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Above It All

by Smilykid

Above It All

The arctic's beastly wind roared in front of me. Every snowflake was like a malevolent

spirit that barred me from my goal. They hit, spat and thrashed at every uncovered inch of my

body. We were entering the Arctic Circle, the epitome of relentless cold and wild vengeance. And in the dead of winter, it was unforgiving as well.

My comrade, Stacy Ferguson, was trudging some five feet away, her head low and the

snow beating endlessly on her dull form.

"Stacy!" I yelled above the turmoil, “We should stop! Let's set up here!”

I could barely see her head nod. We stopped and began to clear away the mountainous snow heaps. They rolled aside like great balls of cotton, the individual crystals stinging my face as the wind blew past. Stacy fumbled with the folded up tent. Thick gloves were undeniably necessary in the frigid climate of the arctic, but didn't help with dexterity.

After an awkward exchange, in which we both tried to unravel the tent, Stacy and I were sitting in our make-shift tent, lighting a small propane lamp. The wind made a dull roar outside and the fabric of the tent rustled serenely. After we returned ample blood-flow to our fingers Stacy brought out two stainless steel thermoses. To find warm tea inside was like finding water in a desert. We quietly sat and drank in silence, warming our arctic-chilled insides.

“David,” Stacy said, “what do our readings say?”

I checked the LatLog ( Latitude Log) watch on my wrist. It calculated our current latitude and longitude readings. The LatLog read: 66° 33.

“Sixty-six degrees, 33 minutes north. Just on the fringe of the Arctic circle.”

She nodded and took another sip of tea. Even in her silence, I knew what she was thinking. Our goal was the North Pole, the very top of the world. It was a dream I had had since I knew a place like that existed. To stand on the very crest of the Earth would be a feeling like no other. Stacy shared the same testament and we decided to embark on this adventure together. Most people would think that to reach the Arctic Circle in itself is a monumental achievement. But we both know that this is only the beginning of the journey.

“Where do we head next?” she asked.

I thought for a moment. “The Canadian Arctic Archipelago.”

“Right, the Arctic Islands. That's the hardest part.”

“Yeah, I think we'll just bypass Baffin Island and take the route with smaller islands.”

“Are you sure? That might end up taking longer if we have to go by sea more than by land.”

I took a warm gulp of tea. “That's true, but I feel that if we go off course to take the Baffin Island route we might go off course too much.”

Stacy shrugged. “Oh well, if you think it's the right thing to do.”

I chuckled. “Your indifference is the only reason I make any decisions around here.”

We pulled out our sleeping bags shortly after and went to sleep with the high-pitched sound of a strong gale outside.

The next morning the wind had died down considerably. There was a thin film of crystalline frost lining the inside of the tent from our respiration over the night. I cracked open my eyelids which were also covered in there layer of ice. Stacy sat up groggily beside me, her breath making clouds of condensation in the air.

“Morning,” I yawned.

“It doesn't look like morning. What time is it?”

I checked my LatLog which also shows time.

“It's 7:58.”

She unzipped the opening to the tent. The outside was serenely quiet, a polar opposite to the day prior. The sun was still low in the sky so there wasn't much light.

“Today's November 21st right?”


She nodded contemplatively. “One month till the winter solstice. You think we'll make it by then?”

I stood. “Not if we sit around and keep talking about it.”

The sun was up fully by about 8:15 and it cast a warm glow from our right. The remnants of last night's storm could be seen as long wavy streaks in the snow like light scars. As we walked I periodically checked the LatLog on my wrist and watched the latitude reading slowly climbing like a dial. Up ahead the breeze seemed to be picking up and there was a slight tinge of salt on the air.

“The ocean's close,” Stacy mused.

“Yup. That could make things easier, or a whole lot harder.”

Upon reaching the sea shore we stood on the edge of an almost vertical incline down to a choppy and roaring sea foam below. The fine sea spray on our face felt more like minuscule crystals of ice than actual water. I brought out a sharply hewn axe from my pack.

“I'll go down first, then you follow where I step.”

“Okay,” Stacy answered as she too pulled out her own ice axe.

The climb down was precariously slippery and yielded much difficulty. After what seemed like hours of toiling down the precipice, I arrived at the bottom, encrusted with ice and breathing heavily.

