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The Weather Outside is Frightful

Snow way out

By Antonella Di MinniPublished 2 months ago Updated 2 months ago 14 min read
The Weather Outside is Frightful
Photo by Fabrice Villard on Unsplash

Day 1

We drove up the snowy, winding road towards the cozy A-frame cabin. “What exactly is an A-frame?” Gerald asked.

I was taken aback. “Gerald! How can you not know?” I asked. “You’re the most well-educated person I know. You are a certifiable genius. How is it you lack the knowledge of such a trivial thing?”

“Perhaps because it is so trivial, Bronwyn,” Gerald responded. It was a fair point. His intellect could scarcely spare any space for things of little consequence. “I’m curious,” continued Gerald. “You have a doctorate. You’ve written books. You’re as smart as I am. So, tell me. Do you know what an A-frame is?”

I laughed. “Oh, Gerald! An A-frame is… well a frame that’s shaped like an A, of course.” In truth I did not know what it was and Gerald realized that.

“Hah! You don’t know!” he said triumphantly. “I’m not the only person in this car with a gaping hole in my erudition.” We both laughed at the witticism.

“Well, we will know soon enough. We can’t be far from our destination.” Right then, almost as if it had heard me, the GPS said, “Your destination is 100 yards on the left.” We passed some snow-covered bushes and there was the cabin.

“I guess we know why it’s called an A-frame now,” Gerald said. The building in front of us resembled a big letter A. It was an acute triangle with a line that demarcated the second floor creating the center line of the letter. It seemed to be a nice enough house, but the alphabetic appearance was a bit off-putting.

Gerald didn’t seem to care what it looked like. He pulled in front and started unloading our luggage and supplies. We brought everything inside and looked around. It was really quite charming in a rustic sort of way.

“I found a note,” Gerald said. “Dear guests, there are some supplies in the kitchen and plenty of firewood. You will find two snowmobiles in the shed that you are free to use. Enjoy your stay and contact me with any questions. Your host, J. Murphy.”

I checked the kitchen. There were a few bottles of domestic wine, some fruit, boxed crackers, cheese, coffee pods, and a few other things. “That was nice of him, though I’m glad we brought our own supplies. I can’t imagine us ever getting desperate enough to drink this wine.”

Gerald built a fire and we dined that night on cold lobster we had brought with us. It was delicious paired with a light Italian wine. As we snuggled together on the couch it started to snow. “Look,” I said, gesturing at the large window across the room. “It’s beautiful.”

“It really is,” said Gerald. “Unexpected though. I checked the forecast earlier and it didn’t mention it.”

“How did you get a signal?” I asked.

“I found the WIFI password. It’s on the table in the hall,” he said. “It’s probably just a snow shower.”

We went upstairs to bed. The bedroom was a bit strange. The angled walls of the A-frame made the room feel tight, but there was a fireplace in the bedroom, and it was wonderfully warm. It had been a lovely day and I think Gerald and I were both very glad we’d decided to take a few days to just get away.

Day 2

We slept a bit late. It was after 9 am when I sat up in bed. I was surprised to see that it was still snowing. I could smell coffee. I went downstairs and found Gerald with a cup in his hand looking out the window. I made myself a coffee then joined Gerald at the window.

“It seems pretty bad,” I said.

“I don’t think it should last,” he said. “The weather report just says it’s a passing storm. I imagine Mr. Murphy will come by later to dig us out. I’ll send him a text later.”

I made us some eggs and fresh fruit for breakfast. As we ate, I asked Gerald if he was concerned about the snow. “No, Bronwyn, not really. Just annoyed. We won’t be able to enjoy the outdoors until it ends. Even the shed with the snowmobiles is buried.”

“Don’t worry,” I said. “Being inside our lovely A-frame isn’t so bad.” Gerald smiled but his annoyance still showed.

Day 4.

Lake effect snow. That was the last weather report Gerald got. We lost our internet connection almost immediately after. Mr. Murphy had texted that he would try to get to us, but the roads were impassable. The forecast had said at least two feet of snow was expected. Where we were it was already much more than two feet.

“There’s no need to worry,” Gerald kept saying. “We have plenty of food and firewood. We haven’t lost power. Mr. Murphy knows we’re here. As soon as the snow stops, someone will come for us.”

“Of course. It can’t snow forever,” I said with a laugh. It was a forced laugh. I was scared and I’m pretty certain Gerald was too. The snow wasn’t a thing of beauty anymore.

