Sleeping In A Snow Globe

Written in response to: Set your story in a snowed-in chalet.... view prompt

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Friendship Holiday American

The red van pulled up the property’s gravel driveway and Camille killed the engine. They all surveyed their surroundings, except for John, who was asleep for the duration of the trip.

“Well, here we are,” Camille said with a smile.

“Why does it look so dry?” Tim asked, taking notice of the dark green pine needles and the snowless ground. “Where’s the snow? How are we going to ski or snowboard?”

“Don’t worry,” Hazel said, turning in her seat to look back at Tim. “It’ll probably snow tonight or tomorrow. And if it doesn’t, they’d probably make some fake snow for the guests.”

“I wish it would snow though,” Tim said. “Otherwise, we brought our gear for nothing.”

“What was that saying?” Jason teased with a nudge. “Be careful what you wish because you just might get it?”

“Hey, Sleeping Beauty,” Edward said, shaking John awake. “We’re here.”

“I told you not to call me that,” John snapped, annoyed.

“Okay, I’m sorry,” Edward said, throwing his hands up. “Sheesh!”

“Thank you,” John said insincerely in a moody huff.

They unloaded their bags, skis, poles, and snowboards, then proceeded to check out the cabin. It was a small one-story cabin with two bedrooms, a bathroom in between, a living room, and a kitchen. The girls picked the front room, where there were two twin beds, and the boys took the back room, which featured two bunk beds. After settling in and unpacking, they started dinner. Jason, Tim, and Edward worked the grill outside, while John prepared the pasta—mushroom and truffle ravioli. Hazel and Camille set the table and made the salad. After dinner, they sat around the firepit to talk about life. It had been years since the six friends last saw each other.

As the night dragged on, they decided to move inside due to the increasingly unbearable cold.

“I don’t get it,” Edward said. “It’s as cold as a bloody freezer but there’s no snow?”

“I wouldn’t be too sure about that,” Camille said with a smile, pointing outside. Snowflakes drifted lazily to the ground like an army of winter fairies.

“It looks so magical,” Hazel said with awe in her voice. “It’s like we’re living in a snow globe, and someone picked it up and shook it.”

“You’ve never lost your sense of wonder, have you?” Camille asked.

“Not one bit,” Hazel said with a smile and a far-off look in her eyes as she watched the snow fall down.

“That’s what I like about you,” Camille said. “You always see magic everywhere.”

“And with all this romantic atmosphere, disaster’s in the air!” John sang in his best Timon impression, making the guys laugh.

“Can you feel the love tonight?” Tim, Edward, and Jason sang. “The peace the evening brings? The world for once in perfect harmony with all its living things…”

“Gee, thanks for ruining the moment, John,” Camille said in mock offense before laughing along with the boys.

After hanging out in the living room for another hour or two, they all decided to turn in for the night.

“We have a long day of skiing and snowboarding ahead of us tomorrow,” Jason said with a yawn and a stretch. “Night, guys.”

“That’s a great idea,” John said, getting up. “I call first dibs on the bathroom.”

“I’m next,” Camille said.

“Night,” Hazel greeted sleepily.

“Goodnight,” Tim said.

“Bright and early tomorrow, right?” Hazel asked.

“You know it,” Jason replied.

After having bid each other goodnight, the six friends prepared for bed, each performing his or her bedtime ritual, before finally turning in for the night and drifting off to Dreamland, oblivious to the fact that their short stay at the chalet would soon take a turn for the worst.

The next morning, Edward heard a flurry of activity from the little cabin’s kitchen. Camille cooked breakfast while Tim, John, and Hazel set up the table. They were talking while performing their assigned tasks. Jason was in the bathroom, performing his morning ablution—washing his face, brushing his teeth, and of course, relieving himself.

“Leave me alone,” Edward said groggily to no one in particular, turning over onto his side and wrapping his blankets and comforter tighter around him. “Five more minutes…”

That attempt, however, was a futile one. He found he could no longer sleep due to the racket in the kitchen. With great effort, Edward swung his feet over the side of the bed and sat up. Bleary-eyed, he padded out of the bedroom and into the living room.

