Small World: Chapter 13

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Thrillers  |  House: Booksie Classic
This chapter features Damon.

Submitted: February 15, 2015

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Submitted: February 15, 2015

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Damon: Helping Hands

As I begin to wake from my slumber, I realize that my alarm didn’t go off. It’s time to drive home for Christmas. It’s five long hours of straight roads and beautiful trees, rocks, and countrysides.

I need to get out of bed.

I need to pack!

As I frantically circulate around my house collecting various items for my two-week adventure home, I feel the icy wind seeping through the cracks of old insulation in my house and immediately seek out my slippers. I run to my room, jump in my slippers, and go back to the living room.

My mission to find everything I need to pack immediately comes to a halt as I look out my front window. The diamond encased outer shell of my car catches my attention as I come to the realization of just how bad the storm had been last night.

As of late I’ve managed to regain my focus and determination. I’ve been working a lot at the hospital and sleeping like a rock, so I’m not surprised that nothing could wake me up last night.

I turn the lock on the front door counter-clockwise and subsequently crack it open to the outside world of ice. Cars are frozen solid to the ground. The tops of the houses are thickly encased in a dense, crystal layer of insulation. Standing thick, long, and pointed are icicles that are strongly rooted like ancient Greek pillars to the pavement on one end, and the edge of the roof truss on the other. It looks like at any minute the houses will all crack and crumble, causing a catastrophic domino effect. If a rock were to be thrown at one of these houses, all that the people in the neighborhood would hear is the amplified version of the breaking of glass echoing eerily in the air.

As I stand with the front door open, I begin to assess the damage of last night’s storm as the cold steadily creeps into my front room.

In seconds of opening the front door, a glass water cup that I accidentally left out the previous night slowly begins to transform in reaction to the immense blow of cold. As I quickly close the door to seal off the cold, I see the frost forming on the edges of the now ice-cold glass. I move back to the living room to look further out to the street as I see that all of the power lines are sheathed in ice.

Frozen solid.

I feel my anxiety overtaking me as I begin to feel numbness in my face and my lips begin to curl inwards.

It’s a disturbing feeling.

Imagine the worst feeling you’ve felt of pins and needles in the nerves of your feet when they fall asleep.

Now imagine how that would feel in your face.

I try to calm myself and regain control of my body as a small bead of sweat forms on my forehead, slowly slithers down to the tip of my nose, and gently splashes down onto the soft beige carpet. The carpet quickly absorbs my perspiration like a sponge.

I need to check the road conditions.

I run back to my bedroom to get my laptop, ambitiously hoping for an Internet connection.

I decide first that I’ll just turn on the TV and check the news.

No reception.

Intrusive thoughts belligerently begin to bombard my mind: “What if the pipes freeze?

“Could they crack?”

“I am not going to have any heat or water!”

I pop open the laptop.

No good. I close my laptop, grab a sweater, and put some socks on to complete my elegant tracksuit look. I put my phone and my wallet in my pocket, swiftly put on my boots, coat, hat, and mitts, and get ready to go.

I turn the lock on my back door and give it a push to no avail. The only way that I was eventually able to open the door was by forcefully charging at it with my shoulder to crack the ice that was incarcerating me in my own house.

As I step out the backdoor I shortly find out that my entire back deck has become a certified ice rink. Subsequent to turning back to my door and locking it, I awkwardly turn back towards the stairs, attempt to move forward, slip on the ice, fall down, and smack my head.

As I fade…

Back …

Into…

Consciousness, I feel the billowing pressure in my temples. It feels like something in my head is preparing to rupture!

I put my hands on the ice-cold ground to try and re-establish my footing. I’m slightly dazed and disoriented as I stand, but eventually manage to move forward and down the stairs.

When I get to my driveway I can more clearly see that the houses down the block are cemented into one thick chunk of pristine, glass-like ice. It feels cold out, but I think the temperature is intensified significantly from the vigorous wind and the light shimmer of slushy rain.

This cycle of precipitation elicits an underlying feeling of death, depression, isolation, and perhaps even a feeling of incompleteness in my core.

Fuck winter.

There are minimally good things about winter that aren’t worth the cold nights and crappy weather.

Before I get to my car I continue to look down the street and see a family with their skates on playing hockey on the ice in their driveway. The way they are laughing and smiling together makes me momentarily ponder the prospect of one day having my own kids.

