Free Fiction Friday – Dampness Seeps Through

“Dampness Seeps Through”
a short story by Jeremy C Kester

Note: this story is a first-draft and has not been revised or edited.

She hates water in her shoes. Then why is she wandering the forest in the rain?

Note: See end for copyright, notes, and other restrictions/permissions.

She felt damp as she walked. For its part, the forest kept itself that way on purpose. Trees, plants, and the wildlife tended to prefer the moisture; she did not. In fact, she disliked it greatly. Especially in her shoes, where the water seemed to pool, following the natural path of gravity and least resistance. Unfortunately, this water met the greatest resistance when it reached her shoes.

And for that, she cursed under her breath.

What she was doing walking through the forest alone was up for debate. Even within her own mind. Certainty left the moment she took the first step in the journey.

Each step was a trial of her patience. Her tolerance had to endure, though. Going without shoes was an option that would see a similar end to the journey. Then again, that she was debating that whole purpose, it was a wonder that her condition was anything more than a con in the list of reasons to continue and a pro in list for the contrary option.

Still, as much as she wanted to be, and as much as the debate raged, no real option was available. Water was to be a companion of hers until she was able to finish the task. A nuisance that would follow her for the short while as she worked to finish the task at hand.

It was the wrong time of year to do it. Already, the Pacific Northwest was a place where rain almost seemed ubiquitous with the very air one breathed. Lush landscapes were the result, with a hue of green that almost appeared unnatural with its pristine beauty billowing over the land. She had always wanted to wander through there, a dream of hiking like all those people she saw in brochures or on those posters mounted in REI or one of those other outdoors stores. She wished to be one of those people. Happy. Enjoying life in the outdoors. Yet she found that the outdoors were not as enjoyable as she hoped. Beautiful, yes, but not fun in the least.

Circumstances were part of it, she was sure. And lousy footwear.

She made a mental note to buy waterproof hiking shoes before she tried anything like this again.

One could maybe say that she should’ve turned back as soon as the water soaked her feet. It was too late for that.

Slowly, she trudged through the landscape, in the rain, pushing herself to get to the where she needed to go. Worse still, it was dark. Thanks to the rain. Even during the light of day, it was difficult to see anything between the canopy and the clouded skies. In a way, that was perfect. She was almost invisible then. Few people would be out there.

In the meantime, the wet shoes and socks were tough to get past. In fact, she hated wet socks, almost more than anything else. The rest of her life, for example. Her job. Her husband. Her house. All of it ranked higher in hate than wet socks. Still. Wet socks were the problem she was dealing with now, so it took up a lot of space in her brain. She cursed as she moved through the underbrush. Off the paths made by others.

Maybe the paths would be easier, too. She made a note in her head that along with waterproof hiking shoes, she would take her next hike on the paths that were designated throughout the lands.

Soon, she told herself. Soon she was going to make her life in that image she had in mind. She would be like so many of those other women who drive around in luxury SUVs, go to yoga classes, take weekend hikes. Only her husband held her back from that life. He controlled what she could spend. What she could do. What activities she could take in. Even with her job, her own earnings — he kept her from living the life she wanted.

Every time she would try, he would figure out a way to make her feel guilty for the effort. Yoga was only some woo-woo, new aged gimmick. Luxury cars were a waste of money. Hiking was for hippies. Etc, etc. There was an excuse for all of it. Work — at least her working — was another thing he tried many times to interfere with. She thought maybe that it was that he wanted to live life as a traditional family. She would have kids, then stay home to raise them and run the house, freeing him to earn them an income as the executive he was.

Maybe that was what he was after… if she had been able to have children.

Were she to think back on when it all seemed to change, it was then. When the doctor came back and told her that she would be unable to have children. Until then, she almost accepted his reasons for keeping things the way they were, even as she understood how together, they made far more than many of the couples they knew of. Money was not a problem for them.

But she wanted children, too. But he seemed to even take that loss from her.

There was an annoying squishing sound along with the discomfort of each step. She wondered how it was that any area could have so much water without being flooded. Like there was only a layer of dirt on top of water to give the appearance of ground. Yet there was. And in some spots, it seemed that there was enough surface under her that she was spared a few steps of added moisture, but all it really meant was that she had more stability for a few paces. Movement was tough still. Soon though. Soon she would claim victory for this portion of her journey, welcoming the beginning of her life.

She paused as she looked around. She listened. Other than the sound of rain, there was nothing she could hear. Nearby, she was certain the road was there. Few cars or anything were there though. Few people ventured out in this weather. At least in the parts she was in. Liars, the lot of them. Fair weather hikers, she called them in her mind. Granted, she’d prefer the weather to be sunny. Rain suited her fine, though. Except for her damn shoes. Why again hadn’t she thought of that?

Still, she breathed in relief that she was free of other people, not seeing anyone along her journey. Being seen by another would put a damper on her plans.

Finally, she moved again after taking a brief rest under the protection of a thick evergreen tree. The job was soon to be done. Another few hours and night would take over providing the darkness. If she waited until then, she’d need a flashlight, and that would show anyone curious exactly where she was. Another person stumbling upon her would be less than ideal. After all, how was she supposed to bury her dead husband in a way that made it seem like he simply disappeared if another person saw what she was doing?

Copyright © 2023 by Jeremy C Kester – all rights reserved
Do not copy or reproduce without written permission.
This story will remain posted for free for a minimum of one month from the date of posting. After that date, it will be up to me (Jeremy) to keep it on the site or remove it.

Image taken and edited by Jeremy C Kester

If you enjoy the content from me and this site, please consider purchasing one of my books, or if you prefer another way to help support my work, consider donating by clicking: PayPal.Me/jeremykwrites


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: