Short Fiction #39 “George”


George didn’t know why he was there. Or how he had got there. Well, actually he knew the method of getting there – several plane flights and then non-stop climbing for several weeks. Though it seemed like an eternity. The guides had said it was a trek. What an understatement. It was a trial, an endurance test, massive torture and very demanding.

If I had to guess it probably started several years ago. His best friend Kevin challenged him to go on this crazy trip. It had taken all his resources to get to this point; money, time, physical effort and mental capacity. Climbing a mountain in this country didn’t come cheaply. The essential equipment was heavy and they needed extra helpers to get all their stuff up the mountains.

Time had been the biggest expense. Nearly two years of special training took huge chucks out of his already tight schedule. Physically it had cost him about ten kilograms of weight, not that he minded that part of the preparation. Emotionally it had been a roller coaster. Gradually the days of doubt were outweighed by the days of eager anticipation.

George stood on the edge of a rocky outcrop. He was trying to catch his breath. The crisp, cold air made that just a little harder. The air felt super chilled against the sweat from all that physical exertion. He lingered a little longer than the others in his party.

“Is it worth it?” he muttered softly. He stared at the peak in front of him. He took in all the crags and rocky outcrops, the brilliant snow-covered peak, the deep shadows in the gullies and the azure sky above.

“Yes,” he answered to himself. “Yes, all that effort has been worth it.”

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Copyright 2007 Trevor W. Hampel

Read more of my short stories here.

Page revised and updated in August 2015.

Scene from our lodge in Monjo, Nepal

Scene from our lodge in Monjo, Nepal


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