After several hours trudging through the snow Phillips suddenly stops in his tracks, his eyes fixed on what’s up ahead. We observe Tillman looking at something in the snow. Without hesitation, Phillips dashes ahead and I quickly follow. As we get closer, it appears to be several bodies partially covered in the snow as if a wind storm just blew through covering them.
Phillips reaches the nearest body and kneels down to examine it. It’s a male, medium stature, face down. He drops off his backpack and pulls out a small shovel and quickly unfolds it to dig out the frozen corpse. Then angles the shovel for leverage to pry the body loose from its icy grave. He rolls the stiff body over and crunchy snow breaks away. A surprised look completely overtakes him.
“What’s the matter?” I ask.
“It’s James Parker, the guide I told you that got me started!”
“Really?” leaning over to get a look.
Tillman turns over another body with his shovel. “Shit! Here’s his partner Ringo, bastard owes me 20 bucks on a pool game.” Tillman searches the body and pulls out a wallet and plucks out a fat wad of money. He starts counting it," Yeah, $755 bucks!" he then quickly starts to search the next body.
Folding my arms with disgust, “Robbing the dead, what a piece of crap you are Tillman! I can’t believe how easily you can sink to the bottom of the toilet bowl! But again I’m really not surprised.”
Making my way over to the third body Phillips just turned over, my blood runs cold, "Holy cow!
“Don’t tell me-” Phillips stunned.
“Kevin Long, this guy is fairly famous, I’ve seen his You Tube channel. He’s a conspiracy theory podcaster, he’s got millions of subscribers.”
Phillips holds up an expensive looking HD camera with a shoulder strap, “Well here’s his camera.” The camera grabs Tillman’s attention. "Let me see that, it’s gotta be worth a few thousand bucks. “Here, don’t choke on it,” Phillips tosses it over to him. Tillman looks at it like a prized spoil, he slings it over his shoulder and continues rummaging through the bodies. The fourth body has only the legs visible, Tillman grabs the ankles of the corpse and pulls it from under the deep snow, “Hey, this one's a woman, she’s got short hair, glasses, kinda ugly looking.”
Phillips takes a look, “Well she’s dead, what’s your excuse?” he sweeps the frost covering her face and digs the glasses off with his fingers to reveal her identity.
My mouth just drops open, "My God, I know this one too!”
“Who is she?? Phillips ask as he lights a cigarette.
Dropping to my knees, “Darla Huntsman, she’s a famous writer, mostly paranormal romances. I’ve read several of her books. She was probaly gathering research on her next book. I wonder what killed them?” Phillips starts to inspect the scene like a crime novel detective, “No blood anywhere, no foul play or an animal attack.”
“Most likely the elements got to them, look at this,” Phillips tries to move Darla's arm, "She’s absolutely frozen solid, probably been been here several hours at least. I think they must of got caught up some kind of freaky mini snowstorm. Probably hit them without warning, the temperature quickly dropped. Notice how we found them all face down, must of been trying to protect themselves from the cold.”
I carefully put Darla’s glasses back on her, “Isn’t it creepy that we know all of these people in some manner.”
“To say the least,” Phillips says while getting to his feet. Suddenly the winds pick up and something catches his attention from a distance. “A snow storm is kicking up, maybe a mile away!”
“Shit!” Tillman yells looking in the direction of the incoming blast of icy wind. With urgency, Phillips and Tillman begin digging like their lives depended on it, and more than likely they do. The wind begins howling like a pack of wolves coming our way.
Jumping to my feet and not sure what to do. Phillips yells over the gusting wind, “We’re in a storm zone! They probably run through here in intervals. We can reduce the air chill factor by shielding ourselves below the surface, it’s our only chance of survival!”
“I don’t have a shovel!” I scream back.
Phillips motions to his fox hole, “You’ll have to crawl under me and share body heat! It will increase our survivability!”
Let’s see, I’m in a life or death situation and I feel hesitant about sharing body heat with him? He’s looking at me waiting for my answer!
“Look, it’s either me, Tillman or a slow agonizing death!” he shouts throwing his shovel down.
Tillman jumps into his mini fox hole. “Yeah baby, let’s share some body heat!” followed up with his awful Hillbillie laugh. I figured more then likely his first name is probably Bo, Bubba or Billy Bob.
Phillips unrolls a small tarp and begins spiking it down to cover his foxhole, sounding frustrated, “Well, what’s it going to be?!”
Like an idiot I’m still standing here, “Let’s see, Tillman or death rank about the same, so I guess it’s you.”
Offended, he hollers back. “Thank you very much, at least I’m better than death!”