Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Zanter Klauzen (Part 2)

Stranded in a cabin deep in a Minnesota wood, a woman and her two children face an uncertain Christmas. With their supplies dwindling she began to pray that they would survive to see the new year. Then he appeared, a strange man lurking in the shadows of the snow covered firs. How long would he watch them before making his move?

The story begins HERE

Everything was white. She blinked her eyes when she realized that the deflated airbag was pressed against the side of her face. Pain shot through her neck causing her to yelp as she pushed away from the steering wheel.

"Jon! Rebecca!" she shouted. "Kids, answer me!"

Ignoring the pain she fumbled with the release for her seat belt and shoulder strap. Once freed from the restraints she twisted around to see how her kids were. Although they weren't moving, she could detect the rise and fall of their chests. At least they were breathing she thought!

When she called their names again, they began to stir. Tears of dread that had formed in her eyes turned into a stream of relief upon her cheeks and she cried out, "Thank God! Thank God, you're both okay!"

They did not respond, however. It was as if they were sleeping. She then realized that she was feeling weak and groggy. She was struggling to keep her eyes open. She was beginning to nod and was finding it difficult to function. She almost gave in to sleep.

She realized that there was a muffled sound and she could feel the vibrations. "Oh my, God!" she cried. She began to fumble for the key in the ignition. The engine was still running. She didn't know how long she'd been out, but chances were that the exhaust pipe was buried in the snow. It was obvious to her that they were slowly being poisoned by carbon monoxide seeping onto the vehicle.

She knew they had to get some fresh air. With the motor off, she groped for the handle to open the window. Her frantic efforts to find the handle were fruitless, however. Then she remembered - there was no handle. She emitted a sigh of relief when her hand found the rows of toggles on the arm rest.

Nothing happened when she manipulated each toggle switch in turn. Desperate she grabbed the handle to open the door and tried to push it open. It was stuck! She threw her shoulder against the door but it would not budge. She fell back in the seat with her head pressed against the headrest. She was exhausted. She could muster no more strenuous activity. She closed her eyes.
Marilee tried to fight the inevitable sleep consuming her. Had she been alone, she might well have given up, but the thought of her children meeting the same fate was not acceptable. There had to be a way to save them.

She strained, willing her brain to function. She knew she was overlooking something. What was she missing? Wait! That's it, she thought. Any other time it would have been a simple display of common sense, but at that moment it was a momentous brainstorm ... an epiphany.

She winced in pain as her fingers found the key still protruding from the ignition switch. She pinched it between her thumb and forefinger and turned it. She gasped in frustration. The key would not turn! Her hand fell onto her knee and she began to sob.

She shook her head and used her forearm to wipe away the tears on her cheeks. She couldn't give up! She had to try again! She grabbed the key again and jiggled it. My God, she thought. The key wasn't all the way in! She bit her lip in anxiety, for she didn't think she could take another setback.

A forced smile of relief formed on her lips when the key turned. As if adorned in festive holiday lights the dashboard came to life in a display of yellows, blues and greens. The fingers of her left hand began a frantic dance upon the panel of toggle switches.

The gentle whir of the electric servers announced that the window next to her was lowering. A sudden avalanche of snow began to cascade over the edge of the receding glass panel. She cried out in protest even as the snow surged onto her chest and into her lap.

Realizing that the snow must have drifted against the driver's side of the vehicle, she pulled back on the toggle switch to close the window. She brushed away as much of the cold snow from her body as possible. Shivering, she then manipulated the window for the passenger side. Another a wall of snow tumbled into the car and completely covered the passenger seat before she could close the window.

Overcome with a pall of terror, Marilee visualized that the entire vehicle must have been buried beneath the snow. Out of desperation she turned on the windshield wipers. To her relief, the wipers pushed aside a thin layer of snow from the windshield.

Through heavy eyelids she could make out a steep embankment illuminated by the headlight beams. She leaned forward trying to see the crest of the hillside. She moaned, for it lie somewhere above and out of her line of vision.

She took a deep breath and exhaled slowly. A gossamer cloud wafted before her face where her warm breath met the cold air. She ran her hand down her blouse and onto her lap where the snow had landed and had melted from her body heat. An involuntary shiver wracked her from her head to her toes.

She decided she needed to pray. It seemed that prayer was their only chance. She crossed her fingers and began by praying that there was in fact a God to hear her pleas. She raised her hands to her chin and interlaced her fingers. She closed her eyes and her lips moved to the silent words within her mind.
Why had she opened that envelope from her mother? She should have left it in the trash! If she'd ripped it to shreds, she wouldn't be in that mess. Why had her mother contacted her after so many years? It was her mother who had severed the ties, not her.

Her thoughts were interrupted by movement next to her. She opened her eyes to gaze upon her son, Jon in her lap. Beside her Rebecca was snuggled against her ribs. Had she nodded off while she'd been praying? They must have crawled into the front seat seeking warmth. "Thank God, they are still okay," she murmured.

Jon's blue eyes looked up at her and he whimpered, "Mommy, I'm cold."

Next to her Rebecca's weak voice could be heard, "Me too. I'm freezing. Can you turn on the heat?"

"Cuddle up tighter against mommy for now," she replied. "I'll put the heat on a little later." She was still alert enough to know that she would have to start the engine to use the heater. That was out of the question. She couldn't risk any more exposure to the fumes from the engine. Yet, freezing to death was an awful fate for her, and especially her children.

Little Jon uttered, "Will somebody find us, mommy? I don't want to stay in this car any more?"

"Yes, someone will find us ... and soon," she answered trying to sound positive. Her heart was aching, but she couldn't bring herself to tell her kids how dire their situation was. How do you tell two young children they might die?

She glanced at the dashboard and noticed the bright display of the GPS device. She pointed to the small unit and said, "See that black box there? It's not talking, but they can track us with it. They know right where we are. I'm sure that someone is on their way, even as we speak."

Though it seemed like an eternity, within five minutes the children had nodded off into a light sleep. As long as she could hear their breathing she would have to assume that they were all right.

She glanced at the GPS unit and hoped that someone knew that they had been in an accident. She allowed her chin to rest upon her chest and closed her eyes for a few moments.

(To be continued ... Part 3)



Sandee said...

Yikes. We need some assistance quickly. Makes it even more dramatic with the two kids. I can't imagine. Okay, I've got my fingers crossed that the GPS has done it's job.

Have a terrific day. :)

Hale McKay said...


Since it is only part 2 of the story, I'm sure it is safe to safe to say they'll make it.