“Okay, your turn!” I yelled up.

Stacy swung her feet over the edge of the cliff and turn to face the wall. She placed the tip of her axe over the edge and dug the spikes on the soles of her boots into the ice face. It was difficult work, but Stacy made it down too, and in better time than I had.

“Well, that wasn't too bad.”

“No,” I said, untruthfully. “Now comes the dangerous part. At sea we can't stop until we reach the first of the islands. We're literally stranded until we reach land.”

I took off my pack and dug inside for a folded square of plastic. It was an inflatable raft than had been compressed down to a mobile size. After unraveling it to its rightful size Stacy and I sat by the roiling sea for at least half of an hour, blowing up the raft. The raft was a difficulty to set in the tumultuous ocean, but with our combined weight it was stable.

“Here, take this,” Stacy said as she handed me a retractable oar. “We need these to maneuver between the ice floes.”

To travel by sea was grueling work at first. The ocean's current was going opposite us and we constantly battled the oncoming force. Our raft rose and fell with each wave and the oars didn't lend much help. After an hour of brutal struggling, we had only gone a mile from where the sea began and our hearts were pounding audibly. The horizon was riddled with light-blue specks that reflected sunlight like mirrors. The army of ice floes were our only obstacle between us and Victoria Island.

“Onward,” I muttered.

An entire day of paddling between chunks of ice that weighed as much as a mini-van had left our arms severely sore and our bodies sapped of strength. The coast of Victoria Island was a long, winding beach riddled with massive chunks of sea ice. Our raft skidded on the surface of the greyish sand and we threw our oars further down the beach. I flopped onto the ice and seaweed covered surface, my chest heaving and my lungs bringing in ragged after ragged breath.

“Why... does it seem... so hard... to breathe?”

“It's the cold. The air is denser so it's harder to take in air.”

We remained sitting on the beach while Stacy kindled a fire for that night's dinner. The aroma of sizzling fish filled the sub-zero air. The smell of our cooking dinner even attracted some arctic birds who stared inquisitively at the smoking fire.

“Bon appetit.” She handed me a steaming piece of seasoned fish.

It was only six o'clock when we started eating, but the sun had already set. The lack of sunlight had brought about a brutal paucity of temperature. Within minutes we were shivering uncontrollably and huddling close to the fire.

“W-which one of us is g-gonna set up the t-tent,” Stacy chattered.

We stared at each other. Poking our hands out of our jackets we shook them thrice.



I grumbled and walked over to her pack. We left the propane lamp flickering on as we slept that night for minimal heat.

I was there. I had reached it. The northernmost part of the world was truly a sight to behold. The sun looked so close it was as if I could really touch it. I stretched my hand to the sky...

I woke up suddenly. There was a faint rustling outside, like something was moving. It made soft thuds as its paws struck the sand over and over again. I sat up in fright.

“Stacy! Stacy wake up!” I shook her.

Her eyes fluttered open and she yawned.

“What is it?”

“There's something outside the tent. I think it might be a polar bear.”

She was sitting up now, her finger over her lips to indicate silence. The breathing of the beast was heavy and breathy. It breathed with so much force that the tent rustled from it. I could smell the putrid stench of seal meat from its breath.

“It smells the remains of our dinner. We must not have hid the-”

At that moment the tent lurched to the side and Stacy and I were pushed to the wall. The polar bear roared from deep in its throat and let us crash back down.

“Stacy,” I yelled, “the flare gun! Give me the flare gun!”

“It's outside the tent in my pack!”

Ripping my gloves off and exposing my fingers to the biting cold, I brought down the zipper to our tent in one move. The cold outside penetrated my body to the bone. It was so dark I could barely see the outlines of the blocks of ice that riddled the beach. Relying on my other senses, I heard the gentle crashing of waves to my right and veered left to where I assumed Stacy's pack lied on the sand. I dropped to my knees and felt around frantically for the velvety feel of fabric. Behind me, I could hear the bear turning its massive form in my direction. Time was running out, it would soon be upon me. I was shivering uncontrollably now and my hands were flying in all directions across the sand, but to no avail. I could feel the vibrations of the paws stomping closer to me on the sand. Then, victory.

