From the Author
Carsonwas freezing to death, even though he was standing inside the IceCube NeutrinoObservatory at the Amundsen-Scott South Pole Station in the middle of Antarctica'sfrozen wastelands waiting for Jeb to come back.The world's largest neutrino detector, the observatory rose out of theice like a giant white H with cylindrical columns at either end.
Jebhad left an hour ago in search of Hank, who had gone missing. The heat in the observatory had cut out forsome reason a half hour ago and Carson was keeping warm as best he could in hisanorak. No matter how cold it was inhere (in the low thirties), it was even colder outside, well below zero degreesFahrenheit.
Ablizzard was raging outside, and Carson wondered how long Hank and Jeb couldlast out in it.
Carsonhad no idea how to fix the heater. Thatwas Jeb's purlieu. Carson would justhave to wait till Jeb got back.
Carsonhadn't joined in the hunt for Hank because Carson was tending to Max, who layon a cot on the other side of the room with his arm torn to shreds, groaningwith pain as he lapsed in and out of consciousness under his pile of blankets,flushed face sweaty with fever.
Carsonglanced at the clock on the wall, confirming his estimate. Jeb had left over an hour ago. Carson heard the clock ticking. It was a noisy clock. Ticktock.He shrugged it off. He had moreimportant things than rackety clocks to worry about.
Wonderingwhat had happened to Jeb, Carson ventured to the steel door, unbolted it, andyanked it open. Immediately a freezinggust of wind blasted into the hut, all but knocking Carson over and hurlingsnowflakes helter-skelter.
Hisfur-lined hood up, looking like an Eskimo, he tightened his parka around hisneck, as he withstood the icy, lacerating wind, peered into the gathering gloomthat was streaked with falling snow like static on a TV set, and cast aroundfor any sign of Jeb or Hank.
Snow. Snow everywhere. On the ground and coming down in thick flakesthat swirled in the blizzard's riptide gusts that piled drifts against the icestation. Squinting in the bluster Carsondoubted he could see even twenty feet ahead of him in the blinding storm that lashedhis face in cold fury.
Nosign of either Jeb or Hank.
Nosign of any kind of life.
Whatcould live in that maelstrom of snow and icy wind? Except for the infected members of the team,the bloodsuckers, decided Carson with a frisson of fear. They could live out there in the icywasteland, if you could call it living.The bloodsuckers were the three other members of the originalseven-member Antarctic expedition crew who had become infected with neutrinosfrom outer space that the crew had been dispatched here to study.
Copyright 2014 by Bryan Cassiday. All rights reserved.