The Lost Land, tome I: The Awakening


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Nadine loves the hectic lifestyle she’s living in Montreal. She has finally retired, which allows her time to create and explore the world.
With her husband Alex, trekking has become a mutual passion that provides her with a change of scenery as well as a sense of wonder that fascinates her. Her artistic side enjoys it as well because she loves to paint, read, write and learn…
One morning in April, Nadine awakens in an unknown place, alone with her orange tent and her hiking backpack as sole luggage. Who has pulled the prank on her? Where is she? How will she survive with only five days of provisions?
While discovering the Lost Land, the hiker, whom the reader accompanies as a witness of her quest, shares her thoughts with us but also teaches us to reconcile with our humanity.
Nadine tries to understand at first, but in survival mode, she must focus on her safety, eating and trying to find other people with whom she can share.
Will this Lost Land allow her to find herself? When will her loved ones come to her rescue?
The Awakening is the first of six volumes in the lost land collection.



Publié par
Date de parution 18 février 2016
Nombre de visites sur la page 3
EAN13 9782895711599
Langue English

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Tome 1 The Awakening
Translated from
Le Pays de la Terre perdue
Tome 1 Le réveil
To my parents, Claire and Robert, who taught me that life is all about living your dreams.
Cataloging-in-publication data with Bibliothèque et Archives nationales du Québec and Library and Archives Canada
Pelletier, Suzie, 1954
The Lost Land
The entire collection includes 6 volumes
Summary : 1.The Awakening
ISBN 978-2-89571-158-2 (v.1)
I. Title. II. Title : The Awakening.
PS8631.E466P39 2013C843’.6 C2012-942845-0 PS963.1E466P39 2013
Translation :
Editing :
Guylaine Gervais (GG Translation & Professional Services)
Ana Maria Heskin-Zuniga (AZ World Translation & Interpretation Inc.)
Infographics for cover : Monique Moisan Photographer : Sylvie Poirier
Editor :
Les Éditions Véritas Québec 2555, avenue Havre-des-Îles, bureau 715 Laval, (QC) H7W 4R4 450-687-3826
Copyright © 2015 by Suzie Pelletier
Library and Archives Canada Cataloging in Publication
978-2-89571-158-2 printed edition 978-2-89571-159-9 digital edition
The teChnologiCal seCurity blanket that exists in todays Civilisation has erased, in the simple beings that we are, the landmarks whiCh allow us to adapt to living in the wild
How Can we reConneCt with our anCestorsgenetiC legaCy whiCh would allow us to go baCk to basiCswith nothing and no one?
Chapter 1 th Day 1 – July 15
certain sweetness in the air, like a warm breeze, c aresses her skin. Nadine Afilters through the now translucent fabric of the s mall tent. What? Still half moves her arm, stretches, then opens one eye, slowl y waking. The sun asleep she springs up. Her head hits the camping li ght hanging from the ceiling. “Ouch!” Nadine brings her hand to her forehead wher e her fingers discover a painful lump, triggering once again, a yelp of pain . She falls back onto her pillow. This ultra-light lamp couldn’t possibly have caused such a lump! Seriously!
“This must be part of some sort of dream where I’m not quite awake yet. Wait for the alarm clock to ring … like every morning, then get up. Savour the peacefulness of the house, the smell of coffee…” she tells herse lf smiling.
She smells something odd, a summer countryside kind of smell. The birds? They are signing in all the trees, answering each o ther merrily. The orange rays slip through her eyelids. She opens one eye. She is cocooned in her trekking tent, the one that has only rarely been taken out of its travel bag over the past ten years. She recognizes that near suffocating morning heat from the tent having been zipped up and sealed for a while. Her small li ving quarters will soon feel like a greenhouse if she doesn’t let some fresh air in! Keeping an eye on the ceiling lamp so she doesn’t hit it again, Nadine gets up an d crawls on all fours to get to the door.
It’s been at least ten years since she and Alex hav e done any camping with this tent. They carry it with them during their trekking expeditions, mostly for security reasons, without setting it up. Usually, they prefe r to rest in small cottages found along the trails. These offer a certain comfort but mostly allow them to remain dry during their rest period. The tent, well tucked ins ide the slip cover, along with the floor mat, usually end up staying in Alex’s backpac k. It’s very strange that her loyal companion is not sleeping by her side. Perhaps he i s already up getting breakfast ready. What a darling!