My hands brushed over something soft and I shoved my hand in the pack. The breath of the polar bear was just touching my back when my hand grasped the handle of something. I pulled out the flare gun with my numb fingers and blindly shot. The red, sizzling flare shot just short of the bear and landed in pit of sand. Its flashing light died quickly, but I was still able to see the massive brooding form of the bear over me. After the flare, it whimpered slightly and backed away. I willed my near-frozen hand to tighten on the trigger and shoot another flare. This one landed and fizzled at the feet of the bear sending it stomping away in fright. I flopped onto the sand.

“David? Are you okay?” I heard Stacy say from the tent.

“Yeah,” I answered back, “I'm fine.”

She stepped out and came in front me.

“Aw man, it's freezing out here. Let's get inside.”

In the tent, I warmed my frigid body by the feeble propane lamp and tried to warm my insides with what was left of the warm tea. Everything now seemed fine with Stacy yammering about the mistakes we'd made with our food, and how we wouldn't make them again. Little did I know, this was only the beginning of our problems.

The next three weeks were mostly uneventful. The road to the North Pole was long and arduous. Each day it seemed to get colder and the gales grew stronger. It was if the arctic was a sentient being who did everything in its power to stop us from besting it. But I knew the arctic could dish out much more. In fact, seeing that we were still standing, relatively unharmed, sent shivers up my spine in anticipation for something to go wrong. And something did go wrong... on December 20th , just a few days after we had passed the Queen Elizabeth Islands.

The temperature was a bone-chilling twenty below zero. Stacy and I were trudging across the arctic tundra, our parka's tightened so only our eyes showed. The wind came from the north and blew in intermittent gusts that always buffeted us. Stacy mumbled something from beneath her parka, but between the stifling fabric, arctic gale, and my own blood-deprived ears, I couldn't make it out. I pulled the edge of my parka below my chin.

“What was that!”

“Sound!” was all she could bring her shivering lips to say.

At first, I just thought the cold had finally driven her mad. Then, I heard a strange rumble somewhere beneath us. It was too late by the time I realized what was happening. There was an earsplitting crack and a splash of water behind me. My body was lurched backwards by a rope that connected Stacy and I. She screamed as she plunged into the water and I skidded on the slippery surface of the ice. Somehow, my ice axe caught onto a rough patch of ice and stopped my descent, just in time. I heard a sickening gurgling sound behind me and positioned myself so I could see. There was a gaping hole in the ice where it had broken, and bubbles were surfacing on it.


I mustered all my strength and dug the crampons on my boots into the ice. Grasping the rope tied to my waste firmly, I pulled with all my might and out came a sopping wet Stacy. She was shivering uncontrollably and was surely hypothermic. My mind was racing at a million miles an hour as I tried to figure out what to do. My eyes were able to pick up the shape of some hulking object about a hundred yards away. It was hard to see in the intensifying snow storm, but I steadied my adrenaline pumped arms and started to drag Stacy (who was completely limp by now) toward what I realized was an icy cave. The inside was warmer because of its protection from the brutal elements. I dragged Stacy into a far corner where there was no danger from hanging stalactites. Her form was convulsing from the incessant shivers that rattled her body and her skin was a sickly blue color.

“Stacy-Stacy!” I shook her, “Can you hear me?”

“I'm h-hypothermic n-not dead you i-idiot.”

“Well, what should I do?” She glared pointedly at me. “Oh.. right.”

Frantically digging in my pack, I brought out the necessary items to make a fire: an inflammable mat to protect from the ice, some man-made kindling, and a lighter to start it. Within five minutes there was a roaring fire next to her.

“Now... well...”

“What is it?!” she spat.

“You need to get out of those wet clothes,” I answered awkwardly.

“Oh, just g-give me the d-dry ones and I'll ch-change myself.”

“Are you sure you can manage?”

“Y-yes. Just give m-me the clothes.”

I handed her a dry set of clothes and a dry parka and turned around as I heard her struggle with them. It took a couple minutes, but when I turned around she was sitting down, garbed in new, dry clothes. She still looked a dark shade of blue and was trembling profusely.

“You can't stay like this. We need a rescue pick up.” I pulled out the emergency radio that I'd brought from within my pack.