“What’s with the racket?” Edward asked with a sigh.

“Well! Good morning, Rip Van Winkle!” John teased. “Welcome to the future! We were wondering when you would wake up.”

“Shut up, John,” Edward said. “It’s too early for your stupid jokes. What is it? 5 AM?”

“Uh, nope,” John said, shaking his head with a chuckle. “Also, that was revenge for calling me Sleeping Beauty yesterday.”

“More like 10 AM,” Camille said, turning from her cooking. “You’re off by five hours.”

“What?” Edward asked in shock, his mouth wide open. “You gotta be kidding me! This is a joke, right?”

“Look outside,” John said, putting a hand on Edward’s shoulder and steering him towards the living room. “If you can, that is.”

“Shut the front door!” Edward said as he parted the curtains that covered the living room window. “Holy crap! Are you serious right now?”

Outside the window was a massive wall of off-white.

“It looks like someone shook the snow globe a little too enthusiastically last night,” John joked. “We can’t even open the front door. No need to worry about shutting it.”

“God! Shut up, John!” Edward said with an exasperated sigh. “So, what do we do now? Obviously, we can’t ski or snowboard.”

“We’ll talk about that after breakfast,” Camille said. “But first…”

“Did somebody just say breakfast?” Jason asked with a mile-wide grin on his face as he emerged from the bathroom. “Finally! I’m oddly hungry.”

“That makes two of us,” Tim said, raising a hand.

“Make that three,” Hazel said with a laugh.

“It’s a natural bodily response,” John said, pushing his glasses up his nose.

“Oh, here we go!” Camille said.

“Our body converts food into energy, and energy into heat,” John continued, like a professor lecturing an invisible class. “That is why we all feel like grubbing down a lot more in winter than we do in summer.”

“Okay, Professor Parrish,” Hazel said. “We really are hungry now, so if you don’t mind…”

“Right,” John said with a bashful smile. “Sorry. Let’s eat.”

After an excellent breakfast filled with jokes, stories, and laughter, and after Tim and John were done with the dishes, the friends reconvened in front of the blazing fire in the living room.

“So, what’s the plan?” Jason asked. “We’re all trapped here, no way to do what we came here to do. What do we do now?”

“Do we have enough food?” Edward asked. “What if we run out?”

“We packed enough for the whole seven days,” Hazel answered. “So we’re good in that department.”

“That’s good,” Edward said with a nod.

“What about activities?” John asked, raising his hand. “What do we do? I mean, I could keep working on my dissertation—I brought my laptop with me just in case, but we came here to relax and have fun.”

“There are books here,” Tim suggested. “I saw them yesterday when we first came in. They even have your favorite book, Cammy.”

“Redeeming Love by Francine Rivers?” Camille asked in surprised delight. “No freaking way! It’s been ages since I’ve read that! This is gonna be the best vacation ever!”

“They have boardgames too,” Tim added.

“What kind of boardgames?” John asked, perking up.

“The classics—Monopoly, Clue, Snakes & Ladders, Risk, Game of Life,” Tim responded. “They also have Settlers of Catan.”

“Prepare to lose all your territories to me,” John said with a laugh. “Y’all are gonna be beat at Risk.”

“I wouldn’t be too sure about that, boy genius,” Tim said. “I beat you three times at your own game.”

“But I recovered quickly, if you recall,” John said. “And I won four times after that.”

“What else do they have?” Hazel asked.

“I saw a bunch of DVDs,” Camille said. “We could watch movies. There’s this movie called ‘Eerie’, I think it is?”

“Judging from the title, I’m guessing it’s a horror movie?” Edward asked. “What’s it about?”

“It’s about a nun and a murdered girl,” Jason, who had seen it before, said. “It’s set in an all-girls Catholic boarding school.”

“How long do you think it’ll take for all this snow to melt?” Tim asked.

“Snow this many, where it covers entire houses?” John said. “I’m guessing five or six days, tops. With enough sunshine, that is.”

