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[at-l] *Fiction, Part 4*

Less nothing than the first, but more of it:

Part 4:
My feet hit the ground with such force that my knees buckled, sending me 
sprawling again. This time, however, I was eye to boot with the 
second-ugliest backpacker I had ever seen. He grabbed my straps and 
pulled me to my feet again. It took every ounce of my existence to remain 
standing. I could only stare through him, as my eyes couldn't focus on 
him. After a moment I could feel the blood pulsing through my body again. 
I figured this had to be good. It caused my cheek to throb with pain, and 
I knew I was still alive.

I was finally able to look at him. His long, flowing hair draped across 
his scarred face. He was a nearly foot taller than I and outweighed me by 
a hundred pounds. The fringe of a tattoo peeked from behind his shirt, 
and I didn't want to see anymore of it. His backpack was dwarfed by his 

"You alright?" he said. I had no idea. Only now was I able to stand on my 

"Yea, I think so" I forced, blood flowing from my face.

"Let's take a look at that", he started surveying my wound. He took his 
massive hands and gently squeezed the wound together."Let me clean that 
out and butterfly it" he said, dropping his backpack. He started opening 
  the top compartment on what, it became obvious, was not a backpack. It 
was more of a rucksack, containing ropes and pulleys and winches, and 
finally, a first aid kit. He opened a bottle of fluid and dipped a cotton 
swab in. I don't know what was in the bottle, but when it hit my tissue, 
there was no doubting that I indeed was alive.

"Sorry 'bout that. Gotta kill them germs. What are you doing here, 
anyway?" he asked. He sounded like he genuinely cared. Apparently I 
didn't realize that I was the one outta place. A backpacker, on the 
Appalachian Trail, who'd have thought.

"Ummm, backpacking" I shrugged. I still didn't realize that I didn't know 
what 'he' was doing there. "What about you?"

"Ahhh, we're shooting a documentary on the Feral Ponies here. Too foggy 
to shoot today, so we're out messin' around."

"What was all that racket? The horses and screamin'?" I asked.

"Sound man. He was just running through some remote sound effects. Our 
tent's right there" he said, pointing to what I had earlier thought to be 
a running horse, only to find out now that it was a tent flap blowing in 
the wind.

I sat down on a boulder while he tended my wound. He was actually very 
good at it. I could feel my strength coming back, and the last of my fear 
hit the ground. Relief is a sweet drink. I took a deep, cleansing breath.
He finished up and said I might want to get it looked at, but he didn't 
think I'd need stitches. 

I put my pack back on and got my hiking sticks in order. I couldn't wait 
to get moving. I thanked him and told him I had to get going to make the 
shelter by dark. 

"Oh, are you hiking with that other guy?" he said.

"What other guy?", another chill danced over my spine.

It ain't much, but try http://members.tripod.com/~Felixhikes/index.html

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