Ice Flow

31 January 2012 in 20 Minute Stories

*  Note, this story is quite incomplete, but I felt like putting something here for people to read in the event they wanted something to read.  Enjoy!

It was supposed to be a joke.  Now he was standing there drifting further and further away.  No cell phone reception, no radio.  Just himself.  It was no longer a joke.

That summer holiday was supposed to be the best.  James had been waiting his whole life for this summer vacation.  As early as he could remember, he’d dreamed of exploring the arctic.  As a child he would spend hours every cold winter day creating snow caves, snow mountains, snow trails.  Every day he explored the uncharted regions of the back yard and every night when it finally became too dark to explore, he would recount the details of his expeditions to his mother in great detail over hot chocolate … with marshmallow icebergs, as he explained to his mother.

Twenty years later, here he was.  Sitting on a six foot by eight foot piece of ice, floating just a little too far away from shore.  It was supposed to be a joke.  James had seen the prison cell sized piece of ice just slightly off shore, hopped over to it and pushed off just a little bit.  He had absolutely no idea that only a meter off shore the current would grab the miniature non-marshmallow iceberg and carry it quickly away from safety.  Shouting to the rest of the expedition crew proved to be futile; the winds picked up quickly, carrying his voice in the wrong direction.

By the time the rest of the crew came back into his line of sight, he was hundreds of feet off shore and not properly dressed for the swim back.  James started mentally preparing himself for the endless ridicule and I-Told-You-So’s that were inevitably awaiting him when he got rescued.  Through the years of university and the plethora of warning from his crew, he knew that this ranked pretty high on the list of stupid things to do.

So James stood there and waited.

And then he sat down and waited.

And then he stood back up and waited some more.

The rest of the expedition crew were long out of sight now.  He wasn’t sure if his waving and shouting had done any good.  Thankfully he was mindful enough to choose the traffic-cone bright orange snow gear today, so when the helicopters or boats came by he would be easy to spot.

More standing, sitting, and standing soon followed.  James checked his wrist where his watch should be, only to remind himself that it was too cold for the LCD display to work.

He looked up.  The sun hung low in the sky that morning.  Or afternoon.  James had no idea.  It could be evening for all he knew.  He was far enough north that the sun never really set at this time of year and he had no idea how long he’d been standing, then sitting, then standing again.  What he did know was that his toes no longer hurt from the cold and his fingers were definitely a blueish hue.  Although he was starting to lose sensation in his fingers, he could feel the frost on the stubble that had accumulated on his face and he didn’t want to think of how moronic he looked with the snotcicles he had tired of wiping from his nose.

The hours dragged on and James hoped and prayed for an ending.  He closed his eyes and pictured himself as a child, chilled to the core, shivering, crawling through the snow tunnels.  He knew that when the down-deep cold started to set in that he could leap up through the escape tunnel and make a mad dash into the kitchen where there was no doubt a mug of hot chocolate waiting there for him in his favourite mug, the green one with the very hungry caterpillar on it.  If he had made his bed that morning, his mother would let him have a cookie to dunk into his hot chocolate too.

This morning, James had made his bed, and right now he really wanted to leap out of the escape tunnel.  But there was no escape, there was no cookie, and there was no hot chocolate.  James gave up the standing part of his routine some time back in favour of sitting and holding his legs close to him …

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31 January 2012 20 Minute Stories