Illusionary

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Flash Fiction  |  House: Booksie Classic

Cover image:Gabriel Alenius on Unsplash.

Illusionary

It had sounded like it would be fun. Cold... but fun. Besides, there’s such a wide range of trendy cold-weather gear out there for those that can afford to pay. Me, I could never afford those prices, but this was Richard’s idea and he was not only going to pay for the trip but buy me the clothes that I would need.

I told him my only experience of polar climes was a school skiing trip to Italy, a long time in the past now.

It’s not a problem, Sara,” he’d reassured me. “I know what I’m doing and I’ll make sure you stay safe.”

I’d still had some nagging worries, but it represented our one chance to get some alone time. I did suggest some kind of warmer trip but the only one he had even considered involved scuba diving and I can’t even swim. So Lapland it was.

When we arrived at the cabin that Richard had booked, it was so warm and cosy I quickly pushed my misgivings aside. We were going to have a wonderful time and so we did for the first day and two nights that we were there.

Come on, Sara. We didn’t come all this way just to stay in the cabin.” Richard was already beginning to pile on the layers of clothing.

But look at it out there,” I’d complained. “It’s like a blizzard.”

He turned to the window, then looked back at me. “It’s snowing, that’s all. Believe me, this is nothing. Now come on and get yourself kitted out.”

When I was ready we headed out, and the first thing that struck me was the chill of the air. I could feel the cold as it made it’s way down towards my lungs. Through chattering teeth I had asked Richard where we were meeting the guide.

Guide? We don’t need a guide, Sar. I’m more than experienced enough to get us out there and back again.”

I trusted him. Of course I did, we were engaged to be married after all. And once we got moving I didn’t feel quite as cold. It was hard work keeping up with him though, for Richard seemed determined to strike out into deep snow and I had no choice but to follow him.

The snow continued to fall but we carried on going. By the time we noticed how much thicker the fall had become, it was too late. Two steps back, that was all I could make out, and even those footprints were rapidly filling and disappearing from view.

Please, Richard, can we go back now?” I asked him.

But Sara...”

No, listen to me. I’m scared.” And I was, for there was nothing to be seen anywhere but snow and more snow. The flakes falling from the sky seemed to quickly obliterate even the whiteness of our surroundings.

Fine,” Richard didn’t bother to hide his reluctance. He turned around and headed of, leaving me struggling in his wake.

We walked and we walked, heads down to protect our faces from the increasing cold. For a while he seemed quite confident that he knew where we were going, but when we had walked for far longer than we had when heading out, I couldn’t help noticing that he was beginning to hesitate, to look around.

We both turned from one direction to another, looking for lights, for other people, for anything other than snow. The fact the Richard was scared made me panic even more, for he was never one that suffered from self-doubt. We were lost.

And then I saw it. Just the faintest glimmer of light, true, but it was more than we had seen so far. I was too cold to talk, so I grabbed Richard’s arm, pointed to what I could only think was the glow from one of the cabins.

He nodded, and this time he held on to me as we walked towards the light. On and on we went, step after painful step, but the light did not seem to get any closer before it completely disappeared. The snow was so heavy that we could no longer make out our previous step, let alone trace our way back.

I looked at Richard’s face, saw the bluish tinge to his skin, the ice that had formed on his eyebrows, and I knew that I looked just as bad as he did. Richard saw the next light, way off to our right, and he pulled me on towards it. Several times I lost my footing and would have fallen into the snow if he had not kept such a tight hold to my arm.

Once again, the light stayed cruelly out of our reach before extinguishing completely. Those lights, I realized, were nothing more than optical illusions, like the watering hole in a desert, conjured up from wishful thinking.

Which way?” I tried to ask, but the snowflakes muffled my voice.

It didn’t matter though, not really, for I knew that Richard had no more idea than me. He pulled me in close to him and we began to walk, hoping, praying that we were finally on the right course. But I don’t think either of us believed it.

 

 


Submitted: December 10, 2020

© Copyright 2021 hullabaloo22. All rights reserved.

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Add Your Comments:

Comments

Mike S.

Another great 'spooker' Hull

Thu, December 10th, 2020 6:01pm

Author
Reply

Thanks, Mike. It's cold... I'm cold... and that's without any snow.

Sun, December 13th, 2020 9:55am

Vance Currie

You almost made me go an turn the heater on, Hully, and it's mid-summer here. I haven't experienced a lot of snow, but enough to now how scary it would be to get lost in the snow. Like getting lost in the fog, but a lot colder.

Thu, December 10th, 2020 7:34pm

Author
Reply

I think so of this recent obsession with the cold stems from the fact that I type in an unheated kitchen, Joe. Thanks for reading!

Sun, December 13th, 2020 9:54am

Serge Wlodarski

Best not to wander too far from the front door when winter bares its fangs. Good story.

Fri, December 11th, 2020 11:49am

Author
Reply

Thanks so much for giving it a read, Serge. I really appreciate it.

Sun, December 13th, 2020 9:01am

AdamCarlton

A bleak vignette for a bleak time of year. Heedless overconfidence (Richard) and compliance against her better judgement (Sara) wrap up a tale with a sad moral. Trust is dashed.

Fri, December 11th, 2020 4:11pm

Author
Reply

A recurring theme for me, I think. Thanks, Adam. Oh, and it's nice to see you back!

Sun, December 13th, 2020 9:00am

Mark A George

You had me right there with them, Hulla...wandering desperately around in the blizzard, with the creeping realization that they weren't going to make it. Good one.

Fri, December 11th, 2020 8:36pm

Author
Reply

Thanks, Mark. I type in a kitchen with no heat, so I can relate to what it feels like to freeze sometimes.

Sun, December 13th, 2020 8:59am

Mark A George

You're amazing, Hulla. I need to send you a space heater for your kitchen. :)

Sun, December 13th, 2020 6:24pm

Author
Reply

Haha! It's true; I do type in the kitchen and there is no form of heating in here. I have been known to type in coat and gloves before now.
Thanks for reading and for the kind thoughts.

Sun, December 27th, 2020 5:57am

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