Last week’s story was a bizarre. I admit I didn’t like the cards, and then I got mixed up on what day it was with Christmas falling on Thursday and taking me out of my rhythm. I ended up writing the story on Friday morning and, after initially thinking I was going to piece together something that was maybe 500 words, I ended up writing more than that. I think the story’s cute. You can give a read and see what you think.
Here’s what’s on tap for the last FFF of the 2014, which will end up making the first story of 2015:
I’m already into these cards. I like hairy guys, so that’ll be fun. I also like storms (sort of), so that’s a bonus. Next Friday the story will be up. As always, you’re welcome to participate by posting a story on your blog and giving the URL in the comments here.
[h3]December 26 Story[/h3]
Wow…I got verbose on this one writing about a rescue in the snow.
Rescue by Jeff Adams
The storm was bad, far worse than any forecast Dean heard before going to bed. Standing at the window he saw more than three feet of snow given that the snow was above the window sill. The power was out, but the gas heat kept the house cozy. Dean was still going to have to trudge outside to get the generator going, not to mention partially digging out the house.
Dean peeled out of his flannel pajamas and got some work clothes on, long johns, jeans, flannel shirt and a snowsuit to go out in, capped off with snow boots on his feet and a hat on his head. He loved being a bear of a man, with a thick, full beard and a hairy body. He’d been hairy since he was seventeen. He took a lot of crap for it in the high school locker room and it’d bother him. By the time he was half way through college he figured out he was very into the guys that it attracted and he promised himself he’d never change it.
Dean worked in the Lolo National Forest as a ranger. His husband worked in the emergency room of St. Patrick. Too bad Patrick wasn’t home to enjoy a snow day. He wouldn’t be home until later tonight, provided he could get home.He grabbed his cell phone and dialed, wanting to hear from his man before he went out into the cold.
“Dean!” Patrick said answering the phone. “What’s it like out there. The news says we got slammed.”
“Yeah, there’s a lot of snow, easily thirty or forty inches just from what I see outside the bedroom. Power’s out too. I’m about to go out and dig out the generator to get it going. How’s it there?”
“Pretty regular night. As the snow got bad, traffic died out. Been a couple ambulances struggling to get in. Delivered a baby about an hour ago, which isn’t a bad way to spend the morning.”
“Congrats,” Dean smiled as he thought about Patrick bringing a life into the world. “I hope you get to come home tonight. I miss you on days like this.”
“I miss you too. Let’s talk later and see how it looks. Sounds like if I could leave here I wouldn’t be able to get there.”
“Yeah, I’m guessing it sucks out there. I’ll know more after I’m outside. I’m gonna give Jenny and Bob a call too to make sure they’re okay.”
In the background Dean heard Patrick getting paged.
“Dammit. I gotta go. I love you. Will talk in a few hours.”
“Love you too. Be safe.”
Dean ended the call and then dialed their neighbors a mile down the road and they were the only people living on this road. The rest of the property was summer cabins no one else was using right now. Dean and Patrick lived outside of town, between town and the forest. It made for good commute times for them both, and meant the lived in a more rural environment that they both liked. The guys met on a camping weekend mutual friends had set up. It’d been love at first sight.
“Good morning, Dean. How are things down there?” Jenny asked.
“Sparkly white,” Dean said. They both like the snow, unlike their husbands. “Everything good with you guys?”
“Yeah. Power’s out. Bob’s working on getting the generator going, which I imagine is top of your list of things to do too.”
“You know it. Just wanted to check in before I started. Tell Bob I said happy shoveling.”
“Will do. Take care over there.”
Dean hung up, made sure his ringer was turned up loud and tucked the phone in one of the pockets in the chest of the snow suit. As he walked through the house, he noted the snow up at each of the windows, including the front ones. He was glad there was a porch on the front of the house so that the snow wouldn’t fall into the house when he opened the door. His parents house was like that, and it was always annoying on mornings like this.
He unlocked and opened the door, the porch had snow on it, piled up in front of the steps and coming through the railing slats. It was beautiful, white all around. There must not’ve been much wind since there wasn’t much drifting, just lots of deep snow. Dean doubted that Patrick would get home tonight. The country road wasn’t going to be a priority to plow and the four-wheel-drive wasn’t going to make any headway in this.
