Title: The Climb
Genre: gay romance, M/M, paranormal/supernatural
Length: short story
A hidden Rocky Mountain alpine meadow and glacial lake are an escape, a small personal paradise for Jessie. Climbing to the overview above camp, however, proves he does not know his sanctuary as well as he thought. How can a strange storm, a fog, and the scent of flowers change his worldview, and ultimately, his life?
I pounded on the door with my fist, getting more and more upset, but no one answered. The cabin was solid and definitely there. No way could anyone have constructed this thing in the little time I was gone. I cracked the door open and peered inside; entering when I found it was empty. I discovered a few belongings, a pile of blankets, and tanned skins on the floor, and a handmade table and bench seat, with a couple of tin dishes and a large black pot near the open fireplace. Reaching toward the ashes, I could feel some warmth, so the fire hadn’t been out too long. Someone had to be close by.
The door slammed open. I jumped, ashamed to have been caught where I didn’t belong.
“What ya doin’ in my home? Who are ya?”
As I turned, I was stunned into silence. A well-built man stood silhouetted in the doorway. I couldn’t see his face, but his shoulders were broad, his bare forearms muscled, and he was holding an axe in front of him as if to ward off an enemy. Belatedly, I realized that enemy was me.
“Speak man! Who are ya?”
I shook my head, but couldn’t get my tongue unstuck. Holding my hands in front of me in the universal sign of surrender and peace, I prayed he wouldn’t start swinging until I could get my wits about me.
“Are you mute, boy? Can’t cha talk?”
“I-I can talk.” I stuttered.
“Whatcha doing here? You lost?”
Shaking my brain loose, still unable to see his face in the gloom of the cabin, I started to lower my hands when he motioned with the axe to keep them where they were.
“Listen, I don’t know what’s going on, but I woke up in a cave in the cliff and I was all alone. My friends are supposed to be right here, right now, and this cabin wasn’t here a few hours ago. If this is a prank, can we just get to the funny part and have a good laugh?”