Nadine tries to get a grasp on recent events. Last night? She looks around. She is confused. She recognizes the little candle-lamp hanging from the ceiling of the tent. She touches that bump on her head again, gent ly. Did she suffer a concussion? Has she lost her memory? A good blow to the temple… Mind you, Nadine has a pretty hard head! Something unusual is going on. There must be an explanation. “Wake up!” she yells, pinching herself on the arm. She shakes her head and rubs her eyes, just like she used to as a child. She is becoming more alert. Every object surrounding her brings up more questions. She needs to establish a link between what she is seeing and wha t she is experiencing. Nadine fell asleep in her comfortable bed, cuddled up with Alex, in their family home. She remembers the noisy, bustling mornings when their t wo children were being disruptive. An early riser, Nadine has always been able to steal a few moments of peace and quiet for herself before everyone else wa kes up.
Nothing makes sense! She recognizes her sleeping ba g, but her husband is missing. There is only one mattress, one pair of bo ots, one pair of socks, one set of clothes.
“Where is Alex? His things aren’t here…”
Nadine is astonished: “What am I doing here? How di d I get here from Montreal? Did we plan an expedition that I’ve forgotten? Wher e is everybody? I must be losing my mind! That’s it!”
Everything is spinning and Nadine feels like her he ad is about to explode. That noise? She can hear the birds outside. There’s anot her animal also, bigger than a squirrel. What is it? She quickly puts on her cloth es and sneaks outside quietly. Her gut feeling tells her not to make any sudden mo vements. Easy does it! Danger… “Wow! Incredible… Where’s my camera?” A lit tle less than two metres away from her tent, a stunning caribou is nibbling away at the plants he has chosen for his breakfast. It turns its head, perks up its ears. Even though Nadine is completely still, her unexpected arrival surprised it and the animal takes off. “Too bad for the picture! Scaredy-cat! Now no one will b elieve me…”
Nadine looks at the animal perplexed. She actually did see a large male with an enormous rack weaving through the trees. That’s odd . Caribous usually lose their antlers at the beginning of winter and they grow ba ck slowly to reach their maximum size for the rutting period in September. T he animal she just observed had antlers typically seen midsummer, not the stubs seen in springtime. In April, th its antlers should be much smaller. Today is April 24 , right? Her watch would confirm this. She just has to get it from inside th e tent.
Before re-entering the tent, Nadine tries to situat e herself. The plants growing around her tent look familiar. She has the impressi on of a déjà vu. They remind her of the beautiful countryside of the Parc de la Gasp ésie that she and Alex have explored so often. If she finds the cabana built by the meteorologists nearby, it would confirm she is on Mount Logan. She sees nothi ng in sight … despite doing a 360° turn. The little orange tent is the only famil iar object around. Even the temperature is strange. It is awfully warm, and springtime in Gaspésie is never this early. This day is getting weirder by the minute!
Nadine is feeling a little confused. She must place her hand in front of her eyes as the rays of the hard beating sun are blinding he r. She feels a sensation of dizziness about to overcome her … and this throbbin g in her temples! She is thirsty; her throat feels like it is tightening mor e and more. She’s not dreaming. Does she have amnesia? Has she simply lost her mind ? She screams, “HELLO”. A few birds fly off, then it is silent again. There m ust be some sense to this. There’s always an explanation. Remain calm. Breathe. “Gaspé sie is 800 km from Montreal! How could I possibly have gotten here without being aware of it?”
Despite the ambient heat, she shivers. Even the dat e doesn’t make sense. Alex’s absence even less. This ill feeling is creep ing up under her skin. Where could her partner be? He would never abandon her du ring a hike. There are no signs indicating that this time though, he actually tagged along.
Nadine is all alone in this unknown scenery. She sp ent the night in her orange tent in the middle of an isolated field, and has no clue how she landed here. This is pure madness! She must have simply lost her mind or something short-circuited in her brain, some kind of a painless drift. No… Nadin e rubs her eyes. She starts hopping from one leg to another like a child, to se e if she would bounce back. “Crap!” To reassure herself, she feels the need to hear her own voice. “You-hoo! Is there anyone out there?” Only a faint echo answers her, then heavy silence falls
back onto her shoulders.
