Groggy, Peter wakes up around midday, and decides he can have some sheep to get protein. Peter checks on his wound and finds it no worse, but not better either. He tests how strong his is, and he is not ready to stand, but can crawl on all fours.
I lay there with nothing to do or entertain me but a spider. The spider crawled slowly, like I did, but with more . . . confidence? It didn’t know the exact terrain, but the spider knew it could compensate for any misstep. I wish I could be like that, okay with not knowing the exact future, but knowing I can handle it.
The delicate tentacles sprawl out in every direction, searching, searching, searching. The digits feel their way along the rough, yet smooth surface. They try to control everything that is in their reach, and have no variables not accounted for. But the dip in the surface is not accounted for and the fingers fall.
The spider crawls along side the mountain ledge next to me, but the inlet is too hard for the spider to hold on to and it falls. We, humans, think we’re so much better because we’re bigger. But there is so many lessons to be learned from the these tiny species. We’re all just trying to survive, and we crush them just because we can. It feels like I’m the spider and I’m being crushed from trying to survive.
Peter goes and finds the soldiers and his friend. He moves more quickly than yesterday, but still slowly. The soldiers didn’t have much on them, other than weapons and canteens, but Peter gladly took the water. He makes many trips back and forth from the soldiers in various area and back to the camp, taking the water, weapons, and their clothing.
Peter bear crawls over to his friend, Bernard, one last time and dragged him as best he can to the rock pile and starts to bury him in the rocks. After an hour of heavy lifting, Peter is tired and his stomach hurts, so he takes a nap – which turns into his night sleep – by his friend’s grave.
Peter stirs at just before dawn. His back hurt from laying on the rocks. Peter bear crawled over the rock pile and to the camp just as the sun was coming out, record time for him. He ate a breakfast of dried fruits and goat. Peter checked his wound and it was getting better, but not fast as he hoped. With nothing else to do, he took another nap; hoping the wound would heal better if he slept and conserve energy.
He aroused sometime during the night.
I wonder if the soldier’s commander will come looking for his soldiers? If he does, I’m done for. But the commander doesn’t seem like the kind of guy to worry about a few men in search of a scientist. He said for the soldiers to contact him, if they found the scientist. Of course! The radios! I have to find the radios! But the refugees didn’t have any radios with them. But none the less, it’s something I should have.
Peter searches around the two tents, but finds no sign of a radio. He doesn’t want to go out during the dark to try and find it on the soldiers bodies. Deciding there is nothing he can do until morning, Peter finishes his sleep.
In the morning, Peter searches and finds a radio. All day he tries to figure out if he can contact anyone to let them know that he is alive, but there is no luck. He listens to the talk of the soldiers, but no useful information is passed on.
Peter tries his strength at standing, and though it still has a slight more pain than when he’s crawling, it durable.
It’s been six or seven or days since the fight. By now the refugees have found routine in their schedule of the cave. They wouldn’t come out of the cave, until the time we agreed for of four to five weeks. Looks like it’s up to me to find them. I’ll stay here for maybe two or three more days to gather my strength, and then I’ll start to head my way up to the cave. It will probably be five or six days at a medium pace with how I’m healing. A week or a bit more at a slow pace, which will most likely be. I need to pack for a least ten to twelve days. Good thing the soldiers eat a lot, and I don’t.
Days pass which are filled with gathering any other food he can find, and strengthening himself. Peter favors his stomach, but still working at it as much as he can without hurting himself. Peter listens to the radio, which the only useful informative is that now all the refugees who stayed at the camp, are now dead. All his friends . . . are dead.
I lay on my back just looking up at the magnificent stars above me. I think of the old saying of ‘what doesn’t kill you, makes you stronger.’ I’m becoming stronger, but there is something missing. Something totally wrong, I almost feel dead inside. This everlasting hurt taking over me. I feel the saying should be changed to: ‘what doesn’t kill you, makes you stronger, but what if it kills you partly?’ I’m alive and surviving – becoming stronger, but I’m dead inside. I doing exactly what I told Gwendalyn not to do. I’m surviving, but it’s so hard to strive to thrive – to LIVE. I’m just so tired at having to work to . . . to try? It was so easy with Gwendalyn at my side, but now? I’m dead inside, and there is no way to cut it out. I have to survive while being dead. But what is it like to die? Am I truly dead? Or does it just feel like it?
I have to have hope. I’m leading a path to inspire others. That was one of my reasons to do this, so I have to even if I’m not all the way dead. But how do you fight the death of reality? I need to hope again. I have to inspire hope.
Finally after three or four days of getting prepared, Peter believed he was ready. He started out in early morning, just as the sun was coming up. Peter could faintly see the outline of the path and rocks ahead of him, but it was enough because the beginning path he knew well. Peter had to become a spider. He walked slowly, but didn’t crawl anymore, which was good for his hands were beginning to heal from the days of crawling and being raw open flesh from the hard rocks. Every hour to a hour and a half, Peter would take five minute breaks to drink some water and chart out his next path up the mountain. Peter’s days were long and tiresome, but he knew he would be with the refugees, his new family, soon.
Peter rounded the cliff, ready for the next long leg of his hike, when he saw the cave.
I’m going to see my Gwendalyn! She won’t have to live without me, and –
“Gwen . . . Gwen . . . Gwen, it’s Peter. Gwen? Gwen! Gwen, what happened in here? Gwen!”