Weekly Writing Challenge #20 – The Clearing

Prompt – Write about a character who finds an odd-looking egg in the forest.

Photo by Lum3n on Pexels.com

Harry Greun dreaded going into the forest. He told them that he only wanted urban assignments, but they ignored his protests and insisted he was the man for the job. He wore brand new hiking boots, jeans and a plaid flannel shirt with a knit cap. He thought he either looked like a Seattle hipster or a lumberjack.

Harry checked his compass carefully and then started the perilous trek amongst the trees. He needed to hike three miles due north to get to the compound. Of course, the underbrush was thick and he had to take a lot of detours. Checking his compass frequently, he estimated he was only a mile from the target.

A rustle in the bushes to his left made Harry stop and hold his breath. Snake? Bear? To his relief, it was only a rabbit that hopped out and curiously looked at Harry for a moment and then dashed away. Harry let out his breath in relief and in the same moment cursed this assignment. He checked his compass again and lamented that his cell phone didn’t have a signal. GPS would have made this a lot easier.

He looked at the sun on his right and checked the compass again in disbelief. If he was truly going north, then the afternoon sun should be on his left. This couldn’t be right. Harry turned in a slow circle looking while glancing at his compass. Puzzled, he realized that he was probably lost. With only a few hours until the sun went down, Harry needed to make a decision to keep pressing on or abort the mission.

Looking ahead, there were several downed trees blocking his way. On a whim, he decided to climb up and over them instead of circling around. As he got to the top, he spied a clearing, the first one he had seen since starting this adventure. It wasn’t a very big clearing, maybe twenty feet across. He kneeled down on the tree he was standing on and took a closer look at the edges of the clearing. Seems there were downed trees all along the perimeter. Surprisingly, there were no stumps in the clearing, only wild grass and wildflowers. In the center, there looked to be a small mound.

Thinking this could be a bad idea, but throwing caution to the winds, Harry jumped down toward the mound. At first glance, he thought it could be a really big ant bed, but he didn’t see any ants. He glanced at his compass and the needle was swing around wildly. Mystery solved why the compass wasn’t working correctly. Harry pulled out his Bowie knife and gingerly probed the mound. A clink made him catch his breath once again. Could it be treasure he thought?

Digging carefully, he finally unearthed what looked like a metal egg. It was bigger than a goose egg, but smaller than an ostrich egg. The metal looked to be somewhat shiny, possibly steel. Why on earth would someone craft and egg and then place it in a clearing in the middle of a forest?

Harry decided this was something that his friend John Ang would love to see. He reached down and grasped the egg. A thunderous roar and flash of light made Harry clinch his eyes shut. He slowly opened them and found himself in front of a door in a hallway. Confused he looked around and realized he was outside John’s office. Looking down, he found that he hand was grasping nothing. He opened the door and there was John busy at his desk working on calculations.

“Harry! Isn’t it a bit early for Halloween?”

Harry eased himself on the sofa and took a deep breath, “Um, I’m not sure what happened.”

John peered at Harry with concern, “You okay? Tell me what you remember.”

Harry thought about it and then shook his head, “No, I think I’ll keep this one to myself.”

John laughed, “This is one for the history books. I don’t think I’ve ever seen you in such a state.”

“Put it this way, I’m never, ever going to take an assignment that involves a forest again.”

Want to be part of the Weekly Writing Challenge? Using the prompt above, write your story and publish it with a link to this story. Make sure you tag it either md-wwc or #md-wwc

All stories of Harry Gruen are now linked on the Storylines page if you wish to read them all.

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