When I get to the end of the driveway I examine my car keenly to assess the situation and see if I can figure something out. I experience a fantastic jolt of both joy and relief when I look down to see that I remembered to plug in my car last night!

My car might start.

I’ll just make sure that I take it nice and slow all the way home.

Hello Christmas cookies!

As I approach the door of my car I realize that it is frozen shut. I try to put my key in the hole, but it is covered in ice. I feel my forehead burn, as the feeling of frustration lingers in the background of my mind. Lucky for me, I keep a bottle of lock de-icer in my coat pocket for emergencies in the winter. I use it, punch at the ice around the door, and pull the door open. Snow and ice fall down on my seat in the car, and I feel my frustration gauge steadily rise. After cleaning off the seat, I push in the clutch and turn the ignition.

In response, my car chokes and coughs and rattles until it eventually starts. I rev the gas a couple times and turn the heat on full blast. When I close the car door I close it hard in an attempt to provoke a more pertinent crack in the ice imprisoning my car.

It works.

I unplug my car, and then go back in the house while the car warms up and collect some more things. I grab a gym bag and in it I put some clothes, a pack of gum, a toothbrush, deodorant, a razor, a couple bags of chips, a mini case of water, some batteries, a flashlight, some chapstick, and a couple of books.

What an interesting list of things to bring, I think to myself. I guess the items are warranted; if I get stranded I’d hate to freeze to death bored in the dark with bad breath, stinky armpits, and chapped lips!

While I consider trying to text my family to let them know I was coming regardless of the weather, I begin to wonder if there is even going to be cell service to go along with no Internet. I try anyways.

Surprisingly it works!

I text my uncle: “hey, I’m coming home today, put the cookies in the oven and the cocoa in a cup!”

I jump in the car and attempt to make my way towards home. I choose to take my chances and try and make it home tonight because I don’t want to wait and risk the roads closing and being stuck on my own for Christmas. With no Internet and no cable I have no way of knowing if the weather is supposed to improve or get worse.

The roads are incredibly icy, and as I downshift, I elegantly slide around corners as I make my way toward the main highway.

This is when the problem starts.

I can see in the distance that there is a road closure sign posted on the highway. I slow down and eventually slide to a complete stop right before the beginning of the turning lane. I take a second to ponder what I should do. I know that if I ignore the sign and end up getting in an accident that I have no insurance, and that I will likely be stuck there to freeze to death.

Fuck it.

Ultimately, I decide that if I don’t take my chance now it is only going to get worse and I eventually won’t even have a chance of making it home for Christmas. I look around and there is nobody to be found. I assume people either aren’t stupid enough to try driving in this weather, or they are just smart and have chosen to stay inside where it is warm.

I pick up speed coming down and around the turning lane and smoothly shift gears into 5th and begin to gently coast up to 80km/h. The highway is bare of snow, but there are a plethora of hidden black ice spots along the road. Twenty minutes into the drive I catch up to a fellow “I don’t give a fuck” kind of guy. I continue to follow behind this new red Chevy truck for about 20km, when all of a sudden I realize that my windshield is starting to freeze up. I am perplexed as to why this is suddenly happening, and I look at my heat switch to ensure that the heat is on full blast on the windshield.

It is.

But it’s no longer pumping out heat.

I place my hand over the vent on the dashboard and there is a soft push of cold air.

Shit!

Right away I knew exactly what the problem was; my heater core was toast. The same thing happened on my last car in the same weather. I begin to feel anxious and can feel my armpits and back sweating heavily underneath my coat.

The precipitation soon shifts from light freezing rain to fully developed ice pellets. Giant gobs of slush splash into the windshield, and every time I try the windshield wipers, they merely plaster the paint-like frozen ice all over the glass.

I can’t see unless I press my wiper fluid. I continue to do this every five seconds for the next fifteen minutes. The red Chevy is long gone, as I’ve slowed my pace significantly and continue to struggle to see through my windshield.

My low wiper fluid light came on five minutes ago. Seconds later, I push the wiper fluid button again to watch it dry heave and fail to spew cleaner onto the glass. It’s empty.

Fortunately this occurs to me while there is no one else on the highway. Hooray for the benefits of breaking the law and driving on closed roads!

I slowly merge to the shoulder and pull the car over, as I know that I have half a jug of wiper fluid in the trunk. I jump out, pop the hood and trunk simultaneously, grab the bottle from the trunk, and empty the fluid in the windshield washer container. I want to be quick about this.

