[quote]Author's Note: I Write. You Read. Enjoy. -1521[/quote] His black shoes crushed the snow underneath him. It stamped out a mangled passageway through the thick powder in his wake. A flurry of snow shot into the air as he fell face first to the cold, indifferent ground. His arms shot out in front of him as a shout escaped his cracked throat. He lay for a while, and pulled his cold, shivering body from the depths. “Help!...” He craned his neck around him desperately, scouting for anything that could help him find his way, and get help to his brother. “..Please! Anybody!...Help!” His cries fell as silently into the empty snow as he did; he was alone. He stood up woozily; the world of trees and white snow rocking around him like a boat before his eyes. [i]Why him? Why Jake?[/i] It had just been a simple walk; a stroll through the woods that encircled the back of their house. He had thrown on a simple hooded sweater and jeans, and then slipped on these damn cheap shoes for the hundredth time, never thinking his brother’s life would hang in the balance of their traction. ***** Joining his eager little brother outside, he smiled. His brother was fully decked out in a blazon blue coat, hat, padded gloves, the winter equivalent to insulated boxing gloves, and boots. He looked more ready to climb Everest then to walk out through the woods. He giggled as swooned back and forth, anxiously waiting for his big brother’s signal to trek on. “You look ridiculous Jake. We’re not climbing a mountain here, just walking out back.” “Tell that to mother,” he said in his best ‘I’m a cool kid’ voice “You think I wanted to wear this getup?” They stood there in the chilled front yard of their house. They both knew that he enjoyed ‘Wearing that getup’ more than trying to look cool, but neither would admit it. He tussled Jake’s brown mop hair around and laughed. “Come on you dirty rebel you.” Jake recognized this voice instantly. It was only limited to big brothers, this voice, it spoke of acceptance; it spoke of cool. Jake’s face beamed with admiration; and he trundled after his big brother joyfully. ***** He woke up back in the snow; his face a cocktail of singing fire and brute numbness. [i]“Passed out after you stood up, who does that?” [/i]His mind scolding him as it always had. [i]“You don’t have time to sit around and sleep,”[/i] his mind trundled on, the voice of his long gone mother drilling into his head. [i]“you have to get back to the house, get help for –“[/i] “Jake.” He finished. The panic hit him like a wall, slamming his feet into action and throwing him up into the air in a mad scramble. [i]How long had he been out? Was Jake still alive? Where was he? Jake? Jake?[/i] The wall of panic had broken, and the disorientation had flooded through. His mind raced trying to keep up with it all, but to no avail. He clutched his hair in stiff clumps, realizing that if he didn’t get to someplace warm, he would freeze to death soon, never-the-less Jake. His trek burrowed onward, Jake somewhere behind him, home and help somewhere in front of him. He had lost track of time as fatigue and cold set in on him, his mind freezing up with the rest of his ill-protected body like a mental rigor mortis. Trees seemed to blend and shift, more than once he could have sworn he was going in circles; each step as hard as each breath. And yet, he carried onward. The snow thinned as he got closer to the cliff edge he remembered so well, at least he was on the right track. Here he stopped, taking a small break to plan out his decent down the rocky 20 ft drop. He didn’t need to end up like Jake anytime soon. His entire body ached with bitter cold numb and a collection of scrapes and bruises he had sustained through the trees and falls. An urge to collapse where he was and give up passed over him, an urge that seemed more and more common the longer he stayed out here. Getting up the cliff had always been an easy challenge for the boys, not a walk in a park, but well practiced enough to make it simple. Getting down had never been much the breeze though, and never had they even considered it in the snow and ice. He took a deep breath and stood up, carefully measuring his balance against the slippery shoes. Skirting around the edge of the cliff, he found a small, rocky outcrop. Time was of the essence, and this would at least be a starting point. He climbed down as cautiously as a small child going down a ladder for the first time, groping wildly for anything better to hold on to. He glimpsed about him for a next post, unclenching his ragged hand from the rock for a mere second. A mere second was too much, and his balance gave though. Swinging his arms wildly, he toppled backwards, and fell the full 20 feet to the jagged base of the cliff. He blacked out. ***** He came to 20 minutes after his fall. His eyes were plastered with dried blood and frost. It was getting dark now, he’d wasted enough time….Jake was still out there. And Jake couldn’t move. His mind slapped him quick into shape and he moved to get up, had to get up, and get home. But pain seared through his body, and he fell back to where he lay. [i]You didn’t just end up here you idiot, you fell. Remember? You fell down a God damn cliff for Christ sakes. You’re no Juggernaut, hun…[/i] “Shut it mother.” He spat weakly through gritted teeth. And as if a miracle, the nagging voice in his head that was both him and his dead mother, quieted. He rolled onto his stomach with a muffled grunt, and dragged his legs painfully underneath him. All-the-while noticing a plethora of new aches and dreadful pains; and all-the-while ignoring them. Curled up in a broken-man’s fetal position, he reached out for the tree trunk in front of him, and pulled himself up. The aches and pains roared like acid in his blood; his whole body seeming to protest the wants of movement. A deaf scream torn open his mouth and fresh, burning tears broke out in his eyes. Groping the tree for placement, he was on his feet, his black shoes ripped and torn, but still sticking to his feet. He was up, and the adrenaline began pumping. Up ahead, the trees began to thin out, and ahead even further, was the small shape of his house. He was close now, Jake would be saved; but he had to get going now; time was still on the line, and there wasn’t enough to spare looking at his goal; he needed to get there. He pushed himself out from the tree, hoping his adrenaline would be enough to take the shock from the run. His foot struck the ground, and an excruciating jog broke into a hellishly agonizing sprint. The trees thinned with the snow, and his house loomed closer and closer as he ran. His wrenching body threatening to give out on him any moment, the tears skimmed past his face in rivets. If the pain would take him now, he feared he wouldn’t be able to get back up again. The trees gave into clearing and his house stood in front of him like a grail, tears of joy mingled into his sobs, and his voice cracked through in a frenzied scream. “HELP! JAKE IS….HELP PLEASE! HELP! DAAAAAD!!! HEELLLLPPP!!!” His screamed until his voice dried out, the pain and exhaustion overwhelming him as easily as it had encouraged him. The house stood empty in the dusk, a single light shining from the kitchen window. The house looked empty. He slowed his jog down in a cry of pain, the adrenaline wearing through just as much as his shoes. Stamping up to the front door, he stopped with his hands on his knees; gasping in the air to walk through. His hand fell upon the door knob, and he fell through, his voice croaking out cries for help. Looking up, he stopped. And the world stopped with him. Everything fell away at once. Sitting on the couch in front of him, was Jake. Dressed in a T-Shirt and sweatpants, a bowl of cereal sitting in front of him, Jake stared aghast at his older brother. A look of shock plastered to his face. When he spoke, Jake sounded as if he’d never seen his older brother before. “Where’ve you been Drew? Mom’s been out looking for you for ages.” Drew stammered, his heart pounding out through his shirt as his mind collapsed around him. He choked out gasps of air as his body locked up. He collapsed to the floor for the last time, his black shoes kicking up behind him. END.