A big girl comes into his life
Roger Tate was lost! His only clue to his whereabouts was that he was near a place called "Ape Mountain" on the map of British Columbia, Canada.
Days before, his Canadian guide had slipped away while Roger was asleep, the guide had left the map and a compass but not his rifle, leaving him nearly defenseless.
Hoping to avoid any bears, Roger had tied a small bell to his pack frame, figuring the tinkling it made would alert a bear to his presence and it could avoid to find his quarry, Roger then stubbornly forged ahead only to wind up hopelessly lost.
He only knew that he was on the creek that came out of the valley below Ape Mountain, but little else.
The aerial survey map had showed a small lake there and a bit of a clearing in the dense woods, he figured on making it to the lake and contacting his boss, Rachel could make the arrangements for a helicopter to extract him from the forest that stretched in seemingly endless miles all around him.
With only the creek bed and his map as a guide, Roger toiled his way deeper into the trackless forest, all the while clinging to the hope of finding the small lake in the next few days.
On the seventh day after his abandonment by the feckless guide, Roger had rounded a large berry thicket when the forest opened up and he saw open water, the lake!
Grinning like an idiot, Roger let out the first real laugh he'd enjoyed since he and George had said farewell after the birth of George's twins. Briefly, he wondered how George and Mia were managing, then he shook his head to clear his mind, "Back to reality fellah!" he muttered.
Reaching the lake was about another half hour of walking, then he stood on the rocky shoreline briefly admiring the view.
While glancing around, Roger spotted a pair of trees that had toppled and in so doing, had created a den of sorts. Looking closer, he saw that with a little bit of work, he could make a defensible shelter to wait in until the helicopter arrived.
"First things first!" he muttered while setting up a solar cell array to charge up his satellite phone. Then with his survival hatchet, he made an opening in the tangle of branches, crawling inside he soon had cut out and smoothed off an area large enough for him to sleep in.
Two of the straighter branches were sharpened into crude spears and set aside, lastly he arranged some stones into a shallow fire ring to build a fire in.
With the satellite phone now fully charged, Roger opened up his armored phone and punched in a series of numbers, hit "send" and waited. A few rings later, Rachel answered breathlessly, "Roger?! Is that you?"
Roger chuckled and said, "I'm at the lake, the damn guide ditched me seven days ago. Aside from wanting to choke me a Canuck right now, I'm basically okay!"
Rachel replied grimly, "The little bastard's in jail right now, he came out of the forest telling some wild tale about bears attacking and you got eaten and he ran for his life."
Roger grumbled, "He's gonna wish a bear had eaten me when I get back! He took my granddad's rifle, the one he used when he lived up in Alaska."
Rachel said pleasantly, "We have the rifle, he tried to pawn it and we got it back for you."
He said happily, "Well that is good news! Any how, I'm at the lake near Ape Mountain and I'll stand by until the helicopter gets here."
Rachel said, "That's good, stay put okay? The helicopter will departing as soon as we can arrange for one."
Roger put away the phone and got out his fishing gear, the lake had to have trout in it he figured and after turning over a few pieces of driftwood, he found enough worms to have bait.
The fish were biting and Roger soon caught a couple of sleek lake trout in short order and after cleaning them, he built a small fire, and tied the fish to a thin branch to prop over the fire and roast the fish. After eating his fill, Roger carried the remnants off into the forest and dropped them to the ground.
Coming back to camp, Roger was startled to see he had a visitor. Noiselessly, he slipped behind a tree and peeked around its trunk to get a better look at his guest.
He couldn't see its face just yet, but it stood about his own height of six feet and was covered in fur. Watching it closely, Roger soon realized the fur was its clothing and not its own skin.
Tentatively he called out,"Hello?! Who are you?" and he stepped out from behind the tree.
The figure turned around and he saw looking out from beneath the furred hood, a fair skinned face with bright blue eyes, even features and an open, almost childlike expression. The two stood facing each other, Roger slowly moved to one side to give his visitor a clear way out, the visitor made no effort to move and eyed him curiously.
Roger pressed his hands to to his chest and said, "My name is Roger, I am called Roger. What is your name?" he finished this by pointing with the back of his hand facing his visitor instead of pointing with his fingers.
His visitor smiled and said, "Are ye an 'Mericain?" In heavily accented English.
Roger grinned and replied, "Yes, I am an American."
