The Midsummer Hike – One Infinite Loop Series, Part 1 by Seth Comire

It was that fleeting hour of the day when the moon and sun are high and bright at the same time. Like many things in my life, these summer nights wouldn’t last much longer. I sat quietly on a rotten tree, felled years ago in the middle of the woods behind my house. I haven’t made time to get outdoors much this summer, but today I may spend the entire night out here, unable to move.

My ankle is swollen like a water-retaining 9-month pregnant woman. I wasn’t thinking clearly when that damn black bear cut me off on the trail.

I just took off running, which is obviously the worst thing to do.

Luckily, the bear didn’t follow me. Less than a hundred and fifty feet into my sprint (which was more like a fit person’s saunter), I fell sideways when my left foot caught under a tree root sticking out of the unkempt trail.

I don’t know how I did it, but as I fell, I held back the urge to scream. Thinking the bear would follow my noise and come shred me to pieces, I remained quiet. I scanned the surrounding area from my prone position on the ground and listened closely. That black furball of death was gone, but that was the least of my problems now.

I am around five miles away from my house. I am out of water and didn’t bring anything else with me on the hike. The sun is setting and it’s still over 90 degrees outside. With the swamp nearby, I’m sweating through my clothes. The humidity makes this unbearable. Pun intended.

Don’t judge me for my humor. It’s really all I have left at this point. The mosquitos must think they’re at a Sunday brunch buffet because I have bites and bumps all over my body. If I wasn’t in so much pain, I’d be going crazy scratching myself.

I have to crawl home soon. It’s dusk and this time of day is when the wildlife comes out. I can’t defend myself against a coyote, never mind a bear or mountain lion.

So tired…

Have you ever woken up, not knowing where you were? Well, I just had that same experience. I can’t believe I fell asleep. It’s dark out here and I’m freezing. With the sun gone, the temperature dropped more than my body can handle.

I see the full moon and I’m grateful for the light it offers, but I’m in the middle of the woods and the tree cover blocks most of the light.

So thirsty. My mouth is dryer than burnt bacon.

I just tried crawling home and made it ten feet (if that). That’s when I knew my ankle was broken. I can’t drag it without a wretched pain shooting up my entire leg.

Water. I could use some water.

Dizzy now.

Stomach hurts. Is this what child labor feels like?

Everything going dark.

I guess I was right when I said these summer nights wouldn’t last…

*****

“Sir, prisoner 452346 is currently experiencing death sentence 435,” said the Cryo-Prison Technician.

“Good. That son of a bitch killed 15 kids on a school bus back in ’32. Log it and prep him for number 436,” replied the Cryo-Warden.

“Gladly, sir.”

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