“But what about reaching the North Pole?”

I smiled at her. “The North Pole will always be there.”

The radio, however, did not see my sentiment. When I tried to dispatch an emergency signal it just gave me a crackling sound effect, much like the sound of the snow storm brewing outside. After countless attempts of trying to make it work, I set it down on the smooth, icy floor of the cave.

“Dang it! I can't get a signal through this storm!” I stole a glance at Stacy to view her condition.

Her eyelids were barely open and her lips were the darkest blue I had ever seen.

“Stacy.. Stacy look at me!” Her eyelids opened a crack more.

She only mumbled, but I knew she understood me.

“Stacy, I'm going to leave you, but not for long. I have to get out of this storm so I can make an emergency call.” I stood up and left everything but my walking sticks and the emergency radio.

As I started to walk away, she made a sound and feebly lifted her hand. I stopped.

Oh no. Her condition is deteriorating fast.

I wrestled with myself. If I left, she might not have the will to make it by the time I brought help. But if I stayed, there's no telling how long this storm would last. I took one last look at Stacy's limp form, and made the hardest decision of my life. I left her in the cold darkness of the cave.

The storm outside was a raging tempest of ice and snow. The almighty cold had sapped whatever strength reserves I had left in my bones. My legs were seizing up from blood loss and I could barely manage a limp. I trudged through the knee-deep snow and hit an especially deep spot. My collapse, which was long over-due, finally caught up to me and I was soon flat in the white marsh. Snow filled up my hood and choked my mouth and eyes until I was gagging and blinking ceaselessly. I looked around me. The sun was completely set now and the darkness was impenetrable. I checked my LatLog: 1:28 A.M.

The Winter Solstice. The day of everlasting night.

I checked my emergency radio to find that nothing had changed. Still no signal. Still no hope. Willing my body to rise, I continued on my labored trek through the heart of the arctic.

It was only about three in the morning when I noticed something had changed. The wind didn't seem so strong, but that didn't matter much to my debilitated and cold-stricken self. I checked my LatLog one more time: 3:04 A.M., 90º N. Or in other words, ninety degrees north latitude... the North Pole. A smile tried to creep up on the corners of my mouth, but it was too frozen to do so. I looked up to something I hadn't even noticed before. The Aurora Borealis swam above me like a massive structure of twisting stardust. It changed through the full spectrum of the rainbow: a deep red, vibrant blue, lilac purple, sparkling green, and a golden yellow. I had never seen something so beautiful in all my life. The joy was enough to bring frozen tears to my dry, snow-ridden face. I had done it. I made it to the top of the world. It was amusing for me to think that from here I could only go south. Then I thought of Stacy, lying cold and dieing on the floor of that cave, and my world turned on its head.

I brought out the emergency radio and desperately held it up in the air.

“Come on,” I said to it. Nothing.

“COME ON!” The radio suddenly sprung to life and I heard a coarse, crackling voice over the intercom.

“Hello? Is someone out there?”

“Yes! Yes! I'm here!”

“Hello? If someone is there please tell me what's wrong.”

“My friend is hypothermic and dying! She fell into the water and needs immediate pick up!”

“Give me your friends location!”

I blustered the latitude and longitude location of the cave I found right before the transmission died out.

“Hello? Hello?”

Praying that they had received the message, I girded myself for the return journey and left the top of the world.

I returned to the cave at around six in the morning. The sun, of course, was not rising on the Winter Solstice and the storm had all but passed. Utterly spent, my mind clouded from exhaustion, I limped into the mouth of the cave and collapsed.

“Sta... Stac...” I couldn't even muster the strength to speak, so, I just lied there on the icy floor, trying to say her name and drooling in the process.

“David...” I heard a whisper, quieter than the wind say.

I lifted my head and saw Stacy in the same position, not even trembling because her body had no more energy to.

“Stacy. It's gonna be okay Stacy, they're coming,” I mumbled almost inaudibly and crawled up next to her.

She nodded her head weakly. We stayed in our positions for what seemed like hours. I was so weak that I just hovered in and out of consciousness. All I remembered was cold, my frostbitten limbs, my extremely dry throat, and the sound of Stacy's pained breathing next to me. Then... very faintly-I could have been dreaming it- I heard the softest Fwoop-Fwoop-Fwoop-Fwoop.

