way back down the mountain, the daughter races down the mountain faster than her father and the two become separated. The father hears his daughter's scream and he immediately knows that something is very wrong.
It doesn’t take long for new parents to recognize the different whines, cries, and coos that their new born baby makes. Patrick’s wife Mary could even usually tell if her children’s diapers were wet or more soiled just by the pitch of their voice when they would cry. The same type of recognition is still there even when they get older. Patrick knew before Makenzie’s scream was half-way over that she just wasn’t startled, she wasn’t excited about something, and she wasn’t playing around. Something was wrong.
All of his senses were immediately alert and his heart was pounding even before he started sprinting towards her voice. Patrick didn’t recall undoing the buckles or taking the shoulder straps of his backpack off, but it was no longer on his back and he had left the trail to run straight to where Makenzie sounded like she was at. Patrick’s body took over all action instead of his mind thinking what to do as he shirked limbs, ducked under branches, and jumped rocks and down trees while sprinting to Makenzie.
Her scream had only lasted a couple of seconds and had stopped well before Patrick reached a small clearing that intersected back with the trail. He slowed ever so slightly as he reached the edge of the clearing and surveyed the surroundings. He broke into the clearing on a rise where he could see across the small meadow of tall sweet grass sprinkled with spring mountain flowers. Patrick’s senses were on overload as he tried to pick out any sign of Makenzie and whatever had caused her to scream, but there was no sign of her. The light was getting even dimmer, and he thought that he should have caught up with where she had been. His pounding heart leapt up into his throat and another wave of fear washed over him.
“M-A-A-A-K!” Patrick yelled for all he was worth as he dug in and sprinted across the meadow towards the point where the trail exited the meadow.
As he hopped over a fallen tree in the middle of the tall grass, he caught a glimpse of her light blue jacket on the ground on the trail only several feet past the clearing. As he closed the few hundred-foot distance between him and the jacket, he began to see it better in the waning light and he realized that the jacket was moving. Makenzie was wearing the jacket with her backpack still on and was down on all fours kneeling over something. She turned her head around to look at Patrick while remaining on her hands and knees when she heard him approaching. Patrick could see pure fear on her face and in her eyes. There was also a small amount of blood dripping from her nose in a small stream.
“Dad...” she almost whimpered as he reached her and half dropped, half slid on his knees to her. Patrick wrapped his arms around her and squeezed for just a brief second before turning his attention to what she had been kneeling over. Having Makenzie back in his arms started Patrick’s crash back down from his heightened state of awareness and fear. Almost immediately he felt his heart pounding in his ears not from fear, but from physical exertion. His injured knee began to scream with sharp shooting pain that seemed to be non-existent when jumping over logs and rocks just moments ago,.
Looking down, Patrick saw what had instilled fear in his daughter. It was a dead man.
Read about the hike and what caused the hiker's demise in the novel The Hike: Survivors. Purchase it at Amazon today or sign up for our e-mail list below and like QT Fotography on Facebook to be entered for a drawing to win a free autographed copy!