Drabble 94 – Uitwaaien

Uitwaaien
Alexander Van Driessche via Wikimedia Commons

Growing up in the Pacific Northwest, I’ve never been far from what feels like wilderness. My childhood home was surrounded by woods, the beach was only ten minutes away, and the Cascade and Olympic Mountains embraced me on either side of the Sound. Even if the woods around my house were full of nothing scarier than a coyote or two, the whole island felt like it was just one step removed from the fantasy settings I loved reading about so much.

I’ve traveled far, but not necessarily widely, and I have yet to find a place that agrees with me as well as the Pacific Northwest. Even when I’m at my most stressed–which is often–there’s something comforting in knowing I’m so close to any kind of nature I’d want to escape to.

Anyway, here’s a drabble.

UITWAAIEN

(v.) Dutch, literally “walk in the wind”

To take a break outside to clear one’s head.

He can hear every footstep behind him. The flashlight beams swing wildly, but he sticks low to the ground, dodging when he can, forging ahead because whatever is out there, however toxic the rivers, however poisonous the air, it is better than the fate that awaits him here.

There’s a light ahead, different from the greasy lights they use underground. It’s brighter, less yellow, clear and clean and tempting. He draws nearer and marvels that the door is open after all this time, chest heaving as he steps through and takes his first breath of cool outside air.

It’s wonderful.

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