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Seven Wives – Flash Fiction

September 29, 2009

For Scott’s first hike alone, he chose the Seven Wives trail – seventeen miles winding through a dense forest and along a steep ridgeline. It started snowing heavily on his second day out, and he hadn’t returned by the third. Park authorities put on their snowshoes and began searching, and the National Guard requested a helicopter too, which they had to call down due to the snow.

They found Scott wandering below the ridge a day after the search started, shivering and plodding through the snow, the supplies in his backpack untouched, he had lost his compass and map, he said, and he couldn’t find his way back onto the ridge, though he had forgotten why he had climbed down in the first place.

Scott is an Eagle Scout.

Since coming back home, his parents often find him staring out his bedroom window, tossing a tennis ball against his wall, sorting the fiction on his bookshelf, first alphabetically, then by year, and now, by how he feels when he reads them, by the color he thinks of when someone mentions their titles.

Scott eventually graduates high school, cheats on his girlfriend with an English teacher, gives up a college baseball scholarship to work construction, and every February hikes the Seven Wives trail, losing himself each time.

He realizes the Eagle Scouts taught him a lot.

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