Chapter 6

The rescuers discreetly stepped outside to allow the two naked people a chance to get dressed, their clothes stiffly dried by the hot cabin heat.

Hollis opened the door and motioned for the two cops and his daughter and her boyfriend to come back into the cabin.

"Thanks for waiting," Hollis said with a smile. "Sorry for the inconvenience."

A dumbfounded Noel looked back and forth at her parents. "I assumed you killed each other," she deadpanned.

"I'm Officer Dempsey and this is Officer Gorfield," Officer Dempsey said.

"Sorry to drag you out on Christmas Day," Hollis said.

"How'd you find us?" A sheepish Gloria asked, fully dressed as she stepped away from the woodstove and gave her daughter a Christmas morning hug.

"Faint ping from your cell phones," Officer Dempsey reported. "Once the storm cleared."

"We found your car first," Officer Gorfield revealed.

"I thought for sure you were both dead inside it," Noel said, still embracing her mother.

"We're happy to see you," Hollis grinned.

"We're glad you're okay," Officer Dempsey said with obvious relief. "We had a worried anxious family on our hands.

"We managed to find this cabin otherwise we might have been in real trouble," Hollis said.

"You'd be dead," Officer Gorfield said. "It's the only structure in a five mile radius."

"I would have to say that's a real Christmas Miracle that we found it then," Hollis smiled.

Noel broke from her mother and gave her father a meaningful hug. "I'm glad you're okay," she said. "You have a cut on your forehead," she noticed.

"Nothing serious," Hollis said. "Doctor Puzan treated it. She's an excellent doctor."

"Should we take you to the hospital just to be sure?" Officer Dempsey asked.

"I don't think that will be necessary, Officer," Gloria replied. "Chris' parents are holding Christmas for us."

Chris smiled. "I'm sure the roast beef is in the oven."

"We'll contact the owners of the cabin and let them know you were here," Officer Gorfield said. "Is it okay if we give them your contact information in case they want reimbursement?"

"Of course," Hollis agreed.

"They won't be able to get your car out until tomorrow given that it's Christmas Day," Officer Dempsey informed them.

"That's fine, Officer," Gloria said. "We feel bad enough for dragging you out on Christmas."

They made sure the fireplace and wood stove was safely extinguished before leaving the cabin behind.

The morning sun allowed the snow to sparkle in its winter beauty, a surreal image given yesterday's frightening fury.

The Officers drove the four to Chris' car at the Police Station. Hollis and Gloria thanked the officers one last time.

"Well, this is the best Christmas present ever," Noel said, glancing over her shoulder at her parents in the backseat from where she sat in the front as Chris drove them to his parents' place.

Hollis was struck by how much Noel looked like her mother at that age.

"Sorry we caused so much drama, dear," her mother said.

Noel peered at her parents with dismay, not quite sure what to make of what she was seeing.

"We won't need separate floors when we get to Chris' house," Hollis told Noel.

"We won't even need separate rooms," Gloria volunteered.

"I can't believe we survived Christmas this way," Noel said happily.