Chapter 4

Written by: Mrellan


Marshall only had a moment to react to the realization that an avalanche was heading towards him. He judged he was about fifteen feet from the far edge as it swept down the mountain. He ran, his back to the oncoming wave. The high-speed snow ripped his legs out from under him.

Years before, in mountaineering class, his instructor had told him to think of an avalanche as a wave.  He stretched his arms out in front of him, arched his back, and pulled his legs together.  He did not know how long or far he traveled on the wave.  He stopped when his foot caught something hard and flipped him over; he was still on top of the snow.

Somewhere he had lost his goggles. He felt a warm trickle running down his cheek. He wiped away the blood. It continued bleeding. His head ached, pulsating and painful.  He counted himself lucky to be alive.

Marshall sat up and looked around. He appeared to be in an open area about twenty feet across. At the edges of the open space, there was a drift six to ten feet high. Congratulating himself on both his luck and survival skills, he attempted to stand. Pain surged through his ankle and up his leg.  He screamed through clenched teeth.  He reached down to his foot and squeezed gently on the boot. There was nothing out of place so he tried standing again. He put weight on the foot. There was a loud crack and he fell.

“Damn!” he cried.

Sitting, he drew a deep breath of cold air and forced himself to relax. He remembered his radio and pushed the button, “Mayday, mayday, mayday, this is Peter Marshall. I’ve been in an avalanche and I think my ankle is broken. Can anyone hear me….over.”

The radio crackled. “This is search and rescue. Please identify again and give your location.”

Marshall could hardly contain his excitement. The helicopter was tracking the avalanche and was only a few minutes away. He explained he would fire a flare as soon as he heard the helicopter.

Marshall rummaged around in his pack and found the flare gun. He smiled when his hand touched the pistol grip.  He pushed the pack under his head and relaxed on the ground waiting for the sound of an engine.


The whirling throb of blades sounded in the distance. Marshall thought it the best sound he had ever heard. It seemed like a wonderful dream.  Firing the flare into the air, he winced against the glaring white flash as the flair fired.  The bright light made the pain in his head more intense.

As he slipped into unconsciousness, Marshall did not hear the helicopter crash. He did not know that by some terrible twist of fate, the flare had soared into the open bay doors, damaging the cockpit and injuring the pilot..

Mrellan Harahan USA



Loved it. Lots of action and tension. A nice twist in the middle of the story. I just have one comment. I think it would flow better if the 'he had' and 'did not' were changed every now and again to 'he'd' and 'didn't'. Other than that I think it gives the next writer a lot to play with. Well thought out chapter.
This chapter provided the ability to visualise the action and the unpredictable ending made it worth a read.  I still think these chapters are to wordy and more could be added to the story  by cutting back on colour.  
Wow! I definitely didn't see that coming. Love it when something surprises me in a story. That helicopter crash was completely unexpected - and just when I thought that the rescuers were too neatly and conveniently close!