The mountain watches her, as though it is a hungry lion and she is a timid little mouse. It is tall and predatory, always ready to pounce. From inside her house, she can feel its gaze, its monstrous body looming over her. She cowers in the corner of her bedroom, screaming for help, begging someone to come and rescue her. But no one does.
She does not know what is on the other side of the mountain, but she has heard it is different over there. Her grandmother used to tell her stories, of a place, just on the other side, across the mountain’s path. She remembers her grandmother’s soft voice, whispering rumours in her ear of white sandy beaches and a crystal clear sea. Her grandmother said that when you stood in the shallows of the sea your feet would sink ever so slightly into the wet sand, and you could simply stand and stare at the sky and the sea around you. Blue. Timeless. An open space. No mountain to block the view. No mountain to take you away and eat you up and spit you out again.
She loved her grandmother’s stories. But one night, the mountain stole her grandmother. It ripped her from her bed and dragged her up, up, up into its rough, strong arms and chewed on her skin and bones before placing her back in her bed, where her granddaughter found her the next day. Heart still. Skin grey. Her night gown draped over her body.
She knows it will take her next; it is only a matter of time. She packs her rucksack with fruits and water and bread and cheese. She steps outside her home and begins to make her way up the mountain, along the path that will lead her to the other place, that she has only heard of in her grandmother’s stories.