My head slowly rose. It was getting louder. They were coming. They had found us!

I turned my head toward Stacy's and softly shook her.

“Stace... Hey Stacy.” She didn't move.

“FOR THE LOVE OF IT ALL, STACY, DON'T BE DEAD!!” I shook her harder.

It took a second, but eventually her eyes fluttered open.

“My... gosh...” she mumbled, “What... are you... screaming about?”

A smile of relief crept on my face.

“They're coming Stacy, they're coming!” When I looked her eyes were closed again.

Time was short.

Mustering all the strength I had left, I crawled over to her pack and brought out the flare gun. Putting all my hopes in this one, last shot, I pulled the trigger.

The red-hot flare flew away into the darkness and out of the mouth of the cave. Now, all we could do was wait. Within minutes the sound of the helicopter's choppers were deafening and I could feel the air it was buffeting. Several suit-clad men came stomping into the cave, their headlights illuminating the translucent walls.

“Don't worry sir, you're gonna be okay.”

I smiled. That was all he needed to know I was alive. A smile.

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1125 Reviews

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Reviews: 1125

Sun Jul 14, 2013 7:34 pm
StellaThomas wrote a review...

Hey! I'm your Secret July Santa! Happy Christmas!

And what a perfect Christmas story- a journey to the North Pole! Wow! Your description was really interesting. I did wonder though about some things- I know that boats in the Arctic get frozen during the winter, that you can only sail there in the summer months. So I was a bit surprised -do people even go there in the winter? I thought that really the only time that you could was the summer. I could be wrong but I was a bit surprised by all of that.

I also felt like the pacing was a little bit off. You spend ages describing these events at the beginning of their journey, and then there's a time-skip. I have a personal hatred for time-skips in short stories- I don't think you should do them, you don't have enough time to do them. So that bugged me a little bit. Pacing is a really hard thing to master. But in a short story, really, there should only be one major conflict. It should go in an arc. The major conflict is what befalls them at the end, and I didn't feel like there was build up to that. For a lot of the story it was just a list of their actions, which didn't really feel very exciting. Try and gear your story towards something: How will this end? How do you need to build up to that ending? It felt like everything else was background- they were trying and trying to get to the North Pole. Had they gotten there at last maybe the pacing wouldn't be so bad, but as it is, this didn't quite hang together.

The other thing was that your MC's name doesn't get mentioned until about three quarters of the way through- and until then I don't know anything about them, their gender, their age, how they ended up here on this expedition. That might be helpful!

So overall this was interesting, but I feel like it needs a little more direction.

Happy July!

-Stella x

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Sat Jun 29, 2013 12:04 am
rainbowschubert wrote a review...

Hi! I just wanted to let you know that your writing is amazing!! I enjoyed reading the whole thing and admire your use of language, especially your vocabulary and imagery. Your descriptions are interesting and the dialogue makes the story flow well. Very well written. Your word choice is excellent. Thanks for posting!!

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Wed Jun 19, 2013 11:51 pm
SailerGirl wrote a review...

Wow!!! That was a great story! And I don't normally read acrtic stories because they make me cold! I loved it and the description of the Aurora Borealis was beautiful. The paragraphs weren't really equal though and I don't really think that tiny of a raft would have lasted long on huge acrtic waves, but I don't know. Your hook was very captivating! Overall, it was really super and an amazing story!

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Wed Jun 19, 2013 3:45 pm
herbgirl wrote a review...

I LOVE THIS STORY! It is very adventerous and really pulls you in. I felt almost as if I was in the cold right along with them. I thought that it was kind of sad, though, that David made it to the North pole, but Stacey didn't. Imagine how you would feel if someone had to complete a journey that months without you. I did see a couple of punctuation errors though. I like the ending too. the adjectives you use are awesome.

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Wed Jun 19, 2013 5:07 am
BadNarrator wrote a review...

