POLAR VORTEX: A Novella: ONE

Reads: 109  | Likes: 0  | Shelves: 0  | Comments: 0

More Details
Status: Finished  |  Genre: Action and Adventure  |  House: Booksie Classic


A mysterious convoy of armed personnel carriers and white-clad troops appears through cascading curtains of snow during an historic whiteout. A courageous band of young Canadians are the first to
witness the terrorist invasion. They, along with a bizarre collection of unlikely adventurers, pursue the invaders through the roaring blizzard and onto the frozen St. Lawrence River to the
ultimate climax.

Submitted: November 08, 2016

A A A | A A A

Submitted: November 08, 2016

A A A

A A A


POLAR VORTEX

A Short Story in Chapters

Nicholas Cochran

Chapter One

 

“Blizzard conditions; whiteout; polar vortex; Super Storm Thor.”

These were the terms coming from the old-time stubby brown Philco radio in the corner of his room, where Wade Stanwell was unconsciously rubbing his eleven-year old hands in a frantic rhythm; not because the schools would be closed—he liked school—but because with this super-storm, he and the guys could find even greater adventures.

In addition to skiing and sledding—or even toboggan rides to the edge of the cliffs looming above the river, blizzards always presented another template for the unknown; and the unexpected.

They were just fooling around in the wind-whipped snow on Water Street while they waited for Billy Brimsek.

Snowballs were firing in all directions. Guys were sliding all over the slick snow-packed street. Yells and calls, as well as shouts of pleasure and alarm, barely cracked the polar air.

The five boys zipped and slid in the snowbank on one side of the street as well as over, around, and through the four-foot high snowbank on the other side of the street. 

Overhead, the wide December sky had disappeared behind the ‘Super Storm’; the turbulent whiteout designated Thor.

This ferocious white whirlwind was battering everything within its sphere. It appeared to be ramping up the viciousness factor beyond any point in recent history. 

The intensity was becoming more persistent; more diabolical, while the velocity of its winds increased and the quantity of snow expanded. 

Early on, in the eastern sky, there was a slatey-sludge color of waning winter light. However, now there was simply a pure ivory covering of cascading crystals. 

Shimmering clouds of boys’ breath hung in freezing air. The temperature that had started out in the chilling teens now raced toward zero. 

All the comrades wore appropriate mummifying items from galoshes to toques, with jackets and parkas and scarves in between.

The boys wore gloves or mittens—some had on both, usually with wrist covers that pushed well up their forearms. 

They were a colorful little gang as well. Reds, yellows, and blues were present as well as black galoshes. One boy wore ski boots, also black. There were blue scarves as well as black and blue jackets. Both parkas were bright red. 

Leg covers were jeans or wool. Underneath, were long johns.

With all these layers, plus the serious activity of the boys, sweat began to pinch out all over the place.

 

Billy Brimsek’s house was one in from the corner of Royal Way—well, two, if you counted the Fudge’s house which saddled both sides of the corner. 

Inside Billy’s house, you could see the St. Lawrence River from both the downstairs living room window and the window in Billy’s room upstairs. 

Although flattened under the wrath of Thor, the St. Lawrence River was there—no more than a couple of blocks away, with a park and a dock in the foreground

Two miles across the river—in the background—was the United States of America.

“Over here . . . look out.” Shouted Danny Miller as he prepared to duck and follow up with a fusillade of four snowballs, which he had stealthily constructed while his four mates were pelting each other with fistfuls of snow that were not much more than hastily grabbed chunks from a snow drift. 

Joe Mason, a short kid in one of the red parkas, was the first to fling at Danny; but just before his errant throw had landed off line, here came, not one or two, but three perfectly-molded white spheres—all heading straight for his head. 

He barely managed to elude the first one and its two followers caught him smack on the jaw. He cursed. However, there were no adults around to hear him. Moreover, the gusting squalls swallowed his words before they passed his nose. 

Suddenly, there were a few moments without a sound, as though Thor was pausing to refuel. 

The boys had stopped whooping or laughing—although they continued to scoop snow.

No one was talking; just silence. 

The frenzied winds died as if on cue.

Snow-cocooned street lights wanly appeared, to advise the boys that it was four o’clock. The friends looked at the closest snow-laced street light and then at Billy Brimsek’s house. 

There were no lights.

Wade Stanwell dropped his throwing arm to his side and listened. 

Silence.

“Hey guys . . . listen.” They stopped all motion and turned toward Wade. 