Dean grabbed the shovel they stored on the porch, for days just like this, and started shoveling out the path to the side of the house where the generator was. If it been up to Patrick, the generator would’ve been on the porch, but it wasn’t safe, or good curb appeal, to do that.
At the half way point in the shoveling, Dean wished he eaten something, even if it was just a handful of cereal. This was an intense workout trying to dig a path, even if he wasn’t digging all the way down to the ground. It took him an hour to get to the generator and get it fired up. There was enough fuel that he could run the entire house for three days, and longer if he conserved.
Now it was time for breakfast. Something caught his eye as he went pack to the porch. A glint of steel from near where the road was supposed to be. Dean didn’t know what that could be. It wasn’t the mailbox, he could see the top of that off to the right. They had nothing that tall in their yard. He put the shovel away and went inside to get the binoculars out of the desk in the living room. Standing on the porch he focused on what he’d seen. It looked like the roof of a car.
A car there made no sense.
“Damn.” He grabbed the shovel. Even though he wasn’t going to dig his way to the car, he’d walk on top of the snow as best he could for that, he might need it when he got there. He stepped gingerly in the snow, sinking into the snow banks as he walked. Doing a high knee walk, Dean moved through the snow reasonably fast and got to the car in just a few minutes.
He walked cautiously because the property had a fence line that was completely under cover and he didn’t want to run into it and end up tripping over it. The car seemed to be parked on the edge of the fence line, still on the street side. Dean went parallel to the car’s position until he got closer to the mailbox because that’s where the driveway opening was.
He got to the car and could only see the roof line. He carefully shoveled snow away to reveal more of the car. The windows were iced up and he couldn’t see inside and the door was either locked or frozen shut. Dean used the shovel to gentle scrape the ice off the window. He removed just a little bit and he could see a man asleep in the front seat.
He used the shovel to knock on the window and there was no response. He knocked harder. He didn’t want to break the window, but he needed the guy to wake up. The guy jerked in the seat and looked at Dean.
“You okay?” Dean yelled so he could be heard.
“Where am I?”
“You’re outside my house.”
The guy moved, sluggishly, and managed to get the door open. As he stepped out, he wavered and almost fell, catch himself on the car. Dean saw immediately the guy was not well. He looked grey and appeared to have been sweating despite the chill.
“I…I… was trying to get home. My phone died and the snow… I couldn’t see, so I pulled off here. I figured it was safe since there was a house.” He teetered again and this time Dean steadied him.
“We need to get you inside,” he said as the man had a coughing attack. “I can help you move, but you’re going to have to help too. It’ll take to long to shovel all this.”
“Man it snowed a lot,” the man said, looking around.
Dean chuckled. “That’s an understatement. Can you make it?”
“I’ll try. I’d love to get in where it’s warm.”
Dean closed the car door, left the shovel, held on to the guy and guided them back to the house via the route Dean had taken.
“Oh man, I don’t feel good,” the man said a few steps from the house.
“Hang on, almost there.”
In a couple steps though, the man went limp and Dean barely caught him before he fell face first into the snow.
The depth of the snow made it impossible to pick up the man, so Dean managed as best he could to get the man inside. Once he got to the porch, he picked the man up and noticed a gold chain fall out of his hand and hit the porch. He’d have to come back for that. He was glad he’d left the door ajar so he could push it open with his foot. Once inside, he laid the man on the couch and covered him with the throw that was dropped on the recliner.
Outside, the snow started to call again. Were they getting even more? This was madess. He’d seen wrong forecasts before, but not usually by this much. He flipped on the TV, but got nothing. The dish probably had snow over it. He went over to the TV and flicked the switch next to the receiver box to warm up the dish and melt the snow. In the meantime, he’d call Patrick to see what he knew about the weather and find out what he can do for this guy.
Patrick picked up on the third ring this time. “Hey! Unexpected treat. I’m going between rooms right now so I only have a minute. What’s up?”
Dean quickly laid out what was going on as he went back to the porch and picked up the gold chain the man had dropped. The chain had a small locket on it. It was an odd thing to be gripping in a car, in the middle of a storm, but there it was none the less.
