Time to come back to another challenge issued by another reader. The second comment on my initial blog post came from VTnessa, who provided the following prompts…
- Character Name: Hezekiah Tribido
- Setting: The plains/prairies of Canada
- Object: A lobster boat
- Emotion: Relaxed
I honestly couldn’t remember how long I had been walking. Days? Weeks? I stopped keeping track of time when my phone died and I subsequently dropped it in the middle of a field.
I wasn’t even sure where I was. At some point, I must have crossed over from Alberta to Saskatchewan. But I had no idea where that would have happened. At this point, the entire landscape was beginning to blend together.
The only thing I knew for sure was that I was feeling good about the decision I made. I just decided to leave my life in Calgary behind. There was nothing left for me there. Nothing but tragedy, that is.
It started when my parents died in a car accident right after I began my first year at university. I returned home to take care of funeral arrangements and to “mourn appropriately” and discovered that my father had not been honest with us about how he made his living.
As it turns out, he was a career criminal. I don’t know how he hid that side of his life from me and Mom. Though, I guess I’ll never know for sure if he kept it from Mom. For all I know, I could have been the only one in the dark. Thanks to his criminal activity, all assets were frozen, leaving me with no inheritance. I wasn’t even able to access life insurance funds to pay to have them buried.
One of Dad’s attorney friends (probably another criminal) tried to make it so I wouldn’t lose our house, but that ended up being seized, too. And that was the last straw for me. I just started walking with no more than the clothes on my back and the $50 in my wallet. The authorities may have asked me to stay local, but where did I have to go? At this point, I figured, if they want me to stick around so badly, they can arrest me. At least then I’d have a place to stay.
So far, I’ve walked alone. I’ve had no one asking about me, that I’m aware of. Like I said, my phone died and I chose to throw it away. So if anyone was trying to call me, I would never know. I was having a hard time caring. All I could think was that, maybe, I could make it all the way to the east coast and start a new life. Maybe I could learn how to catch lobsters and sell them to all the seafood places. At least it was a more acceptable career than whatever my father had done.
Somehow, I’d managed to continue walking without getting tired. I’ve watched the sun come up and I’ve watched it set. I’ve watched as the stars danced across the night sky. I’ve looked at nothing but farmland and empty fields for more days than I can count. Nothing has broken up my long walk.
I had resigned myself to the comfort of seeing nothing and nobody for as long as I could avoid them. And then I heard the crash behind me.
Turning around, I saw something odd about 100 feet from where I now stood. It was a boat. It was busted up as if it had been dropped from the sky. “Huh…” I said. Well, it may have been more of a grunt. It was the first vocalization I’d made since I walked out of the house.
I walked toward the boat. I was too curious not to. What was a boat doing in the middle of the Canadian prairie? How did it suddenly appear out of nowhere?
When I got close enough, I shouted, “Hello?” Then I rolled my eyes. “Why am I saying hello? Who could possibly be on this boat?” I said to myself.
Knowing it was probably entirely unsafe, I climbed aboard the wreckage. I had never spent any significant time on a boat before, so I have no idea what I was looking for. Anything, really. Or nothing. “I should just keep on walking…” I said, again talking to myself.
But I didn’t. I was in full-on explore mode. On the deck, I saw what looked like small cages. “Are those lobster traps?” I was still thinking out loud. “That’s funny, I was just thinking about…” I trailed off as I made my way to the cabin.
Inside was a mess. “I wonder if this is what Dorothy’s house looked like after it landed in Oz.” I was actually beginning to convince myself that this boat had actually fallen from the sky. But there weren’t any tornadoes. There wasn’t even any wind. This wasn’t Kansas. And it sure wasn’t Oz.
I breathed a sigh of relief when I didn’t find anyone aboard. I was a little afraid that I was going to come across a dead body in some nightmarish state. What I did find may have been more disturbing.
As I looked for signs that life had once been on this boat, I found a desk with several drawers that had all fallen halfway out. In the top drawer was a wallet. Maybe there would be ID inside that would give me a clue about… I really didn’t know what.
“This wallet looks a lot like mine,” I said. But I brushed that thought aside. Wallets are a dime a dozen, right? Well, no, they’re a lot more than that. But you’ve seen one black leather wallet, you’ve seen them all. This one just looked worn. Extremely used.
I opened the wallet and pulled out the ID. And there it was. I think I’d have rather come across a dead body. The picture on the ID was mine. The name, Hezekiah Tribido, was mine. For a moment, I began to panic. If anyone else had been there, they might have commented that I looked like I had seen a ghost. Is there a different look for someone who might have seen their own ghost?
I dropped the wallet and went back onto the deck of the boat, boards creaking under my feet. I carefully climbed back down to solid ground and stared at the wreckage. It didn’t take long for my panic to dissipate. Once I was calm, I began walking again. I walked away from the wreckage of the boat. I walked away from the wreckage that was my life.
If I never find out where that boat came from, that’s okay. If I never find out how my wallet could have been in two places at once, that’s okay, too. My plan is just to keep on walking. And maybe find work on a lobster boat when I get to the coast.