For this terribleminds challenge, the title, first and last line were provided.
Deep inside the twisting wood, there is a house, in a gully. I spotted it, just a flash of it while descending far too quickly for my skill level along a deer trail desperately trying to keep up with boy mountain bikers. Keith convinced me it was a perfect first date. We’d met at a trailhead.
My girlfriends and I enjoying the afterglow of our weekly ride with Susan’s latest perfectly brewed white ale when Keith and his friends arrived. It was a typical trailhead meeting with the comparing of gear, info about trail conditions, and admiration of home brew. Keith was a flirt and most likely a collector of phone numbers. I didn’t expect a call.
There I was cursing through the woods, a million tiny scratches on my arms and legs from following a barely visible trail through heavy undergrowth, and reaching the end of the ride just when the last beer was about to be opened by Keith, my date.
He reluctantly handed it to me, “What did you think? It has hidden trail potential. Right? Cept for that last bit. Totally sketchy last mile or so.”
In the last effort to look cool before my date and not terrorized by every inch of their non-existent trail, I slugged down the entire beer. I didn’t know the whole crew was watching me. They hooted and hollered when the last drop hit my tongue.
Did this mean I was in? Was in the club? I didn’t want in. I wanted to throw a girly hissy fit. In my mind I was yelling at Keith - you dodo brain, this is a terrible first date. I’m miserable. I’m scratched head to toe, sweating, and stinky. My hair's a mess. And, at the moment, I hate you. All I want now is a shower and my bed. Not you. Not one bit. Though even the tips of my toes knew the whole ordeal was awesome and after the scratches didn’t sting in the shower I would want to do it again. And I would, alone. I wanted to check out the house in the gully.
Keith and his buddies were trail warriors. I became addicted to the animal trails they discovered and even brought Ashley to have someone a bit slower than me. It was a full month before I went back to find the house.
I brought my bike though I ended up pushing it more than riding it. Shoving it up a steep section while scanning the hillside, ignoring the wild rose vines licking at my legs, my mind kept thinking, “This is the wrong hill. It's been too long.”
I kept going until there was a break in the woods and an area of grass. It wasn’t as steep either. It was memorable and where I thought of stopping on the ride but then seeing the tail end of Keith’s bike go back into the woods, I kept going not wanting to get lost. This had to be the hill.
Leaning my bike against a tree, I walked slowly back down the hill. There, a spot of sun glinted of something smooth and reflective and not visible from the other direction. I hadn’t been delusional from exhaustion.
I dug out my carefully wrapped camera from my backpack and took a few quick pictures of the surroundings. Then, stepped toward the house wondering how old it was and how it got to be in that position on this steep hill.
My foot snagged an entanglement of rose vines and I was falling forward. My right-hand lets go of the camera and I tried to stop my forward momentum. The steepness was relentless so I tucked my head and hoped for a soft landing in the gully. The fall didn’t stop.
Silence blanketed the meadow.