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Love Abyss Springs: A Love Story for Valentine’s Day

IN THE February 6 ISSUE

FROM THE 2021 Articles,
andTerrific Tales
SECTIONS

by Gary Hoffman

Sadly Gary Hoffman passed away last year, but his family asked if we would help them fulfill his goal of having 500 stories published so we will be publishing several of his stories over the next few months. This is the final story and has never before been published.

Megan stopped on the trail, set her backpack on a stump, and untied her poncho. It wasn’t raining yet, but the sound of thunder and the smell of rain were in the air.

She was about two hours into the trail leading to the hilltop campsite. The camp was called Love Abyss Springs because of a spring bubbling up there. A local folktale said if a man and a woman drank from the spring at the same time, they would fall in love.

It was usually a quiet, secluded place to camp, and right now Megan needed that. She camped there once before back in the days when she and Bryce were still going together. It was one of those times that she was proud of herself and yet ashamed at the same time. That trip was supposed to be an adventure to heal their faltering relationship. Because she wasn’t real happy, she had made the trip pure hell for Bryce.

The next gust of wind blew the back of her poncho over her head.

The storm broke. The wind kept her poncho away from her body, but blew the rain straight into her. She was taking a shower with her clothes on. Daylight was almost gone by the time she reached the camping area, exhausted and soaking wet. She was wondering how she was going to set up her tent in this kind of tempest when another bolt of lightening lit up the area. She saw a tent. Someone was already there, and had apparently been there for some time. They not only had their tent up, but had it covered with a tarp and anchored it down firmly. As she got closer, she could see a friendly light shining through the sides of the tent. She slapped at the front flap. “Can I come in?” she yelled.
Whoever was inside unzipped the flap. “Good Lord, yes. Get out of this mess.”

Megan climbed into the warm, dry tent, although she was dripping water all over the space she was sitting in. “Thank you so much,” she told him. “I hope I can stay here until this weather calms down.”

The man grabbed the flashlight hanging from a loop in the center of the tent. He pointed the beam her direction. “Megan?”

She put her hand up to shield her eyes, but really didn’t need to see his face—the voice was there. “Bryce?”

“What in the world are you doing out here?”

She grinned. “My favorite place to camp.”

“Right. I figured you’d never come back to this place again.”

Megan looked down. “For what it’s worth, I’m sorry about our trip out here. Everything that happened was my fault.”

“You having problems?”

“That would be an understatement. How about you?”

“I’ve been thinking of changing jobs, but it never seems to get done. I came here to try and sort out my life.”

She started unlacing her hiking boots. “Oh?”

He turned his head as she wiggled in dry clothing.

“Thanks,” she said when she was finished.

“No problem, You hungry?”

“Famished!”

“I’ve got a thermos of hot water and some packaged soup. How’s that sound?”

“Let me guess. Chicken noodle.”

“Oh, yeah. I forgot about that. Not your favorite, is it?”

“Right now, it sounds delicious.” She took a cup from him. “Actually, it was good last time, too. It was me who was being a witch with a capital ‘B.’”

“Well, I…I’ve got another thermos of hot water, so can make you a cup of hot chocolate or coffee. Probably coffee, right? Black?”

“I’m glad you remembered. So you in a relationship now?”

“Not really. You?” Megan set her soup down and took a cup of coffee.

“Definitely not!” She took a sip of coffee. “Great coffee.” Another sip. “Well, since we both ended up here and are having this discussion, I have to ask. What about us?”

“I didn’t think there was an ‘us.’”

“I guess I put that the wrong way. Do you think there could ever be an us again?” she said.

Bryce stirred his cup of coffee. “To be honest, I’d sure like to try. You?”

“I stayed when I found out it was you here, didn’t I?” Megan held up her left hand. “Stop, bad answer. Yes, I would love to try again.”

“Great. Me, too. I brought enough food for the weekend, and I’m sure you did, too. I’m running low on fresh water, but we can get some spring water for our morning coffee.”

Megan looked down. “You know the old tale about drinking water from that spring, don’t you?”

“Yeah. Let’s hope it’s not just a tale.”

Gary R. Hoffman has published 500 short stories, non-fiction articles, poetry, and essays in various publications. He has placed over one-hundred and fifty items in contests. He taught school for twenty-five years and lived on the road in a motor home for fourteen years.

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Kaye George
Twitter: @KGeorgeMystery
February 6, 2021 at 1:17pm

How very sweet. He is so sorely missed!

Reply

2 Sherry Brown February 7, 2021 at 4:51am

I’m very sorry for your loss. Thank you for sharing your story.

Reply

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