So I was out for my long walk on Monday and I was looking for 17 kilometers and all of it was along the highway because it’s so nice and flat and suitable for race walking. It was going to be good. I could tell.
Going with the highway pretty much guarantees “no bears” so I was feeling pretty cocky even with the vehicles roaring past. They’re only inches from me it seems, but it’s something I’ve gotten used to. At the very least, they give me fodder for morbid thoughts such as “what happens to the body upon impact with a fast moving vehicle?”…”wonder how far it would fly?”…”what bones would be broken?”…”how long would a body lie in a grassy ditch before being discovered?”, etc. etc.
For those of you who have just shuddered and thought “Mon Dieu! She’s insane!”, please be assured that thoughts like mine are quite normal when one creates suspense fiction on a regular basis. The best of the worst is always fair game for a plot and so the little twist that makes a good plot great is a wonderful thing. Believe me, my thought processes are relatively fine and I’m okay. Toni and Loreth do it, too.
Okay. So where was I? Ah yes. The highway.
So. Busy highway. Race Walking. La la la la. Minding my own business. Hit my 8.5 km mark, do my turn around and now the wind that was to my front is coming at me from behind. And bringing with it?
You know? Little black things? Couple of stripes? Soft bodies? Innocuous looking?
There weren’t too many. Just enough to annoy me and make me pull my arms out of their swing every once in awhile to swat.
Gradually though, their numbers increased and now I’m race walking and flailing with consistency. (This is where I ask myself — what did the people in the vehicles think was happening? — I’m sure I looked like I was having some sort of epileptic fit — maybe *that’s* why they didn’t stop?).
SO. Flailing. And now I’m getting worried because I was bit by these things a couple of times last week and had googled for information and discovered that a swarm of black flies can kill a person in less than 2 hours with repeated bites.
Yeah. That’s right. Literally, they suck you dry (and there’s that suspense mind coming into play again — good plot twist turned great! NOT!).
I pick up my pace, hoping for a wind change, but I know it’s not coming, because I’m heading into low ground (translation: swampy and black fly paradise). I get there and now more flies have descended and they’ve seemingly sent out word to their cohorts in crime ’cause wouldn’t you know it? Here come the hornets!
Did you know that a hornet likes to repeatedly sting? And that it HURTS? And that anaphylactic shock can set in at anytime in anyone?
This is me now flailing, swatting and running. Screw my knee, I’m thinking, I’m done being dinner. I dig out my cell phone, but it only has one bar of reception. One hand swats, the other holds the cell phone out to the side, up in the air, back to the side, trying in desperation for a good signal.
It doesn’t work. I’m stuck at one bar.
I’ll have to gamble that I can get through and that DH has not gone outside to work in his shop and will answer the phone at home.
I get him. Blab that he needs to come get me. I need help.
He says, “What?” a couple of times like he can’t hear what I’m saying and then my phone cuts out.
At least he knows I’m in trouble. I think.
Still swatting. Still running. My knee is killing me, but I’ve decided that at least it’s that and not the bugs. 10 minutes later our van peels over the top of a hill and DH screeches to a halt in front of me for a dramatic rescue.
My love! My hero! My savior!
I throw myself into the vehicle, panting and sweating and still swatting.
“What’s with you?” he asks. “I couldn’t hear you and you were all garbled. I thought you were being attacked by a bear.” He’s looking at me like I should at least be gushing blood for all his trouble.
I show him my bites, explain the 2 hour time limit to death and he quirks an eyebrow with a modicum of interest. “Yeah?”
“If you say so.”
“Okay.” He gives me this odd little smile that says, “Freak” (but in the nicest possible way 😉 ) and drives me home.
Ah, but isn’t love grand?
Running for my life, though? Not so much.