I'm not gonna lie, the only reason I clicked on this story is because I saw in one of the comments that it takes place in the arctic. that being said I actually did find this piece enjoyable, despite anything I'm about to say in the following paragraphs. your diction and descriptions of the environment show great promise and I think, as long as you practice, you have a future in fiction writing. the dialogue could use a little work. it was somewhat monotonous and didn't give me a very good sense of the character's personalities, but again that's a skill you develop over time.

now, what I really want to talk about, the biggest obstacle preventing me from becoming truly immersed in your story is research. as I was reading I made a list about all of the details you included about the arctic which were wrong or improbable. I'm not going to list all of them here because I'm not that much of a jerk, but I am going to list the ones which I thought were the most grievous. if you want a full list of the factual mistakes I found feel free to pm me, but do it soon because I'm not going to save it for long.

the first issue I want to mention: why are they walking? it is possible to walk to the north pole across the sea ice, that much is true, but the question is, why?
I've actually lived and worked in the arctic during some of the coldest months of the year. I'm actually on the arctic coast as I'm typing this. and I cannot imagine an even vaguely plausible reason why someone would want to walk anywhere more than a hundred feet away in the winter.
let's imagine it's any average day in the arctic in December. I put on all of my arctic gear, my base-layer, my sweats, my fleece, my lining, my parka, my bunny-boots, my gloves, my mittens over my gloves, my face-mask, my skullcap and my goggles. if I picked any direction and just started walking. it doesn't matter which direction I pick because I'm not gonna be able to walk for more than an one to two hours before I pass out from pain and hypothermia. within three to four hours I would be dead. even if was an unusually nice day in which the wind isn't blowing at all, I might be able to survive for five to six hours before I turn into worm food. people survive in the arctic by not spending more than a few minutes outside at a time, yes even with their gear on.
it's the middle of June right now and it's just barely getting warm enough to make long distance travel by foot feasible. most people up hear travel by plane or by car. if they're going off road they can use vehicles with tracks on them like snow-cats. hell, even mushing a dog team would be better than walking. travelling by foot in the winter would just be suicide, plain and simple.

next, daylight and the winter solstice: you mentioned in the story that the sun had fully risen by 8:15 in the morning. unless god woke up one November morning and decided that the earth would look a lot nicer spinning on its side, there's no way in hell this would be possible. you see, I live in a part of the arctic that is actually four degrees further south from where your characters are at the beginning of this story and I can tell you from personal experience that on November 21st you would not even be able to say a hint of sunlight before 11am.
and even when the sun does "rise" it never actually makes it all the way past the horizon. it just peaks up for an hour or so then it goes back down. our shortest day in Deadhorse, AK (70.2056° N, 148.5117° W) is on November 24 and lasts for 45 minutes. after that we get our longest night which is 54 freakin' days long! the further north you get the less sunlight. at the north pole, you would not be able to see the sun at all by the last week of September and by October you wouldn't even be able to see any twilight. which is why I ask, why is the solstice so important to these characters?

the third and final issue I'll mention in this post, which isn't really that big a deal except that it's basically the story's climax, is the Aurora Borealis. the fact that their called "the northern lights" often gives people the misconception that you can only see them, or at least only see them very well" in the Northernmost parts of the globe. truth be told I've been up here for the better part of a year now and I can count all the times I've seen the northern lights on my two hands. while you probably could see them from the north pole it would only be on rare occasions in which you had both clear skies and high magnetic activity.
even more vexing is the fact that these characters would have definitely already seen the aurora depending on how far south they began their journey. that's right, the best place to see the northern lights is actually a few degrees south of the arctic circle. not only would they be able to see them almost every night, but it would actually be brighter down there. up here, when you do see the aurora it's usually too dark to tell what you're looking at.

that's all I'm gonna talk about for now, but like I said there are a number of factual errors in this story and I'm afraid fixing them would likely entail changing the plot entirely. but who knows, it might actually turn out better should you make the change. I hope my critique didn't seem too harsh, because like I said, your actual writing is pretty good and I think over time you will be able to make it even better.

anyways, happy editing!

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Wed Jun 19, 2013 1:36 am
Sarrasponda wrote a review...

Hello, hello! Just wanted to say great work- your vocabulary and language use are excellent :D It's really interesting reading about an arctic expedition, it's the first one I've
read on here(but I'm new so I'm not sure if I count). Super cool idea though, I really enjoyed reading about it.

