Anastasia Scoggin : The Body in the Mist

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The Body in the Mist

by Anastasia Scoggin

‘Be quiet or I’ll leave you on the side of the road!’ Theo’s mum Susan yelled into the back of the car. Angelo and Theo quickly grew silent.

Angelo with the cousin in Wollongong was Italian. Angelo’s and Theo’s mums had arranged a trip to the Blue Mountains. They met in Canberra and all the way to Sydney the two cousins fought over which movie or game they should play. Two and a half hours into the trip Theo felt like his skull was spinning and his stomach was in his throat. Susan pulled over and quickly got her son out of the black Toyota.

When they finally got to the Blue Mountains they took a cable car to the top. They hiked up to the highest peak on the mountain, their lungs filled with fresh, crisp air.

The mist clouded their vision but they could just see through the gloom. The city light almost impatiently shone forth through the clouded air. Patches of lush, green grass held onto the trees that wanted to jump up into the beautiful blue sky. The now tiny cars hurried through the streets, some pushed through the red lights and some took their time, as if they couldn’t be bothered. Theo’s mum reached over and gave her son a hug. Theo, becoming embarrassed, shoved her away in disgust.

Suddenly, she slipped, fell on her leg and Angelo heard a crack. Rocks crumbled beneath her and fell off the cliff, crunching, as Susan skidded down the hill. In her descent, she followed the rocks into the mist.

A piercing scream ricocheted off the snowy peaks as Theo collapsed in horror. This was all his fault. To look cool in front of his family, who would love him anyway, he had murdered a mother, aunt and wife.

“SUSAN!” Angelo’s mother, Maria yelled.

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Theo

“MOTHER!” I yelled.

I couldn’t believe it. I couldn’t bear to think of a world without my mother. Imagine, how would I feed myself, how would I earn money to live, or have a laugh without her?

As I knelt, looking into the fog I remembered a time where we were lying on the couch, laughing so hard we couldn’t breathe. Our legs kicked in the air, our stomachs burned. I clutched her arm so hard that it went ghostly pale. Once we had calmed down I went to get her an ice block. I balanced it on her arm and we continued watching our favourite TV show, Modern Family.

Last year, at my 13th birthday party, I got so muddy while playing soccer, my blonde hair was stained brown for a week. All my dear mother did was laugh and ruffle my hair. Then, despite my muddy clothes and her white dress, she gave me a great big hug.

Another time, when I still lived in Italy and shared a giant house with Angelo and Aunt Maria, during a big Sunday dinner we had a massive food fight. I caught a roasted tomato in my mouth and while I was chewing gleefully, a piece of pizza landed on my mother’s forehead. It covered her blue eyes and as it slid off, Pesto stuck in her brunette hair.

Angelo’s warm hand patted my shoulder, bringing me back to my grief stricken reality. I stood, out of my kneeling position and gave him a hug. My tears soaked his shirt and a loving hand patted my back. We belly crawled to the edge of the cliff and hung our heads over the edge. We could see nothing through the mist, not her bright green shirt, no movement, no sign of life. My mother was gone forever.

“Theo?” said a voice hidden in the mist.

“Mum? Are you ok?” I responded.

“I’m ok,” she said “I fell on a ledge but I think my leg is broken.”

Everyone breathed a sigh of relief.

“We have to save mother!” I yelled.

Aunt Maria’s eyes bulged and no sound came from her mouth, even though it was hung wide open. She ran down to the cable car, shoved through the line, and threw herself into the closest car.

As she came back, she emerged with a stranger.

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Susan

The beautiful view filled me with happiness. I reached over to hug my son but was rudely pushed away. I tumbled back. My left foot found nothing but space. I tried desperately to find footing, but there was nothing to save me. I started sliding down the mountain. The lumpy rocks pressed into my legs as I fell.

My hair whipped my face and I screamed in free-fall. My hand scraped, my head crashed, my leg hit and painfully twisted on the craggy mountain side. I closed my eyes and braced myself for death.

My bloody body fell.

Then.

Silence.

Blackness.

As I sat, crippled in pain, on the grey, rough rock I thought of my beautiful son and wondered if I would ever see him again. My chest burned with longing and my stomach was tied in knots. I chocked back salty tears and looked up. All I saw was the thick mist that filled my lungs, slowing my breath. I shuffled to the edge of my rocky saviour and considered jumping. I had a horrible throbbing pain in my leg and I nearly fell when I felt something on my shoulder.

The Ticket Seller

“PLEASE, SAVE MY MOTHER, PLEASE!!” a hysterical boy yelled.

From where two boys were laying, I threw down my unravelling ticket reel.

I yelled down to the body in the mist:

“Grab onto this ma’am, I won’t let you fall.”

I then felt a tug on my ticket reel, sweat poured down my forehead as I pulled up the mother’s limp yet alive body.

Half way up, everyone heard a snap and the flimsy excuse for a rope broke. I heard a shriek, a thump and a lump of rock giving way.

On their daily routine, a rescue crew were flying in their Westpac helicopter over the blue tourist attraction. The barefoot boy in the helicopter, at only eighteen years of age, had been especially trained to jump down on a rope and rescue people in need. Every Monday he would bungee jump for practise.

The Barefoot Boy

The helicopter blades sliced through the fog angrily and slightly cleared the air. In my two years of experience I had never been on patrol in this amount of fog.

As my pilot buddy, Jase flew around in the fog of the Blue Mountains, I spotted a bright green shirt through the dense mist.

“Down twenty degrees and left ten,” I yelled.

“Male or female?” Jase yelled.

“Female,” I responded.

Jase threw me two medium sized harnesses as I tied up my shoes. The nine news camera man brought out his camera to film the breaking news. As I descended out of the helicopter, the thrill caused me to lose sight of the target.

I threw my head side to side, scared this person would be lost forever. In my peripheral vision I caught a glimpse of the bright green. Swinging my legs back and forth, I swung to the mountain and grabbed a small shrub. I clawed my way along the side of the mountain. Suddenly two hands tightly gripped my leg and I knew I’d found this person in need.

I switched on the light of my head torch and saw her ghostly pale face, splattered with blood. I grabbed the strange woman muttering prayers, with her leg twisted the wrong way. I gently fitted her with a harness, careful not to hurt her and lifted her up to the helicopter. Blood soaked through my shirt.

By : Anastasia