“Great,” Edward grumbled. “So we came here to ski and snowboard for a whole week, and we get snowed in for most of it.”

“Relax,” Hazel assured him. “It’ll probably melt to the point where we can open the door and get out. We just need consisted sunlight, like John said.”

“So?” Camille asked. “Where do we start?”

“As a mission of this duration has never been attempted,” John answered with a dorky, cheeky grin. “I defer to your good judgment, Captain.”

The gang laughed.

“Okay, Mr. Spock,” Edward said with a laugh.

“Never change, John,” Jason said with a chuckle. “Never change.”

“But seriously though,” Camille said. “Where should we start?”

“Let’s watch Eerie,” Tim suggested.

“I second the motion!” Edward said.

“Seconded,” Camille noted. “Now we put it to a vote. All in favor of starting with a horror movie, say ‘Aye’, all opposed, ‘Nay.’”

“Aye,” Tim, Edward, Camille, and Jason said.

“Nay,” Hazel and John said, raising their hands.

“I see we’re in the minority,” John said, putting his hand down.

“Motion approved!” Camille said. “I’ll go start the popcorn. Who wants butter?”

“Me! Me!” Tim and Edward said.

“Who wants caramel?” Camille asked again.

“Me! Me! Me!” Hazel, John, and Jason said.

“Perfect,” Camille said. “I’ll have the butter as well.”

While Camille made two batches of popcorn in the kitchen, Jason popped the disc into the player and started the movie. The gang spent the morning watching Eerie and screaming. And jumping. At one point, Jason left the living room to pee, and when he returned, he crouched down silently behind the couch in between Hazel and Camille. He’d seen this movie before and decided to play a prank on them. In one scene, two girls are drawing at Sister Pat, the guidance counselor’s desk. They are each drawing half a face that lines up perfectly together. Sister Pat inspects their drawings, and when she puts them back down on the desk, she sees a ghoulish looking girl with long, black, matted hair between the two girls. At the same time, Hazel and Camille noticed Jason with his face between theirs and screamed, jumping off the couch, spilling popcorn in the process. Jason, John, Edward, and Tim all burst out laughing. John was so amused that he was laughing so hard. So hard, in fact, that no sound came out. He was clapping like a seal in addition to that. The girls, however, did not find it funny. Not one bit.

After an hour and forty-one minutes of screaming and jumping, the friends decided to play boardgames. As Tim had reported, there were classic boardgames in the chalet owner’s collection. There was, however, one game that caught John’s attention. It was called King of the Castle. The game looked like a cross between Risk and Clue. The board was set up like a Clue board, but it was set in a castle, with rooms such as Throne Room, Royal Bedchamber, Chapel, Stables, Courtyard, Garden, and so on. The objective of the game was to take the castle if you were the invading party or to defend it if you were the defending party. The pieces consisted of Archers, Pikemen, Cavalry, and Swordsmen.

“So it says here,” Edward said, reading the instructions. “You may choose to invade your opponent’s defended position with your whole army or leave half your army in the position that you defend.”

“What about capturing?” Tim asked.

“You may choose to kill your opponent’s attacking force, which would take the pieces off the board,” Edward continued. “Or you may choose to capture your opponent’s attacking force, which would lead to an increase in your army.”

“What about rolling?” Jason asked.

“If you roll a five or higher,” Edward read. “You win a decisive victory; opponent’s army size be damned. A roll of four or lower means devastating defeat.”

“Time’s up, let’s do this,” John said with a grin. “Leeeeeeeeerooooooooooyyyyyyyyyy Jeeeeeeeenkiiiiiiiiins!!!!!!!!!!!!!”

The game commenced, and for the first few hours, the girls were in it. Soon, however, they got bored and left the room to hang out in the front bedroom. From the slightly open door, the boys heard the twanging of guitar strings and Hazel’s sweet voice singing Lee Ann Womack’s The Fool.

