The Hostile: Book One of The Hostile series
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The second Keith stepped down from the bus, a piercing blast of freezing air hit his body like a sledgehammer. He suddenly wanted nothing more than to step back into the warm cocoon of the bus. But, before he could stop it from departing, the doors closed, and the bus chugged off into the distance, leaving him alone and very, very cold. His marrow felt as though it was turning to ice. It hurt to breathe, as he tried to gain his bearings. Everything around him was white, an animated, dense, impenetrable sheet of falling white, monstrously large flakes. The flakes hit his eyes and coated him from head to toe. If anybody had seen him, they would have thought he was a trembling snowman.
The thin, blue denim of his clothes was now coated in an inch-thick of snow. No sooner had he shaken the white chunks off his arms and brushed then off his jeans, they were instantly replaced by more snow. As his trainers sank ever deeper into the crunchy whiteness, nothing was in sight except strangely large, tumbling flakes of snow. He could feel the weight of the huge flakes lying on top of his head. He stared into the white glare surrounding him, unable to fathom out what was causing such a strange phenomenon.
This is the weirdest snow I’ve ever seen in my entire life. Must reach Carl’s place as soon as possible. Just need to cross this field … it should be over there somewhere. He took a route which seemed familiar, although he couldn’t be sure.
In normal visibility, it would have been easy to navigate the lanes and shortcuts to his old friend’s modest abode, but for several days nothing had been normal. He could spot none of the usual landmarks, but felt fairly sure he was walking in the right direction. However, he’d made the mistake of turning around a few times to try to gain his bearings. After doing so, he was not at all confident he was on the correct road.
If only this bloody snow would just ease off for a second or two, then maybe I’d be able to regain my bearings. Thinking was becoming a struggle; he was now suffering from severe brain freeze.
He walked on for what seemed like hours, now certain he’d missed the usual turning off to Carl’s house. He was loath to admit he was completely lost, although deep inside, he knew he was. His situation couldn’t have been more precarious.
As he trudged across yet another ploughed white field, one of Keith’s trainer-clad feet wedged itself firmly in between two large rocks which were hidden under the snow. He stumbled and fell awkwardly to the ground, with his foot still trapped between the two rocks.
‘Ow, ow, ow, my fucking ankle!’ he shouted out to nobody. Shivering and despondent, he sat in the snow, cursing his luck with a barrage of foul language.
Keith’s situation changed from dire to life-threatening over the next half hour. His body temperature dropped dangerously low, to the point of him feeling drowsy. He was unable to feel his extremities, except for the pain of his torn ankle ligaments. Even though he eventually managed to extricate his injured foot from in between the rocks, he could barely place any weight on it.
‘Must keep going,’ he said, gritting his teeth and limping in any direction his cold-addled brain took him.
He was hoping to come across any dwelling. It didn’t have to be Carl’s house, because anywhere would be a life-saver. Nothing was visible, except the dense curtain of white snow falling everywhere he cast his increasingly drowsy eyes.
‘Help! Help! Help!’ Keith wailed weakly. Even his voice sounded muffled and as useless as the rest of his body. He could no longer walk, due to his painful foot injury, so he lay defeated on the ground.
Keith closed his eyes.