Short Story: The Cut Rope

“So… what do we do now?”

A man paced around circles, feet squelching across the damp rocky surface. In response, his head shot up.

“The fuck does it matter Jo?! It’s stormy as shit out there, and we just fucking lost Rich…”

“I didn’t…”

“You didn’t what?? You didn’t drop most of our equipment? You didn’t damage the God damn-”

“Enough.” The old man spoke a single word with calm and confidence. It seemed to be enough to halt all but the howling screams of the air raking the cliff walls. “Focus you two. There’s no time. We need to keep it together. Greg.”

Greg did not respond. No longer pacing, he gazed off over the open hole of the cove with eyes that could pierce through diamond.

“Greg.”

A silence filled the air for a moment, giving way to the ghostly sounds of the winds washing small amounts of water into their temporary abode.

“GREG!”

The old man's eyes narrowed, then relaxed as he let out a sigh of defeat.

“Jo.”

“Yeah?”

“You did what I told you. You did what you had to, if you didn’t, we’d all be dead. Because of you we’ll live… But put that aside, to answer your question, we do nothing. Radio’s broken, we can’t call for help. No one’s going to come rescue us in this weather. We’ll have to wait it out.”

Responding to the old man’s words Jo’s shoulders seemed to soften a fraction. She had yet to process what she’d done. If she had, she’d be in Greg’s position right now.

“Conserve your energy. All we can do is rest. We’ll get help in the morning” The old man lied.

He lived long enough to know that pretty soon, the three of them would be condemned to the same fate as their fallen brother.

Still peering over the precipice of their predicament, Greg’s eyes knew it too.

Author's Notes

This was written for Episode 50 of Do the Write Thing with the selected word prompts being: damaged, condemned, and stormy.

Prompt Interpretation

I saw damaged and condemned and immediately thought I had to write a dark story. I didn't know what it would be about, but then I thought of a group of people being trapped by a storm in a hopeless situation. What a better place than a cliff.

I tried to focus on the dialogue to tell the story. But then I realized since I had three people I had to give some of them names to differentiate them. Perhaps it would be better if they each only had descriptions like I did with the old man. 🤷🏾‍♂️

I wanted the reader to feel a sort of resigned hopelessness.

Evaluation

I had difficulty with getting started really. I lost most of my time trying to actually think about what I wanted to convey.

Did I get across the scenario they're in? Perhaps. Four of them are climbing/hiking, a storm came, they had an accident and one of them had to be cut down. They then manage to find some reprise in a cove, but it doesn't look good for their future prospects.

Maybe next time, when I do dialogue heavy stories, I'll have fewer characters since I don't have that much time.