She returns to her tent wondering if, perhaps, she hit her head, suffered a concussion that would have caused her to have amnes ia, or had an accident during her sleep that put her in a coma. “Perfect d ecor. Well chosen. I love it. There is everything here for me to feel comfortable in my own bubble, so that there is no need for me to return home” she tells herself . Although appealing, this idea doesn’t quite satisfy her. This type of perfect oas is is not what she would wish for at this time. “No way! Leave Alex? Forget about the children? Give up the people I love? Never! Why would Alex allow me to leave all b y myself under these conditions?”
Trying to break the quietness of her surroundings, Nadine walks around the tent, starts running around in all directions, scans the sky, looks on the ground nearby and then in the distance. She yells, screams, tries to scare off the birds. She calls out for Alex. No one answers. Any humans or animal traces? She bends down to look where the ground is looser; there are no footp rints other than hers and the caribou’s.
Is there anything visible? A park, a village, a roa d? At the north end of the horizon, she sees the blue of water; a large body o f water. She thinks of the sea, like the one seen in Gaspésie. Is it really the sea ? She’s not sure but this idea makes her feel better. It will give her a landmark. She barely dares hold on to that certainty. Nadine is not sure about anything. She feels unsteady. Despite the day’s heat, she shivers and thirst scorches her throat. A wave of panic is creeping up, making her sway between reality and imagination. Do ubt sets in. What is she doing here? Why is she alone? Where is she? Is Alex going to suddenly appear from behind a rock?
“Clearly, I’m not sleeping. Unless… So many of my f amily and friends are pranksters. This must be a prank!” All the same, sh e thinks this is a really sick joke. The type that would require a huge, invisible team like you see in “Candid Camera” where the victim would completely fall for it. As a spectator, it’s hilarious … but when you are the guinea pig, the experience i s rather unpleasant. That is exactly how she feels right now! The joke is on her!
“I hate this game!” yells Nadine with her hands by her mouth to amplify her voice. Even though she can’t see the cameras (which are probably well concealed in the trees), she refuses to be the deer in the he adlight that everyone is watching. So … in order to catch them at their own game, she has to play along and surprise them by behaving as if nothing was bothering her. “ These darn pranksters are not going to get me that easy! I admit they may have wo n the first round; I’m lost, frustrated and angry.” Nadine’s ego steps in. “I’m surely not going to make it easy for them to win this game,” she tells herself, cast ing away her fear. When it comes to survival in the great outdoors … she is one step ahead of the game!
“All right! The sun is already pretty high in the s ky. I’m going to get my watch to check the time and then simply cook myself a nice b reakfast… I’m going to show you who you’re up against!” She enters the tent and searches through all the su pplies to no avail. There is no watch. Disconcerted, Nadine notices that amidst all this paraphernalia, there are no modern gadgets. After emptying the tent of all i ts contents, she remains standing for a good period of time, stupefied; her arms limp next to her body. She
looks around, takes a deep breath to try and calm t he chaos inside her head and the resounding sound of her pulse. Her temples thro b with each heartbeat. She feels a migraine coming on. Must eat something quic kly. “Come on guys … which one of you could resist the s mell of coffee? OK then, one temptation at a time.”
Obviously, no matter where we are, there are a few fundamental things in life that don’t change, like hunger for instance. She ha s promised herself for years she would lose those extra 20 kilos. Easier said than d one. Despite being very active, she loves food, which makes it very difficult for h er to remain on a diet. This hide-and-seek game being thrust upon her just may create the perfect occasion, as she is willing to spend a lot of energy to make sure th e pranksters fail. Her positive attitude now allows her to see the events from a different perspective.
Let’s see what’s on the menu for breakfast! One of the essentials for surviving in the wilderness is food! She searches through her ba ckpack and finds dried food, a little camping stove with its gas container, a pot, cooking utensils including a fork, a spoon, along with a metal plate and cup. Surprisi ngly, there are supplies for only one person.
First let’s get some water heated up for coffee. Sh e really needs some caffeine. There’s no milk. Nadine utters a few unkind words u nder her breath to the authors of this bad joke who forgot to put some powdered mi lk in her backpack so she could have it with her coffee!
She suspects her friend Bernard is involved in all this. He drinks his coffee without milk. Furthermore, he would be someone capa ble of setting up this kind of a sick joke. It’s surprising though that his wife C laudine would let him get away with this. She must not be aware, otherwise, she would c ertainly have objected.
