I limped out of the cave with Jane as my support. We exited into the glaring, white, reflective snow fields. Did you know Inuits/Eskimos/(insert politically correct term here) can be rendered blind from sunlight bouncing off the ice? They can also suffer tremendous sunburn! But that's just a fun-fact I thought was relevant to the blaring illumination that assaulted me after spending so long in the dark. We were on the side of a mountain, on a long winding mountain path. Gazing out over the snow-capped landscape it was beautiful. For a split second I almost forgot about the horrible situation I was in.
We were relatively low down on the mountain, still high enough to kill me if we fell, which was a distinct possibility when trying to ascend an icy pathway. But we made it without incident. Made it where you ask? A house. A perfectly fine, perfectly large house built on the side of a mountain. But I continued to believe, because she told me it would be fine and I trusted her because I believed in her.
She opened the door and inside was almost bare. There were three chairs in the room, the nearest one she placed me in. She walked into the next room and came back with a plate of food. I don't even remember what food it was. All I know is that it tasted good and filled me faster and better than that small amount of food should have. I was too relieved to be paranoid. After the food I was taken upstairs into a bed and fell asleep. It was the first time I slept in a warm bed in at least a month (From my perspective), if not longer. It felt good and I woke up feeling better than I had in a long time, even since before I came here.
I would have updated then and there, but I got sidetracked getting caught up on Jane. She claimed to have gone unconscious in the motel where she died and woken up in this house a month ago. She had gone exploring and had encountered nothing and no one, but the cupboards of the house were well stocked with food. But then while exploring she found me in the cave. I told her everything that had happened since after she went unconscious to now. I left out the part where she had actually died. We talked for hours about everything, and I felt happier than I think I ever have in the past.
No wonder life took that moment to ruin everything, again. She walked out into the kitchen and I heard a crash, I presumed she had accidentally dropped some of the food so I went out to check. Then, well, then I found her dead for the second time. The same knife wound in the same place, her laying on the ground, blood pooling around her, cans of food rolling over the floor. I fell to my knees. I burst out crying. My tears froze half-way down my face. I was cold. Colder than every before. Colder than the Cold Boy had ever made me, colder than any of the times I thought I'd lose fingers to frostbite, colder than any of the times I had to trudge through snow storms. The blood froze in my veins. I fell back into the floor of the main room, unable to feel the hard, wooden floor on my back. Unable to feel anything anymore. Life had taken everything away, before giving it all back, and then violently ripped it away again.
"Well well well. Giving up are we?" The Glitch flickered into view, laying on the ground next to me. I didn't even acknowledge him -it. "Oh, ignoring me? Now now, Christopher, are you really as petty as all that?" "Petty?!" I spat out, "SHE'S DEAD! AGAIN!" "Oh come now, Christopher, you and I both know she only died the first time. Pretty naive of you to think she had really come back to life to save you and lead you away to peace and happiness in this conveniently placed house." He was right of course. I was a fool to think it was really her. She was nothing but a jumble of words created by the Tale Weaver. Nothing but a trap to bring me back from the precipice so that the fall would be all the more spectacular.
"I'll tell you what," the Glitch began to speak again, "ALL you need to do, is make it to the summit of this mountain. And you make it to the next round! I mean, it may not be ideal, if you want you can stay here and starve yet again. Except you won't get another chance at salvation. There'll be nothing but pain until I grow bored with you. But I'm not here to make the decision for you. It's up to you to choose. Die slowly here, or push forward with a chance of success. Maybe win the whole thing! And go back to your life. Think about that. You could have a life again." With that it static-ed away. My blood was pumping through my body again, my flesh warmed up and my tears melted.
I lay there for a while. But I already knew what I'd do. The Glitch was right, I knew that. I only had one chance of escape. One chance to escape this nightmare. Never before had I felt this alone in my life. Never before had I craved company as much as I do right now. I will make my way back to the world. And I will NOT die trying.