The visitor smiled and said, "Me name is Freya Sigurdsdottir, me kinfolk sent me tae meet yer." Roger looked around and asked, "People? I'm afraid I don't see any people. Of course with your clothing, it would be real easy for you to hide from me."
Freya gestured towards the dense forest and replied, "Me father and brothers be watching us right now."
Roger grinned and remarked, "I have someone coming to get me in a helicopter and they will be here in a few hours, if I am intruding I apologize, and I will leave as soon as they get here."
Freya looked a bit puzzled and she asked slowly, "Hel, i, cop, ter? What is a hel, i, cop, ter?"
Roger puffed out his cheeks and muttered, "Hoo boy! How do I explain this?"
Then he said carefully, "A helicopter is a thing that flies through the air over great distances, one is coming to get me today, to take me home, back to America."
Freya looked at him steadily and said, "We will wait to see this hel i cop ter you speak of."
Roger could only shrug and he said hopefully, "Well, I can't offer you anything to eat or drink except lake water; or maybe we could catch some more fish and eat them, if you'd like that?"
Freya looked at him with a puzzled expression and asked, "How will ye catch fish? I dinna see nae fishing spears or nets." Roger grinned at her and said cheerfully, "Watch and learn!"
He dug into his pack again and assembled his fishing pole and reel, Freya looked at his fishing rod curiously and gently touched it with a finger. Roger grinned and said, "It was my grandfather's fishing rod, then it was my father's and now it is mine, it has served me well!"
Roger gathered some more worms and soon had cast his line into the water. He stole a glance at Freya, while she wasn't what he would call a raving beauty.
She certainly wasn't ugly either, her face was well formed and would be comely if she had a little make up on and was wearing something less shapeless. Dressed in street clothes, she would blend right in except for her being his own height of 6 feet, tall women got noticed by virtue of their height alone.
Freya smiled in delight when he hooked a fish and soon, she was busily cleaning it a short ways off; Roger hooked a second fish and Freya began cleaning that too, while Roger got the fire going again by fanning the coals and adding twigs and small dry branches.
While the fish roasted over the crackling fire, Roger asked her, "Should we invite your father and brothers? Perhaps they'd like some fresh trout?"
Freya smiled shyly at him and said mysteriously, "Are ye ready tae meet me father and brothers?" Roger shrugged and replied, "Sure, why not? No sense in them sitting in the forest while we eat and talk to each other."
Freya smiled at him and stood up, she faced the forest and waved at it at first, then she beckoned to it.
She glanced at him and said, "They'll be here in a few minutes." Roger got a good look at her while she waved at the forest and realized that she was quite shapeless underneath her furs, and her voice seemed a little too childish for an adult.
So he came right out and asked her, "Freya, I don't mean to be nosy and ask you any embarrassing questions, but just how old are you?"
Freya smiled at him without guile and replied, "Nine summers... Why do you ask?"
Roger's heart nearly skipped a beat and he replied, " Woah, there is more to you than meets the eye! I came here because I belong to an organization that looks for legendary creatures or people in your case..."
Freya suddenly called out "Father!" and dashed towards the forest, emerging from the gloom were five of the largest humans Roger had ever seen.
Freya dashed towards the largest man and flung herself into his massive arms, he lifted her up and placed her upon his shoulders as if she were a small child.
On either side of him were two slightly smaller, slightly less hairy versions of himself.
Roger smiled as they walked up to him and stood looming over him, their bearded faces impassive.
Her father had to stand almost ten feet tall while her four brothers ranged from seven to nine feet tall.
The huge man eyed Roger calmly and finally said, "I am called Sigurd and how are ye called?" His voice was like a bass note on a pipe organ, Roger felt it as much as he heard it.
Roger smiled at him and replied, "I am named Roger Tate, Tate being my family name and Roger being my given name. It is a pleasure to meet you, sir!"
Sigurd smiled at him through his very impressive reddish-blonde beard and replied in that pedal section of a voice, "It be a pleasure to meet yer too, Roger Tate. Freya tells me ye shared a meal with her as a gesture of friendship. Among me kinfolk that could also be a marriage proposal!"
Roger flushed slightly and replied hastily, "I didn't mean for it to be misunderstood! I was unaware of Freya's youth at the time I offered her food. I did not know I was talking to a frost giant's young daughter!"
Sigurd smiled at him and rumbled, " Oh? So ye've heard of the land O'Jotunheim?"
Author's comment: Ape Mountain is a real place and can be seen on Google Earth