Parts 1-29 are here if you need to get caught up. Thank you so much for reading Xo]
He finds himself back in the cabin. He’s sitting on the bed with Alexander in his arms.
“How did I get here?” he whispers, looking around. Alexander is asleep against his stomach. His sweater is back on and his hand is wound into James’ hair.
Michael frowns. He’s sitting beside the bed. “What do you mean?”
James runs his hand over his face. “We were, we were outside and then…” He tries to fill in the gaps. “I don’t remember coming inside.” He looks at Michael. “How did I get inside? How did I get here?”
Michael leans forward. “You walked inside, James,” he says slowly. “You came inside and you sat down next to Alexander. We put his sweater on together. He fell asleep almost immediately after. We’ve been sitting here for at least ten minutes. You don’t remember that?”
James shakes his head and unhooks Alexander’s hand from his hair. “I can’t be in here,” he says, extracting himself from underneath Alexander. “I need to find the car. I need to find help. I need…I need…” He stands up. He feels unsteady. Weak. He picks up his jacket and puts it on. “Where’s the shovel? Did I leave it outside?” He puts on his hat and gloves.
“What do you mean you don’t remember?” Michael asks. Concern is etched across his face. “You don’t remember coming inside? Sitting here and talking to me?”
James crosses the cabin and opens the door.
James turns around.
“What do you mean you can’t remember? Sit down for a minute and talk to me. What if you…” His eyes trail up to the lump on James’ forehead.
“I don’t have time for this,” James says. He looks out the window. Snowflakes have started to drift down from the sky. “I need to find the car.”
James goes outside, closing the door behind him.
He’s only taken a few steps when he sees the shovel. He’s just picked it up when Michael opens the cabin door.
“James,” Michael says, clutching his leg and limping after him. “Wait.”
“Go back inside, Michael,” James says, going around to the other side of the cabin and starting to dig. The mound seems even higher than it was before.
“You lost time,” Michael says, kneading his thigh. “Aren’t you the least bit concerned about that? You hit your head this morning and now you’re losing time and –”
“No I’m not concerned about that,” James says as he stabs the shovel into the snow. “I’m concerned about finding this car.”
“Let me dig then,” Michael says, reaching for the shovel. “Let me do it.”
“You can barely walk, Michael,” James says, sidestepping him to take a shovelful of snow away from the cabin. “How are you going to dig?”
“I can do it,” Michael insists. “Go inside. Let me do this. If you’re losing time then –”
“I AM losing time!” James growls, stabbing the shovel back into the snow. “Every second that ticks away is another second Alexander doesn’t have! I’ve done the math, Michael! Your cellmate was dead within three or four days, right?! We’ve been out here what, a day? A day and a half? I don’t have time to worry about me! I don’t have time to sit inside and eat soup and drink cocoa! I need to find this car and I need, I need –” He cries out in fear and frustration and throws the shovel like a javelin. There’s a dull metallic thud as it sinks into the snow beside the cabin.
“Oh my God,” James says, racing over to the shovel. “Oh my God!”
Nearly half the shovel is wedged in the snow. It takes some manoeuvring, but James manages to wiggle it free, causing a large portion of the snow to fall away. He stares at the hole he’s created in disbelief. It’s not very big, but it’s enough.
He reaches out, running his hand over the smooth, red surface. Convincing himself that it is really there. That he isn’t hallucinating.
“The car,” he whispers, not taking his eyes off it. “Michael…I found the car.”