Sad Adventure Fiction

White powder glistened on everything he saw. It covered the trees, forcing branches to curve and bend to an almost snapping point. His breath came in rasps, vaporizing in thick steam before his face. The cold bit through his thermal clothes, numbing his fingers. His skin prickled, desperate for the friction that welcomed warmth. Ice coated his eyelashes and stuck together every time he blinked. He had long ago abandoned his goggles as they kept frosting over. Visibility was low with or without the goggles. 

The wind howled, pulling puffy gray cotton balls of clouds closer, beckoning a storm. A bad one. The mountainside was dangerous territory, but hiking here had been a lifelong dream of his. 

Keep moving, he told himself. Keep moving and the cold stays away.

It felt like a lie and his body protested with every step. His body continually tried convincing him it was a lie. Wouldn’t it be much better to sit and rest? Somewhere in his mind warned him against that. What was it about again? Hypothermia, right? 

He kept hiking, his feet dragging through heavy snow that reached mid-thigh. He was tired, and moving was slow. But he was moving. 

He wanted a break, but didn’t he just finish one fifteen minutes ago? Or was it ten? He glanced at his wristwatch. The surface sparkled with frost and he squinted past it. Five minutes ago, he corrected himself. Unless the watch had frozen over just like his water canteen had. 

The shelter was another mile of hiking.

The storm would be here before then. 

He thought he wiggled his toes but realized that he couldn’t feel them. He lifted his leg and brushed the snow off the boot as if being able to see the shoe would ensure that his toes were still in there. 

The snow was beautiful, glistening, and perfectly white. Like a soft porcelain blanket that covered the rolling hills, mountainside, and surrounding trees. He had always enjoyed snow. Each snowflake was different; uniquely made with delicate crystallized patterns. As a kid, he would try catching them and admire them with a child-like innocence and curiosity. Miniature glass fragments that danced in the right light. He loved it. The snow was Earth’s coating of protection during the winter, keeping her warm and safe. A pillowcase for her to rest during the hibernation season. A peaceful tranquility he could get lost in. 

Was lost. 

He had stopped moving. 

The clouds looked better from this angle. Less angry yet still gray. Something crashed, like banging pots falling to the kitchen floor. It rang in his ears and made his eyelids flutter. 

He should move, right? 

His fingers were icicles and his legs were frozen logs. He breathed in razor blades of cold air and they cut and sliced his throat. A weight, soft and oppressive, settled on his chest. 

He didn’t think he could move even if he wanted to. A faint vibration shifted underneath him, but he barely felt it. 

Think warm thoughts, he told himself. 

Hot coffee burning his tongue. What did coffee taste like again? 

A roaring fireplace, thawing the ice. Was the fire blue? It sucked in the warmth. 

Thick socks to bundle around his feet. But wasn’t he already wearing socks? 

A woman’s touch to forget everything. What was he thinking about again? 

He could almost feel the heat, just at the edge of his fingertips. It numbed and blistered his skin, but he couldn’t move away. No, not heat. Ice cold gave the illusion of heat. 

Snowflakes, like the ones from his childhood, landed on his scarf. Past frozen lashes he marveled at them. Beautiful. Large and fluffy with crisscross patterns only the mountains could create. He wished there was more light so he could see them better. See if he could find the rainbow hiding within. 

Unlike the snowflakes from his childhood, these didn’t melt right away. They stayed as if they wanted to make an everlasting friendship. He could do that, right? Maybe take them to the shelter with him? 

Before the thought finished he knew it wouldn’t work. He might lose the perfect little snowflakes. He’d have to stay, and let them comfort him. They flocked to him now, falling in copious amounts all to meet him. He forgot what he needed to do a moment ago. 

The sound of kitchen pots fell again, but this time it sounded further away. Or perhaps muffled, like he was in another room listening through a wall. 

With the whistling of the wind, the snowflakes began dancing. 

Through half-closed eyes he admired how they moved around him, twirling in circular motions. Music gathered, slow at first and gaining speed. High-pitched whistling covered the swell of drums and low-base notes that rumbled in his chest. The snow moved rhythmically with it, dancing and spinning in white majesty. He couldn’t keep up with it. His eyes darted back and forth trying to catch a glimpse of the perfect snowflakes that gathered in thick troves now. The clouds couldn’t be angry anymore if they created such beauty. The music reached a crescendo, a roaring of white fury. Terrible and enchanting. 

I’m in heaven, he thought as the avalanche descended upon him. 


The research team began before the first light appeared, knowing they needed to catalog every detail of the overturned snow. The avalanche had crashed down the mountainside for 5 kilometers, with a width of 1.3 kilometers. Isolated, it had destroyed trees and demolished local homes of critters and hibernating creatures.

Specialists were calling it the most devastating avalanche in ten years. Likely causes were uncertain but the analysis of experts determined the previous night's storm and heavy snowfall were the source; too much weight had caused a collapse. Others argued against this as the fresh snow from the blizzard coated the overturned avalanche snow, indicating it had occurred before the storm. 

If that were the case, then few possibilities were left for a leading cause. 

There were no casualties documented. 

Two days later, a picture of Andrew L. McCarthy was displayed on the TV while the news reporter described the missing person.

“... Tall, mid-twenties, wearing black thermal snow pants and jacket, best suited for hiking in the mountains. Andrew was last seen at the local bus stop wearing a small pack of hiking gear and…” 

The research team left five days later, never finding the body that froze six feet below.

December 02, 2023 22:35

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Brandi Yetzer
21:13 Dec 17, 2023

Awww, what a beautiful look into his last moments. My favorite line was, "His skin prickled, desperate for the friction that welcomed warmth." But you had many great ones! What a heartbreaking ending, though 💔 I enjoyed the read! Good job! Thanks for sharing!


Jacqueline R
22:00 Dec 17, 2023

Thank you for your lovely comment!


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