Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.
Sun Dark and Light
Switchbacks gave way with the slope into a meadow. Across it, the forest began. The bag of dried meat was accepted back from her. Another piece was taken out for nibbling upon before the bag was replaced. Her attention remained upon clipping the water bottle back onto the bobbing pack as they walked.
He said, “Almost to the forest black. Oh. Look…”
“What?” she said, finally getting the clip to snap shut.
“An opportunity to practice your German.”
“Huh?” she said, looking where the end of his walking pole was pointed.
“Almost made it.”
A couple had just emerged onto the trail from the shadow dark. They were dressed in Alpine walking clothes, each with poles.
Thierry’s attention was split between the couple and Georgette. He did a quick review of the camera. Pretending to be unhappy with some aspect, he stopped to fiddle about with it.
She asked, with the smallest bit of stress in her voice, “What are you doing?”
“This isn’t the right lens. Could you get me the medium focal one from the side pocket, please?”
“What?” She glanced at the couple. They were approaching, but were still a distance off. “OK. What pocket?”
“The lower one”—pointing backward—“here.”
The zipper was stuck, stubborn. After a few frustrated pulls, it opened. She retrieved the lens and handed it to him.
He looked at it, then at the other lens, still on the camera. “No. This one is still too long. I need the shorter one.”
He handed it back, and she zipped it into the pocket. “Where’s this other?” she asked, glancing at the people, still a ways away. Standing behind Thierry, the pack was blocking the view of her, or so she thought.
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