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Winter's Kiss

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Chapter 3

Sam came to slowly. He blinked his eyes in an effort to focus but the howling wind and snow made his brain feel static and fuzzy. A deep throbbing in his head made him dizzy and when he lifted his hand up to this face he realised it was wet with blood.

He tried not to panic, knowing head wounds bleed a lot but it was hard not to succumb to the fear as he looked out into the surrounding darkness. The truck was on its side, with the driver’s door on the top and a fallen branch against it making it impossible to open.

The windshield was broken and snow was floating in but Sam was too big to crawl through that gap and would cut himself to ribbons if he tried. He reached up to roll down the driver’s side window but a sharp pain across his shoulder made him wince and pull his arm back. He took a few deep breaths to control the stabbing pain then leaned back to aim his feet at the window instead.

He kicked two or three times before the window smashed, raining shattered glass and snow down on him. Sam covered his face with his arms and screwed his eyes tightly shut. Slowly he moved again to brush the glass off himself then started to climb out of the truck.

In the distance he could hear voices and he thought he could make out some moving lights. If only he could get out of the truck maybe he could flag someone down. His left arm was aching and he could barely move it so all attempts to climb out of the truck proved unsuccessful. Sam thought of calling out, but instead settled for blaring the horn and flashing the lights.

Joel and Harry raced through the snow and reached the truck in no time. The blaring horn and flashing lights were a sure sign that whoever was in there was still alive. Joel jumped off the horse and slid down into the ditch then immediately started to climb up the underside of the truck.

“Hey! You ok in there?”

Sam looked up at the young man who was staring down at him through the broken driver’s door window. “Yeah, I think my shoulder is dislocated, I can’t seem to pull myself out.”

“Ok, hold tight. we’ll get you out in a jiffy!” Joel turned back to gesture at Harry. “Toss me the rope will ya?” He lowered one end of the rope down to Sam. “Tie this around yourself. we’ll haul you out.”

By the time Tom arrived in the truck, Sam was sitting on the side of the road, cradling his left arm against his chest. Joel was kneeling in front of him, dabbing the wound on his forehead with some gauze as Harry was walking around the truck checking for damage or other passengers.

“No one else was in the truck?”

“No, just me.”

“Do you know what happened?”

“Hit some black ice, spun out, clipped the guardrail and flipped over a few times down the ridge.”

“You’re lucky you didn’t go further.” Harry spoke as he squatted next to them.


“The truck is about 5 feet from a cliff edge, if you kept flipping you would have dropped over that cliff, 20 ft into the ravine below.”

“Lucky me,” Sam said drolly.

“Hey guys,” Tom called out as he approached. “All ok here?”

“Peachy,” Sam muttered.

“Looks like we have a dislocated shoulder and a head wound, but nothing worth crying about.”

“Easy for you to say.” Sam winced as they helped him to his feet and led him over to the truck Tom had left running by the side of the road.

“We’ll see you back at the lodge,” Joel called after he got Sam into the car and he slammed the door shut then slapped the roof.

It wasn’t until right that moment that Sam realised these were staff members from the lodge and they were taking him right back there now. He quickly ran through his other options but realised there were none and resigned himself to going back there.

Tom drove slowly but every single jostle sent a shudder of pain shooting out from his shoulder, to his fingertips and across his back. The wound on his head was seeping again but Sam didn’t have the energy even to brush it away. As they turned up the driveway He tried to focus but was finding it increasingly difficult to stay awake. Tom drove around to the back and parked near the employee entrance.

“Here we are, let’s get you inside.” Sam opened the door but was struggling to get out when Tom hurried around the truck and helped. He led Sam over to the door and ushered him into a large staff room. Tom put him onto a tattered but comfortable couch and covered him with a chequered blanket. “I’ll be right back.”

Sam felt his eyes succumb to the tiredness and closed them over for a second but when he opened them a woman was standing over him with a concerned look on her face.

“Hey there mister, you need to stay awake,” she slapped his cheeks with the back of her hands but his eyes were heavier than normal and slid over again.

The next time he opened them Tom was standing over him, pulling at his shoulders to make him sit up and the sharp pain that shot through him was enough to make his eyes open wide in shock.

Sam looked around him and saw a small crowd standing in front of the couch, each with a varying degree of concern on their faces.

“What happened… where am I?”

“Relax.” Tom leaned forward. “You crashed your truck, you’re at the Riverfront lodge.”

