|Richard Dawkins sped along the horizon of the early morning Antarctica. His body covered in over three layers of thermal gear, goggles, and a parka jacket complete with snow boots. The snowmobile he drove slid across the Antarctic landscape with a continual motorized roar. Richard was to travel six miles away from Outpost 22 to research a particular area of low temperature which had been showing up on monitors for the last forty six hours. He cursed himself as the blistering minus eighty degrees stabbed through all the layers. He didn’t want to do this, this wasn’t his forte. Jones was the Survey Scientist. Dawkins was just the reserve. He hadn’t been out to survey land in a few weeks and he felt stiff enough as it was with the f*cking cold. All that seemed to fill his schedule was inventory check and security, as well as coitus with Angie Crows which seemed to be better than with his wife back in the warm United States. He’d been sleeping with Angie almost three nights a week, he’d show up to her room, drunk and horny, and immediately the two would be away! In those drunken moments he’d forget everything, his child, his wife. And he would just go with the momentum. Being stuck out in the blistering cold three months a year was a stressful prospect but it had its benefits. Privacy, isolation, and those were two things Dawkins enjoyed the most.|
The sun was expected to rise soon enough, that was something else Dawkins liked. It meant less cold, and that meant the job was going to be a whole lot easier. He turned the throttle harder, carefully focusing on the bleak white landscape for any obstacles. As he sped through the snow, his thoughts went back to his wife. He drifted off for a moment, thinking of the last time he’d truly shared a happy moment with her. With their child always screaming, with her constant nagging, this work felt more like a vacation!
He turned a hard left and slide down a icy slope. The snowmobile roared and bounced up and down wildly.
“Jesus Christ!” he yelled as he hid the flat straight again. “I hate ice!” he screamed through his scarf, the evident sound came out more like “I ay’ Iy’!”. He was close to the area, the ice gave it away.
A rocky outcrop was up ahead which showed up on the satellite images. This was the place where the temperature was spouting. He slowed down quickly, when suddenly the snowmobile began to grind and skid on the surface. The snowmobile swerved and turned hard. Dawkins couldn’t control the steering; the surface was slick and dark blue beneath the vehicle. The entire place was frozen solid below! Dawkins slowed down the vehicle but as the humming engine began to quiet down the sound of cracking ice began to fill his ears. He scrambled quickly; looking down, the floor beneath him bean to splinter into blocks. He had no time to think, the rocky outcrop was up ahead! He jumped off the now dead snowmobile and sprinted forward, his goggles fogging up suddenly. He had to make it to the outcrop before the ice beneath him fell. The fog began to blind him, and then he felt the sensation of falling. He screamed through the scarf and lunged outwards, the floor beneath him had caved in! He continued to fall until his arms caught the remaining surface of ice.
He yelped loudly as pain coated his torso. Something had pierced him and was still doing so! He screamed louder, this time it was ear shattering. He ripped off his goggles quickly and looked around, the heat of his breath quickly dissipating into the cold air. His arms were hanging onto the edge of the rocky outcrop which had a deep foundation into what could only be a frozen cavern. He looked down at the thick layers of ice that had splintered into sharp jagged blades. The large one was halfway in Dawkins torso. He gave a loud moan, he needed to get the thing out of him, and he needed to stop dangling halfway down a cavern. He slammed his hand down on the icicle, it snapped off with easy, but it was still jammed in his side. He yelped once more as the vibrations of the punch hit his core. He began to scramble upwards, his torso on fire, his adrenaline rushing.
Crash! Something came down behind him, the sound of metallic carnage below gave away quite easily that the snowmobile had cascaded through the ice. No more chances! Get up! Climb the edge, ignore the wound! Get up! His mind raced but he found himself thinking clearly. He pulled himself upwards, trying to stop the injury from getting knocked or caught. He gripped a piece of the rock, then another until he had shifted over the edge and up onto the rocky outcrop. He lay on his back and breathed the cold air which soothed his burning lungs. He gasped, ripped off his scarf and let out moans in between each breath. Breathe in, fire in his lungs, breath out, fire in his side. He lay there in adrenaline fuelled relief for what felt like hours, the night sky scintillating at an oddly slow rate. This meant the cold was going to be sticking around for longer, that meant bad news. Dawkins sighed and slowly looked down. The rocky outcrop was actually the main pillar of the beautifully pure ice cave which –apart from the wreckage of the snowmobile- seemed to have small bright pockets of water that shone with glistening ripples upon the rocky outcrop. For a moment Dawkins found it a beautiful sight. He watched as the bright blue ripples cascaded the entire cave with an extravagant show of flickering blue lights. No more! He couldn’t sit around here and watch this. He had to look around for an outpost. He leaned upwards. “Argh, f*ck sake!” he screamed, the wound in his side stung and ached wildly. Biting his tongue he scrambled upwards to his feet, his eyes scanned the horizon. No lights, so sign of human life.