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The Crate - part 4 - the end

Fidget stopped grasping at the strip of cloth and offered the narrow end of it to Cramp with his mouth and nodded for assistance. When Cramp drew it away Fidget said, "Oh, the crate? why? You think it will be the end of us?"
     Cramp looked over the ledge and squinted. "It's likely. I wouldn't ask, I mean under normal circumstances." They both hissed painfully from the humor of it, "But we're so close now, and I don't feel like we'll make it, not after that bear, not with this." Cramp toed the crate, "Look at us."
     "Foolish, I suppose. We should be near, wouldn't you say? Seems like maybe a few miles will bring us into contact."
     "I agree. Maybe hours. Unless...."
     "you'd figure we'd see planes, lights, something. We still have the flares..."
      "We do, but still," and they came back to the crate.
     Fidget limped up to the ledge, leaned against the c…

The Crate - part 3

The fifth evening fell quietly and both men shared the feeling that the dawn would either make them survivors or the last victims of a long suffered catastrophe. Any observer of the pair, with knowledge of their circumstances, would suppose that a conversation was due; some planning, crisis management, tactical discourse, perhaps a final assessment of stock and strategy. But it wasn't until after a small tangle with a large bear much later that evening that Cramp found a moment to discuss the crate.
     The conversation took place as they stood against a stone ledge, teetering on a broad plateau, overlooking a subtle expanse of empty terrain below. Moonlit hues of iron-grey, plum, and blue emptiness painted their isolation in serene certainty. The sky above read black, ignoring the bright moon, with no lights above or below to signal civilization.
     While wiping his own thin blood from his forehead Cramp noted, "It had to be your right hand, huh? As if the bear knew…

The Crate - part 2

Somewhere beyond Skull Pass, but before Blind Drop, Cramp lost a toe. He didn't make much noise about it, and Fidget was grateful for that. It was shorn off in a rockslide, and considering how badly that might have turned out, a toe wasn't such a terrible loss. At least that's what Cramp told Fidget as that little piggy got seared shut with the red-hot side of a Butchers knife they'd been using as a machete since the plane went down. "I suppose I should have pulled the crate over instead of pushing it that way," say Fidget once Cramp stopped screaming from the cauterization. "Might of still slid," replied Cramp. “...or I could have tried a lever, I don’t know.”    The fact was that Fidget had taken his own share of minor beatings on he trip as well. He had torn one ear almost fully off, and he’d split the flesh and tore tendons between his index finger and his thumb on his left hand; both injuries occurred while hefting the crate from one spo…