Day 7

The snow stopped yesterday. We lost power the day before that. Our firewood ran out the same day. We hunkered down in the bedroom and burned paper, furniture, towels. If it was flammable, we used it to keep warm.

The sloped walls of the room that had just seemed odd before now were just claustrophobic. I kept imagining the snow pushing the walls in and crushing us. It probably wouldn't have been so bad in the little room if I didn't have to share it with Gerald.

“Are there any crackers left,” Gerald asked.

“You know there aren’t,” I snapped back. “Why would you ask?”

“Because I’m hungry. Ok?!” He was angry. We both were. “I thought maybe we’d forgotten about some crackers.”

“We’re almost out of everything. Even the wine Murphy left,” I said.

We just glowered at each other. By the fifth day we realized we couldn’t stand each other. We huddled together constantly trying to stay warm, but given the chance, we would have gotten as far away from each other as possible.

“What are we supposed to do?” Gerald mumbled. It annoyed the hell out of me. He had been whining for days. I never knew he was such a weakling.

“There’s a shotgun and some shells downstairs,” I said. “Why don’t you go outside and kill something for us to eat.”

“There’s five feet of snow out there. How am I supposed to get out? And what do I know about hunting?”

“You’re the genius, Gerald,” I said. “Figure it out!”

Gerald pulled his hand back as if he meant to hit me. It made me laugh. “You don’t have the nerve!” I said. He shrunk away from me and I laughed again.

“God, I hate you so much, Bronwyn,” he said.

“Right back at ya, big guy.”

Day 10

Yesterday we got desperate. There was nothing left to burn. Gerald remembered that just outside the front door there was a pile of firewood. It would have been nice if he remembered that sooner, but whatever. We had to risk opening the door and trying to get some.

The snow seemed to have barely melted and there had been a few small snow squalls in recent days. We were afraid the snow would collapse into the house when we opened the door. If it had, we never would have gotten the door closed again. We got lucky, though. We opened the door and the wall of snow stayed in place,

We used buckets and tunneled carefully along the base of the snow. We just dumped the snow out of the way on the floor. Slowly, slowly we got closer to the firewood.

“I think I hit it,” Gerald said. He dug with his hands and shouted, “Firewood! I can reach it.”

He struggled to pull out the first piece of wood, but after that they came out easier. He handed them to me and I stacked them by the steps. He was on his fifth piece when he suddenly yelped in pain.

“What happened?” I asked. He didn’t answer. He just backed his way through the door.

“I cut my hand,” Gerald said. There was a small gash on his palm. It was barely bleeding but he acted like he’d lost a limb.

“Are you kidding me?! Get back in there!” I screamed.

“I’m not going back,” he said. “We have enough wood for now.”

“What you got won’t last us a day,” I said.

“You want more wood, get it yourself, Bronwyn!”

I pushed him aside and shimmied into the little tunnel. I started pulling firewood from the stack and handed it back to Gerald. He was good enough to take it from me despite his “grave” injury.

After about a half hour I had retrieved quite a bit of firewood when the pile of wood suddenly shifted. A moment later, the snow tunnel collapsed. I was trapped. I tried to scream but could only manage a wordless shriek. I struggled to pull myself out but couldn’t manage it. I reassured myself that Gerald would get me out at any moment, but nothing was happening.

I started to panic. It occurred to me that Gerald might just leave me there. He had enough firewood for days. He didn’t need me. I knew he was going to let me die. I struggled harder with little success.

Finally, after what seemed like hours, I felt Gerald pulling my legs. It took him a few tugs, but he managed to get me into the house. He pulled me clear of the door and closed it. I rolled onto my back and tried to catch my breath.

“You were going to leave me under there, weren’t you?” I screamed.

“What are you talking about? I just went to put something on my wound.” He held up his hand so I could see the bandage.

“Liar! You were thinking of leaving me under there! You’d be happy if were dead.”

“I may hate you Bronwyn but I’m not going to kill you. Now stop being ridiculous and help me find the driest pieces of wood so we can get a fire going,” he said.

I glared at him, but reluctantly helped him with the wood. I knew he had considered killing me and I realized I would have to be on guard at all times. I also knew that would be difficult because I felt so weak. We had barely eaten anything in two days.

Day 15

“We have enough firewood now. The snow seems to be melting. We just need to hold out a little longer.” Every few minutes Gerald would say this. I realized he was reassuring himself, not me. It was driving me insane. I never hated anyone as much as I hated him.

