Chapter 5

Written by: GreggMattson


      Marshall’s balloon was overdue. The Head of the Research Station where Marshall and his team were expected was pacing. Every so often, he stopped to study the map of the terrain. He pressed a finger against his stubbled chin and frowned. 
     Sam came in, carrying a radio that crackled with static; lips pressed tight. “George hasn’t called in,” he said.
     George, Marshall’s wife, had become anxious when he failed to arrive and taken the helicopter up to investigate. The last they heard she’d seen something in the avalanche and was going to land nearby on the glacier.
     The sun would set soon. They needed to hear from George. Tension clutched at their stomachs. 
     The unmistakable chirp of the emergency beacon blared through the receiver’s speaker. Their hearts sank.
     Dawson thrust the Primus stove pump a few more times and the flames shot up around the small tin full of melting snow. Alex, standing by an exposed rock, was looking down the ice field.
     “Rick, I see smoke,” she said. “Could it be a camp fire?”
     He shot Alex a cynical smile. There was no wood on the glacier. He stood and shaded his eyes with a hand to see where Alex’s fixed her gaze. 
     Realizing the campfire theory was impossible, she sagged against the rock. A wave of dizziness washed over her. Closing her eyes, she touched her abdomen. She had considered telling Peter before they left, but when the time came, she was afraid he’d tell her she couldn’t come on the trip and she changed the subject. 
     “God,” she breathed. “Professor Marshall said he would be at the station in five hours. The helicopter should be here already.” She muttered more to herself than Rick.
     Rick’s attitude softened. “We’re late now. They should already be looking.”
     Alex was doubtful. That spiral of smoke filled her with dread, “That can’t be good. Maybe we should think of hiking down.”
     Rick shook his head. The Research Station knew their flight path. Professor Marshall had the radio. He would tell them their location. Leaving could prove fatal.
     Groggy, George climbed out of the chopper’s upside-down wreckage, donned gloves and began the trek up the glacier toward where she’d seen Marshall’s prone body. She knew it was quite a long way up, but she had to get to him. Every painful, jarring step sucked out  energy as the glacier’s top crust broke under her boots. Sharp pain flashed through her back and her legs were getting numb so she had to rely on her hands to pull her along. She was determined to reach her husband before the sun disappeared. Given the long shadows cast by the jagged snow-covered peaks, she guessed that wasn’t far away. 
     She pulled herself over a ridge and stared. A long crevasse, about ten feet wide, stretched across her path, “Oh my God,” she groaned and sat in the snow, head in her hands.
Author: Gregg Mattson (USA)



Gregg, you never disappoint! Wow. So much fun.
I don't think anyone can say this story is not moving along. It has enough action and tension to warrant a long short story, despite all the aches and pains, and broken ankles. Nice one Gregg.
Thought the part about pulling herself along with her hands was a little over the top but we are all entitled to our moments of high drama no matter how impractical.  Love will win out and all that!  By the end of the story George will have frostbite, Alex will have a baby and dawson will have blown his face of with the Primus heater!  Send the Medics with plenty of bandages!!  
I forgot about the guy laying off in the distance with a broken ankle and a head wound.  He could also use some glasses!  Anyone for ajoining rooms @ the hospital?  This would make a good disaster movie!!