“Listen.”  

“To what?” asked Chip Meadows—not sullenly, but not with excitement either.

“What’s up?” asked Colin Banner, and his question was repeated by the other two—Joel Siegel and Finlay Camden.

“That’s just it,” spoke Wade quietly, while the others slowly moved closer, “nothing—absolutely nothing—no birds, no people, no cars, no animals; isn’t it amazing?”  

As boys ten and eleven often do, they asked “So what?”

“I dunno—I think it’s really neat . . . like we’re the only guys alive . . . in the whole world; but it’s our world.”

His face formed a look of puzzlement. Wade was eleven, almost twelve—in March. He was also the tallest of the boys by a few inches or more.

His size, added to his age, made his buddies listen to him before any of the others—and they were doing it again now. 

Following some initial muttering, as well as a few shrugs, all the boys stood very still and just listened.

Absolute silence. 

Now that the wind had stopped, the torrents of snow were falling straight down, wrapping the dimming points of light from the street lamps in vague shifting shapes of grayish gold. 

Johnny Saxon said very softly, “This is really creepy.” 

The others began to look around and realize that there was absolutely no sound.

Joel Siegel almost whispered, “There aren’t even any cars on Royal Way—and it’s really a Highway, Highway 2.”

Danny dropped the snow from both hands and skittered into the white shroud of falling snow toward the corner.

“Nothingeither way.” he shouted. 

Danny was invisible to his friends. It was as if space was partially devouring his voice, aided by the relentless assault of the snow; heavy snow, that cascaded down between him and his pals.

“Both ways?” yelled Chip. He could feel the cold from the falling snow on his knitted brows. 

“But it’s the Highway.” yelled Colin.

Suddenly, Wade sensed a band of uneasiness winding around him and his mates.

“Ah well,” laughing, “probably a pileup—or a stuck traffic light or something.” 

However, he realized immediately that his laughter had done nothing to halt the spread of that uneasiness. In fact, he quickly came to believe that each passing moment of utter stillness only magnified the nameless dread that had suddenly seized the souls of each of his friends. 

Danny’s voice filtered through the concealing storm, “There just aren’t even any lights—anywhere . . .  just street lights.” The other boys turned in slow circles of surprise as they realized that all the houses they could make out in the blizzard, were dark.

“Look,” urged Finlay, with fear hanging in his voice, “there’s no lights in the States either.”

 The boys stood stock-still. 

The wind returned. In seconds, it was howling and gusting in a manner that obscured all view of anything beyond ten feet. A white vertical shroud of snow smothered any suggestion of light—if there were any lights.

Colin disappeared into the blizzard to join Danny at the corner. 

Wade turned to Finlay and Chip, who were now becoming human mobiles in white. 

Just as he was about to speak, Wade’s eyes caught the moving shadow of something edging closer to them from the river-end of Water Street. 

Then Johnny Saxon saw it.

He jumped behind Matt’s size and peered around in the direction of whatever it was that was slowly advancing on their position. 

The winds were reaching terrifying speeds. Snow was pummeling them from all sides. Finlay, the second tallest of the boys, moved to Wade’s side.

“What do you think it is Wade?” His tone was empty of fear, but full of curiosity.

Wade, on the other hand, felt some strange gnawing in his stomach. His brain ordered his defenses to red alert and he prepared to defend himself and his friends against whatever this rapidly mushrooming menace might be. 

He quickly looked over his shoulder in the direction of Danny and Colin, where he saw only more snow.

Whatever light there had been from the streetlights was rapidly disappearing. The one directly in front of Billy Brimsek’s house vanished.

The lights at the corner with Highway 2—as well as any sign of Colin and Danny—had been swallowed by the frightening increase of snow. 

Matt suddenly felt a grab on his left arm as Johnny Saxon gripped him and pointed in the direction of the river which was also in the direction of the now continually expanding humongous mass that was projected as a glowing menace onto the sheets of snow as it loomed even larger—and closer.

 

End of Chapter One


© Copyright 2017 Nicholas Cochran. All rights reserved.

Add Your Comments:

More Action and Adventure Short Stories

Booksie 2017-2018 Short Story Contest

Booksie Popular Content

Other Content by Nicholas Cochran

FLYING DEAD

Short Story / Horror

FAT CHANCE

Short Story / Literary Fiction

TINY TROUBLES

Short Story / Literary Fiction

Popular Tags