A massive storm is coming... will anything be left in its wake?
All throughout the valley people are huddled in shelters. Families, friends, complete strangers. Coming together in a desperate attempt to survive. Pathetic, really.
Some have called what is coming our way the Storm of the Century. Others have said it will be more devastating than anything that has come before it in recorded history. Father Matthias labeled it as the End of Days. Red-faced and wagging his finger as though he were trying to slap each of us across the face without having to step out from behind his pulpit.
Whatever you wish to call it, the storm will be here soon. Its rumble has already begun reverberating around the mountain tops. I can feel it in my bones, like a herd of wild horses galloping toward me with foam-flecked lips as I stand in an open field, naked as the day I was born. Except, you know, a little more terrifying than that.
So folks hide away, count their supplies, and wonder if there will be anything to return to once the storm has passed. Aside from broken homes and shattered dreams and all that good stuff. That much, I think it's safe to say at this point, is expected.
You won't find me down there though, curled up into a trembling ball and begging God or Angels or the Devil or Demons to bring me safely through to the other side of this coming disaster. I've got no family, no friends, no pressing desire to see another sunrise. I'm sure I still could have found a shelter that would have taken me in, I just wasn't interested. I'd rather be up here, with my camera in my hands.
Somebody's gotta capture Mother Nature's temper tantrum for those who come later and wonder what it must have been like and it might as well be me. There's still the matter of finding a suitable hiding place for my camera once my work is done, or at least its memory card, but I'll worry about that later. The pictures have to come first. They always do.
Not that I plan on going out without a fight. I'm wearing my black waterproof jacket and pants, and underneath those I've got wool long underwear and a wool shirt. Wool socks and insulated boots protect my feet. A red toque and matching gloves I stole from... somebody or other... keep my head and hands warm. The pack strapped to my back has enough water and food to last a week and maybe even longer, if I ration wisely.
I am not a stupid man. Well, maybe I am. But I am certainly not a man who is unprepared. I imagine Father Matthias would say that just because I've managed to survive my teenage years that doesn't automatically make me a man, but he's not here right now. So forget him.
That's enough of a break. The peak of this mountain is only a few minutes away now and I can begin capturing history once I'm there. Up I go, one step at a time. You can get anywhere in the world like that. Just keep putting one foot in front of the other.
Here we are. Top of the world. Just in time for the apocalypse. Time to get some "before" shots... what is that?
Halfway down my mountain... there it is again. A flash of neon yellow. Did someone follow me? What the hell for?
No, this person is taking a different path. He is heading for the pass, maybe. Trying to escape? Can't say I blame him. Others might call it cowardice, but I have trouble hearing their voices through the walls of their hidey-holes.
I aim my camera and zoom in as close as it can take me. Who is this mysterious explorer? Flash of yellow... flash of yellow... can't see his face... ah, he's approaching a clearing. Here... we... go...
Oh. Apologies. You are not a he at all, my lady.