The story is driven by the underlying tension of facing a combatant, which is delivered in the form of nature and the elements. Pat, the protagonist, is caught in a snowstorm and freezing temperatures whilst traversing the Inca Trail, she’s ill-prepared, and everywhere she looks fellow trekkers are swaddled and swathed in comfort. In particular, one group of German trekkers, who she encounters repeatedly along the way, highlight her peril and frozen misery. A bacon fry-up is the last straw and Pat and her partner, Scott, make a mad dash for prized trail’s end – the temples of Machu Picchu. They are rewarded with breath taking views but their troubles aren’t over yet.
[W]e surged forward, trying to make the summit before it became impassable. The wind whipped against us and it was hard to see through the swirling snow. Our clothes were waterlogged and I wondered if we’d made the right decision.
This story packs a stack of drama and adrenaline within its short confines. Pat Cahill shows considerable skill in balancing story telling narratives with true events and the result is a compelling short story. Definitely an author I’m keen to follow.
Drowning on the Inca Trail by Pat Cahill (Smashwords 2014)
Read Pat’s story online at Smashwords.