Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: Hear (07/08/10)
TITLE: Frozen Desert Noises
By Daniel Kane
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I'm a bit too busy to write much today. Tomorrow is the end of our investigation here, so everything's a bit frantic. I can scarcely hear myself think, what with the packing up. We've made some wonderful discoveries about the nesting habits of the emperor penguins. I was listening to how the birds communicate. I'm mainly looking forward to thawing out!
Well, here I am on my way home. Because it's so cold we won't be able to get onto a ship for quite a while. We're on an incredible (though terribly noisy) snow-mobile instead, and we've got some husky dogs aboard just in case something goes wrong. Not that it will. They're just a precaution. Apparently huskies are still the best means of travel in these cold places.
Disaster! It's happened to me! Our vehicle has broken down, trapped in a deep snow drift, and the other has fallen into a hidden ravine. What a clatter it made! The engineers say that we can't start up again because some pipes have burst or something. Worse yet, the radios are broken, and so we're unable to let the outside world know we're stuck. By the time they realize, we'll be dead. The sudden silence after a week of humming, vibrating machinery is frightening. We could be stuck here for months, except that we've only got enough food supplies for a few weeks. Already the food is being rationed. My buddy Phil is grumpy, as he was ordered to eat only one piece of his precious chocolate supply a week. We both reckon that's just crazy.
Boss has decided to take drastic measures. He's asking for volunteers to go out into the freezer and try to reach the nearest supply post. Hopefully the radios there will be all right. Phil is saying that he'd like to go. Is he mad? There's no way I'm going, no matter how much he nags me.
I'm mad. I agreed to go with Phil, provided he share his chocolate with me. So, here we are. It's freezing, as would be expected in winter-time Antarctica. We're together on one sled, with huskies pulling us. My chattering teeth are driving me mad. It's hard to catch what Phil is saying, because of the continuous chatter-chatter-chatter.
We're almost out of supplies, and I reckon a blizzard is brewing. Phil and I have agreed to take turns leading the huskies, so that one of us can catch a bit of sleep. That way we can keep going 24 hours straight. At least we needn't squabble over who takes day shift. It's continuous night this time of year.
The storm hit us all right. We've been forced to sit tight in our flimsy little tent until in passes.. Phil's in a bad way. One of the dogs panicked and bit his leg. He's whimpering a bit. I'm no doctor, so I'm not sure what to do. Neither of us can sleep because of the wind howling outside.
Storm still rages. Phil still moans.
We can finally set off again. Trouble is that half the dogs perished in the storm, since we couldn't get out to feed them, and Phil is too ill to guide the sled. Why did I ever let him talk me into this?
Phis is muttering deliriously, and a strong wind is blowing into our faces. It's not a blizzard, but it's still cold. At least it drowns out my friend's suffering. I can't stand to hear him
I don't know what the date is. Probably June 12th
Phil died. I didn't even notice. He stopped moaning, but the wind was blowing so much I couldn't hear him anyway. I didn't have time to bury him properly. Two more dogs died as well.
The last dog is dead. I'm trudging on alone. At least the wind has died down. All I can see is a vast expanse of white. Nothing else. The snow even muffles sound, so I can scarcely hear my own footsteps. I'm going to die.
I made it! I'm safe. I reached the supply post. The radio is hissing and squawking healthily, so I called for help, giving the coordinates of the trapped snow machine. It was so good to hear another human voice! I'm going home! And I never want to hear the word 'Antarctica' again.
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