Cold Days

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Cold Days is a short story created for a writing prompt in an Editor’s challenge for Saturday-AM. The original writing prompt was to create a short story max word count of 2000 words detailing cold weather and a frozen car. The genre was open ended. Here is my short. Enjoy.

His eyes surveyed the barren landscape. He saw nothing but whiteness all around. Specks of colors outlined the media crew he was attached to. But they grew more distant as the passage of time, sometimes did for those who walked too slow. His body hurt all over the bombardment of nature.

Oh the nature. Like the Henry David Thoreau poem. It sighed dismally like a dying God in its final throes of intimately known destiny. The wind tore through bubble jackets and overcoats. The sleet mixed with snow and pellets of hail, not quite so sized in the way of golf balls, but sizable either way. They smashed into bodies. His especially.

It was cold. Too cold in fact–for the management of layers. Long johns were essential. The bottoms anyway. You didn’t need more than that. It made the body too heavy when moving. Two-three layers on top and then two on the bottom. Usually anything past two-three layers beneath thirty degrees Fahrenheit and circumstances dictated a level of juggling that baffled most people. But he wasn’t like most people. That aside, he was prepared. Not necessarily for the task that lie ahead, but more so for the idea of wrapping his head around the very notion of it.

Gerald Davis was an investigative reporter for CBS. He went to school at UNC-Chapel and graduated with a degree in Journalism. When he thought of his circumstances and how he reluctantly won the chance to be among the first investigators on the scene in the Greater Antilles island of Culebra? He instantly chided himself for his unfortunate luck. It was bad. And he was stupid for accepting such an assignment under the auspices of a bonus three times the size of a normal check. Suddenly the idea of said check, it didn’t seem like that much money.

A series of unfortunate events likely brought him here. His days up until now had flowed together in a whirlwind of a blur. Couldn’t quite put his finger on it, but if someone held a gun to his head he hoped they’d pull the trigger before digging deeper into the very heart of the vortex. The one where the shenanigans of his life lay. He was recently divorced from a woman who clearly cared more about her own career than any sort of future they could’ve built together. The robotic bitch of woman had been calling him incessantly about their daughter. How she needed more money for care. The succubus was bleeding him dry. That was all Monday.

He was really fine until Tuesday evening when a second date went horribly wrong. The ingenue of a recent grad played with her phone the entire time. The only point of meaningful conversation came from her curiosity about his wedding ring. He never took it off. This revelation killed a mood that had been still born from on set. And then? The lovely young brunette disappeared into thin air right after the appetizers came out. So he spent the rest of his evening melting down in the bathroom, trying to remove his wedding ring with antibacterial soap in an effort to flush it down the toilet. He was in shambles. But when he finally got the ring off and threw into the toilet, there was an immediate catharsis. The damn ring was tungsten or adamantium or some ridiculously named alloy of the sort. And as he stood there staring down into the toilet waiting to flush the ring and it’s bluesy colored murk water down the drain, that catharsis transmuted into the worst feeling of dread and anxiety he had ever felt in his entire life.

In the present now, he took a couple sips of water from a nalgene canteen. He still had the outline of blue all over his hand from where he dipped it into the toilet to retrieve the blasted ring. Apparently with the whirlwind of events, Gerald Davis never got a chance to wash his hand. It looked like he had frost bite. The other members of his party looked at him strangely for the gesture.

“What?” He shrugged with just the right amount of exaggeration. Cynthia his camera woman, was wide eyed with astonishment.

“It’s cold as hell out here Gerald and you’re chugging water like its 90 out. It’s just strange is all.” The blonde mumbled. He watched as her breath crystallized between lungfuls of band dissipated against the backdrop of frozen palm trees.

Yes that’s right palm trees.

Frozen.

The strange phenomenon happened seemingly out of nowhere. One day all across the Caribbean, temperatures gradually went down for about a week straight. Then they held.

Let it marinate for just a moment. Winter temperatures. In the greater Antilles of the Caribbean. It was hell on earth. It was hell in the damn newsroom. His producer freaked the hell out. The whole network breathing down his neck like a dragon guarding dwarf riches.

An so they booked him and the crew a flight and before he knew, he would find himself on Culebra investigating the alleged source of what people were calling, a weather machine.

His visual mind immediately went to the Gi joe cartoon. There was this one episode that he used to watch it over and over as a youngster. Until his mother broke the damn . It was the one where Destro had that gnarly weather machine that would change the climate of an area without a moments notice.

“Say… you ever watched GiJoe as a kid?”

“No. GiJoe is for lames. Jem is where it’s at. Or Sheera.”

“Spoken like a true socialist.” He said while trudging through the frigid cold. A little ways off beneath the veneer of white was a frozen river with from what he can tell, could only be described as a vehicle sticking out of it and frozen to the core. “Well that’s something you don’t see everyday. Kinda reminds me of that guy from lake Eerie. Hey Cyn lets get some quick shots of this real quick. While you’re doing that I’ll set up.” Cynthia trudged along behind him, she was sucking wind pretty harshly. Too many cigarettes.

The set up was indeed quite the setup. Preparedness was a virtue they could not do without. In the distance were some of the other news agencies, they were having trouble of a sort. Frozen or lost equipment. Perhaps maybe a combination of the two. Gerald minded his business at first. Instead opting to watching from the corners of his eyes while he helped Steven Allen unload the heaters. When he finished helping Steve, he applied his lapel mic, attaching it to the inside of his coat. It was show time baby!

“We good?” He asked. Cynthia nodded and threw up her mittened hand with a sign for, ‘A-okay.’ She was a consummate professional. “This is Gerald Davis reporting live from the Caribbean island of Culebra. Behind me is the alleged source of the weather phenomenon. Locals have called it the work of Brujos. Spanish for witchcraft. Join me as I investigate further into this fantastic yet eerily strange turn of events here in the Greater Antilles. Again this is Gerald Davis and you are watching CBS.”

Suddenly, as he uttered what would go down as one of the most infamously known broadcasts of all time, Gerald Davis of CBS news came into contact with an unknown creature. This being that could neither be video taped correctly nor described out right, dragged the reporter into the frozen lake and toward the vehicle. According to differing reports of eye witness testimony, Gerald fought valiantly against the creature. The thing tried to shut the car door behind it and ended up smashing the reporter’s hand in the process.

In doing so it was not such an incident of tragedy as one might would come to believe. Instead, Davis’ ring, made of a tungsten alloy miraculously caught the latch of the door.

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