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The Realm of Mountains

The Realm of Mountains

By Akash

The Realm of Mountains

To the muses, Calliope, the muse of epic poetry; Clio of history; Euterpe of lyric poetry sung to the accompaniment of the flute; Melpomene of tragedy; Terpsichore of choral songs and the dance; Erato of love poetry sung to the accompaniment of the lyre; Polyhymnia of sacred poetry; Urania of astronomy; and Thalia of comedy.

It was a day like any other. I got up super early, went to my office (which is the astronomical observatory of NASA near London;) came back and sat near my fireplace near my Christmas tree. Yes, tomorrow is Christmas and I was ready for everything and here I was sipping hot chocolate in my comfortable house reading a book. As midnight neared I baked some cookies for Santa and went to my bedroom and took out my telescope and started stargazing. I looked at the constellations, Orion, Gemini etc. then I settled in my bed and slept. I had no dreams fortunately (because I usually have nightmares). The next morning when I got up went to my Christmas tree and looked at my gifts. I didn’t need to ask who gave me which. I had two presents, one from Robin and another from Jason, both are my friends and colleagues. I opened the first one; it was a book from Robin. Jason’s gift was a football. I grabbed my phone to check my mails (an old habit of mine). I saw there was a voicemail from Robin. It said “Hey Albert I am planning to go to Mt. McKinley! You wanna come?

I was pleased. It was my lifelong dream to go to the mountains. I called him but he didn’t pick up. So I messaged “I am coming! Is Jason coming?” It was pretty obvious that he would come because he is very athletic, hyperactive and likes adventure trips. When I called he sent a message “In the Gym, call you after sometime” I started to pack my clothes and things I may need in the trip. After an hour or so I was ready. Oh my Gods! I forgot to ask him when we have to go. Out of the blue, there was a knock on my front door. I answered it and saw Robin standing there with Jason with their travel bags and ready to move (Thank the gods, if I would have asked them when to go it would have been pretty awkward) “Hey, Albert ready to go?” said Jason calmly (he is very calm usually and very humorous) “Absolutely!” I beamed. Jason had brought his jeep with him so he took us to the airport. While he parked his car we got out and walked to the main gate of the airport. After a few minutes he came and we got in. Our plane was delayed. We started roaming and talking and searching about the Mt. McKinley on our phones. After half-an-hour there was an announcement “ATTENTION EVERYONE! THE PASSENGERS WHO ARE DEPARTING FOR THE “ANCHORAGE” SHOULD REACH COUNTER NO. 9. DUE TO WEATHER PROBLEMS THE PLANE LANDING WAS DELAYED THOUGH BUT NOW THE PLANE HAS LANDED SUCCESSFULLY.” we reached counter nine in a couple of minutes. We checked in our bags and got in the aircraft. After some time, the pilot announced “HELLO EVERYONE, I AM CAPTAIN JOHNSON. I AM THE PILOT OF THIS PLANE. ALL PASSENGERS ARE REQUESTED TO BUCKLE UP AND GET READY TO LEAVE. WE WILL ARRIVE AT THE ANCHORAGE IN A COUPLE OF DAYS.” After sometime the air hostess announced “WE ARE READY TO FLY NOW. BUCKLE UP AND EITHER TURN OFF YOUR PHONES OR TURN ON THE FLIGHT MODE.” The rescue video started; I ignored it and took out a book from my bag. After reading a hundred pages or so I kept it back and fell asleep. I had dreams or even better nightmares. I saw Robin half-dead sitting near a rock as the snow fell on his coat. He whispered “Help! Jason, Albert anyone?” and he fainted. I woke up screaming.

Everyone was looking at me. Jason exclaimed with a smile on his face “Everything’s alright, people. He is just having nightmares.” Some nodded and others looked at me scornfully and then went back to their work. I was mortified. Normally I didn’t travel much but when I do; this happens all the time. Jason asked me “Now what did you see?” I told him everything I saw. But he just chuckled and said “No problem, Champ. It was just a dream.” (he is always on the bright side). I nodded still thinking about my dream; took out my laptop and my headphones and started a movie (it’s an old way to peace out). After some time, the lunch was served. I munched it down and started the movie again (hey it is my favorite film). Nothing exciting occurred the rest of the voyage except nightmares. After some days the plane landed. We got off, took our bags and went to the hotel nearby. We reclined on the huge beds in our rooms and after some hours got up had our breakfast and started to think how to get to the mountain. All of us went to our room and started thinking. After a moment or two there was a knock on the door. I opened it and saw a man from the hotel dressed in red standing with a card in his hands. He said “Would you all like to go to the Mighty Mount McKinley? We have rental jeeps and men for taking people to the Mount.” We all chortled and answered “That’s what we were all looking for.” We thanked him and saw rented a jeep and got ready to start our journey. In a few hours we were ready and started our voyage. Jason started the jeep we had bought and the rest of us sat at the back except the head man who were going to take us up who was telling Jason the directions to the Mount. After a few hours few neared an inn which was just below the mount. As we were all tired, we got in and rented a room and had a siesta {I am making it a little smaller because I am short on ink already}.