I run to the back of my car and put the empty bottle in my trunk. As I close the trunk door I start to get bombarded by colossal dollops of slush spewing from the sky. I swiftly turn to move back to the driver’s side door when I get forcefully stopped in my tracks. The sudden jerk on my shoulder ignited sharp bolts of pain throughout my entire right side and I fall hard to the frozen, wet ground. As I get back on my feet I soon realize that the right arm of my coat is caught in the trunk door and my keys are still in the ignition. The high-pressured winds and heavy ice falling from the sky start to rock the earth back and forth. I try to forcefully pull at my coat to no avail.

I’m pretty sure I’m still being affected from when my head hit the ice earlier. “Maybe I have a mild concussion?”

My inner monologue starts to shut down as I now realize that I am in serious trouble, as I am stuck and getting very cold very quickly!

As I try harder to pull my coat free and fight the pain in my head, my shoulder, and my lower back, I see headlights approaching me, and they are slowing down. They stop, and a gigantic black man with a long black coat and a mane of long, fully mature dreadlocks steps out of this huge black Dodge truck.  

He runs over to me, and with the storm picking up, his words are inaudible, even though I see his mouth moving. Neither of us can hear each other, so I gesture to him that my coat is stuck, and in one quick movement he frees my coat from the confines of the trunk door. He then gestures that I come over into his truck.

I duck down to fight the wind and quickly move towards his truck. I open the door, jump in, and close it. Right away I can feel the blood in my body fighting hard to bring my temperature back to normal.

His car smells of cherry and vanilla cigarettes. The thick wave of heat blasting through the vents feels amazing on my frigid skin. I say thank you as I turn to him with my hand extended in gratitude.

When I turn to him I realize how huge he is.

He is at least six foot eight and his massive, wide shoulders make it appear as if he was carved from stone, even through his large black coat. He has a line of facial hair that outlines his jaw and mouth. It looks like a beard, but a little cleaner cut. His mane of thick black dreadlocks with brown tips resembled a lion. He smiled a huge smile with perfect white teeth. He then shook my hand and said in a deep, enthusiastic voice “cold out there isn’t it?” I shook my head yes and smiled back at him sheepishly.

“Name’s Kaya.” he says.

Oh, that’s a cool name, I quickly note in my head.

“Damon.” I respond.

He studies me with a perplexing grin on his face. I look at him oddly, and before I can say anything else he says, “what were you doing out there anyways?” I explain to him my situation and what happened. He tells me that if I want he can give me a ride since he’s coincidentally going that way anyways to pick up his brother who’s on the side of the road. Apparently they are also going home for Christmas. My skepticism immediately begins to penetrate my thought process and tell me not to trust him and to get the fuck out of there before I get raped by this monster. But there was something about him that made me feel comfortable. Perhaps he’s a gentle giant.

Although I appreciated the offer, I also didn’t want to just leave my car in the middle of nowhere.

“If you want, I have a tow on the back of my truck. We can hook up your car. There won’t be many people on the road in this shit, so it shouldn’t be a problem at all,” he asserts.

He must have suspected that I was torn between trying to get home and leaving my car. With this fine offer, I couldn’t resist.

He drives his truck around my car and backs up far enough for us to connect my car. He tells me that I should get anything I need out of my car while he hooks it up.

I jump out, walk over to the driver’s side door, open it, and sit inside. I then grab my bag, and a Swiss army knife out of the glove compartment just in case. When I get out of my car and lock the door, Kaya already had my car connected to the back of his truck and we are ready to roll. 

As I sit in the passenger seat of this enormous man’s monstrous truck, I begin to think back over the situation that just occurred.

He can’t be too bad of a guy; I mean he did in fact free me from the unruly jaws of my trunk door. That was awful nice of him, I suppose. I very well could have frozen out there! Why did he stop in the first place? Did he think my car was abandoned and he was coming to steal it or loot it for goods?

I try to slow my hyperactive mind by focusing on my breathing.

My lower back and hip are becoming more and more tight and sore from my fall, and although my shoulder is sore, it’s not that bad. As I sit there basking in the warmth of the heat vent, I start to feel incredibly drowsy. Kaya must have noticed that I was fighting my body’s urge to nod off, as he starts to laugh in a low, deep growl that I can feel rattle my insides.

“Sleep, man. We gunna be awhile. I swear I won’t mess wit cha. I gotta take it slow on these icy roads, don’t want to lose your car.”

