December 20, part twoPosted on: December 21, 2012
… a knock on the door????. I looked out at a snow covered figure; it looked up, blue eyes peering thru a veil of snowflakes. “You said to find you.” The soft North Carolina accent kept whipping away with the wind. JOHN!!!!
My heart lurched in my chest! John! He had made his way to me. I’m not alone anymore. A sob of relief escaped my throat, as I tried to open the sliding door. I had left the bar in place. I yanked it free and opened the door for John to come in. He moved so slowly. I closed and locked the door behind him, and just stared. He smiled; his beard was snow packed and frozen. I started brushing the snow off him as he stood there.
“Oh, it’s warm in here,” he mumbled, or sighed, I don’t know which, but he was here and that’s all that mattered right now.
“Let’s get you out of those wet clothes,” and I tugged his coat off, draping it over one of the other chairs. He visibly shivered. I dropped his hat and gloves on the floor and guided him to sit in the chair I had just vacated. I limped into the other room and grabbed the comforter off the futon. Draping it around him, he shivered again; I knelt down to pull his soggy boots off.
“Did you walk all this way, John?” It was just over seven miles to that house, not really far, but far to walk in a snow storm. I grabbed a towel for him to wipe the snow and wet off his face.
“Yeah, I left this morning before it was snowing so heavy. It was hard walking in all that wind. I wasn’t sure I could make it. I stopped a couple of times to rest out of the wind, guess that’s what took me so long,” he looked over at the stove.
“Are you hungry? There’s some soup, would you like some?” With the jacket off and his knit cap on the floor, I could see how thin his face had gotten. It had only been a month. Why didn’t he come here sooner? I didn’t wait for his answer. I ladled some of the chicken soup into a mug, and got a spoon from the drawer. He held the bowl in his hands and shivered again, almost spilling it. I placed my hands over his to steady him; his skin was so cold! He picked up the spoon and began to eat, almost too fast once he got started. He finished that bowl quickly. I refilled it but knew he had to slow down. His eyes began to droop as the exhaustion set it.
I left him there by the warm stove and began making up the futon for him to sleep. I would do it differently tomorrow when I could get one of the bed pads from the barn, but for now, a couple of quilts and a pillow would suffice.
I pulled up one of the other chairs beside him, my bum ankle forgotten for now. I added more wood to the fire, and made us both a cup of tea. I needed to know what had happened at the house on Eagle Beach.
“John, where are the others?” I questioned softly. There was anywhere from 12 to 18 men staying at that house on alternating shifts. I know some had left, but there were still quite a few the last time I’d been there.
“A lot of them got out early and went home,” he ventured, staring down into his tea. “You got anything stronger than this?”
I smiled, “I might. What do you want?”
“A beer would be good.”
“You’re in luck. I’ve got two left.” I keep beer on hand for Jason, but know he’s as likely to drink rum & cola or a glass of wine. If it helped John right now, I’d give him the last of the beer. I got one from the cold pantry, popped the cap and handed it to him.
He looked at me, at the beer, and took half of it down in one tip. He smiled. “Thank you. I’ve really missed a beer. For the past couple of weeks I thought I’d never have another one.” He tipped the bottle up and finished it.
“Do you want the other one?”
“No, but thanks.” He closed his eyes briefly, and tipped his head back against the chair.
“You look really tired. I’ve made up the couch for you. Would you like to rest?” finding out about the other guys may have to wait. It was now after 8:00pm and it was pitch dark out, the wind roaring as the blizzard built. We would have plenty of time to talk tomorrow.
“If you don’t mind,” his soft voice was apologetic. I just chuckled, and got up. I had some toiletry kits already made up in the dry pantry. I selected one and set it in the bathroom, and put a towel on the sink. The kit included a toothbrush, toothpaste, floss, a comb, razor, soap, deodorant, shampoo.
“I’ll get you a pitcher of warm water if you wish to wash up. There’s a zip lock on the sink with a few things you might need,” I smiled down at him.
“Thanks. How do I… um….” he hesitated, embarrassed and I interrupted him.
“Just flush; there’s a bucket of water to refill the tank.” I knew what he was going to ask, but it also told me how bad things must have gotten on Eagle Beach.
Ten minutes later he came out of the bathroom, smiling.
“Just brushing my teeth makes me feel human again. Thank you!” He stood still, his hands twitching, looking unsure. I walked up to him and put my arms around him for a hug. He sighed and hugged me back. Another time of not letting go. I stepped away.
“I’m really glad you’re here, John, but you need some sleep. In the morning, I’ll fix you a big breakfast! What would you like?”
He laughed. “Anything?” I nodded. “Biscuits with sausage gravy, eggs, bacon…. And coffee, real coffee!” he said wistfully.
“I’ll see what I can do,” I smiled again, knowing all that was very do-able. I led him into the other room, where I had set up the futon bed. I turned on the battery lamp for him, the lamp identical to the one I gave Darlene, and left him to sleep.
Wow. What a turn of events! John is here; Angela is home and we have full diesel tanks…. Wow….
1 thought on “December 20, part two”
This is sounding so good, and real. I read a lot of survival fiction/fiction and I like your style very much Deborah.
Would love to see you write a full novel and nice LONG one we could sink our chops into and stay riveted to for a day or more!
Enjoying each installation here,