We got up in a few hours and got ready to make our plan. We saw that we have to climb 6194 meters. Ok that’s sky-scraping. There are two camps during the mounting. The first one is around 2000 meters and the second around 4000 meters. I said “We should start at the break of dawn.” “That is in a few hours. We should hurry.” said Jason thrillingly. “Calm down Jason. We can’t do all this in a hurry. We could get lost.” said Robin in a calm voice. I nodded. “Let’s sleep a bit more and then tomorrow we will scale the Mighty Mount McKinley.” (I really like napping) Everyone grinned and we all went back to our cabins. After an hour or so I woke up at the break of dawn. I sat up and got ready to go. When I got out I saw Robin but not Jason. We called him but he was nowhere to be seen. I looked in his room and saw it was empty. Neither his bags nor Jason himself! We got out in a hurry to ask the innkeeper if he has seen Jason. I was in such a hurry that I collided with a man. I heard a familiar voice “Oh! I’m sorry” I looked up and saw the face of the guy and saw it was Jason himself! I gnashed my teeth and asked “What the Hades are you doing here? (When I’m angry it just slips out of my mouth; yeah I know Greek Myths) “I just came out to have a look around.” “You are so dead. Robin is going to kill you.” I said “I’ll handle that!” He answered snickering. After a few minutes of scolding by Robin we started our journey in “The Realm of Mountains”.

We started hiking up with some apparatuses we had brought. As we scaled up the air got thinner and thinner. We stopped at regular intervals and started hiking again. At some distance we saw there was a bit plain area and saw some tents nearby. As we neared it we saw it was the first campsite! We hastened there and found a group of people sitting there. When we neared they welcomed us warmly and took us to our tents. The sleeping bags were comfy. When I got in the bag I fell asleep. I had the same nightmare again. The next day we started our journey again. After a few hours we were sitting at some height. We were really tired. Robin had gone off for some water. I and Jason were sitting in the snow, rubbing our hands to keep us warm. After a minute or so the wind started blowing hard. Jason and I called Robin. There was no response. Then I saw something worse I have ever seen before. I told Jason “Jason, it’s an avalanche!” we started running towards the direction where Robin had gone. But the snow got us and I blacked out.

After some time, I opened my eyes and saw I was in a tent and Jason was sitting beside me and a face was hovering above me. I sat up and saw a lady standing in fur coats. She said in a very quickly as if she is going to miss her train. “What were you guys thinking? Who are you? Don’t you know what to do in an avalanche?” I tried to converse and said.

“We’re tourists but who are you?” She again started speaking again in the speed of light.

“Of course you are. Don’t you know I know that? I am Veronica Rutherford, an explorer.”

Man! She’s irritating. But something about her voice and name was familiar. Her face was familiar too. “Did you see a blonde-haired man a bit short heighted.” I asked about Robin. She shook her head but in her eyes I saw some surprise, fear and anger “No, was he another one of you guys?” “Yes. Did you see him? He was gone off looking for water. “I remembered. “No.” she answered. I stood up and got ready to go out. “Where do you think you’re going?” She asked. “I am going to find my friend.” “Yeah, of course you are; I knew you were stupid. Don’t you understand, if you go out you are definitely going to die.” She said. “So? What should I do just sit here and leave him to die?” I exclaimed. “I know you are stressed and you care about your friend. But if you go out there you are going to die. I don’t want you to.” She said. Then I thought “She was more familiar with this place. I should listen to her.” I asked “What should we do then?” I asked. “We would start looking for him at the break of dawn. It would be too dangerous if we go now.” She said. Then I noticed that Jason was silent the whole time. I looked at him and saw him staring at us. We both said “Who are you staring at?” he shook his head grinned and said “Let’s sleep.” I nodded and went to sleep in our sleeping bags.

