He opened his eyes to a cold slap of wind, fully waking him up. Adjusting to the bright dazzling light of the snow’s reflection from the midday’s sun, he tried taking in his surroundings. As he attempted to stand up to get a better bearing of his situation, he looked down and realized that ropes were cutting into his wrists, ankles, and torso. His eyes closed as he recognized the extent of dire circumstances. So this is where they left him. To die alone from the cold, 2000 feet above sea level, on top of the snow capped peak of Mt. Cromer.
When he, a level-headed top student from a prestigious university, had agreed to join the CIA, he never thought it would get him kidnapped and bound to a chair on top of a mountain by his best friend. But now, as his short blonde hair whipped around covering his blue eyes and his thin hoodie barely shielding him from the frigid wind he struggled to focus on anything but his fear.
Clawing weakly at his bounds around his wrists while thrashing his head in hope to use his teeth to fray the ropes around his chest. The more he wriggled, the tighter the rope around his chest got, eventually making it hard for him to breath. If he couldn’t escape, he would die of cold. Taking a deep breath, he reminded himself to focus. Focus. Concentrate on freeing your hands. He gasped as the pain stabbed him, but continued to methodically work the ropes loose. Suddenly, the knot gave way, allowing him to clumsily fumble with his black utility belt until he could grab his knife. He sawed at the rope that was restraining him from breathing freely, hungrily gulped the air for a moment, and then started working on his legs.
The little emergency thermal blanket draped across shoulders hardly kept him warm. His throbbing fingers rubbed numbly against each other, desperately trying to fend off the cold, even if only temporarily. Yet with nothing dry enough to burn on the mountain, creating a permanent heat source was out of the question. He had to get down. Fumbling with his ice cold compass, he struggled to focus the little arrow southward. Leaning against a large stick he found, he began his slow and excruciating descent, using the stick to test where it was safe to step.
With a rumbling stomach, he knew he needed energy to make it to safety where he could get help. Night was approaching fast, and he settled in a flatter area of snow. Using the knife and stick, he began digging under the thick sheet of snow. After a few hours, it was finished and he hopped into the pit. It was surprisingly warm; the snow was trapping in all the warmth. He took out his emergency food capsules; capsules of vitamins, protein, and everything you needed in a meal. Popping one in his mouth, he chewed, gagging on the rotten after taste. With his blanket, he cocooned himself in the warmth, and eventually fell asleep. When he woke up, he realized that the snow was too good, and was starting to melt from the heat it had captured. He frantically put on his utility belt, grabbed his blanket, and started digging out of the pit. A few minutes later, he was out of the melting pit. Checking his compass, he hiked, taking the safest path down possible.
It was growing dark quicker than it was supposed to. He looked at the sky to see angry dark clouds. Then it started to snow. He had seen a snow storm before, but this was a whole new level. Snow whipped around everywhere. He could barely see a foot in front of him. The wind thrashed his body, as he desperately fought. Then, as soon as it had begun, it stopped. Checking his compass, his blood ran cold. During the storm, he had gone off track. He veered to the right direction and walked exhausted. Popping a caffeine capsule in his mouth, he slowly started making his way down. When his legs were too sore to move another inch, he dug yet another pit and climbed in, instantly falling asleep. A mourning howl woke him up. The hairs on my neck stood up and he quietly gathered my things and sprinted outside. He needed to go now. He wouldn’t stand a chance against mountain lions. He had run so far, he couldn’t hear the haunted howling anymore. He relaxed and gathered his thoughts. He needed to get off the mountain soon. He was already half way down, but his supplies were running out. He decided to walk through the night to get down faster. Bravely, he marched at a steady pace, humming a cadence. Nightfall came and he sleepily stumbled down, yawning with every step. He slapped himself to keep awake, not realizing how bad a decision this was. His skin was dry from the wind and his hands were hard as ice, hardened from the cold. He slapped himself very hard on his jaw. Pain instantly caused him to drop onto his knees. He looked at his hand and saw blood. His jaw was on fire and his eyes watered up. He wiped his palms on his jeans and grabbed a handful of snow. He washed the cut with snow and slapped a band aid on it, after using glue to seal the cut. The only positive thing was that he was finally down the mountain. He had to find civilization where he could call the CIA. He collapsed with exhaustion and was asleep when his head hit the soft snow. After his refreshing sleep, he started walking.
He thought out loud, “there must be a town somewhere near. My kidnappers would have been too lazy to make the journey all the way up and down the mountain when placing me up there. They probably used a helicopter, which would need gas. They would have to have gotten gas somewhere near.”
He was proud of his logical thinking. He set off following the rising sun. He would eventually find a small town. He popped another capsule in his mouth and set off on his trajectory. Around the afternoon, in the distance he saw the resemblance of a building’s silhouette. He excitedly ran toward the structure, only stopping for quick breaks. He was drawing near about midnight. It was a quaint little town tucked away in a desolate location. Knocking on the first door he saw, he asked if he could borrow a phone. The grumpy old man, who was staring fiercely, groaned and tossed him a phone. The old man slammed the door and went back to sleep. He dialed one of his most trusted teachers at the CIA, Agent Raven.
He asked, “Hey, can you please arrange a helicopter pick up for me?”
Agent Raven inquired, “Who is it?”
“It is Agent Cool. I got kidnapped by my best friend, left to die on a mountain, walked down the mountain, found a town, and I need a helicopter”
“Yes, I do believe I can arrange now, I have the coordinates from the WiFi signal of the phone you’re using. Stay where you are. The helicopter will be there in a hour.”
“Thank you very much, I shall see you soon”
With that phone he left the call, and waited. The sky lit up, and he looked up. The sky was shimmering a jade green. For the first time since he was kidnapped, he smiled.
The credits rolled in as I popped the last piece of popcorn in my mouth. I look around and see people clapping. I feel the scar on my jaw, reminiscing. I get a call from my cell as I walk out from the movie theatre, its Agent Raven. I pick up.
I asked, “Hey, what is my mission?”
“It’s nice to hear from you, Agent Cool. By the way, I wish you a happy seven-teenth birthday. We called for you because you are our best agent, and we have new intel on an old “friend” of yours.”
I grin, and chuckle, “I can’t wait.”