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Winter Intruder

Updated on October 10, 2016
Dean Traylor profile image

Dean Traylor is a freelance writer and teacher. He is a former journalist who has worked on various community and college publications.

An hour in and the lights were still out, and the heater was down. Even the fire he built in the fireplace was waning. That diversion he thought was a savior was now becoming a concern.
An hour in and the lights were still out, and the heater was down. Even the fire he built in the fireplace was waning. That diversion he thought was a savior was now becoming a concern. | Source

It had been an hour since the power went out on a winter’s evening. Carl Ruskin didn’t think much of the situation at first. Blackouts during a blizzard were common.

Besides, the howling blizzard and blackout were in competition with lingering memories of his recent divorce. At best, the events of this night were a welcome diversion, for it forced him to think about ways of keeping warm.

An hour in and the lights were still out, and the heater was down. Even the fire he built in the fireplace was waning. That diversion he thought was a savior was now becoming a concern.

The blankets and extra clothing were not helping either. His new nemesis was making sure of that. And he saw and felt its evil work. His frosted breath swirled before his eyes, and his teeth chattered despite his attempt to stop them.

The coldness had his attention, and was winning the battle.
The coldness had his attention, and was winning the battle.

He tried to conjure up memories of a happier time with his wife and kids. But, the icy wind creeping through the cracks, vents, and crevices of his domain blurred those images. The coldness had his attention, and was winning the battle.

Come on, power, he wished, make things right again.

But the hours ticked away, as he sat close to the fireplace, slowly being beaten down by winter’s strength. His hope and faith in an eventual end to the power-outage were waning as his body heat escaped.

He was going numb – a sign that he was losing the ultimate fight.

What a contrast, he thought. Earlier that night, he wondered how nice it would’ve been to die in order end the suffering of loneliness. Now, the coldness was sparking something within him to live.

The coldness responded by tightening its grip on him.

“What a fool I am,” he whispered, as his eyes became heavy and his frosted breath thickened.

“Okay, you have my attention now,” he murmured, as he heard the whistle of the wind.

The coldness responded by tightening its grip on him.

“What a fool I am,” he whispered, as his eyes became heavy and his frosted breath thickened.

It was then that the lights flickered and a rush of heat shot from the heating ducts. Power was stored. Technology made the situation better.

And as Carl slowly warmed up, he began to realize there are worse things than being lonely.

It was then that the lights flickered and a rush of heat shot from the heating ducts. Power was stored. Technology made the situation better.
It was then that the lights flickered and a rush of heat shot from the heating ducts. Power was stored. Technology made the situation better.

In Real life it wasn't the cold to worry about

This story was partially based on the recent cold snap that has overtaken the country (including Southern California) another part was based on an actual incident that occurred when I was 13.

Back then, my family and I went to our cabin in Big Bear. It was supposed to be a white Christmas. Instead, it nearly became our last Christmas.

The culprit was not the cold, however. It was the very thing that was protecting us from it. The newly installed central heating unit.

My parents were eager to turn it on, once we settled into the cabin. In the beginning, it was doing its job, warming up the two story cabin to a warm and crispy temperature. However, it began to make us ill.

I was the first to be affected by it. First came the headache and then the nauseating feeling. I vomited and was generally bed-ridden for much of the night. At first, my family thought I came down with the flu, and that my problem was isolated. Soon, however, they started to feel the same effects.

Somehow we made it though the night, literally. A need to get out of house arrived when my sister and brother-in-law (who were the least affected) needed to get some supplies from the local store. I mustered enough strength and left the house to go with them (personally, i hate be stuck all day in a house). It didn't take long for the symptoms to vanish. That drive made me feel great.

Luckily, the day proved to be warmer than the previous day. Also, the fireplace was being used and was effective in warming the place. As a result, all of us seemingly got over the "flu."

We would later find out how lucky we were. The contractor contacted us after we left for home. He had realized, to his horror, that there was something he forgot to adjust on the heater: an adjustment that was spewing carbon monoxide throughout the cabin.

Eventually, the contractor fixed the problem for free. There's no doubt we were lucky. Still, it was the closest I came to death...without really knowing it.

Winter Tales

© 2015 Dean Traylor

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