POLAR VORTEX: SS: FOUR

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Action and Adventure  |  House: Booksie Classic
Polar Vortex Thor is threatening the lives of a number of youths.
At the same time, terrorists are using the storm as cover for crossing the frozen St. Lawrence River to prearranged targets. The two groups meet.

Submitted: November 13, 2016

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Submitted: November 13, 2016

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  POLAR VORTEX

A Short Story in Chapters

Nicholas Cochran

 Chapter Four

 

Wade was now leaning almost horizontally as he fought the terrifying winds of Thor.

Behind him, stretched the other six boys who were barely making any headway through the deepening snow. 

Only the presence of their other friends was keeping alive their small quotient of optimism. Their grit was preventing any of them from panicking.

No lights appeared through the buffeting headwind but Wade knew they were getting much closer to the beginning of the business section.

No lights appeared on either side of their track down the middle of Royal Way. 

The major street of Brookvale and Highway 2 had morphed into a long, rapidly rising snowbank.

*  *  *

All of a sudden, Bill saw the beam of a flashlight. Andy was in front of him in seconds.

 “Good man. Perfect. Let’s go see bout that generator.”

Andy gave the light to Bill who needed a close-up view of where he was going. Andy was comfortable simply following Bill’s form and looking over his shoulder.

Within a few minutes, the two men were safely on the concrete floor of the basement. Bill swung the light around the room looking for the signature shape of the generator.

“Over there, Bill; it’s behind those storage racks.”

Bill promptly flashed the beam on the area and stopped the light directly on the generator.

“What the blazes do we do now, Andy; do you know anything about these contraptions?”

“Yes, sir . . . Bill; I took a shop class in summer-school two years ago and I upped my DIY skills; I think I know what to look for.” Andy suddenly halted.

“You know, I just remembered something Bill. It’s was last night. I was staying late. The building was still lighted up but I had the door locked. I was the only person here, besides Mrs. Jakes, the cleaning lady.

“I remembered that the supply of binders was down here, in the basement; over there.” 

 Andy pointed toward the opposite corner from the generator. Bill swung the flashlight around to the point where a bank of filing cabinets stood as silent keepers of the many necessities required in a governmental function like the E&D Department.

“I turned on the light at the top of the stairs and went straight to the cabinets. When I turned around to go back up the stairs, I saw two men huddled here—well, just about here; right by the genny. 

“They looked at me and smiled. They had flashlights and some type of parka or something like that. I’d never seen one before. They waved and nodded to me.

“I was just so preoccupied with getting those binders to fill with all the notes for today’s meeting. I knew they would be necessary right away because everyone was scheduled to leave at noon because of Thor.

“I just smiled and nodded back at them and started up the stairs. 

“Then, halfway up, I heard one of them speak. I’m not really positive but it sure sounded to me like they were speaking Arabic.”

Bill’s hand holding the flashlight bounced in the air.

Good griefman. Arabic? We don’t have any Arabic people working here. Did they say where they were from?”

“No. That’s the strange part about it. They didn’t say anything to me. Now I remember that I just kept going up the stairs and automatically left the light on.

“They were right about here.” Andy walked over to the generator and sat on his haunches facing the bottom area of the genny.

“Here.”

“Man alive, son; what do you suppose they were doing?”

“Well, it was definitely something to do with some part or piece of the genny. Here, Bill, shine the light on the bottom part here; here, where all the dials and buttons are.”

“Wow.” Andy whirled around from his squatting position and looked into the flashlight. “Here’s our problem. Somebody rerouted the wiring. Very clever. If you didn’t know an awful lot about this particular make of generator, you’d probably see nothing wrong. But all the wiring has been reversed. Just a sec.”

Andy remained in position and after a few moments he stood up.

Okay, let’s see if that works. He pushed a reset button and suddenly lights came on at the top of the stairs.

“Well, I’ll be. Andy, you’re a genius. Let’s get up there and start calling about all this.

“Can you describe these guys; the ones speaking Arabic?”

