Challenge #01953-E129: Lost in a HellscapesteemCreated with Sketch.

in fiction •  11 months ago

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A couple who have no recollection of how they got there find themselves in a lethally dangerous environment where every creature and several of the plants seem to be trying to kill them. Being religious, they realize they are lost souls and this must be hell.
Then the search party finds them. They were vacationing in Australia and had wandered off after someone gave them roofies.
But what happened in between that would make and amnesiac tourist decide that they were just in the eternal pit. -- Bard2DBone

Mary woke up pressed and oppressed between burning heat and sharp stones riddled with ants that were painfully pinching her flesh. It took her far too long to get away from the ants. There was no escaping the heat. It scorched her throat. The harsh light seared her eyes. The sharp ground tormented her feet. There were creatures that looked like they were made out of thorns. Everything plant-like here looked like it was dead. Everything alive here was seemingly made to hurt.

The sky was bare of clouds. The earth was bare of anything friendly to Mary's means of classification. Only a pair of windswept tyre tracks gave any indication of how she got here. And there were lizards the size of dogs[1] ambling through this tortuous landscape. Mary picked the direction least likely to intersect with the lizards and tried to logically conclude something from established facts.

Fact: It was burning hot. Fact: there was no water to be seen but the wavering illusions on the horizon. Fact: The plants appeared to be dead. Fact: The livestock was outright hostile or at least appeared to be so. Fact: Everything here was made to hurt her. Fact: The last thing she remembered before waking up here was a rather sinful hen's party. Conclusion: She must have died and gone to Hell.

Mary knew she shouldn't be crying, but she cried anyway. Died unshriven. In sin. And now she was lost and doomed to wander forever in the burning pits of Hell. Tortured in the burning sun. Scalded by the burning soil. Pinched and bitten and attacked by everything that moved. No fruit on the plants. Nothing recognisable to eat. And a buzzing overhead that was destined to drive her into madness.

She screamed in disbelief when she saw the shadow of a Drone. Screamed again when it hovered in her field of view. Was Hell torturing her with hope? There was no way to tell.

Well. Not until the rescue chopper turned up and some people with funny accents told her that everything was going to be all right, now. They had gatorade and a saline drip for her and aloe for her sunburns and weird, chemically squishy slippers for her feet. And it was a shockingly short trip to civilisation and a hospital.

Where three of her friends from the party were getting similar treatment. And the bride to be was still crying about how she was so sorry about it and holding a hen's night in Alice Springs was really the worst idea anyone had ever had.

Together with the local authorities and some security camera footage, Mary pieced together the night before. Too much alcohol. Some suspect substances. Some joyriding through the bush. Some car-surfing. Some pot-holes or random stones, or maybe a kangaroo... and Mary had been thrown off. And the rest of the party got lost trying to find her.

The car had GPS. Mary, Blaise, and Tilly did not. Sandy woke up on the back of someone's cow, and the cattle owner had called the authorities.

It could have been a night to remember. If any of them could remember any of it.

All the same, Mary vowed to never get that sinful ever again.

[1] Somewhere between terrier and cocker spaniel. Thus proving the uselessness of the Dog Scale of Measurement.

[Image (c) Can Stock Photo / vannphotography]

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