Saturday, May 29, 2010

“In Ravenscrag’s Shadow” – Chapter 5

In Ravenscrag’s Shadow

Davis L. Bigelow
Copyright 2010

Chapter 5

The sounds of Lille’s laughter filled Glen’s consciousness. It was intoxicating! Like a skilfully played harp, it both thrilled and amazed him. Smiling, Glen entered their dimly lit bedroom. His red-haired wife stood near the bed, shimmying into her most elegant evening gown. “Hey.” She said, her green eyes twinkling with life, “You’re just in time to zip me up.”
“If I must.” He flirted.
“You must.” She said musically. Glen walked over to Lille, but instead of zipping her up, he gently kissed the back of her neck. She squirmed from the tickle and giggled a little. Below his adoring gaze, her soft shoulders were covered in freckles. Glen kissed a few of them. “Ok, ok,” She protested, sounding only a little convincing. “It doesn’t feel like any zipping is going on back there.”
Glen breathed in the scent of her skin one last time before locating the zipper slide. It meshed the teeth together easily. “How many times had he performed this duty?” He had lost count, but one day he would count all those cute freckles!
Lille spun to face him. She looked both radiant and stunning. Tiny wrinkles were beginning to frame the corners of her pretty smile, betraying her age, but that mattered little to him. She was his and he was hers. There was nothing more to it than that. Glen gazed deeply into her emerald eyes. How he loved this delicate creature. Her lips were painted a deep shade of red. Her cheeks expressed a touch of blush. Glen leaned in and kissed her ever so gently. He was careful not to disturb the shiny lipstick. “I love you.” He breathed and held her tight, warm in her embrace. Then, just like that, she was gone, lost in the haze of slumber. As the delightful image faded into black, Lille laughed again.
As Glen was drawn into consciousness, Lille’s laughter sounded stranger and stranger. The sound seemed to reach into his dreams and demand an audience. Finally, his eyes snapped open. “What is that noise?” His mind strained to determine the answer to the unspoken question. His whole body still hurt, but at least he was moderately warm! As quietly as he could, Glen pealed the crinkly Mylar from covering his head. Alert now, he strained to listen. The night was calm and nothing moved. “I must have been hearing things.” He thought, a cynical smile flitting across his lips. Slowly, he pulled the emergency blanket back over his head, but stopped. There it was again.
In the inky darkness, high above him, tiny rocks cascaded down the mountainside, tinkling over ledges and down crevasses. He lay still and listened to the rockslide. In his dream, the sound must have reminded him of his Lille. Unbidden, a lump rose to his throat. “Would he live to see her again?” He longed for one more look into those green eyes. One more touch of her hand on his. One more kiss goodbye. If he abandoned Stan, he would probably make it out alive. Glen sighed. Was he willing to desert his friend? “No. I will not leave Big C here.” Determination flooded his tired mind. He would not leave Stan to certain death even if it cost him his own life. Glen clenched his teeth together, flaring the muscles in his cheeks. “We’ll leave this nightmare together or not at all!”
All through the long night, tiny rockslides disturbed the alpine air. Stan was awake more than he was asleep. His broken leg throbbed mercilessly. Several times, he tried to move into a more comfortable position, but none could be found. Perhaps his attempts only made the discomfort worse? Perhaps his leg hadn’t finished swelling? He needed sleep but it would not come. In the still air, his thoughts played and replayed images of Alida. They had been together for such a long time, and he loved her with all his heart. She had become part of his own soul. “Dear Lord?” He silently prayed, “I’m sorry I spoke unkindly to my sweetheart.” Tears welled up and spilled down the big man’s dirty cheeks. “Please help me to survive this ordeal so I can apologize to her in person.” A sob threatened to rock Stan’s broken body, but he successfully held the urge at bay. “I’m not ready to leave her.” Fear and desperation pulsed in the big man’s veins. If there was ever a time to make a deal with the Lord, it was now. Stan squeezed his eyes shut tightly. “I promise... that if you allow me to live, I’ll be a better husband to Alida.” The prayer was sincere, but perhaps the Lord had other plans for him? “Perhaps death is inevitable.” More tears flowed. “My injuries are so severe! I could very well die before anyone can rescue me!”
Radiating from his broken leg, another tidal wave of pain swept thought his consciousness. Stan clenched his teeth to fight the overwhelming urge to cry out. Glen was his only hope of survival and he couldn’t interrupt his sleep – at least not if he could help it. Finally, the flood of pain subsided, leaving the big man’s mind tingling with a bitter aftertaste. He thought of his friend who lay next to him. Glen’s sleep sounded intermittent, his breathing erratic one minute and calm the next. He knew Glen would not leave him. “Perhaps that choice would cause Glen’s death too?” Like thick billowing smoke from a dying fire, despair began to choke Stan. Things were terribly complicated and the big man liked simplicity. He felt so powerless! His head hurt. It was painful to breathe. “I can’t even crawl!” As the ominous minutes of darkness marched onward, a pleading prayer hung on Stan’s dry lips. Finally the big man’s thoughts gave way and he faded into a fitful sleep.

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