Before you read please note, this story is titled ‘Twist Of Fate’ for a reason. Also please try and ignore the lack of description and possible minor mistakes. I have been really busy this past two weeks with university applications and school work. I will work to better it in the near future. But for now give it a chance, I promise you will not regret it -Sonaili
Bradley Evans woke up in his bed feeling all damp and shaken. He thought that they would have stopped by now, but clearly not. He placed his fingers on his temple and gave it a gentle massage, in an attempt to calm down his pounding head.
The nightmares always began the same way, with him climbing and hiking up the icy slopes of a mountain; and always ended with a piercing scream, that still happened to be echoing in his head.
The room was slightly illuminated by the light of the rising sun, which streamed in through the translucent curtains. He shook his head to try and rid himself of the pictures that flooded his mind. Bradley then rubbed his eyes, to get rid of the sleep and so that he could see well. The room around him was pretty a standard hotel room; with a small flat screen TV right opposite the bed, a full length mirror on one side of the room, a small dresser and a door leading to a small bathroom.
It was no five star hotel, but the lodge they were staying at was just enough for their expedition. If he was to say that he was looking forward to the trek ahead of them, then he would be lying to himself. However he would say it, just to make Claire happy.
He got up to get out of bed slowly, he didn’t want to wake her up. As soon as he removed the quilt covers, a hint of coldness hit him. But it was not as cold as it was outside because of the in-built radiators in the room. His toes curled up as soon as his feet hit the floor. He then slowly padded over to the window, pulling the curtains slightly across allowing him to stare out. The view was beautiful. A thin coat of snow covered the grass and in the near distance you could see the greyish slopes of the mountains they were to trek and climb later in the day. The sun was just rising hence making the small sheet of snow glisten. The tree branches had a couple of pink buds, but not enough to cover the entire tree like how they had the last time he was here.
He sighed a little, remembering the thrill that used to overcome him just by looking at a mountain or a huge rock that was in any way climbable. But he no longer felt that thrill, and every time he looked at such a mountain or rock or anything adventurous in general he would now feel heart ache.
“When did you wake up?” A voice from behind him spoke, snapping him out of his thoughts. He returned the curtain back to its original position and turned to face her.
Claire was still laying on the bed. Her elbow was propped up against the pillow and her head rested on her hand. Her voice was a bit groggy with sleep and her hair was in a slight mess.
“A while back” he replied, a small smile spreading across his face. It was not a genuine smile though, but he had to fake it, because he did not want to hurt Claire in any way.
As she reached over to the bedside table to grab her phone, Bradley walked across the room to the bathroom.
“It’s six o’clock, they said we had to meet the rest, at the hut, at seven thirty” She said, telling him something he already knew. He was now brushing his teeth and so he did not bother replying.
Claire slowly got up and out of bed. She walked over to the rucksacks that lay in a corner to check whether they have all the supplies for the hiking trip.
After another forty five minutes both of them had showered, wore clothes according to the weather and had finished packing their hiking and climbing gear.
“I can’t wait to get back out there” Claire said excitedly. “The thrill of it was amazing last time” She said as they started getting things out of their hotel room. Then she saw the look on his face and immediately back tracked.
“Obviously I do understand that this time it’s not all about fun and games and this expedition is important for you to move on and for our happy ever after” She said whilst grabbing his hand and giving it a reassuring squeeze.
Bradley somehow needed to hear that and so he pulled her in for a tight embrace and then planted a kiss on her forehead. He then proceeded to carry the rucksacks down the hotel corridor as Claire locked up the room and followed shortly behind. As she watched him walk in front of her, she had this feeling of joy inside of her that she couldn’t quite explain. She was happy that they were finally together, that she got to call him her fiancé. But she was not quite happy about being here, in fact she had to fake her happiness for his sake. She hated this place because it was where she did what she had to do to get him, right here. She thought back to how sick and tired she was of being stuck in the friend zone.
She remembered how annoying it was always being placed number two in his life. She remembered how she hated that the last time they were here someone else got to call him their fiancé.
So she smiled and smirked to herself as she walked behind him.
After checking out and leaving all their unnecessary luggage at the reception. They both started the 15 minute walk to the meeting point where there would meet all the other hikers, climbers and their guide.
During this fifteen minute walk they both greeted the locals politely, the locals were just as welcoming as they were the last time they were here. They both thought that Nepal was an incredible country.
Maybe this wasn’t going to be a bad trip after all, Bradley thought to himself. He relaxed a little thinking that maybe it was just his attitude that was spoiling everything for him. The incident happened three and a half years ago and it was time he properly moved on and got over it. Besides, he had Claire now.
Once they reached the small hut shaped building where the first meeting point was, they saw a small crowd had already gathered there. They both knew that it was better if they got acquainted with the group as they would be hiking and climbing with them for the next week or so. They didn’t bother going inside the small hut as they knew that just like last time someone would probably be with them shortly.
