The Great Explorer

Entry by: Alobear

6th October 2016
The Great Explorer, Emily Prescott, set her eyes on the horizon and her feet on the path in front of her. The path led down past manicured lawns and ornamental fish ponds and through a gate into an overgrown field beyond. Emily shifted the pack on her back into a more comfortable position and embarked on her epic journey.

The sun was already high and she sighed, wishing she had been able to make an earlier start. But she was here now, and the wilderness beckoned. She pulled the brim of her hat down to shield her eyes, and took her first steps beyond the familiar. The grasses grew high to either side and she trailed her fingers through them as she walked, listening to the rustle of the stems as she passed. She breathed deeply and took in the scent of the earth beneath her feet, feeling all the small pebbles and divots through the soles of her sturdy boots. The ground was rough and uncertain, but Emily was confident in her strides, looking only forwards as she left her home behind.

It was a relief to reach the trees and step beneath their shady shelter. The sunlight dappled through the branches, creating an almost magical feel to the forest. Emily imagined there could be anything living here; rabbits, deer, birds of prey - a dragon, even. She smiled to herself and pressed on.

A twig snapped under her foot, and there was a brief commotion of scuttling in the thick shrubs to her left. She did not allow herself to be startled - anything that was frightened away by her step would be of no danger to her. Besides, she was a Great Explorer and knew no fear of the wild. She followed the trail through the trees, forging deeper into the forest and away from everything she knew.

Gradually, the landscape around her began to change. The air grew denser and the foliage thicker. Vines started appearing, wrapped around the tree trunks, and dangling menacingly from the canopy. The cry of some exotic bird or monkey pierced the silence, and a shiver of anticipation joined the sweat down Emily’s spine as the temperature rose. She pulled her trusty machete from her belt and brandished it against the vegetation. The jungle was all around her now.

After breaking a path through the tough vines for a long while, Emily finally emerged from the jungle and found herself on the edge of a vast desert. The sun was a blazing beacon in the sky, and the sand stretched away, with no habitations in sight. But Emily had plenty of water and rations in her pack, so the harshness of what lay ahead did not deter her. Home was far away and she had no intention of going back any time soon. The world lay before her and she would keep going until she had seen it all. Her boots carried her across the treacherous dunes and protected her from the scorpion’s sting.

Up ahead, at long last, the sight of palm trees and the sparkle of water gave Emily hope of an oasis where she could stop and take some rest. She quickened her pace, wondering if there would be any other visitors with whom she could share her supplies and her tales. Any company would be welcome after such a long journey, any except -

“Emily! There you are, my darling. I hope you haven’t been getting too warm out here in the sun. Let’s get you back inside for some lunch, shall we?”

The soft voice shattered the illusion of the desert and its enticing oasis, bringing Emily forcibly back to reality. Her eyes refocused on the neat garden with its elegantly trimmed hedges and carefully regimented flowers. She felt a physical jolt almost as painful as the mental one, as her mother turned the wheelchair and started pushing it over the paving stones towards the house.

“What have you been daydreaming about, out here all this time, eh, love?” her mother murmured.

All the different landscapes whirled through Emily’s mind once more, and she longed to share the intensity of the sounds and smells with her mother. But, as ever, the Great Explorer, Emily Prescott, remained locked within.