Being trapped in that little triangle room for so many days with the idiot that I used to think I loved was really taking its toll. Days of witty banter, lobster, and romance seemed so far behind us. When you're in hell, two weeks is an eternity.

“Would you please shut up?” I asked. “I can’t stand the sound of your voice anymore. If I’m going to die here, please don’t let your voice be the last thing I hear.”

Gerald was sitting opposite me in front of the fireplace. He was wrapped in a blanket. He was unshaven and dirty. I could smell him from where I sat. He smiled at me. It was the slimiest smile I had ever seen. Then, in a louder voice, he started again. “We have enough firewood now. The snow seems to be melting. We just need…”

I screamed and lunged at him. I was starving and felt weak and frail, but I had to shut him up and wipe that smile off his face. He caught me as I came at him. I tried to hit him but he grabbed my arm. Then, with that ghoulish smile still on his face, he pulled my arm to his mouth and bit me. His teeth went right through my sleeve. He had a small chunk of my flesh and bits of my sweater in his mouth and was chewing with a satisfied look on his face.

The pain was terrible, but it made me struggle harder. By some miracle I was able to bring a knee up into Gerald’s crotch. He collapsed away from me and I ran for the door. I headed down the stairs and heard him scream, “Come back Bronwyn! I’m still hungry!”

I went for the shotgun. I didn’t know how to use it, but I tried to remember everything I had ever seen in movies. It was the double-barreled kind and I caught a break because it was already open. I was trying to grab some shells when I heard Gerald coming down the stairs. I managed to get one shell in, closed the gun and cocked it. I aimed it at him as he approached.

Gerald had blood on his mouth. It was my blood. He laughed at me when he saw me with the gun.

“I’ll kill you, Gerald, I swear,” I said.

“I doubt that, Bronwyn. Just like you said to me once, you don’t have the nerve.” He gave me another greasy smile and that pushed me over the edge. I pulled the trigger. It didn't fire.

Gerald and I both jumped anticipating the gunshot that didn’t happen. He rushed at me, but I managed to swing the gun and caught him on the side of the head. He fell, but he wasn’t badly hurt. I was going to hit him again but he sat up and grabbed the barrels of the gun. It was then that I noticed I had pulled the trigger on the empty barrel. The other barrel was still loaded. I pulled the right trigger this time.

The blast threw me off balance and I fell. I looked over at Gerald who had taken the shot right in the chest. He was twitching slightly, but then lay still. I’m not exaggerating when I say, that was the happiest moment of my life.

Day 18

Early this morning the power came back on. I still had coffee pods we hadn’t been able to use, so I immediately made a cup. No cream or sweetener, but probably the best coffee I ever had. I heated up some meat and enjoyed a second cup with breakfast.

About an hour later I heard the plows. Someone was coming to dig me out! I could hardly believe my ordeal was almost over. I watched from upstairs as two large plows worked to clear a path. After a couple of hours three men got out of the trucks and worked with snow blowers and shovels to reach the doors. Liberation from the dreadful A-frame was at hand!

I cleaned myself up as best I could and waited. Then, at last, I heard a knock. “Hello! Mr. Larkin? Can you hear me?” I opened the door to see a pleasant looking older gentleman, mostly covered in snow. I couldn’t help myself and immediately embraced him. I held on for a few minutes and wept.

“I’m so glad you’re ok,” he said. “I’m Mr. Murphy. I’m sorry I don’t know who you are, Are you Mrs. Larkin,

I laughed. “Oh, god no!” I said. “I’m Bronwyn Miller. Gerald was my boyfriend.”

“Was your boyfriend? Did something happen to him?” Murphy asked.

“I’m afraid he didn’t make it. But he did keep me alive. I’ll always be grateful for that,” I said.

“I’m so sorry, Miss Miller,” Murphy said. “Where is Mr. Larkin?”

I pointed to his body which was in the corner of the room packed in snow, “Most of him is over there. I got hungry last night so there’s also some of him upstairs, and I think I left a bit on the table this morning.”

Mr. Murphy looked confused and kind of horrified. I guess I expected that reaction. I realized I’d probably get that reaction from most people if I tell them what happened. I don’t really care. No one would ever understand what I went through. Gerald was probably the only other person who would get it. You know the funniest thing about what happened is that in the end, I didn’t hate Gerald anymore. I actually kind of loved him.

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