The only few changes I'd suggest are minor like in this paragraph: 'I checked the LatLog ( Latitude Log) watch on my wrist.' I think you should switch it so you give the proper name first, then the nickname for it in brackets. It's the same way as names come before nicknames in chronological order. :P

'The outside was serenely quiet, a polar opposite to the day prior.'- I found this sentence ironic, so I laughed. Just so you know ;)

These paragraphs I found a bit hard in their transfer: 'I grumbled and walked over to her pack. We left the propane lamp flickering on as we slept that night for minimal heat.

I was there. I had reached it. The northernmost part of the world was truly a sight to behold. The sun looked so close it was as if I could really touch it. I stretched my hand to the sky...'
You make no reference to that it's a dream until after; granted, it's italics, but it would still flow better if you added an 'and then he drifted off into a fitful sleep' or something.

One last thing to point out in this paragraph: 'I wrestled with myself. If I left, she might not have the will to make it by the time I brought help. But if I stayed, there's no telling how long this storm would last. I took one last look at Stacy's limp form, and made the hardest decision of my life. I left her in the cold darkness of the cave.'
Actually, I just wanted to point out that it's awesome! xD You've displayed a self conflict really well here so good job. Although, his solution I think should be given a bit more reason; why did he choose to go? All in all, though, I liked this. :P

So, great story! I enjoyed reading it, so keep writing :D

Smilykid says...

Haha! I didn't even notice the irony in that line! Thanks so much for reading story, by the way. I didn't think anyone would actually take the time to read this! It's 11 pages long on my computer! So thanks. And if you're interested, I've also posted the Epilogue. Once again, thanks!

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Wed Jun 19, 2013 1:35 am
Rage wrote a review...

Hey, just wanted to offer a review.

Firstly, I just wanna say that this was a very good story. Clearly, a lot of thought went into this and it's also obvious that you did your research on the essentials of travelling to the North Pole, or you already had some prior knowledge of this before writing the story. I was particularly impressed with the way you handled the complexities of writing about a setting that is alien to many people, while at the same time forms the crux of your story. You know that this setting is important and you were able to successfully transport the reader into this frozen part of the world. Your use of imagery and metaphors were particularly well-selected and were useful in imparting your view of the Arctic.
However, there are instances where, for some strange reason, your use of simile comes across as a bit too much. It's hard to explain but I basically felt that you were comparing grand images to not-so-grand things, and this didn't work for me. A good example of this is when you write: "Every snowflake was like a malevolent spirit that barred me from my goal" and "To find warm tea inside was like finding water in a desert." I get what you're trying to say, but I just feel like you can find better ways of saying it.

I need to mention the taut, suspenseful way you describe your action scenes. The attack by the polar bear, Stacy falling into the water, and the climax with the narrator in snow, are all beautifully described. You managed to keep me hooked, got my heart-rate up a bit, and I definitely felt the adrenaline pumping. You clearly have skills when it comes to writing scenes that make the reader tense, and you must be commended for that.
However, I do felt that you could have done a bit more to build the tension BEFORE you came to the actual scenes with all the action. The way you have it here makes it seem like one drastic thing, followed by another, then another. Build towards it, don't just jump from one to another. I know you're eager to get there so the readers can share the excitement you feel, but you need to space things out a bit. That's just my opinion. Also, watch your dialogue... A character who just got attacked by a polar bear wouldn't say, "Aw man, it's freezing out here" so nonchalantly.

I've gotta mention the awesome climax of the story - with the Aurora Borealis and all that. This was my favourite part because to me it was a very fitting ending to the a story that begun the way it did. Also, I liked that you managed to bring some emotions into the whole thing by having one of the characters dying in a cave while the other braves a snow-storm to try and save her life. I was worried for them; which is a major compliment to you.

Overall, I thought it was a very very good piece. You have really good writing skills and I hope you keep writing, more often. I really liked this story :-)

Smilykid says...

Thanks a lot for all your advice! I see what you mean when you say I have to build up to those suspenseful moments. Also, I laughed when I read that dialogue line after the polar bear scene. I have no idea what I was thinking! Anyway, thanks again for taking the time to read this and if you're interested, I've also posted the epilogue of this story.

Well, if I can't get this chapter to work....at least I will have exercised my fingers.
— Kaia