Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Coldscapes

It's so cold my breath isn't just visible, it sticks to my face. I don't know how far I have to run, just that I have to run. Sensation left my feet long ago. Muscle memory is the only thing keeping my body moving. I'd have dropped my gun miles ago, save my hands being frozen in position. Someone told me to take care not to touch the bare metal of it. Can't remember who that was. He's probably dead now anyway.

---

She smiles at the driver of the two-wheel drive Chevy pickup as he concentrates on the road. Not twenty minutes ago she had sworn to herself that they were never going to make it home. This is her first blizzard, after all. Snow is, so far, a rarity in her life, and she loves it. She also fears it for the very same reason. But he, well, he's tired of it. Hell, he got his driver's license in a foot of snow. He never lets her forget that he prefers warmer climates.

---

There's the report of gunfire. Russian firearms; probably Soviet-era. I try to refrain from saying "Kalishnikov" in my mind. The very term has irritated me ever since Hollywood found a way to turn it into a cliche. I fucking hate cliches. Then again, I hate getting shot even worse. Well, I think I do... I've yet to actually be hit by a bullet. I'd knock on wood, but I'm afraid my gloves will stick to the tree bark. They probably wouldn't, of course, but my knowledge of physics and the Russian Taiga are currently muted in favor of a desire to survive.

---

"Why are you turning the headlights off?" she asks, noticing that they are know cruising along in snowfall with nothing but parking lights on.

"Snow blind." The response is short, not because he is annoyed by the question, but because he knows they are approaching a steep decline. She crinkles her forehead and frowns. He knows she doesn't understand and she knows that he knows. He stifles a laugh, knowing that would just piss her off even more. And if she gets pissed, she'll lose her cool and let herself fear the snow again.

"Light bounces off the flakes. Everyone you see with their brights on is a tourist."

Her eyes brighten up as they usually do when she learns something new. Seeing a vehicle with its brights on heading the opposite direction, she sticks her tongue at it.

"Stupid tourists," she squeals with delight.

---

I'm moving as fast as a can, but the sound of snow and ice breaking under at least a squad's worth of boots is gaining on me. I'm not bred for this type of weather, and a large part of me starts to regret not being more vehement in my objections to being sent here. Crazy Ivan was supposed to be a thing of the past, anyway. Who was the fucking asshole who decided to send a team into northeast Russia? I could be running faster, but an old injury is making oft-broken bones in my feet throb in anti-ecstasy. The adrenaline's worn off. I can't win a flight, and there are too many behind me to even think of a fight. Then again, surrender's not an option.

---

I'm awake, but the dream of her is guiding me. I can feel the lactic acid in my body as I remember how warm she was. The image of a round from my carbine entering just under a pursuer's cheekbone is obscured by the memory of my mouth tasting her neck. There are shouts in Russian and, I think, Nogai. In any other circumstance I'd crack the typical joke about boys being far from home, but I'm too busy shaking an almost frozen stuck magazine out of my weapon and fumbling to slap in another. That, and I'm remembering the way she used to kiss my back... her lips carressing my shoulders while erect nipples slide gracefully above my pelvis. Such arousal should probably give me chills, but I'm already frozen, in time as well as place.

I pull the scope off the carbine; the winter cold and the violence of motion already cracked one of the lenses. As my left eye tries to focus through iron sights, all I can see is her. I let my finger freeze itself to the trigger and quietly wonder if I will ever see her again.

It's too cold here.

13 comments:

  1. It's funny how the concept of "cold" changes. I used to be OK with a touch of frost,but having lived in a country with very little heat, nor cold, just a bit of frost will make me feel like I'm already frozen too!

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  2. I really like your stories. I feel cold and it's about 22 here. To me, that's the mark of good writing . . put's me in that place. Have to go and put some socks on.

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  3. nicely done jeff...the snapshot glimpses to a much larger story...

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  4. Sometimes I forget what a good writer you are. And then I come across one of your pieces and once again I am so impressed with your style, your maturity, and your ability to conjure up moods in your readers.

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  5. He should make snow angels!

    Seriously though, great piece. As if it wasn't getting cold enough, you have to drop all our temps a few more degrees.

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  6. Wow! I'm so cold after reading this that I'm donning winter gear. Awesome writing!

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  7. Interesting vignettes. You have a real facility for putting your reader in the thick of things. I am much inclined to read more of your work.

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  8. Great post, Jeff. I love snow, but could do without the cold. Well, actually, I don't mind the cold as long as it stays in the 30's. Below that makes it difficult to function! :D

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  9. So, on occasion, I've read your stories that are similarly echoing Russian spy novels or Bond. Is this a genre you like? Past life? Current life? I'm from the Wonderland and I like to wonder.

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  10. nice rerun jeff...i realy like the cachophony of images you coalesce...

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  11. A wise man once said: "He should make snow angels!

    Seriously though, great piece. As if it wasn't getting cold enough, you have to drop all our temps a few more degrees."

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  12. You gave me cold chills. Wonderful ppiece

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  13. Good piece here and well written too. you want cold? Come to CO where it is -18F with wind chill adn -8F normally on many days but we are a mile high so the sun beats down and warms things up a fair bit too.

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