“I’m sorry, little guy. Did that mean man come in here and take आप away?” Lorrie asked Kowalski as she set him back in his cage.
“No, I went exploring! आप should’ve seen me! I opened the door all on my own and everything!” Kowalski chirped excitedly. Lorrie sighed.
“I’m sorry Preston works for those horrible people. I’m glad आप don’t understand what’s going on. I would hate for आप to realize how cruel the world is,” Lorrie कहा as her eyes went dark. Kowalski sighed and reached through the cage, placing his flipper on her wrist. Lorrie glanced down at it, then looked at Kowalski’s sympathetic expression and laughed slightly in disbelief.
Before she had time to react, Preston charged through her door and shut it behind him, then turned to Lorrie.
“Lorrie, we have a problem,” he कहा urgently.
“Damn right, we have a problem. I told आप to stay away from me,” Lorrie responded.
Preston shook his head.
“No, that’s not what I mean. Jack told the others what’s going on. They’re not happy with आप knowing our secret,” Preston warned.
“And why should I care? It’s their problem, not mine,” Lorrie said.
Preston shook his head again.
“No, आप don’t understand. They’re not just going to let आप turn them in, Lorrie. They want to kill you,” Preston told her. Lorrie scooted over in her cot so she was in front of Kowalski.
“How do I know आप don’t want to as well?” she asked accusingly.
“Lorrie…Out of everything I lied to आप about, I did not lie about my feelings for you. Please, Lorrie, if आप don’t trust me on anything else, I’ll understand. But please trust me on this,” Preston pleaded getting down on one knee before her. Lorrie looked into his eyes and considered. She couldn’t be sure she could risk trusting him, but his expression didn’t seem that of a liar this time. She sighed.
“And what are we supposed to do about this?”
“The only way out that I see is the emergency boat. We get on it, sneak away, and call for help once we get to the cabin,” Preston told her.
“But if we call for help, you’ll be busted, too, won’t you?” Lorrie pointed out. Preston looked away for a moment, then looked back into her eyes as he answered.
“Yeah. Probably,” he कहा slowly. Lorrie didn’t respond. “But it’s a chance I’m willing to take if it’ll save your life,” he continued. Lorrie glanced to the side.
“Fine. But this better not be another lie,” she कहा before she shifted her gaze back onto Preston. Preston shook his head.
“It’s not. आप need to put something warm on—fast,” he told her. Lorrie nodded and stood, grabbing her sweaters and thick jacket, scarf, gloves, goggles, and boots and putting them on. She was about to grab Kowalski’s cage, but Preston put his hand up to stop her.
“No, it’ll give us away. आप need to just take Kowalski and forget the cage,” he told her. Lorrie was about to protest, but she realized he was right. The cage was too big and would reflect light. So, instead, she took Kowalski out and held him in the opening in the चोटी, शीर्ष of her जैकेट to keep him warm.
“Alright, I’m ready,” Lorrie told him.
“Okay,” Preston started for the door, “I’ll go create a diversion and I’ll meet आप at the boat.”
Lorrie nodded in understanding. Preston left her room and she followed behind, holding Kowalski close to her. When they were topside, Preston took off to the left, opposite the position of the boat. When Lorrie ensured that there was no one around, she moved out, turning to the right and keeping close in the shadows with her head down. Upon reaching the corner, she slowly looked around to see two men talking quietly. She couldn’t quite make out what they were saying. It was dark now, so it was also difficult to make out their faces.
From behind, a large crash was heard and Lorrie buried her face into the दीवार so she’d blend into the shadows as the two men ran द्वारा her to check out the commotion. Lorrie assumed that Preston had knocked over some crates या something for his diversion and peered around the corner once और to be sure it was clear. When no one invaded her peripheral vision, she shuffled across the deck and leaned over the railing, where she saw the emergency speedboat. Jumping down into it, she pulled the tarp off of the engine and waited for Preston, as promised.
A few मिनटों passed and Lorrie remained alone in the small boat. She looked down into her जैकेट at Kowalski, who looked back at her through frightened eyes, as if he wasn’t sure what was going on. या possibly, what was going to happen next. Finally, Preston threw himself over the railing and landed in the नाव with an solar-powered lantern, causing the नाव to rock and hit the side of the ship. He handed the lantern to Lorrie as he reached up and pulled on the ropes and the नाव jerked downward. A moment later, it made contact with the water with a splash, bobbing up and down. Preston didn’t waste a moment; he pulled a pocket चाकू from his pocket and sliced the ropes, freeing the नाव from the ship and threw himself past Lorrie to start the engine.
