01 December, 2011

1 December 2011

While Einar wanted to continue work on the tunnel, getting the door hinged and into place to help create the air pocket that would prevent warmth leaking out through it and into the air where it could potentially be picked up by infrared from a passing aircraft, Liz was beginning to think breakfast somewhat of a higher priority. Feeling around in the still-dark cabin until she found Einar where he crouched working to install the door she fumbled for his hands, took them--ice cold; he really needed to be wearing his parka, as she was hers--and interrupted his work.

“Let’s just lean the door in place for now, how about, and then finish it after breakfast? It’s been quite a morning, and with things being all uncertain like this, we do need to remember to eat. It’s going to take a lot of energy to keep us warm today.”

Einar nodded, leaned the door in place and rose a bit shakily--legs hurting, threatening to give out on him--knowing she was right about energy and supposing he’d better not waste any of his arguing with her--energy? I’ve got plenty of energy after being awakened by that chopper, and if I don’t keep busy for awhile I’m not only going to be plenty warm, I’m gonna have steam coming out of my ears pretty soon here, and there’s just not room in this little cabin for a pregnant lady and a fella with steam coming out of his ears, not for both of us and that’d be fine only I can’t really head outside like I’d usually do, on account of the tracks I’d leave--as he felt rather inclined to do. Would have to try and make the best of the situation, sit down with her for some breakfast. “Yeah, door can wait. Since we never quite punched through and opened the tunnel at the outside end, we ought to be just fine leaning the door in place for a little while. Bound to start warming up out there pretty soon anyway so we can worry a little less, because I see the sun’s coming out. Starting to get a little light in through the cracks, here and there. Huh. That ought to give me a good idea where I need to add extra insulation, chinking, fill in some of the cracks so we can keep this place warmer during the winter when we want to…and keep heat from leaking out when we want to avoid being seen, too!”

While Einar spoke Liz had been preparing breakfast. They had, unfortunately, finished all the leftovers from that previous evening during their midnight snacking, so she was left to put together a quick mix of dried, powdered serviceberries, cold bearfat and bits of previously stewed and set-aside rabbit meat, not a bad breakfast if not the most fresh and flavorful they’d had in a while; it would, at least, give their bodies energy to produce warmth for the day, and they were, in the absence of fire, certainly going to need it. No sense sitting on the floor freezing as they ate, at least not from Liz’s perspective--she’d been greatly enjoying having her breakfast in front of the stove, missed its cheery glow and warmth--and she retreated to the bed, bear hide around her shoulders as she crumbled nettle and raspberry leaves and added them to a pot of cold water, wanting to carry on with her habit of having the strengthening, toning iron-rich tea every morning, even if she couldn’t warm it as she would have liked. Would still, she supposed, get at least some of the benefit from the two herbs. Einar remained crouched on the floor; she could see his form dimly in the strengthening light that seeped its way thinly in here and there between the logs, chin on his knees in his usual heat-conserving posture, shivering.

“Come up here with me, and be warm. Aren’t you hungry? If you’re not, you will be pretty soon, in this cold!”

No, come to think of it he wasn’t feeling particularly hungry, concerns of the day weighing heavily on his mind--possibilities, so many possibilities and the fact that they’d not heard the chopper make a return did little to ease his worry; supposing they had seen, the feds would want to take every precaution so as not to arouse their suspicion, send them running, would probably use a drone or even satellite images for any follow-up surveillance they might find necessary prior to the raid--and the dream-scene which had awakened him replaying over and over in his head until he wanted to run full-speed into a wall just to have a moment or two of peace and quiet, food did not sound particularly appealing at the moment. Didn’t matter. Liz was right. And even if she wasn’t--for he could certainly bring to mind five or six arguments with which to defend his position--she was insistent, was at least as concerned as he about their present situation and was carrying a child. His child. Best to give her a break. Which he did, joining her on the bed without further delay and even allowing her to drape a second bear hide over him and tuck it in around his neck--really wanted to resist that one for some reason, but did not--as she pressed a portion of the somewhat unusual breakfast into his hands. Good. The stuff tasted awfully good as Einar began realizing just how hungry he’d grown since his late-night snack, and he hastily consumed a small portion of it, tucking the bulk away in a pocket before Liz could see what he was doing. A solution that he figured ought to work for both of them.

Muninn was growing restless, hopping back and forth in front of the door and rasping his discontent at being shut in so long when the storm was over and the sun shining brightly outside, and Einar, rather sharing his discontent, decided the time had come to open the door, release the bird and let in some fresh air. Snow had piled heavily against the door, requiring all of Einar’s strength to push it open and once he had managed, the raven hopped up onto his extended hand, stretching wings to the sky and loudly announcing his joy at seeing once more the outside world, bright and fresh with smooth new snow, skies clear. Einar, blinking in the bright sunlight and inhaling slowly air cold enough to catch in his lungs, snapped his hand, launching the bird up into the air, where he took off over the trees and disappeared. Liz stood beside him in the doorway, watching the raven fly off.

“Guess we’d better wait to shovel all this, hadn’t we?”

“Yeah. Got to wait on all of it. Can’t risk making a mess of the new snow that might be seen from above. Need to get the tunnel finished out back, so we can at least get out there to use the outhouse…lots of trees back there, not nearly as much risk of being seen.”

“How long?”

“Two, three days. If we haven’t heard anything more by then, gonna say it’s safe to assume we weren’t spotted because by that time, they’d have either sent something back over to confirm--and seen nothing, since we’re being so careful right now--or had boots on the ground and there’d be no mistaking what was going on, in that case.”

Einar was grim, silent at the thought of it, Liz standing silent beside him. Long days ahead, but they could get through them. Figured they’d better shut the door though, lest the cabin end up just as frigid as the outside world, and she tried, but Einar held the door firm.

“Let it in. Let the temperature equalize. Only gonna help us blend in if they come over again…”

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