“You don’t know me, but I know who you are,” Hazel sang while Camille played the guitar. “Mind if I sit down? Do I look familiar? If I don’t, well, I should. I’m sure you’ve seen me around. I know you’ve probably heard my name, though we’ve not been introduced.”

“I’m the fool in love with the fool,” Camille joined in. “Who’s still in love with you.”

“If you’ve got a minute, I’ll buy you a drink,” Hazel continued singing. “I’ve got something to say. It might sound crazy, but last night in his sleep, I heard him call out your name.”

“It’s not the first time, he’s done it before,” Camille sang. “And it’s hard to face the truth.”

“I’m the fool in love with the fool,” the girls sang in unison. “Who’s still in love with you.”

For a minute, John got distracted and misty-eyed. He’d been in that very same situation before. He’d once dated a girl named Melissa and he was so in love with her that he was willing to give her the world. And the moon, as well, if she would only ask him to. As it turned out, however, Melissa was still in love with her first boyfriend, David. He was just a rebound. It broke John’s heart to let her go, but her emotional infidelity, dishonesty, and betrayal hurt him even more. It would take him years to recover from that grievous blow.

John stood up and excused himself.

“If you guys don’t mind,” he said. “I’ll be in the room working on my thesis. I’ll see you in a bit.”

He was in a sour mood for the rest of the day. The next morning was a little bit better, and he was his old cheery self again, joking with the gang.

“So? What are we doing today?”

“We could dig our way out,” Jason suggested.

“Too time-consuming,” John objected. “Besides, where are we going to put the snow we’ve shoveled? In a bucket?”

“I’m sure there’s more than one bucket in this cabin,” Jason said with a shrug. “Just saying.”

“We could roast marshmallows or make s’mores by the fireplace and tell ghost stories,” Tim proposed. “The trick to fighting off cabin fever is to keep yourself occupied by any means necessary. So how ‘bout it, huh? Who’s down for some ghost stories by the fire?”

“That’s a great idea!” Edward said excitedly. “Hazel? Camille? You gals are nurses, right? I’m pretty sure there are loads of ghost stories in hospitals.”

“Oh, we have several,” Camille said with a smile. “Prepare to piss your pants.”

“How did you guys sleep last night, by the way?” Hazel asked.

“We didn’t,” John answered. “At least I didn’t. They left the light on the whole freaking night.”

The girls laughed.

After breakfast, it was pretty much the same routine as day one—playing boardgames, watching movies, cracking jokes, singing and playing the guitar, and talking about life. However, today, as Tim suggested, they added roasting marshmallows and s’mores, and exchanging ghost stories to the day’s agenda. As Edward predicted, it was Hazel and Camille who told the best ghost stories as they had seen and heard a lot of it in their respective hospitals.

“Here’s one I personally experienced,” Camille said. “You guys ready for this?”

“Ooh,” Jason said. “Do tell!”

“This was back when I was working nights,” Camille recounted. “I was at the nurse’s station eating a little midnight snack—well, late dinner was more like it—when I heard the call button go off in one of the rooms. So I rushed down the hall to see what the Hell was going on. The room was empty. There was no patient there. It had been vacant for two days. I flipped the light switch on and checked the entire room to see if someone was hiding there, playing a prank on me. Then I remembered this was where a patient died. Went into Code Blue. We couldn’t save him, and Dr. Nielsen had to call it.”

“Holy crap!” Hazel exclaimed.

“That’s not even the scariest part,” Camille continued. “As I flicked the light switch off, out of the corner of my eye, I saw the old man who died there, lying on the empty bed.”

Jason whistled.

“Oh, Jesus Christ!” Tim said, rubbing his arms vigorously from the sudden chill that he felt despite the fact that he was closest to the fire at that time.

“I ran like Hell out of that room and went back to the nurse’s station, shaking,” Camille said. “I had to go home. I begged my supervisor. I couldn’t get any more work done that night.”

As the days slowly passed, the six friends watched more movies, sang some more songs, and played more boardgames to keep themselves occupied. At one point, they decided to clean the chalet and divided tasks among themselves.


January 20, 2022 22:13

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