Ch. 11

Colts POV

When morning returned it brought the cold with it. There was an incredible difference in temperature between inside and outside the shelter. Not to mention sharing the space with Sophie. That definitely keeps me warm.
I can hear the wind blowing outside. It blows in through a few faults in the shelter. Sophie shivers a bit in her sleep. I wrapped my arms around her and she stirs.

"I miss you too Lucas." Sophie suddenly muttered.

"Huh?" I ask her.

"I love you too, and I'll see you soon."

Her words are hard to distinguish and most of what she says slurrs into a mumbled conversation with someone named Lucas. From what I could make out she loves him and misses him... Did she ever mention having a brother, or maybe a cousin? Or is this someone else.

"No I can't." She says

There's a long break and I sit listening. I can no longer understand what she's saying.

I leaned over and whispered in her ear, "What can't you do?"

Sophie lifted her hand to her forehead. "What?"

"Are you awake now?" I ask her.

"Yea, why? What's the matter?"

"You were talking in your sleep."

"I was dreaming of home."

"You were talking to someone named Lucas." I said cautiously.

"Oh really, what did I say?"

"You said you loved him and you missed him and that you'll see him soon." I hesitate. "Sophie who's Lucas?"

"He's a friend. I've know him since I was really young."

I nod and try desperately to push down any jealousy that had risen.

"Who did you hang out with at home?" She asked.

For some reason I couldn't remember anyone I hung out with at home. Was it because I couldn't remember? Or did I not hang out with anyone my age? Had I really sheltered myself so much in New York that I hadn't met anyone?

"I didn't." I said resting my hand on the back of my neck.

"What do you mean?"

"I mean I didn't hang out with anyone."

"So I'm your first New York friend?" She asked smiling.

"Your more than that."

I grabbed her waist from behind and pulled her closer to me. I'm not sure what came over me, but I started doing something I've never done in front of anyon. Ever.
I started to sing. Was I doing it because I desperately wanted to change the topic? Or was it because I was trying to prove she was more than a friend to me? Maybe I wanted to make her forget about Lucas and how she loves him.
All I knew was that I needed to stop asking questions and go with it. I leaned into her ear and sang the A Team by Ed Sheeran. She was silent. By the second verse I could see the tear that ran down her cheek.

"It's too cold outside, for angels to fly." I sang, and ll I can think now is: 'how can someone be so beautiful in these conditions?'
When I finished the song she turned herself so she was facing me. Then she leaned in and kissed me. A real kiss. A meaningful kiss. A long kiss.

She broke the kiss to speak, "How come you never told me you could sing?"

"Because I didn't think I could sing. Not pleasantly anyways."

She had a smile on her face that almost took the form of a smirk.

"Well I found that pretty pleasant."

"I find you pretty pleasant." I said squeezing her tight.

Suddenly there was a familiar noise outside. We both froze.

"Is that what I think it is?" Sophie asked.

"Shhh."

The mechanical buzzing outside was more pleasant to out ears now than any singing. At the same time we scrambled out of the shelter. A small biplane soared over our heads. Sophie and I waved our hands like wild animals and Sophie screamed and yelled louder than I've ever heard anyone yell.
The biplane continued on, flying over the lake. For just a moment I thought it looked like they were going to turn around and pick us up and take us to our warm homes where there is always food and dry clothes. I was proved wrong when the plane flew over the trees. It wasn't until after the plane was out of sight that we quit yelling. I looked back at Sophie who just kept staring at where the plane had been a moment before.
Then she did something I wasn't expecting. She fell to her knees in the snow and curled into a ball. She just laid there and started to cry. I raced to her side and placed my hand on her back.

"Oh Sophie, it's going to be okay."

She didn't answer me she just continued sobbing. I rubbed small circles into her back with my palms.

"Sophie, you got to get up babe. You're clothes are gonna be soaked if you continue to lay in that snow."

Still no movement other than her body shaking from sobs. Finally I pulled her onto my lap and laid her head on my chest.

"Sophie, how 'bout we go into the shelter and take a break for the rest of the day."

"No Colton you go into the shelter, leave me here in the snow to die!" She choked out.

"Sophie don't talk like that. You know I would never leave you."

"Well I wish you would."

I sighed and stood lifting her from the snow. She went limp and became ten times heavier. I had to practically toss her into the shelter. I wanted to climb in with her, but we needed to eat. I closed up the shelter with Sophie inside.
It was colder today than it was yesterday and there was more snow on the ground. My boots crunched loudly on the snow as I approached the first snare. Empty. I checked the next one. Empty. The next four traps, right up to the last one were empty.
Dispirited and crest-fallen I walked through the woods aimlessly, letting my feet carry me wherever they pleased. I started to think that maybe Sophie was right, maybe it would be better to stop trying so hard to survive. Maybe it would just be easier to give up.
Suddenly something hit me in the back of the head, hard and I immediately blacked out falling face first into the snow.

I lifted my face from the snow. I felt the back of my head and was surprised to find it painless. I felt the snow around me, it was warm like sand on the beach. I sat up and looked around. I was still in the same place as before. I thought I was anyways. I guess I wasn't paying much attention.
I looked down to my hands which were feeling tingly, like they had fallen asleep. I was shocked to find them covered in blood. So much blood it dripped down my arms and stained the pure white snow. I started panting and my hands were shaking.

