POLAR VORTEX: SS: THREE

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Action and Adventure  |  House: Booksie Classic
A group of youths are caught up in the whirlwind of 80 to 100 mph winds and snow of a polar vortex named Thor.
Along with the six lads are a band of terrorists using Thor as a cover to cross the frozen St. Lawrence River.

Submitted: November 10, 2016

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Submitted: November 10, 2016

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POLAR VORTEX

A Short Story in Chapters

 Nicholas Cochran

Chapter Three

 

“Well, whatever all that was—is,” began Wade, “it sure isn’t anything good. I think Colin is right. "Those things that Dannysaw in Harrisburg are carrying soldiers across the river and into the town. Any ideas why?”

Wade immediately knew that he had asked a dumb question. The howling storm prevented most, if not all, of his words from ever reaching the ears of his friends.

He immediately sensed that they had to do something.

All of the houses on the block were lost behind the curse of Thor.

The ones, which they were able to see an hour ago, showed no signs of light, life—or movement.

Not only Wade but also every one of his six friends knew that they had to find a place where they could talk, and warn the proper authorities about what they had just seen. 

Wade grabbed all of them into a very tight huddle and knelt down so that they could all bend over with an ear right next to Wade’s mouth. Their breath created a cloud of freezing vapor that partially obscured Wade.

“Let’s grab ahold of each other’s shoulder or belt or sleeve and we’ll head for Royal Way and turn left. There are businesses that way and the cops as well. 

"I think it’s nuts to try and find our separate ways home in this. 

"If we got separated we could get confused and fall or something like that and freeze to death.”

The other boys yelled their agreement. Wade stood and stepped out onto the snowdrift that used to be Water Street. 

Johnny Saxon gripped Wade’s elbow as well as the side of Wade’s waterproof Canvasback jacket. Chip grabbed Johnny’s arm. Wade stood as tall as he could and looked back where he could barely make out the last three forms of his six friends.

Once he was convinced that all the guys were in a connected line, he began to move slowly toward Royal Way. 

The M113s had left deep tread tracks in the snow. Although the tracks were now almost filled with new snow, Wade was able to use the remaining outlines as their trail to safety. 

When they reached what he believed to be Royal Way, Wademade a sharp left turn and waited for his friends to fall in behind him. 

He noticed that the M113 track outlines went right—East. 

He hesitated for a moment, but knew that left was the smart way to go. It was only two blocks or so to the first business buildings. 

Although Wade and the other boys doubted that anyone would still be working around four-thirty during this terrifying weather, they all felt some scrap of hope that someone would be open and they could get shelter, warmth, and a landline to call their frantic parents. 

Then they remembered that Billy Brimsek never came out of his house.

They all promised themselves that they would call Billy from the first landline, after they called home.

At the head of the column, Wade Stanwell squinted into the roiling snowstorm for any sign of light. 

He saw none; but he continued to plod through the gathering drifts in the direction of the town center.

***

Bill Noonan was a hefty, balding, unenthusiastic bureaucrat of sixty-four. He was close to five-eleven, walked with a pronounced limp, and displayed yellowing teeth. He looked like he was born around time when they built his building.

Bill wore wide shapeless grey pants in winter, to which he attached pairs of disgustingly flashy suspenders. If you really felt compelled to comment on these zany items, Bill preferred it if you called them braces, which is what Canadians called them around the time Bill first began wearing them to school with his breeks and knee socks.

On the occasion of his thirtieth birthday, Bill adopted the Wilfred Brimley and Sam Elliott persona in both speech and attire. 

However, his presentation as a crusty wisecracking sage of the rugged-individual community arrived along with his placenta.

He was feeling his way along the front of his desk while he desperately tried to recall the floor plan of his office.

As the date for his retirement drew nearer, Bill expected something dramatic from his job as the Emergency and Disaster Chief of Brookvale, a strikingly beautiful town, at the “Gateway to the Thousand Islands” of the St. Lawrence River. 

Throughout the entire year past, no disaster—or even any real emergency—occurred that required more than EMTs, AEDs, and the local police and fire departments.

this is not only frightening; it’s embarrassing; where is that bloody light switch?; the other one?  These old buildings aren’t worth a pinch of pooch poop—everything is wearing out; breaking down.

