As Allie waded through the shin high grasses and prickly weeds her flashlight scanning back and forth, her feet sore, she thought more and more that her quest was foolish. She should come back in the daytime when she could see better. She knew she had to be close to the meteorite impact spot. She’d been lying in her sleeping bag, watching the stars when she saw the tell-tale streak through the sky, but bigger and brighter than any she’d seen before. It disappeared, and just seconds later, she’d felt the ground vibrate. She knew what had happened, and she felt she knew which direction the vibration had come from. Now she couldn’t help but question how she thought she’d been so sure to head out in the dark of night.
To hell with it. She would go back to camp and come look again in the morning. She was in the middle of nowhere for Pete’s sake. It wasn’t like someone else was going to sneak in and snag it out from under her.
She turned and started wading back across the field. When she thought she should be getting close to the tree line that would mark the edge of the forest she was camped in she swung the beam of her flashlight up higher, looking further out. No trees. Apparently she had gone further afield then she realized at the time. She kept walking.
Several minutes later she was still walking and still no trees in sight. Now she’s wondering about her perception of the walk out. Her feet were sore. She stopped, turning slowly, shining her light to the end of the beam. The field looked Identical in every direction. By the time she had turned all the way around she wasn’t even sure she was still pointed the same way she had started.
Her legs folded and she sat suddenly, tears overwhelming her. The tall grass brushed her face and stickers poked her ankles as they lodged in her socks, and made everything feel just that much more hopeless.
She knew when the sun came up she would be able to orient herself and get back to camp. There was no point in continuing to wander. Still, she let herself wallow and weep and feel hopeless. Maybe she could wear herself out emotionally and she could fall asleep here in the foxtails and weeds. The tears faded out, but her exhaustion manifested in staring off into the dim distance with a blank mind. There was no sleep.
She didn’t know how long she sat there, it felt both an eternity and momentary. In time however, she noticed a change. Treetops began to show against a slightly lighter sky. She stood up. The tree line was off slightly to her right; she hadn’t been so very off in the direction she’d been headed. Just far off enough.
Bending to pick up her pack, she saw it. A black rock in a shallow depression a foot from her bag. She’d sat next to it all night long. She touched it tentatively. Quickly, pulling her hand away assuming it would be hot, but it wasn’t. She picked it up. A fine soot coated the surface, and she smiled as it came off on her fingers.
Cradling the meteorite in her had, not even bothering to put it in her bag she walked back to camp with plans to nap and celebrate.
Writing prompt: Rock, change, lost