There was was nothing but a frenzied swirl of snow out side of the mouth of the cavern and darkness up ahead from what Cian could tell. The air smelled of mold and rust. There was a frigid breeze that whipped around the walls of the dark cavern. Cian reached up and held onto his head. The warm liquid was a heavy contrast to his icy skin. Beside him, he could hear the chattering of the girl, Genevieve, beside him. They were stuck in the small space because he’d dragged her to safety when the wind blew her to the ground and the snow collapsed from beneath her feet. He’d jumped after her when she went tumbling down with the broken pieces of snow.

He rubbed at the throbbing spot for a moment and then glanced down at the girl as she stirred awake. “Are you all right?” He asked.

“Hm? Ow, my head hurts,” She said in a low whisper. She winced and let out a sharp hiss when she tried moving her leg.

“I think you sprained your ankle,” he said in a soft tone. He glanced at her through his eyelashes as she struggled to get into a sitting position.

“You’re telling me,” Genevieve said, giving a little snort to signify her sarcasm. “How did we end up here?”

“You’re so annoying,” Cian muttered.

“And you’re a creepy stalker.”

Cian sighed in frustration. He reached up and punched the bridge of his nose while closing his eyes. “I wasn’t stalking you. I was trying to tell you that you were going the wrong way. You ended up going into a restricted area and the ground collapsed from underneath you when the storm began.”

Genevieve’s expression softened as a soft sigh escaped her lips. “I’m sorry,” she said, her voice a soft whisper, “I didn’t mean to get you stuck in this mess. I shouldn’t have been so hardheaded.”

“It’s fine. I’m glad that I was able to get to you in time before the storm started. But, it looks like we’ll be stuck here for a while. I’m sure our friends will notice that we’re gone and will notify the rescue team.”

As they sat in the cave, Genevieve’s teeth began to chatter. She was shivering beside him. Cian glanced down while trying to wrap his arm around her shoulder as a way to help keep her warm but she rebuffed him by pushing him away.

“I was just trying to help,” Cian mumbled softly.

“Well I don’t need your help,” she said in a snarky tone.

Once a solid ten minutes of silence passed along, Genevieve’s stomach rumbled, filling the silence with a demand for food. Luckily, Cian still had a small reserve hidden away in his tactical jacket. He pulled the small tumbler from his inner pocket and walked towards the girl. He crouched down in front of her and held out the bottle after unscrewing the top.

“I don’t need your food,” she said in a haughty tone.

“You’ll need your strength if you plan on getting out of here alive. Now quit being so stubborn and have a sip before you lose yourself to hunger.”

The light from the moon landed on Genevieve’s eyes, revealing that they were now turning a dull red and the skin around them started to become a deep purple..

“C’mon already! I’m trying to help you here.” Cian held the bottle against the girl’s lips again. This time, the scent was enticing enough for her to open her mouth.

Cian poured the crimson liquid into her mouth and watched as she took greedy sips. Her color began to return to its lush pink and her eyes returned to a bright honey hue.

“Thanks …” Genevieve said, the haughtiness replaced with gratitude. “Also, thank you for saving me.”

Cian hummed softly in response as he turned his head away from the girl before she could say anything else to him. He reached into his pocket and glanced down at his cellphone. The battery bar was red but the phone still had a couple bars of reception. Making use of it, he managed to send a distress signal to the group chat of his class.

Sitting next to Genevieve made Cian feel awkward. When he heard her teeth chattering again and felt her trying to shuffle closer to him, he reached over and draped his arm around her shoulder. He pulled her close to try and keep her warm. To his surprise, she didn’t push him away. Instead, she snuggled closer to him and rested her head against his shoulder. Then, the room became quiet except for the whistling wind. Snowflakes would occasionally enter the cave and flutter around but it wasn’t anything too serious. The only problem they were suffering from was hypothermia

As a couple of hours passed by, the sound of wind gust picked up and brought flurries of snow along with it. Even though they were wearing their snowboarding gear, it wasn’t enough to protect them from the harsh weather that presented itself outside. Through the curtain of snow, Cian was able to make out a dark figure that appeared to be walking towards them.

“Cian!” A voice rang out, “Are you here?! Where are you?!”

More shadowy figures began trudging through the snow. Cian recognized that voice. It was one of his friends. They’d actually gotten the distress message before his phone died. Cian sighed in relief as he felt himself slipping into the thralls of hypothermia.

“In here!” Cian managed to say before his eyes shut.

 When Cian opened his eyes, he was able to see the roof of the rescue truck they were sitting in. Beside him was Genevieve. They were wrapped together in a thick blanket. Cian smiled while leaning to press his cheek against Genevieve’s wet hair before closing his eyes again.

Jensen Goudeau is “just a person who enjoys writing.”