Bill almost fell as he reached the end of his desk. He cursed while he held some unfamiliar area of his chunk of wood with his left hand and flailed with his right.

“Andy,” he shouted into the dark; “Andy Banner; Holy Toledo—where the blazes are you?” 

Andy Banner’s voice appeared to loom up out of the gloom behind Bill. 

“I’m right here, Mr. Noonan.”

Bill all but fell over with surprise.

“Holy smoke, my boy, you bloody near gave me a flaming heart attack,” fumbling for a more secure position where he could rest his hand and body, “and how many times do I have to tell you to call me Bill? Only my third wife calls me Mr. Noonan.”

“Yes sir, er . . . Bill.”

Andy Banner was in that ‘somewhere-over-six feet’ bracket. He had broad shoulders and a muscled frame as a result of lifting weights in the winter and baling hay in the summers.

His dark hair was longish and complimented his black eyes. As a result of the merciless sun during his baling months, his skin maintained a healthy bronze color.

Andy stood on extremely strong, muscled legs; again, a result of both his winter and summer weight regimens. He lettered in football, hockey, and was the swiftest runner in cross-country as well as the fastest at ten thousand meters.

If one were asked to sum up the overall presentation of AndrewTrembath Banner, the answer would be: all-around excellent student-athlete.

Andy Banner was the eldest brother of Colin, the friend of WadeStanwell and member of the King Street East gang.

Andy was a senior at the local high school and already invited to MIT, an honor that his mother and father constantly used to remind him when his study time slackened or his late nights with Jane Crosby went past the limit.

However, Andy was leery of being away from home, in the US, and apart from his girlfriend Jane. 

“Andrew, my son, the United States is crammed full of JaneCrosbys. Your mother, for example. If the Yanks don’t appeal to you, Jane will still be here when you graduate. 

“And if you want to marry her and take her back for post-grad work, then you’d have her there with you, a part of home away from home. Sounds great, eh?”

Mr. Banner was not one for the florid phrase—or the dandy appearance. 

He still insisted that his wife cut his hair with a cereal bowl securely on his head to demarcate the exact length.

As a result of this singular do, upon first encountering Kevin Banner, many assumed that he was a monk in mufti out for a shop with his maiden sister. Some took their mistaken belief to the point where they offered him a donation.

Aside from his peculiar hairstyle, Kevin Banner was otherwise a normal, stocky, jolly man of fifty-nine, who worried more about his poker skills than either his appearance or his opinions.  

He carried around a perpetual attitude of jollity that revealed itself to the world in the form of a broad smile.

Kevin Banner and Bill Noonan were the best of friends. They often snuck away from their respective little women to go drinking and laughing, as well as to play poker with most of the other raucous members in their town of six thousand.

Bill Noonan insisted on Andy coming to work as an intern after school and occasionally on weekends, where he could acquire some practical experience with the E&D part of the town government as well as ride with the ambulance, fire, and EMT crews. 

 “Okay, Andy . . . dadgummit, it’s dark in here. What the perishing hell happened to the lights? You know, it’s these rickety old buildings, Andy,” pausing, “but I thought we had a generator somewhere.” 

“We do have a generator . . .Bill. It’s in the basement. Should I go and check it out?”

“ASAP, Andy; but we have to find a flashlight or a candle or something; anything to light our way. "Those stairs to the basement are nasty buggers.”

“I have a flashlight in my back-pack, Bill. I’ll feel my way along and get it. It’s under my desk, three offices down.”
 

“Good lad. Yes, I’ll just wait here. I have the feeling that if I moved in here in the dark, I’d fall and break my bloody neck. So; away you go. Thanks Andy.”

“It’s fine, Bill. I’m sure I’ll just be a minute or so.”

Bill could hear Andy slowly shuffle out of the office door and then, for only a moment or two more.

The hammering winds of Thor were rocking the building and snapping branches. 

Bill was terrified that there could easily be a wind-snapped tree across his office—and him—any minute now.

 

End of Chapter Three


© Copyright 2017 Nicholas Cochran. All rights reserved.

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