At some point she’d lost touch with Gary. Had thought of contacting him now and then but couldn’t remember his email address. Deleted his phone number – who knew why. He’d probably offended her in some way at the time, something he said. It was no use googling him – his name was too common and his life unexceptional by search engine terms.
And yet he’d been the sort of rare friend that she could ring and say ‘Please go and find that boy Gary’ and he did go, he tried to find him. How many years ago was it? A boy, from her son’s school, had gone missing in the mountains while training for the Duke of Edinburgh award during the school holidays. It was all over the news, emergency crews out searching day and night.
Gary lived in the mountains, was a very experienced climber, hiker. A manly man. No extreme sport too extreme. When Annie rang and asked him to go find that boy he knew exactly who and what she meant. ‘Do you know him, is he a friend of your son?’ ‘No he’s younger but it’s too awful to think about’.
Gary didn’t find him but was in the team nearest the one that did. Heard the shouts go up, saw them carry his limp, young body out, and called to let her know it was over.
Annie thought of the times she’d visited and how depressing the area was. Eerie that the locals lived with this awe inspiring natural backdrop but were so often called out to rescue or retrieve lost visiting hikers and climbers.
Moths to a flame.