I was startled to wake up to the campsite being entirely empty. Even my tent had disappeared. I stood up and stretched while scanning the surrounding area. I heard a faint giggle from behind a hill, and headed towards it. I soon discovered resting at the bottom of the valley, were Eddie and my uncle holding back some laughter. I threw some dirt at them and slid down the mossy hill.
“You must’ve had a real scare there,” said my uncle, holding back tears of laughter.
I sighed, and looked at Eddie who seemed to be growing tired of the joke.
He looked at my uncle. “Come Daniel, you’ve had your fun, let us keep moving. Only the Silky Steps remain to be ascended before the peek.”
It wasn’t long before we were back on the trail, waiting for the most dangerous part to appear before us. The Silky Steps were so dangerous because the stones that formed the steps were notoriously slippery. Uncle had told me that he broke his spine while climbing the steps. And although I never had an accident on the steps, the possibility always rested in the back of my mind when climbing them.
To think that a man, old and blind like Eddie was to climb the steps made my stomach turn. Trying not to give offence to the man I back handedly commented on his health.
“A man your age would have to be pretty fit and agile to climb these steps Eddie.”
I heard a hearty laugh come from his chest.
“Aye, he would.”
Only the birds were heard until we came across the start of the steps.
My uncle handed me his pick axes.
“It’s your turn to lead son.”
I had never been the lead on the steps before, but I was certainly ready. I began the ascent followed by my uncle, who was followed by Eddie. I put my full focus and attention into climbing the steps carefully. My uncle and Eddie on the other hand seemed to be having a boisterous laugh in the back. No doubt reminiscing about the battle on the peak. Although all my focus was on the climb, I heard bits a pieces of the conversation every so often.
“You sliced him straight across the ankle!”
“They found me retching at the bottom of these steps.”
“Elyse gave most of herself to the cause that day.”
“It all ended here.”
That was the last morsel of memories past I heard before gazing upon the vast country that lied before us now. We had reached the peak.
To be continued