She walked the ridgeline, as though walking a tightrope. There was a sheer drop on either side of the thin, rocky trail, and she felt truly terrified. The ice and snow made each step precarious and the dark chasm on either side of her was dizzying. She tried not to look down; placing one foot after the other, ever-so carefully.
The wind didn’t help matters. It whipped fiercely around her, flapping her long black skirt and rocking her balance. With one hand she tied back her hair, as the long black strands lashed her face and obscured her view of the rocky corridor. She kept her other hand outstretched, gripping an invisible rail to steady herself.
There had to be easier way to reach the tower, she thought to herself. She longed for refuge within its strong, solid walls. It’s warm light – a beacon; seemed to be drawing closer at an agonisingly slow rate.
Suddenly a gust of wind knocked her sideways and she slipped. Hanging by her finger tips to a rocky shelf, the chasm yawned below her like a hungry mouth, eager to swallow her in one gulp.
Mustering all her strength, she pulled herself onto the shelf, shivering and breathing hard. That was a close call. Once she’d steadied her nerves, she stood again and continued picking her way along the trail. She hugged herself closer to the ground, lowering her centre of gravity. She was not willing to risk falling again.
Fatigue and hunger were starting to assault her. She trained her thoughts to the task at hand and recalled the words of her hiking buddy, Helen.
She conjured Helen’s smiling face, quipping her favourite words of encouragement, “All you have to do is focus your energy on picking up your foot. It falls down all by itself!”
The memory made her smile and strengthened her resolve. Pick up left foot. Pick up right foot, she commanded herself. It was pure mind over matter. Helen believed she was going to make it, she believed in herself that she was going to make it…and she would!
She reminded herself that the road to recovery was long and hard, and weaves a lonely, rocky path.
And sometimes you’re only one step from falling into that black hole again.
By Sarah ©2017
Prompt: Mindlovemisery’s Menagerie, Photo Challenge – 6 June