“Is the guy feverish?” Patrick asked.
“Yeah. He’s burning up. I’ve got him covered up on the couch. He passed out while I was trying to get him in the house.”
“You’ll need to keep him hydrated and maybe try to get him to eat some chicken broth if he can keep stuff down. It’s probably a cold or flu or something. Give him some Tylenol to try to get the fever down.”
The TV snapped alive as the satellite signal cleared. The local ABC affiliate was on, broadcasting a special report.
“Holy crap,” Dean said. “This storm isn’t over.”
“I’ve heard that, too. Maybe another foot or two, which is insane.”
“I just saw that. The TVs finally working, had to get the snow melted off the dish. There’s no way you’re gonna get home anytime soon.”
“Probably not. I’ll be lucky if my relief even gets here probably, although he does live in the city and not out like we do. Still, they’re probably going to need help here. So much for snowy snuggles.”
“Oh well.” Dean sighed, but pressed on. “So I’ll get this guy settled and batten down the house for a long day. At least it looks like the snow ends before night fall. I’ll conserve on the generator too so the fuel lasts longer.”
“Sounds like a plan. Sorry I’m not there to help.”
“You’re helping people that need it there. I’ll get by and if our guest needs more help, I’ll call you.”
“Okay, love you. I gotta go.”
“Love you, Patrick.”
Dean sighed. He needed to get settled, and get himself as well as the guy, some breakfast. He went to the kitchen and got pots on the stove, one for broth and one for oatmeal. He also popped a pod in the Kurieg to get coffee going. He then got a glass of water and the tylenol. It was time to wake up the man.
Dean sat on the coffee table and gently nudge the man’s shoulder. His eyes fluttered open and he look confused.
“It’s okay,” Dean said. “I brought you inside, our of your car. Do you remember that?”
“Sort of,” the man said. “We were walking, but I don’t remember getting inside.”
“You’ve got a fever, so here’s some water and some Tylenol to help with that.” He handed them over. “I’m going to heat up some broth for you too.”
“Thank you, uhm…”
“I’m Dean. And you?”
“Luke.” The man took the pills and washed them down.
“How’d you end up here, Luke?”
“I’m headed up to Whitefish. My mom’s sick and I’m trying to get home to her. The snow hit, my phone died so I lost the GPS and it’s been too long since I’ve done the drive.”
“You’re not too far off course actually, but it’s going to be a few days before you can…”
“Oh my God. I’ve lost it.” Luke threw the covers off and patted himself down, checking pockets and even under him. “No. I can’t…”
“This?” Dean picked the chain up from the table and held it out in his hand.
“Oh, yes. Thank you.”
“You were clutching it, and it dropped on the porch as I brought you in.”
Luke sighed in relief. “It’s my mom’s, with a picture of her and dad in the locket. She had it mailed to me when she went back into the hospital because she wanted to make sure I’d have it. It means the world to her, and to me. When can I get out of here?”
Dean looked out the window. It wasn’t snowing heavily, but anything on top of what they already had was too much. “I don’t know. You need to get better before you drive more, and there’s more than three feet of snow out there. I imagine it’s gonna be a while before the plows get there. Not to mention how messed up ninety-three will be trying to go north.
“I should go, before it gets worse.” Luke tried to get up, but his body rebelled.
“There’s nowhere to go right now. Your car is mostly buried.” Dean gently covered Luke with the blanket. “You can stay here. We’ll get you recovered so you can get where you need to go. There’s plenty of stuff here that we can easily hold out for several days. The snow ends tonight and then the real digging out can begin. And, my husband’s a doctor, so if we need to talk to someone about how you’re doing we’ve got that covered, too.”
“Thank you. I’m sorry to just drop in like this.”
“It’s okay. I’m glad I saw you. Your car was almost covered up. I don’t know that you could’ve gotten out on your own.” He heard the water boiling on the stove. “Let me go get our breakfast ready. You lie back and rest. I’ll bring it over once it’s warm.”
Luke nodded as Dean went to the kitchen. He’d need to call into the ranger station and see how things were there, make sure his staff was settled in okay. It was going to be a weird three days, but it was nothing that he couldn’t handle.