“His shoulder is dislocated. We need to put it back in…”

“What the hell do we know about putting in dislocated shoulders?”

“I’ve watched it on TV a million times.”


“We can’t leave it out, it’s cutting off blood to his arm.”

“Is it?”


the voices swirled in and out of focus and Sam struggled to grasp what was happening.

Joel arrived with a first aid book and flipped through it to the page he was looking for. “Here Ms Larissa, I found the book.”

Larissa took the book and read the instructions. “Okay, we can do this… Tom get him flat on his back.” Tom guided Sam back onto the couch. “Move his arm so its down by his side, then turn it to a 90 degree angle from his body.” She stepped closer and explained the instructions to Tom then guided him as he pulled Sam’s shoulder back into place.

Everyone in the room groaned when his shoulder made a loud “clunk” as it slid back into place, except for Sam.

Sam yelled out in agony then succumbed once more to the darkness.

The next time he woke up, only one person was in the room. Larissa was sitting on a stool next to the couch and was focused on cleaning the wound on his head. His arm was strapped to his chest but the pain had reduced to a dull ache. He wiggled his fingers and was pleased to see them respond and with only a little niggling pain.

“How long have I been out?” he asked as he struggled to keep his eyes open.

“Only ten minutes or so. I’m glad you woke up, as I was going to wake you as soon as I had your head wound cleaned up.”

“How bad is it?”

“Just a small cut, it looks worse than it is because of the blood.”

“A lot of blood?”

Larissa smiled at the worried look on his face. “Not any more.” She continued to clean it up, then rummaged through the first aid box for the pack of butterfly stitches. “Okay, this might sting a little.” She pinched the wound closed then carefully placed three stitches over the wound. “There, all good.”


“All part of the hospitality.” Larissa said as she put the equipment away.

Sam looked away, all too aware of the crimson blush that covered his cheeks. He tried to sit up but she pushed him back down onto the couch. “You are on strict bed rest, but without sleeping.”


“You had a head wound, you lost consciousness and you could have a concussion. You need to stay awake and be monitored for 24 hours.”

“I’m fine, seriously.”

“Yeah, ok mister, well regardless, I could do without the kind advertisement your death would bring to my lodge.”

“So…I need to lie here for 24 hours?”

“Yep.” Larissa stood up and went to the door. she pushed it open and called out to someone then returned to sit on the stool again. “Do you have a headache?”

“Yeah, I do,” he admitted reluctantly.

“Do you know today’s date?”

“Um…the 24th?”

“Correct…What’s your name?”

“My name? Are you testing my memory?”

“No, but I’d rather not call you ‘Buttinski’ all night.”

“Sam, Sam Jones.”

“Hi Sam,” she said and she smiled sweetly. “My name is Larissa Thomas.”

Behind her, the door opened and another woman walked in carrying a wide tray. Sam recognised her as the woman who laughed at him when he first walked into the lodge and his instinct was to sit up, help her, but Larissa pushed him back down. “Thanks Olivia.”

“Oh you’re alive!” She squealed as she put the tray on a small table and smiled at Sam with a wide genuine smile.

“Um yeah… was there a chance I wouldn’t be?”

“Don’t mind Olivia, she is just glad to see you.” Larissa grabbed a glass of water and a bottle of pain pills off the tray. “Here take this.” She dropped two pills into Sam’s hand and handed him the glass of water. She helped him sit up to drink and took the glass off him when he was done. “And try to eat some of this…” Larissa said and she passed him a bowl of fruit.

“Can I sit up?” He looked at her with a sideways glance and she nodded. He pulled himself up with a little help from both women then Larissa put the bowl of fruit on his lap.

“How are you feeling?” Olivia asked as she rubbed his good shoulder.

“A little woozy…”

“And your shoulder?”

“Better than it was a little while ago.”

“Well, eat up and drink some water.” Olivia turned to Larissa and gripped her shoulder. “I just spoke with Ms Gordon about tomorrow.”

“Oh, is everything set?”

“A simple ceremony with the friends and family who have made it today.”

“Great, and Theo has everything he needs?”

“Yeah, we went over a menu for a buffet so we’re all set.”

“Great, thanks Liv!” She covered her friend’s hand and smiled. “Another crisis averted.” Olivia chuckled then turned and left as Larissa looked back to Sam who was slowly eating through his bowl of fruit.

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