Day 4 - The Hearts that mingle

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Clare woke up with an uneasy feeling. It wasn't the cold air that had startled her but the sense of someone hovering too close. She opened her eyes and found Brandon's face mere centimeters away from her own. She pushed herself up carefully so as not to disturb his sleep.

She wondered how long it had been since she had fallen asleep. She grabbed a hold of Jack's hand in order to look at his watch, who woke up ready to scream for help if need be.

When he saw who it was he calmed down slightly. "What? What?" he asked grabbing a hold of her shoulders, shaking her.

She ignored him and focused on the watch. Her grip around his wrist tightened. "We were meant to have woken up hours ago," she said.

Jack was puzzled. "We had an allocated sleeping time?" he asked.

"What's with all this noise? What are you two bickering about now?" Matt asked, sitting up yawning. "Some people are trying to sleep!"

Clare opened the zipper and looked outside. Snow was pressing against it. She closed the waterproof flap again. "Well, don't bother. We shouldn't have slept for so long anyway." She was busying herself by pushing against the entry hoping that she'd succeed in clearing away the snow from the outside so that it wouldn't fall inside the dry tent.

"How long did we sleep for?" Brandon asked through his sore throat.

"I'd say at least six to seven hours" she replied. When she was satisfied that a minimal amount of snow would enter the tent when they left, she left it open.

Brandon peeked out.

"What's the diagnosis, doc?" Jack asked.

"I doubt anything will be able to come by today," he replied. "The blizzard's not going to let up anytime soon."

"Then when?" said Clare.

He shrugged. "I don't know, maybe this evening, maybe tomorrow morning. I don't know."

By the evening, it wasn't the boredom of having to stay in one place or even the unrelenting blizzard that was beginning to get to them. It was the idea of waiting, waiting, and waiting. The same thing they had been doing for the past three and a half days. They had each run out of small talk, and it had literally been hours since the last time anyone had uttered a word.

"This isn't going to work." Clare whispered. "How long are we going to sit here in this shitty tent?"

"It could be days before the weather lets up," Brandon murmured.

"Then we can't possibly stay here any longer?!" Clare's voice was shrill.

"No we can't," Brandon replied matter-of-factly.

"Then what do we do?" Jack asked. "We need to get back home."

"I don't see how that'd be possible" Brandon said. "With all the snow, it'll be difficult for us to find the road underneath it all." He suddenly felt very tired; all of this was beginning to overwhelm him, draining him of energy. The only thing showing any sign of improvement was his shoulder, which was as good as new now. He rubbed his eyes.

"Well, we've got two options" Clare said as she looked out through the net. "We either wait for help to arrive, perhaps in the next few days, or we tread this hill and go back the way of the road and hope we'll bump into someone." Her face was caught between emotions. The little smile of hope which crept across her lips was bumped off by fear that gripped her hard from within. What if we freeze to death before help arrives. Suddenly the image of helpless John Wilbur flashed before her eyes. He had died waiting for help. It's possible, she thought with a whimper.

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