A Fiction
Vani Venkatesan

Chapter 3     Mountain Adventures


Instead of heading home, I made her take a subway train with me to Lantau Island, where Big Budha, a huge Budha statue was located on a tall mountain for followers to make pilgrimages.
The false hope enticed them to follow me incessantly; no robber would give up in such an ideal abduction environment.

The obliterated trail got steeper as I ran and in an hour of running, we did not encounter any other hikers. Then we reached the myriad wooden stairs which wind around the woods along a stream. I quickened my pace, climbing with deliberate strides up the stairs, deeper and deeper into the mountain, never far away from the unceasing stream. My rhymic footfalls on the wood echoed in the mountain - bong, bong, bong, sounded like a monster climbing out from the hell that I tried to run away but never could.

The couple fell behind and followed at a distance. Now it was too late for them to call for help. We were deep in the mountain and I could veer into the forest at any time.
As I jumped out from the last step of the stairs, the echo disappeared. I immediately cut into the forest and led my pursuers to another trail to avoid passing by the operating room, where they could ask for water. I pushed further up the mountain, running over one summit after another to arrive at a long steep slope. As I ran steadily up the steep slope, I suddenly heard a dull splashing sound behind. Turning my head, I found the young man had collapsed on the dirt and the girl was fainting. Running back, I was just in time to catch her from hitting the ground. Squatting down, I laid her head on my knee and fed her a few gulps of water. She barely opened her eyes, her hands trembling. She stretched her hand into her shorts pocket, trying to retrieve an object but was too weak to do so. I helped her and found a cell phone which she handed to me. I used it to call the mountain keepers who would come in a short while to rescue them. When I returned the phone to her, she stared at me, eyes red, a bead of tear flowing down her face. With a very weak voice and a faint smile, she whispered, `John, I could never thank you enough! I'll forever remember your kindness and the intimation of redeeming grace. I wish you good luck!' I nodded. A peaceful smile appeared on her pale face before she closed her eyes. I laid both of them under a huge tree so that they were fully under the shade. Had I not called the mountain keepers, they might have died there as they were severely dehydrated.

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