"Stop that!" Someone yelled from in front of me.

I looked up to find an unusually tall man in a suit bending over me. I started backing away from him quickly.

"No stop, you're making it worse!" The man yelled as he shook an umbrella, he had been holding in his hand, at me.

I froze and my panting turned into a full on coughing fit. I looked at my hands which were still bleeding. I looked at the man more closely now. He had a thin moustache that I would imagine a French man to have. His hair was stick straight and black. I wouldn't call his face, with its long nose and small lips attractive.

"Please sir, I need your help! My hands, I'm going to bleed to death." I panicked showing him my hands.

"You want my help after staining my perfectly white snow?"

"I-I'm sorry. Just please help me."

A friendly smile crossed his face and he chucked lightly, "Of course I'll help you!"

"Oh, thank God." I said watching for what the man would do next.

"That's exactly what you should do!" He said pointing his umbrella at me once more.

The man withdrew his umbrella and began moving it in a circle over the blood stained snow. The snow morphed into a small red ball. He then swung his umbrella so it hit the snow ball. The ball flew up and over all the trees and disappeared.

"Are you God?" I asked.

The man gave me a strange laugh and started laughing. H
Laughed harder until he was on his back in the snow. His unnaturally long legs kicked the air until he stopped suddenly. He stood and continued swinging at his red snow ball creations.

Once he finished he turned to me and rested his umbrella on his shoulder, "Now about your hands. You want me to heal them, correct?"

"Yes."

"Do you want to know why they are bleeding?"

I nodded.

"The reason your hands are bleeding is because you were attempting to grasp a dangerous idea."

"But isn't "grasping" an idea just a metaphor?" I asked him.

"If that's what you want to believe. Now let me see your hands."

I held out my hands. The man took them flipping them over and examining both sides.

"Before I fix your hands, I want you to promise me something."
"Yes, anything." I said.

"You will never try to grasp such a self-harming idea ever again."

Now I understood. I had tried to grasp the idea that maybe it would be better for me and Sophie not to live like this and to just end our lives now.

"I promise."

"Ok then." He said pulling a long, thin cloth from his pant pocket.

He took the cloth and wrapped it around my right hand then, using the same cloth he wrapped it around my left hand. With both my hands wrapped and wresting in the snow I looked up at the man.

"Will this really heal my hands?" I asked the man.

"See for yourself, remove the cloth."

I twisted my hands around so that the cloth unraveled. To my disappointment the cloth, as well as my hands, were covered in blood.

"Here," the man said, handing me a bucket of warm water,"wash your hands off."

"Where did you find this..."

"Ssshhhh!" He said interrupting me.

I cautiously placed my hands in the water. As I rubbed then together the water became cloudy a red. Finally I pulled my hands out of the water. I couldn't help but gasp. My hands were healed. Not a single scratch remained.
I smiled and laughed hysterically before starting to stand. Clumsily I knocked the bucket onto my lap and the water soaked the crotch of my pants. Still I continued to stand and hug the man.

"Thank you. Thank you so much!" I said releasing the man.

"Now, is there anything else I could help you with?"

"No, I think that's all." I said ignoring my empty stomach.

"Please tell me now. What is it you want?"

"Well, would you happen to have any food?"

He chuckled and walked into the woods. When he returned he had a silver platter. On it was a loaf of steaming bread and a small glass of purple liquid. I stared at the food.

"Please," the man said, "help yourself."

"What's this?" I asked pointing to the glass.

"It's wine."

"Oh, I'm sorry, but I don't drink."

"Oh, well you must try at least a sip."

I nodded and lifted the wine glass carefully. I sipped the wine slowly. It . Immediately I set the glass back onto the tray and picked up the loaf. It was warm and crunched as I broke it in half. I couldn't help but shove one of the halves into my mouth. After I finished the entire loaf of bread and even a little more wine I looked at the man.

"Thank you so much." I said to him.

"No problem. Are you ready to return?"

"What do you mean return?"

"Ssshhhh, it's rude to answer a question with a question."

"I'm sorry. Wait, I have a friend her name is Sophie she must be hungry too and I know she's grasping dangerous thoughts. She even said so this morning!"

"Don't worry you've shed enough blood for the both of you. I will provide her with food. Now, are you ready?"

I nodded and closed my eyes. When I opened them the world was spinning and everything was blurred. I heard a faint, indistinct voice. I could feel the snow below me. It was no longer warm.

"Colt, are you OK?" I heard Sophie say.

I tried to nod my head but a sharp pain struck my head and shot through my neck.

"Colt," Sophie said flipping me onto my back, "talk to me. Please!"

I reached out and rested my hand on her waist.

She giggled, "Colt, you pee'd yourself!"

I could hear the tears even through her laugh. I couldn't help but to smile at her laugh. With my eyes squeezed shut in pain I felt the crotch of my pants. Which was still wet. Sophie layer herself across me and rested her head near mine.

"Are you OK?" She asked.

"Yea, but my head hurts."

"Do you think you can make it back to camp?"

"Can we just wait a bit, please."

"Yea, of course."

I began to lift my hand so I could wrap it around her when I realized there was something in my hand. I looked down to find a snare with one of the largest hares I have ever seen hanging simply from the wire around its neck. I dropped it and held Sophie close.

"What happened?" I tried to ask.

"Ssshhhh." She said pressing her finger to my lips, "You rest for a minute."