Andy pursed his lips and shook his head. He blew out the air from his puffed cheeks.

“Whooo; there’s not much more I can remember. Only that they had on those jackets. 

“They looked like really expensive military-grade storm jackets; we call them Canvasbacks.

"They both wore black beanies that covered their hair,” sighing heavily, “and that’s about all I remember right now, Bill. But I’ll keep concentrating.

"Well, no I wont. Our teacher, Mr. McCullough told the class the other day that to really remember something, think of something else; something really different.

"Your memory has the information or the word in your subconscious that you wanted, but it needs to have a calm path to come long to your consciousness. Cool, eh?”

Bill Noonan was very impressed by this little psychological tidbit.

“Well, me lad, let’s see if it works, eh?”

Bill was wheezing by the time they reached the top of the stairs. He paused for a couple of breaths and then walked to the elevator.

As they rode up to their floor, Bill confided, 

“We’re very fancy around here you know, Andy. We can turn the alarms for the entire building and even individual rooms on and off from a pad on our desks.

'Great comfort for anyone working late, especially the women.”

When the elevator doors opened, they were surprised by the number of lights blazing away everywhere on the floor.

Even the gooseneck lamp with the green glass shade cast a familiar yellowish glow upon Bill’s blotter, a curious number because of the subject matter: a large picture of the Roadrunner. 

“Here, now Andy, let’s set all the alarms in case your Arab friends come calling to see why there are lights on in here.

"From what I could make out peering out my window after our lights crashed, there were no other lights on on either side of the street. Mind you, this amazing storm is a hell of a lot worse than anyone predicted. 

'We’re probably here for the night. But we have some couches here and there; in the waiting room and a couple of the guys have one in their office, the purpose of which is obvious when you consider their age and hormone levels . . .  and the attractive women I’ve seen working here or venturing in on the arm of one lad or another. 

“All right, let’s set those alarms and start making calls.”

Both men found their cell phones and tapped.  

Nothing.

Almost at the same time, they picked up a landline phone and both of them vigorously hit the switchhooks. 

“Dead.” Remarked Bill.

In an instant, his face relaxed. 

Bill Noonan appeared to grow three or four inches taller. He also seemed thinner and toned. His voice was crisp as well as clear of any wheezing gruffness.

Bill Noonan was the living example of Darwin’s Theory, that it is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent that survives. It is the one that is most  adaptable to change.

In seconds, jolly Bill Noonan of the gaudy suspenders and cracker-barrel wisdom became William Thurston Noonan, Lieutenant Commander of the Royal Canadian Navy, Ret. 

“Andrew, we have a situation here.”

Andy Banner stood motionless. His face reflected understanding. This was the Lt. Commander that Andy’s father held in such high regard. He instantly felt secure and perfectly prepared for any action required.

That action was immediately required because all the building’s alarms clanged from every corner of every floor.

“I’ll get the front door.” Andy sprinted to the head of the staircase. He held both banisters and jumped down the stairs three at a time. He flicked the lights for the foyer leading to the reception room. 

His view through the twin glass entrance doors revealed solid slanting sheets of snow. The thunderous roar of the vortex was almost deafening. 

Andy pressed his nose against the glass and squinted. He saw only the murky cloud of the dreaded Thor.

Just as Andy began to remove his face from the freezing glass, a gloved hand smacked against the door. Andy jerked backward before regaining his balance. The alarms continued their insistent clanging.

Suddenly, Andy noticed that one of the glass doors was moving. The glass had been chipped and a large crack began to move horizontally across the entire width of the door.

A gloved hand reached through the opening. 

Andy looked around for something to use to smash it. He looked behind him and saw the Danish Modern coffee table that he could use as a weapon. 

Before he could make a move toward it, a body began wedging its way through the increasing opening between the two doors. 

When Andy turned back from his view of the coffee table, he saw two bodies scrambling though the opening and along the floor. 

One was his brother, Colin.

End of Chapter Four


© Copyright 2017 Nicholas Cochran. All rights reserved.

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