Nadine now has to light up the camping stove; Alex usually takes care of this. Oh well, he’s not here! At least the pranksters did n’t forget to pack the lighter. Nadine figures it out through a process of eliminat ion: attach the gas container to the little stove, crack open the tank, light it up. Bingo! Now! That’s technology!
She puts the pot on the stove after filling it with water from her flask. Then she takes out her cup and puts in a coffee bag. It won’ t be as strong or tasty as the one she makes at home but she’ll have to make due until this game is over. While waiting for her coffee, Nadine chooses her me nu which she cooks in what’s left of the water. One must not waste a drop of water when out in the wilderness, especially drinking water. Nadine checks out her surroundings while forcing do wn her bland meal of dried eggs and black coffee. The sun is slowly warming up the soil, still saturated with water. Since the sun has been up for a while, Nadin e figures there must have been a recent abundant rainfall. Looking south, she can see a mountain summit, approximately 800 metres away. From where she stand s, the summit appears to be a few hundred metres higher. Her tent is positio ned 50 metres from a stream which formed itself between the stones, then cascad es into a little lake. All around, the field is bare. Of course, as is often the case in the mountains of Gaspésie, there are more rocks than vegetation. She does noti ce, however, the abundance of lichen attached here and there in the shadows of th e rocks. The evergreen forest becomes thicker 200 metres north, towards the base of the mountain.
Forgetting about her frustration, Nadine is touched when she realizes all of a sudden, how magnificent this scenery actually is. T he pure air invigorates her lungs. She appreciates the surrounding echoes of na ture: the chirping of the birds, the sound of the waterfall, the light breeze hummin g at her ears, the squirrels curiously observing her. For a moment, she finds pe ace. Her connection with this environment is both inspiring and soothing. It’s al most as if time is standing still. She sighs, thinking back to all these years spent r acing against the clock where being able to enjoy a moment like this would have b een a true joy. Peace in all its simplicity.
After breakfast, Nadine decides to organize her cam p. She has to keep her spirits up. Time to think about what needs to be do ne. Her first priority has to be security. When in the mountains, hikers must always be aware of what is at their disposal. Rain or shine, this inventory can help yo u allocate your meals evenly, stretching your supplies longer if need be. Nadine empties her backpack directly onto the rocky ground to verify her survival gear. Along with the kitchen articles, she finds five day s’ worth of dried meals. Five days! This joke is getting more and more credible, although still unpleasant. They want to leave her here for five days? There are spare clothes and two additional pairs of socks. At least the authors of this prank appreciate how important it is to keep y our feet dry. There are also two short-sleeve shirts which she wears to sleep during long mountain hikes. As she scrutinizes the content of her luggage, Nadi ne wonders if Alex also participated in this sick joke. If he did, boy is h e ever in trouble! In the backpack, there was also a raincoat, rain pa nts, her favourite outdoor hat, her sunglasses, a warm sweater, a compass, a water filter and a flask. In addition, she finds a small machete with its sleeve that can be worn on her calf. Let’s not forget her Laguiole utility knife, with a 20 cm bla de and its casing which fits at the waist.
Everything she needs to stay warm and dry, guarante e access to drinking water and orient herself. Perfect! She will surprise them all … and will survive this sick joke. Fortunately, she is not intimidated by the fo rest that surrounds her. Her numerous trekking expeditions over the years have t aught her to respect the wilderness and not be afraid of wildlife. She has c aution and experience well ingrained. Nadine remains puzzled despite her rational and cre ative approach. She realizes that the content of her luggage is exactly what she would normally bring in her backpack during any expedition but she would ce rtainly have included a first aid kit and some hygiene products as well. The tent, the floor mat and the machete are always included in the gear that Alex usually c arries. Normally, they would also add, to Alex’s backpack, the heavier articles like flashlights, fresh fruits and vegetables. If Alex was watching her now, he would also find th is bizarre… She without him, him without her, both of them so eager to be with o ne another. It is so weird to feel alone. Nadine loves walking behind him on the narro w trails, seeing his shadow moving silently then, reacting abruptly upon discov ering a new treasure, and hearing him say: “Check this out!” just like a litt le kid. She pulls herself out of this nostalgia. A little solitude won’t kill her. Carryi ng on with her inventory will be much