Printed from WriteWords -


by  shaunsout

Posted: Wednesday, May 2, 2012
Word Count: 965
Summary: Making your dreams come true

In the clouds

Dean stretched his fingers across the rock, searching for grip. He arched his back and felt the smooth cold stone on his thigh, flexed his fingers, then, with a twitch and a jerk, pulled himself up to an inch wide ledge. He breathed back in and reached for his hammer.

He had dreamed of climbing El Capitan since he was a child. He had seen its imposing face on a calendar in his father’s dreary office one day, when the school had been closed and his mother was

He had asked his father where that huge slab of rock was. “America” he laughed in reply. “Another world.” His father was head of accounting in Morris Morris and Penton, a large financial advisor to corporate business. He prided himself on his ordered outlook, and this overflowed into his life. He never took a holiday, preferring instead to build his career. He had reached the top of his profession, when he died, two days before his retirement. His widow received the gold watch on her first day at the Rose Garden retirement home.

He was determined not to make the same perceived mistakes. He excelled at school but left at sixteen, to tour Europe with a group of climbers. He was part of the first ascent of Mont Blanc which completed the climb within 24 hours.

Yosemite was a different challenge, a huge vertical slab of rock, in which his fingers would have to find the merest hint of grip. He sucked in the cool morning air, and stared up at the task ahead. He shook the hand of his climbing partner, and started to climb.

The last thing he remembered was the sight of a tree branch, approaching at high speed.


He woke in the hospital. Dry lips, stuck eyelids, too clean sheets.

A voice came from the television in the corner of the room. “Global stock markets are in decline as shares fall on news of the crisis in Oceania.” An obligatory graph projected its downward path of doom.

“Ah, awake at last are you?” said a jovial nurse, who was clearing away magazines from the side of his bed. She half filled a large jug on his bedside table, then disappeared. Other nurses appeared, scurrying around like beetles. Doctors walked through the ward, occasionally pointing and studying clipboards, but no-one cane over.

Outside, it started to rain.

In time they came and shone lights in his eyes, removed and reapplied the bandages around his head, topped up his water jug, and scribbled on their clipboards. Eventually he got out of bed and walked uneasily around the ward.

It didn’t seem like a normal hospital. Around one corner he found an old chap, writing what seemed like complicated maths on the wall with a thick black marker pen. He couldn’t get his attention – the mad professor scratched his head and scribbled more gibberish.

He couldn’t find any staff. Behind one closed door, he found a boiler room, with leaking dripping pipes. A puddle was building on the floor.

TVs blared everywhere. The big news story was the weather. It had rained non-stop for a week, and there was no sign of a letup. Cars were being banned from the city, as the sewers couldn’t cope, and the streets were flooded. There was a foot of water in the street. Luckily, he was on the third floor.

At night, from nowhere, after he had returned to bed, the nurses came and tucked him in, ignoring his questions as to when he could see a doctor. What was wrong with him, When could he return to Yosemite ?

The floods had spread around the world, according to the six o clock news, and patients from the first floor had been moved up to share the third floor, as the water had breached the doors, and was in danger of shorting out the electrics.

A bucket had been placed by his bed to catch the drips from the leaking roof.

Now, doctors appeared, but they said nothing, just scribbled on their clipboards, counted the people, and disappeared again.

He found it more difficult to sleep, as a flu virus seemed to be doing the rounds, and patients were coughing all night.

He had a shock when he looked out of the window, as a police boat went past, having rescued a family and their meagre possesions. The water was almost up to his window.

Then the sirens started.

Suddenly everything went blue.

Down to Earth

As he hit the water, a wave of pain shot through his body. He felt paralysed. He kept going down deeper and deeper, darker and darker, colder and colder.
He sank past a signpost. One of those with directions, place names and distances. He saw “America 2532 miles”

He sank further past an old building, with gates entwined with vines, covered in thorns.

A ship came into view. Underwater, yet he could see that the people on board were pulling up the steps. It was setting sail. He saw a rope, and instinctively grabbed it.

Maybe he should let go, his body was broken, and too old. But he pulled at the rope, and started rising, along with the ship, slowly towards the light.

Holding his breath, about to choke, he broke through the surface, once again into the light, into fresh air, life and renewed hope. His hearing cleared, his eyes opened and he opened his mouth…

“Sssh. Don’t say a word” said Irene. I’m sure you nodded off there, but he hasn’t noticed. Have you finished that report yet ? He’s not happy.

“Fuck the report” he said. He ripped the calendar off the wall and ran out of the office, grinning like a Cheshire cat.