I smile at him and tell him thanks again for everything, and to wake me up when we meet up with his brother; I want to reciprocate the good deed and help out as much as possible.

I start to fade …

Back…

Into…

Consciousness when I feel the truck slowing and pulling off to the side of the road.

I must have needed that power nap; when I wake up the pain in my head is gone, and although my hip is still sore, it’s not as bad as it was.

Through the windshield I can see that the storm has intensified since I fell asleep. Kaya must have been going quite slow; he said we should be there in ten minutes or so and it must have been longer than that considering it feels like I napped for at least an hour.

In addition to the added intensity of the storm, I also see that we have reached Kaya’s brother, as another very large black man in a navy blue Columbia coat steps out of the car and approaches the driver side window. Kaya rolls down the window.

“Brotha! What you saying?”

The other black man responds in a smooth, but raspy voice that is even deeper than Kaya’s: “just waiting for your slow ass! What took so long? It’s gotten a lot worst out here in the last twenty or thirty minutes!”

Kaya shows his big white teeth and responds: “Ya man, I could barely see since I picked up this brotha”.

Kaya’s brother reaches his long arm through the window across his chest and extends his hand; I shake it firmly. Kaya introduces us, telling me that his brother’s name is Justice.  

Kaya and I jump out of the truck and meet the strong forces of the wind. I have the advantage of being shorter with a lower center of gravity in this situation, which is something that I can’t usually say being six foot two, and I can see that Justice and Kaya are struggling immensely not to be blown over by the wind. At the same time that we jump out of the truck a young guy jumps out of the driver’s side of the car.

Justice converses with his friend, explaining to him the situation. I can see that his friend is not entirely happy, as he must be pissed that he is going to have to leave his car here. With that being said, he seems to get over it fairly quickly, as he pops his trunk to grab two backpacks, one his and one Justice’s, closes it, and heads towards Kaya’s truck. Justice’s friend and I take the back seat so that Kaya’s brother can take the front. When we all get into the truck we can see that each of us have frost forming on our facial hair and eyebrows, and have little icicles hanging from our noses. It didn’t take long either; I’ve never seen weather like this before. This must be one of the worst storms in recent history, which is saying something considering we are in Canada.

When we take off our hats and gloves and embrace the warmth of Kaya’s truck, Kaya and I are introduced to the new addition of our group.

His name is Jaden.

At first sight he’s kind of unique looking. He must be a mix of some kind, as he has African-American facial features, but very lightly tanned skin. He tells us that he’s just coming home from Europe where he was a fitness model for some kind of men’s briefs. The reason why he was willing to leave his car is apparently because it’s not even his. A friend of his left him the ride at the train station and he took a cab over there from the airport. When he got to the train station in the cab he realized that he must have forgotten his wallet on the plane.

The cabbie apparently wasn’t very happy.

As a result he had to find someone at the train station who needed a ride, hoping that they would be willing to pay for the gas if he was willing to take them anywhere they needed to go.

Kaya lights two flavoured cigarettes and gestures to give one of them to Justice.

“No thanks, I quit.”

Kaya looks surprised.

“What do you mean you quit, aren’t these your favourite? I made sure I got the vanilla ones just for you!”

“Sorry bro, I…”

Jaden interjects: “hey man, if it’s not too much to ask, I’d take one”.

Kaya looks back at him, shrugs his shoulders at Justice and hands the vanilla flavoured cigarette to Jaden.

The aroma is enticing, which is interesting considering I have no interest in smoking due to the fact that I know that it is the equivalent to sucking on a cancer stick, but I do admit that I enjoy the smell. Kaya seems to be smoking a cherry flavoured one. They both smell good, but there is something about the vanilla one that reminds me of Grandma’s kitchen when she makes cupcakes. The nostalgia is what gets me.

Kaya offers me a cig and I thank him for the offer but I decline. With the warmth of the truck and the aroma of cherry and vanilla I once again find myself to be very groggy. I don’t know if it’s the shock on my body from going outside to the frigid temperatures then back inside the warm truck, but I am struggling to keep my eyes open.

Justice facetiously tells Kaya to get going before we get frozen to the ground and don’t have a chance of getting out of here. Subsequent to Justice’s request, Kaya puts the truck in drive, and with my car slowly trailing behind we begin our journey home as a newly formed quartet travelling through the worst storm Canada has ever seen.


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