“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. Kowalski hopped around a little.
“No, I went exploring! आप should’ve seen me! I opened the door all on my own and everything!” Kowalski told her 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. Why didn’t she understand him? She’d taught him a lot, but he still didn’t comprehend why she couldn’t understand penguins. He sighed and decided that he’d दिखाना his understanding rather than try to tell her. So, he reached through the wired cage and put his flippers on her hand, looking up at her sympathetically. Lorrie smiled and laughed slightly as if she couldn’t believe what she was witnessing.
The अगला thing they knew, Preston charged through the door and shut it behind himself.
“Lorrie, we have a problem,” he कहा with wide, concerned eyes. Kowalski watched Lorrie’s expression harden.
“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. Kowalski looked at him curiously. What were they going to do?
“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.
“How do I know आप don’t want to as well?” Lorrie कहा as she scooted in front of Kowalski protectively, and Kowalski could no longer see Preston’s face.
“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,” Kowalski heard Preston say. A moment of silence passed before he heard Lorrie sigh and respond.
“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,” Kowalski heard Preston say.
“But if we call for help, you’ll be busted, too, won’t you?” he heard Lorrie reply. There was another moment of silence before Preston answered.
“Yeah. Probably. But it’s a chance I’m willing to take if it’ll save your life.”
Kowalski looked down. Maybe Preston wasn’t as bad as he’d thought. He wanted to save them, after all.
“Fine. But this better not be another lie,” Lorrie’s voice replied.
“It’s not. आप need to put something warm on—fast.”
Kowalski watched as Lorrie frantically pulled on her warm gear over her clothes. When she was done, she reached for his cage, but Preston stopped her.
“No, it’ll give us away. आप need to just take Kowalski and forget the cage,” he said. Kowalski looked at his cage. It was large and bulky. It would only get in the way. Lorrie reached in and pulled him out, tucking him in the very चोटी, शीर्ष of her jacket. Kowalski snuggled in and prepared himself for whatever lay ahead.
“Alright, I’m ready,” Lorrie said. Kowalski refrained from giggling as the vibration of Lorrie’s voice tickled his side.
“Okay,” Preston’s voice said, “I’ll go create a diversion and I’ll meet आप at the boat.”
Kowalski watched Lorrie nod to express her comprehension of Preston’s plan and felt her moving forward. He watched the ceiling above pass behind as Lorrie made way for one of the emergency boats. After peering around the first corner, she moved out to the right and the ceiling was replaced with the starry black sky. Lorrie reached another corner and peered around. Kowalski couldn’t see what she was looking at, but whatever it was was keeping her from progressing.
A crash was heard behind Lorrie and for a moment, Kowalski was enveloped in darkness as she buried her face into the wall. After checking over her shoulder for something, she peered around the corner again and finally pressed on. After looking down at something below, Kowalski felt himself raise slightly as she jumped down and he slumped back down when she landed in what he presumed was the boat.
A few frightening मिनटों passed and Kowalski felt his breathing quicken. He could sense that something was about to happen. Even when Lorrie looked down at him with sympathetic eyes, he couldn’t calm himself. He’d never experienced such fear. Not even that time a dog had barked at him when he was in the city with Lorrie.
Finally, there was a thump, causing the नाव to rock and Lorrie leaned आगे to grab a lantern. Kowalski knew that it had to be Preston. He again felt that sense of weightlessness as they suddenly dropped downward and splashed into the ocean. He then felt Lorrie moving to the side and heard the engine of the motorboat starting and felt the jerking sensation and the wind pressing against him as they accelerated forward.
Kowalski watched as the stars above blurred द्वारा and could feel the momentum of the नाव moving back and forth. Why, he didn’t know. A frightening bang caused Kowalski to flinch inside Lorrie’s जैकेट and press his flippers to his sensitive ear-holes.
“Pres…! Are…ight?! …ened?!” was the only bits that Kowalski heard Lorrie say. He didn’t know what was happening, but he was too frightened to care.
“…ine! Hol…tern up!” he heard Preston shout over the sound of wind and water. Through his muffled hearing, he made out another bang and felt himself jerked to the side.
He hit snow before he even realized he’d been thrown from Lorrie’s jacket. Picking his face up and spitting out the फ्रोज़न water, he turned to the side and saw Lorrie and Preston running away, their lantern fading the farther they went.
“Wait! आप forgot me! Come back!” Kowalski called getting to his feet and running आगे a couple of steps. But they couldn’t hear him. He was left on his own in the soft moonlight and was soon drenched in silence when then नाव engine finally shut down.
♦ ♦ ♦
Through his half-vision Kowalski made out something twinkling in some nearby snow and approached it. It appeared to be some sort of thin casing with something flat and silver wedged in the center. When he pulled on the small dent on the silver piece that protruded from the center, a sharp blade swung out. He wasn’t sure what he’d do with it, but he assumed that it couldn’t hurt to keep it just in case.
Kowalski looked over at the boat, which had its front end planted into the snow. Luckily, the snow provided him somewhat of a slope to climb into the boat. At first, he thought it was empty. But then a small compartment on the side of the middle section caught his eye and he pulled it open.
Inside, he found a life preserver, a blanket, and a couple pairs of insulated gloves. The chill that the snow sent up his spine gave him an idea.
He pulled the blade out from its casing and sawed off the fingers of one of the gloves, then cut the separation between the index, middle, and ring finger. And to finish, he cut about two inches away from the palm. Smiling at his handiwork, he set the blade down and pulled the दस्ताना, दस्ताने over his head, slipping his flippers through the pinky and thumb holes, and his head through the larger hold he’d created with the other fingers. It was an awkward fit, but a warm fit nonetheless. As he closed the blade, he got another idea.
He picked up the pinky and thumb of the दस्ताना, दस्ताने and pulled them over his feet. After grabbing the blade and tucking it into the दस्ताना, दस्ताने with him, he grabbed another दस्ताना, दस्ताने in case something happened to his and prepared to leave when he heard a growing buzzing in the distance. A few सेकंड्स later, another motor नाव docked along the shoreline and three humans stepped free and started approaching Kowalski’s boat. But Kowalski had already climbed inside of the compartment and pulled it shut, concealing him inside.
He heard footsteps and muffled voices through the thin walls of the compartment.
“You think we should take this back to th’ ship?” कहा one voice.
“Nah, this thing is totalled, man. He must’ve hit every chunk of ice comin’ out here,” another voice answered.
“What आप think our luck is on followin’ ‘em?” asked the first voice.
“Not good. Snow’s already got they tracks filled in.”
“So, what we gonna do?”
“We go’n have to call base. Get them up that cabin. Stake it out till they get there.”
“Then what we do?”
“We’ll have t’ kill ‘em. Ain’t no sense in leavin’ ‘em alive to turn us all in to the fuzz. Come on, le’s get back to the नाव so’s we can get someone up they before they beat us to it.”
Kowalski waited until the sounds of footsteps and voices faded, along with the buzz of the engine as they moved away. He waited in silence for a few moments to ensure that it was safe, then pushed the compartment open and climbed out.
He replayed what he’d heard in his mind.
“We go’n have to call base. Get them up that cabin. Stake it out till they get there.”
“We’ll have t’ kill ‘em. Ain’t no sense in leavin’ ‘em alive to turn us all in to the fuzz.”
Without hesitating, he grabbed the दस्ताना, दस्ताने again and started off in the direction that he’d seen Lorrie and Preston go in. It was nearly pitch black, if not for the soft glow of the moon. He wasn’t sure what he’d do या how he’d do it, but he did know one thing for certain.
He had to save his mother.