In space, no one can hear you scream. It was an odd phrase to pop into Alison’s head, but it seemed appropriate considering her present predicament. The line, or rather tag line, came from the movie Alien, and Alison remembered seeing the movie as a teenager. She had had nightmares for a week over that movie. But real life had dealt its own nightmares; an abusive marriage, drug addiction, and the loss of her parents. And she survived all of that only to find herself here on the ledge of Indian Head bluff; and very likely with a broken ankle. This was suppose to be a four hour hike. A sort of victory lap. Now she lay prone on a ledge some fifty feet below the trail she was on.
She looked out over the vista. Way at the bottom was the highway. But that was not going to bring any help. It was too far away for anyone to hear her screams for help. She slowly sat up, trying not to move her lower right leg. But pain still shot through not only her leg but her head as well. She lifted a hand to the back of her skull and felt a large goose egg. Not good, Alison whispered to herself.
Slowly, and with effort not to pass out from pain she took off her backpack. She unzipped it and inventoried her supplies: four half liter bottles of water, six power bars, a quart baggie of trail mix and an emergency blanket. Not great, but it might keep her going a few days. Hopefully she would hear someone up on the trail and yell for help.
She unfolded the silver mylar blanket and wrapped herself in it. She situated herself so her back was against the ledge wall and she could see across the valley. It would have been a breathtaking view if it weren’t for her situation.
As the afternoon wore on, and no noises could be heard from the trail above, Alison became sleepy. Not a good sign, lady, she uttered to herself. Could be a concussion. She grabbed a water bottle and took a sip. The cool water felt good going down her throat and revived her somewhat. She took a couple more swallows, then ate a small handful of trail mix after which she put it back in the pack. Gotta ration, girl.
As the evening sun began to set in the valley, Alison grew panicked. She had heard no one and a night alone, out in the open, with no fire, and injured truly terrified her. She got the water bottle out and a power bar. Only a few sips of water and a couple bites of the bar were allowed. She then adjusted herself as best she could in a semi prone position to try to rest. Concussion or not, Alison knew she needed to conserve heat and energy, and curling up would be the best way to accomplish that task. Without much effort she quickly slipped into a fitful slumber.
Alison started awake at a noise coming from above. She was immediately aware of where she was and her situation. All senses were in tune for a rescue from the ledge. There it was again. Definitely someone was above her.
“Help! Please help! I’m down here!” Alison shouted.
The footsteps stopped. Alison continued yelling. “Please help! Can you hear me?”
Scuffling at the top.
“Please. I’m hurt. Help!”
Then the footsteps receded into the distance. Alison cried out, “No! Please . . . help me.”
Alison crumpled down and began to cry. In a fit of fear, anger, and pain she let out a long, high pitched wail.
After exhaustion crept in and pain from her injuries screamed inside her head, Alison quieted down. She reached for the water bottle and downed what was left. One down, three to go. She also ate the rest of the first power bar. Morning was coming on fast. She knew she would need to be rescued soon, or her injuries were likely to be the death of her.
As she settled back against the stone back of the bluff she heard foot falls along the path again. She scooted herself out to where she could begin to see the top of the ledge where the trail had been.
‘Is there anybody up there?’ she croaked. Her voice was horse from the cries for help earlier. “Please, somebody, help me!”
After a few moments of what Alison perceived as scuffling coming from up top something appeared to be lowering from the trail. She couldn’t make out what it was until it was about fifteen feet above her. It was one of those baskets used in helicopter rescues. But no one had said anything to her, nor was anyone coming down with the basket.
Alison wasn’t too worried though; someone was here and they were rescuing her. Obviously they knew what they were doing. They had a rescue basket.
When the basket reached the ledge floor, Alison pulled her backpack to her and positioned herself into the basket. The basket seemed to be made out of wicker instead of metal and there was no safety belt. Well, she was in a rural area. Maybe this was all they had. Even the pain from her ankle and head seemed lessened by the prospect of receiving help. Once she was laid down and as secured as she could get she gave a faint yelp that she was ready to be hauled up.
The ascent was slow, and the basket twisted in the air. Alison shut her eyes against the vertigo and nausea that suddenly overtook her. Just a few more minutes she kept mouthing to herself.
The sound of rocks scuttling underneath her caused Alison to breathe a sigh of relief. She was back on the trail. Soon she would be tended to and on the road to recovery. She opened her eyes to search out and thank her rescuer.
Even with the sun to his back, there was no mistaking the figure of the massive hairy beast holding the rope to the basket that she saw. Only the barest whisper escaped Alison’s lips as she tried to yell.
In the woods, no one can hear you scream.