Above, a couple of crew members came to the railing and started shouting something back to the others. But Lorrie and Preston were already moving away, their lantern light fading as the नाव took them farther away from the ship. Preston violently swerved back and forth to avoid large chunks of ice, causing water to splash into the boat. A bang was heard from the ship and Preston jerked forward.
“Preston! Are आप alright?! What happened?!” Lorrie cried helping him upright.
“I’m fine! Hold the lantern up!” Preston responded fumbling for control of the boat. Lorrie held the lantern up toward the front of the boat. Another bang was heard and Lorrie felt a fast streak of air whip past her, inches from her head. Preston jerked the नाव in another direction and accidentally ran into a chunk of ice, causing the back of the नाव to bounce upward. Lorrie and Preston were thrown आगे from the नाव and landed on snow.
Preston regained his footing first and pulled Lorrie द्वारा the arms to her feet.
“Run!” he shouted snatching up the lantern and taking off into the फ्रोज़न desert.
Stumbling over their own feet—and each others—they moved farther away from the ocean, and from the ship. They didn’t know where they were going, but they were going to be anywhere but there.
♦ ♦ ♦
Neither Preston nor Lorrie knew how long they ran before they deemed it सुरक्षित to slow down. Now, freezing and deathly silent, they trudged through the snow and harsh, howling winds of the Antarctic. Both refused to make eye contact. Finally, Preston cut through the silence.
“Don’t take this the wrong way, but I think it’d be better if we huddled together for warmth,” he कहा without looking at her. Lorrie rolled her eyes.
“I’d rather freeze,” she कहा flatly.
Preston sighed. “Lorrie, I know you’re pissed at me, but I—” He doubled over with a grunt and fell to his knees, dropping the lantern and grasping his shoulder. Lorrie turned to him and knelt द्वारा his side.
“Preston, what’s wrong?” she asked trying to see past his hand.
“One of those bullets grazed me when they were shooting at us. I’m fine,” Preston कहा as he tried to get to his feet. Lorrie grabbed the lantern and held it to his shoulder so she could see.
“Preston, that bullet didn’t graze you. It went right through your shoulder,” she कहा pulling her scarf off and tying it around the wound to try to contain the bleeding. Preston watched her until she was done.
“I knew आप weren’t heartless,” Preston कहा softly. Lorrie looked him in the eye for a moment, then looked away with a sigh.
“Come on, we should go,” she कहा grabbing him द्वारा his good arm and helping him to his feet. She then held him close and started आगे a couple of steps. “And I’m only doing this huddling thing because you’re hurt and I really am freezing my tail feathers o—”
Lorrie stopped abruptly with a gasp, her eyes going wide. She then pulled away and looked in her जैकेट to find it empty.
“Oh, God, no…” she कहा in realization.
“What’s wrong?” Preston asked turning to her.
“I लॉस्ट Kowalski! He must’ve fell out when the नाव threw us! We have to go back!” she कहा turning and starting back toward the ocean. Preston grabbed her shoulder.
“Lorrie, we can’t! Who knows how close they are to the किनारा, शोर now! If we go back, they’ll kill us!” he reasoned.
Lorrie shook free.
“I don’t care! I can’t leave him out there! He won’t survive on his own! Who will feed him?! Who will keep him warm?!” she argued, now with tears streaming down her cheeks. “Kowalski!” she called at the चोटी, शीर्ष of her lungs.
Preston grabbed her around the abdomen and clamped his gloved hand over her mouth.
“Lorrie!” he whispered harshly in her ear. “You’re going to give us away if आप don’t keep your voice down! I’m sorry, Lorrie, but आप can’t go back for him! He’s probably already dead!”
Lorrie violently pushed Preston off of her and turned toward him on her heel.
“Don’t touch me!” she screamed with her fists clenched. Preston realized what he’d कहा and stood down.
“Lorrie, I didn’t mean—”
Lorrie waved her hand to cut him off. “No, you’re right…There’s no way he survived this long…He’s…He’s…” She brought her free hand to her mouth and broke down crying. Preston stepped आगे and took the lantern from her before she dropped it and wrapped his arms around her. Lorrie buried her face into his chest and wept.
“I’m sorry, Lorrie. I’m so, so sorry,” he कहा softly into her ear. Before he knew it, he was shedding his own tears.