Josi

This is a short story I did for fun when I was younger; I thought to share it with everyone just to show something unrelated to the Danarko Quartet. Let me know what you think!

            It is cold. I blow on my hands, watching the heat billow up in a misty cloud around my face.  Shivering, I glance around and look for my group. No one, not even burly Marl, is in sight.

            Teeth chattering, I examine the ground as I walk forward. How could I get lost? I was right behind them, following behind Marl as we hiked through the blizzard to our campsite. Next thing I knew, I was walking alone.

            I scan the ground anxiously as I walk, my hood pulled up and my thinly gloved hands awkwardly underneath my armpits. Withdrawing them, I huff on them again, watching the blizzard instantly take the majority of the heat away.

            A nasty thought crosses my mind. What if they never find me? What if I die here alone, frozen to death? I had never thought so much about death until now, and it terrifies me.

            Something moves in my peripheral. Jumping, I stare intently in that direction, eyes wide. Again, it moves out of my direct sight. I scramble away, lifting my wet boots out of the thick, fluffy snow only to sink a few feet with each step. I keep glancing behind me, worried the shadow is a wolf or a mountain lion.

            Whack.

            “Ow!” I yelp, startled. I rub the side of my head, turning back to see I had ran into a tree. How silly of me.

            “Wait… it’s a tree! I’m close to the camp!” I exclaim, excited. “Marl! Josi!” I yell, trying to get someone’s attention. Our camp is only a few yards into the woods, so they would be able to hear me… right? “Eric! Marie! I’m here!”

            No response.

            I shiver, the sky dumping its white powder onto the world around me. I yell for help one, two, then three more times, all with no response. Creeping into the forest, I try to head in the direction of the camp. All the while, I curse myself for leaving my phone in my tent. I even berate myself for paying more attention to my feet than the rest of the group. Sure, we were only going to check out the lake to ice skate and fish, but I still should have taken my phone!

            The snow is coming down so thickly now that the trees only two feet away are dark blurs. I am so cold my joints do not want to work anymore – and so tired. I dredge forward, forcing myself to continue. I know what is happening: I am getting hypothermia.

            I imagine curling up next to the space heater in my tent, warm blankets surrounding me. It spurs me to continue for the next several yards until my foot hits a tree stump underneath the snow. I sprawl out, sending a cloud of soft flurries around me.

            I sputter, spitting snow out of my mouth and wiping it off my face. I realize it isn’t cold. It is actually kind of warm! I bury my face in it, taking off my gloves to stick my hands to it.

            Belatedly, I realize the gravity of my situation. I am going into the final stages of hypothermia. I fumble with my gloves, my fingers numb. I stick my hands inside my jacket, trying to warm them up. They are freezing. I start shivering again, violent tremors that wrack my whole body. I fight to stand up, but my legs cave from underneath me each time. I curl up against the tree instead.

            “Marl… Josi…” I call out, my voice weak. I am very tired now. I fight to keep my eyes open, but… what is the point? I am warm, comfortable, and sleepy. What better combination is there? I couldn’t resist it anymore. My eyes slide closed, blocking out the view of the falling snowflakes.

            It only felt like two seconds. The next thing I know, a warm nose is pressed to my cheek, hot breath pouring over my face. I crack open my nearly-frozen eyelids to see a husky in front of me. “Jo… si…” I croak, and the dog whined, licking my face. She barks in the air a few times before resting its head against my face.

            “Here she is! I found Margaret!” I hear a big voice boom, and I know it is Marl. Again, I crack open my eyes to see him barreling towards me. Josi whines at him, pulling away from me to wag her tail at Marl. “We couldn’t find you anywhere, then Josi just took off!”

            Marl places a very hot hand against my face. I cringe away from him. “Jeez, Margaret, you’re so cold! How long have you been here? Five minutes? Come on, let’s get you to the camp. You can warm up there.”

            “You found her?” Marie asks.

“Yes!” Marl replies. Cheers sound throughout our small camping group as Marl lifts me like a bag of feathers.

            They take me back to the camp to warm me up. Every time I close my eyes, someone shakes me awake. They warm me up enough to take me to the hospital, keeping me in the front seat with the heat cranked on and blowing in my direction.

            The doctors said if I had been in the cold for a minute longer, I would never have woken up – all because I didn’t carry my cell phone or watch where my friends were going. Josi saved my life.

            Josi will find you no matter what.