Sunday, November 2, 2014

Part 91


"Cochran!  Slow down!  If we go out, we go out together!  It's not good to get separated from your group!!"

He clipped me good fighting me.  It wasn't a punch or anything like that, he was just kind of scrambling around and there wasn't a lot of room.  It was pitch black but I still saw stars and he made me mad.  I reached into his hood and got a good hold on his ear and yanked as hard as I could.  "There!  How do you like that?!"

He yelped, "Ow!"

"I'm gonna make you holler some more if you don't stop it!  That hurt you big doof!!"

I don't know if it was because I still had hold of his ear or if he was calming down but he stopped fighting so much, but he was still pushing me away.

"I told you ..."

"Just stay away from me!" he yelled.

I yelled back, "Well since this place isn't exactly the Taj Mahal there's not a whole lot of room for me to back up and give you your precious space!"  He was breathing heavy and I asked him, "Now if we're going to do this you can't run off.  Your legs are too long for me to keep up.  Help me push the snow away and we'll crawl out sensibly."

"No."

Irritated I asked, "What do you mean no?!"

Quietly he answered, "I mean no.  The storm is still going."

"No kidding.  But you were just ready to ..."

"I know what I was just doing," he snapped.  "I told you ... I'm ... I'm not always safe to be around."

"Stop feeling sorry for yourself," I growled.  "Trust me, I've been there and it is a good way to get dead fast.  For the last time are we going out or not?"

"I already said not," he growled back at me.

"Then get over here and let's get everything put back in place.  It's cold doggone it."

We were both shivering, some from cold and some from nerves.  I needed to sleep, was desperate to sleep, but now I couldn't because I was afraid that if I did he would try and leave again.  He must have sensed my feelings because he said, "It's ... it's over."

"What's over?" I mumbled as I was trying to recreate the warmth we'd generated before by putting my mittens over my cheeks to keep the warmth from my breath near my face.

"My crazy."

"OK."

We were both quiet for a while.  Not a good quiet but a real tense one then he said one of the bad curse words.  "Hey!"

"I'm an idiot."

Snidely I asked, "And that's news?"

"Apparently not to you."  He shook himself and then said, "It looks like we are going to be here for a while."

"Obviously.  Besides you've said that already."

"Sure but ..."  He was moving around and I finally realize he was trying to get something out of his pack.

Trying not to let my anger get in the way of my commonsense I asked, "Need some help?"

He stopped and sighed.  "Yeah.  I've got a spare sleeping bag in a stuff bag.  If we unzip it we can lay it over us.  It's not rated for this kind of cold but it'll be something and I should have thought of it before.  I'm so freaking stupid."

"Don't start throwing your issues around Cochran 'cause I've got enough of my own to deal with.  Now hold still or my knee might wind up some place you don't want it."

He froze and after some tugging I got his spare sleeping bag out, pulled out what seemed like an enormous amount of material for such a little storage bag and let him unzip it and arrange it over us since he was taller and stuck out more.  In no time I could tell the temperature was going up.  Cochran asked, "Warmer?"

"Yeah.  Getting there.

After a few more quiet minutes while I tried to keep my nose from burying itself in the front of his jacket he asked, "Would you have really left and gone out into the storm with me?"

"Sure," I mumbled sleepily.  "Wouldn't have been the best idea for either one of us but we're a group right now.  Separating from your group isn't smart or safe."

After I jerked awake for the third time he said, "Go to sleep DeeDee.  I think we'll stay warm enough with this over us that sleeping a little isn't going to hurt."

"Hmm."

"Look, this hole is ventilated so we won't suffocate either if more snow covers us.  Just ... just get some sleep."

And I did.  For awhile anyway.  I woke up with chalk mouth ... really, really dry and thirsty ... but I was still so tired that it was hard to move.  Then I jumped like I'd been goosed when I felt cold hands crawling under my coat.  "Jerk!"

I realized he was in real distress when he couldn't talk because his teeth were chattering so hard.  "Cochran, what did you do?  Did you go out?!"

"Uh ... (shiver, chatter) ... uh."

"Then why are you so cold?"  I pulled his hands and started rubbing them with my mittened hands and he jerked away.  "Did I hurt you?"

"L .. lllllet me ... pppput ... mmmmy ..."

"Why?" I asked suspiciously.
.
"Fffffilled bbbbottle."

Then I realized.  "You took your mittens off to put more snow in the canteen?!  You nut case.  Ohhhh ... go ahead but if your hands do anything more than warm up I'll pound your nose flat."

He leaned into me and put his hands under my coat and just laid there shivering.  He was being so careful that I put my arms around him to try and hold him while he shivered because it started to sound like he was hurting.  "Cochran are you ok?"

"Wwwill be.  Hands hhhhurt."

"You said something about a flashlight.  I need to check your hands for frostbite."  When he didn't respond I said, "Cochran?"

"Not frostbit.  Frostnipped.  Just hurts but it doesn't feel the same as frostbite."

"And how would you know what frostbite feels like?"

"A bunch of us got frostbit toes when we hit the first storm heading north.  Our feet got wet, we still had to march ... yyyyyou get the picture."

"Yeah I do," I told him, but it was an ugly one.

Eventually we both went to sleep with the bottle of snow between us so it would melt.

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