The smoke has gone, the wind took it, the last was just small puffs, afterthoughts drifting like helium balloons into the mountains. I’m shivering now, it’s cold, the wind is searing but it’s more than that. Great shudders shake through me, my teeth chatter and my knees wobble, jiggling up and down in a comical, ludicrous fashion. I giggled, a few moments ago it made me giggle, but then I realised that could be hysteria. I know that I am sinking into shock. If I allow it to take hold I will die. I am not going to die of shock.
I have tried again to lean forward but the ledge is too narrow, as I bend, my behind pushes against the mountain and the centre of gravity shifts and threatens to throw me from the ledge. I’ve tried to peer over by straining my neck but all I can see is far, far below me the green slopes and tree tops. There is no way to tell how sheer is the drop under this ledge, it could be that there is nothing, like a gigantic step off the side of the mountain. It could be that it would be possible to slide on it, maybe, steep yes but like a Black Run, slideable. I can’t see.
I called out to him, Mario, over and over until again the terror, the hysteria almost overwhelmed me and I had to stop to calm myself. I want to sit down, I can’t sit down. I can’t move at all. Oh God, I’m going to die here. I’m going to tumble from this ledge, I can’t turn round.
The noise of the car burning has gone, it didn’t last very long, a roar, some pops and cracks and then not much. I don’t know where the car is but I don’t think that it could be amongst the trees or it would have set fire to them. Wouldn’t it?
Every few minutes I call out, the shouts echo back at me, the mountains mock me, sending my voice back over and over, fading, weakening.
My phone is in my bag, god knows where that ended up. My legs hurt, my shoulders are sore, isn’t that a sign of internal bleeding, I’m sure I read that somewhere. My head is pounding. What should I do, what can I do.
Tears sting my eyes and flood down my face, I catch them on my tongue, they moisten my mouth, I’m very thirsty, isn’t that another sign of bleeding. I don’t want this. I don’t want to die here on this ledge.
I could jump, simply let myself go, not really a jump, a step nothing more. I could step over now and that would be the end. The thought appalls me; a spurt of urine shames me. If I could sit down I could think, If I could sit down I could live.
I wonder what the time is. It is an age since we left the hotel, just after breakfast and we drove for more than an hour to the mountains. Then a stop at the little bar for a coffee before the whirling, spiralling, breakneck race that left us here. How long is it since we crashed, I don’t think I lost consciousness, no, surely that would have seen me tumbling into oblivion. I think, I wish I had gone down then, I wish it was over. I wish this was not my decision to take.
How long will the sun last, it has moved a small way across the sky, not far, I have no knowledge of these things. How long does it take to move across the sky. It must be early afternoon, that’s good, early afternoon is good. There is the chance that someone will come past; they will surely see the broken fencing, will stop. Yes early afternoon. That’s good…
I’m dizzy now, it comes and goes. A tipping of the world, just a dip and then back again, nauseating, terrifying. I’m so very cold; I’m shaking and quivering uncontrollably. It stills now and again for long seconds, just long enough for me to remember how it feels to be normal and then it sweeps through me again. My teeth are chattering. I can’t feel my feet properly now, they’re numb and the numbness is creeping up my legs.
I don’t think I’m bleeding much anymore. I have a pain though, a deep, dark pain in my belly. It’s heavy and dull, not sharp. Is that good, would a sharp pain be better than this deep ache.
My world spins again. A great bird flew over a while ago, screeching in the blue sky, it wheeled and turned, it was quite beautiful. I don’t know what it was, did it see me pinned here on the side of the mountain. Did it wonder about me?
I can’t stand much longer, my legs need to let me go, my belly is a great stone of pain. There is nothing more for me, I can’t…