And again I had that same dream; by this time, I had realized that the dream was true. It was warning me about this incident but I didn’t listen to it and now Robin is lost, because of me. The next day we started looking for Robin. We called out to him but he was nowhere to be seen. Then we thought he would have gone to the second camp or had gone down to the camp we had been to. We decided to spread out. Jason said that “I will go to the 1st camp and you two should go towards the peak and find Robin at the 2nd camp and I want you to behave. You should not go on fighting with each other.” I didn’t believe my ears! Jason was denying going up! I knew that he loved adventure but I also knew that he was soft at heart. I nodded and wished him luck and Veronica gave him a satellite phone from which he can contact us.

Before he left I said “Don’t die down there. If you do, I am going to kill you.” He grinned and said “You too!” and left to find the 1st camp. Me and Veronica continued the journey. After a few hours we were tired and sat on the snow for a moment as Veronica searched for water. After sometime I heard a shout of joy or fear (I can’t differentiate between them).

I rushed where the noise had come from and saw Veronica grinning as she had seen a bag of gold. She said laughing “Ha! Got you! You look as scared as a cat in the water! I just shouted in joy because I found water.” I gnashed my teeth and lied “I wasn’t scared, I thought that you have found something more useful, like traces of Robin.” “I found that too.” She held up a yellow scarf and my eyes widened. “Is this your friend’s?” “Yes!” I exclaimed. “Well that’s good because we have to go into the cave of a bear. I found this at the mouth of that cave” She pointed to a nearby cave. I thought “Bears can’t be that bad. I mean they like humans right?” “Okay, I am going in.” I said “Yeah, even by staying with me you haven’t learned anything. Don’t you know that bears also eat meat and all bears don’t like humans?” she said as if she was reading my mind. I said “Ok. Miss Know-It-all. What should we do then?” “Don’t call me with that name!” She calmed down a bit and said “We should go slowly and be close to the sides. There the bear couldn’t see us.” I followed her advice and saw that there was no one inside instead of a huge orange jacket. Robin’s Jacket! We got nearer and heard a roar.

The bear was back! We got closer to the wall and saw that there was no one in the jacket. Aw man! We got here and found nothing and now we are trapped. The bear got closer to us probably by sniffing our blood. When it neared us I told her “Hold your breath!” she muttered irritatingly. “Don’t you know that I know that?” after a long minute the bear sniffed us and went away. We ran outside as fast as we could and got behind a tree for a while to check that the bear was really gone or not. After some rest we continued our journey and after some hours we saw a campfire nearby and rushed towards it. It was the 2nd campsite! We rushed there and asked the head of the camp about Robin. After some time, we called Jason but he didn’t pick up. We were too tired to even ask each other why he isn’t picking up the phone and passed out in our bags. The following day we started our journey again. Five days passed with some appalling adventures (about which I probably will tell you if I get out of here alive). The 6th day we heard a cry of pain. I got up and saw that Veronica were still sleeping. I rushed to the voice. I saw it was the same stone near which had seen Robin in my dream. I saw a black thing lying there as I neared the rock I saw it was a person.

It was Robin. I tried to wake him up but he was very tired. I pulled him to our tent and gave him his scarf and some food and water. After sometime Robin and Veronica got up. When Robin saw Veronica his eyes widened. They hugged each other and Veronica said “How did you get into this mess, “Brother” Brother? Oh! So that’s what seemed familiar in her face. They were siblings! After sometime I said “Hey Robin, what happened? Can you tell us?” he nodded and said “But first I have to tell you something I brought you here to find my sister. She was nowhere to be seen after we moved to London. She was an explorer I knew that and I also knew that she wanted to go to The Mighty Mount McKinley. I am sorry Albert.” I punched him gently and said “That’s not the problem; first tell us what happened after the avalanche.” “After the avalanche I had nowhere to go. I thought you were dead. I was grief-stricken. I was sitting where we had camped the last time. A bear attacked me and I threw him off my scent by tossing this jacket in its cave. And ran away and hid behind this big rock. Then a snow-storm came and after that it’s a blank.” I shared our story and we started to go down the Mountain. We messaged Jason and told him to come back and wait for us at the inn. After a few days we were down at the base of the mountain and I noticed and exclaimed “Jason’s not here!” Veronica checked her phone and saw that there was a voicemail. It said “HEY GUYS! I AM AT THE TOP OF THE MOUNTAIN WANNA COME?” I looked at Robin and Veronica and grinned and they grinned back and I exclaimed


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22 Mar, 2019
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