A character changed by someone they meet on a journey

Welcome back to the daily prompts. The first for this week.

Write about a character who is changed by someone they meet on a journey

Another work trip.

‘I’ll be away two nights,’ he told his wife who raised her eyebrows, grunted ‘Uh uh,’ and returned to her television program.

He knew she wouldn’t mind if he was away two weeks and he could hardly blame her. Even when he was home he had little time for her or the kids. The family were used to his absences, lived their lives without him.

Well, someone had to pay for those lives he reckoned. And long days and frequent travel were needed to do the paying.

Man looking at cell phone

This trip, someone called to cancel a meeting at the last minute. Annoying. He had two hours spare. He could get on with paperwork.

But as he strode in the warm sunshine to the hotel from the office, he passed a churchyard. Partly overgrown, bees buzzed and butterflies dipped among tall grasses and pink and yellow wildflowers. He stopped, breathed in sunshine and birdsong. The lych gate was close by. He would go in, wander among the graves, take a moment’s rest. The paperwork could be done this evening as normal.

And that’s where he met him. In a plot with a newish, shiny marble headstone near the path.

‘George Lionel Beech
Beloved husband of Monica
Adored daddy to Timmy, Sarah & Johnny
Rest now’

Rest now? Now he was dead? At 45, with a wife, three little kids.

He couldn’t concentrate in the afternoon meetings, left the paperwork undone, cancelled the next day, and drove home early.

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3 thoughts on “A character changed by someone they meet on a journey”

  1. Ever since he was a small boy, Scott Welham had wanted to climb Mount Everest.
    He had seen pictures of Sir Edmund Hilary and his Sherpa guide Tensing atop the summit of the world’s highest mountain and knew in his heart that he too would one day be standing in the same position.
    Now, here he was, at a base camp some 1000 metres from his goal – and only bad weather could prevent the final push to the top.
    The sky looked clear and the weather forecast for the next few days promising, so Scott was quietly confident that soon his lifelong dream would be realised.
    With three other climbers, the following morning he began his final trek – always a hazardous journey that unfortunately had claimed many equally enthusiastic aspirants in the past.
    Not long after their start, the weather began to change for the worse and, within an hour, visibility was down to zero as an icy blizzard confronted them.
    The party pushed on toward the summit, but Scott knew it was hopeless and they would have to turn back.
    Disappointment overwhelmed him as he wondered when the next attempt might occur – given how conditions could change so suddenly and dramatically despite the promising forecast.
    Resigned to his fate, Scott was about change direction when he thought he spotted through the swirling snow a figure further up the mountain, beckoning to him.
    The figure looked familiar and he could swear it was that of his idol – easily recognisable from all the movies and newspaper clippings he had studied of Sir Edmund’s 1953 journey.
    But how could that be, Scott thought, Sir Edmund had been dead for a while now and, anyway, why on earth would anyone be on the mountain in this weather.
    The figure kept beckoning and Scott responded. The others obviously hadn’t seen it for, by now, they were making their way back down the mountain to the safety of the base camp.
    The further Scott progressed, the clearer the shape became. Yes, it was Sir Edmund – and Scott was totally confused.
    Not a believer in the paranormal, he thought his eyes must be playing tricks.
    The closer he got to the figure, the quieter the storm became, until finally he was standing alongside his boyhood hero.
    “How can this be?” he blurted out, without thinking.
    “It’s ok,” the figure replied. “I have been watching your progress as a mountaineer for some time now and I know how keen you have always been to climb Everest.”
    “But you’re dead,” Scott emphatically replied.
    “I know,” said Sir Edmund.
    “But there are more things in Heaven and Earth, Horatio, that defy all understanding,” he laughed uproariously.
    And with that, he grabbed Scott’s gloved hand and hauled him the last few metres to the top.

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