I’d been in my first job for about a year, when I was assigned to go map the top of a mountain. After three months, we had pretty much finished the job, and two of the guys were demobilised.
The two of us remaining were on our way down the mountain, with thick fog hindering our progress. Following the senior man, I became increasingly uneasy as I failed to recognise any of the landmarks which emerged occasionally from the grey swirling around us. A couple of times I suggested that we were off track, and had probably been heading too far east. My companion, oblivious to the notion that we may have fallen into the error of tracking the contour rather than heading straight downhill, simply ignored my concerns.
We carried on. My unease increased with every step. The fog closed even further in. My colleague stopped for a bathroom break, and as I passed him I once again suggested that we were in the wrong place. Hardly had the words come out of my mouth than a voice shouted “Stop!”, and I felt a hand in the centre of my chest.
Shocked, I turned and demanded that my companion hand over the map. Irritated, he dug into his rucksack, and, as he looked up, map in hand, it was his turn to be shocked. Through a break in fog, we looked down a sheer 500 foot drop, a few short steps from where we now stood.
The voice, I have to confess, I knew. It had accompanied me since around the age of 10. My shock was due to the physical sensation of a hand on my chest – that had never happened before.
My, now rather sheepish, companion took to looking at me rather strangely from that incident on… compounded no doubt by a lack of interest on my part in sharing how on earth I had been aware that we were so close to disaster that day.