So they went over and greeted everyone. There was a traveling couple, a father and son who annually travel to different places, two girls who are best friends, a brother and sister, a small group of friends who were on holiday from college and two sisters. This group was much smaller compared to the group that they gone with previously. They introduced themselves as an engaged couple who were on holiday. Claire loved calling Bradley her fiancé in front of everyone, and just to show him off a bit more, she tightly held on to him by his arm.
Bradley and Claire were informed by the Monica, who one of the college students’, that the guides that were supposed to trek with the group would be with them shortly. But Bradley and Claire told her that they knew because this was not the first time that they were going on this expedition.
Each and every person that was part of the group was too engrossed in their conversation to notice the five guides make their way over to the group.
As soon as the guides reached the group of hikers and climbers that they were supposed to lead, one of them cleared his throat so as to get the hikers’ attention.
Everyone immediately stopped talking and turned to face them. The group of guides consisted of three women and to men. Everyone could tell that one of the lady and one man were from Nepal and the rest were from elsewhere. Everyone except Bradley and Claire, because though they were paying attention to what was being said their eyes were focused on Bradley’s rucksack which had snapped open and was refusing to close.
The man who had cleared his throat waited for a while for the both of them to stop fiddling around with the bag, but when he realised that they were not going to stop anytime soon and he figured they were listening he proceeded talking.
“My name is Ethan and I will be your head guide for the rest of the trek” He sounded as if he was from either Australia or New Zealand. As he continued talking more about the trek and told people a bit about himself, Bradley and Claire were still trying to close the darn bag.
Ethan was quite handsome to look at. He a deep, commanding yet friendly voice and he had a slight brown stubble growing around his jaw line. All the girls that were part of the trainee group were swooning a little.
He then went on to introducing the rest of the guides and telling everyone a bit about them. The local guides were called Kiran and Alina. Both of them were born in Nepal and at some point in their lives moved to another country. Kiran decided to come back five years ago to become a guide mountaineer and Alina returned from Scotland two years ago to do the same. The other guide was called Kristina and was from the USA and she had been living in Nepal for a year now; because she was traveller who had a degree in hospitality from Switzerland. And whilst pursuing this degree in university she fell in love with mountains and climbing them.
Bradley and Claire were paying attention the entire time that Ethan was speaking. They were also listening when the rest of the guides greeted everyone as Ethan introduced them, and finally they had just about managed to close the bag as the last guide was introduced.
“The last guide is a bit of a special person here, so I will let her introduce herself” Ethan announced.
The zip of the bag had closed and Bradley and Claire were tying the ropes of it but still paying attention.
“Hey everyone, my name is Katie or at least I think it is” The last guide spoke her voice rang out loud and clear yet had a hint of nervousness in it.
Both Bradley and Claire froze as soon as they heard her voice. Bradley’s heart was racing at a thousand miles per hour as he met Claire’s wide eyes. Both stood up from their spot on the ground in a jolt and turned to face the woman who was speaking.
Bradley couldn’t believe his eyes and he felt like his breath had been knocked out of him.
“The reason I’m saying that is because I have amnesia, this means that I literally cannot remember anything that happened to me before the accident” She continued without noticing the shock she was giving two of her audience members.
Bradley couldn’t believe it, he couldn’t seem to comprehend how it was even possible. How was she still alive? He couldn’t seem to hear anything she was saying, all he could do was stare. He blinked a couple of times to make sure he was not seeing things. When he was sure that what he was seeing was true. He took her in completely. From her thick brown hiking boots, to her brown her, to her red clothes and that’s when he saw it. The ring that looked like a pendant on her necklace. He drew a sharp breath in and suddenly he started finding it difficult to breathe.
Claire stood next to Bradley and stared at Katie as she continued talking. As Katie told her story, Claire gathered that Katie had amnesia and couldn’t remember anything that had happened, in her life before the accident. Katie said that she had been found by the locals unconscious and nearly dead, with a head injury about three years ago. The locals had then tried their level best to heal her using their medicines, and though they had healed her injuries, her fall had caused her apparent brain damage and she had no way of finding out who she was. She knew her name because it was engraved on the pendant of the necklace she was wearing when she was found.
Fury and rage burned within Claire. Katie was not supposed to have survived that fall, that’s why Claire had pushed her off the mountain edge in the first place. The only good thing was that, Katie had amnesia so it meant that the possibility of her remembering what had happened to her was narrow. But Katie being alive would mean that she and Bradley might not be able to be together after all, Claire thought.
Claire then looked over to Bradley and saw that he too was in total shock. He had become pale and his eyes held an unreadable expression, he also happened to be swaying a bit as if he were dizzy and he was holding his head. Suddenly he dropped unconscious to the ground.
Next weeks story is going to be titled ‘Distance’ and I personally love it a lot, I have already started working on it. Everything about it is great about it, but of course my readers will be the ones to decided. – Sonaili