14 June, 2019
Fiction Friday - The Hike
It was hot and sunny today, and the pack was heavy.
Fortunately the air was growing cooler the higher they climbed, but Hunter was still sweating from exertion. Up ahead, Levi had stopped by a tree while the rest of the group hiked past. As Hunter, bringing up the rear, drew level with him, he asked, "Want me to carry the pack for a bit, Dad?"
Hunter smiled and hefted the pack higher on his shoulders. "No thanks. This is for your Uncle Cameron and me to carry."
"Okay." Levi, tall and lanky at 18, hung back to walk alongside his dad for a while.
"I'm glad you wanted to come with us, son."
"Well, we've hiked Mt. Hood before, and with Grandpa, too. Tom and Cal might not remember... were they even with us that trip?" He referred to his two younger brothers who were back home with their mother.
"Hmm... I don't think so. Wasn't that your first overnight trek?"
"Yeah! That's right!"
Soon, at a clearing up ahead, the group stopped for a lunch break. Everyone was sitting around digging into their backpacks. Cameron came over to Hunter, holding out a sandwich. "I'll trade packs after lunch."
"Sounds good." The heavy pack landed with a THUNK and Hunter accepted the sandwich, leaning side to side and stretching his shoulders. The twins sat together, looking around at the group. Cousin Sue was there with her fiance; Cameron's neighbors had joined them; and the owner of Expedition Outfitters down in the valley had insisted on coming along.
He came over to join them. "Hey guys, you doing okay? Need a protein bar?"
"Not for me, thanks, Stu."
Stu sat on a log near them. "Your dad was one of my best customers. Hiking, kayaking, camping, fishing. Glad you guys are keeping the tradition alive."
"Once it's in your blood..."
"Ain't it the truth?"
Their cousin rose to speak. "Excuse me, everyone!" She was holding a plastic clam shell case from a grocery bakery. "Today is a very important day. Happy birthday, Hunter and Cameron! We're so happy to share this event with you." Cheers of "Happy birthday!" were followed by the traditional song, and Sue opened the clam shell container to share around cupcakes with everyone.
After lunch, the group continued their ascent, with Cameron taking the heavy pack and Hunter taking the one with standard supplies. Near the top of Mt. Hood, they stopped. Cameron lowered the heavy pack and he and Hunter opened it, taking out a heavy urn.
"This was our dad's favorite hike," Hunter began.
Cameron added, "Every year, at least once, we came up here together."
"On our birthday, if weather and health permitted."
Everyone in the group shared memories of the deceased father, grandfather, business patron, and neighbor. Then, after a moment of silence, the twin brothers opened the urn and shook their father's ashes into the wind.
Every Friday, a new flash fiction story, inspired by reader comments. Feel free to leave a prompt for future use in the comments below.I'm almost out of prompts. I hope you liked that story, based on the prompt "a birthday for twins" given during the A to Z Challenge by Liz A. (of Laws of Gravity) on my "V" post (here).
If you choose to join in for Fiction Fridays, post a link to your story below in the comments. Next week's prompt is: "hazy". If you join me next week, be sure to come back and share a link to your story!