I ignored his outstretched hand and urged him forward, thinking he wasn't in his right mind. "Okay, come on now, a little further."

I was panting and grunting beneath his weight, which was only made worse by his protests. He dragged me to a stop again, holding out his arm to me once more like a child.

In exasperation I grabbed the object from his hand and, without even looking at it, shoved it deep into the pocket of my jacket. Before letting it go, I noticed it felt hard and cylindrical, like a small plastic tube of some sort. "Okay, I have it now, see? Let's keep moving."

His head drooped forward in relief, as if a weight had been lifted from his shoulders. At that moment, I wish I could have felt the same. Miraculously, he kept his feet moving, dragging along behind me, as I continued to clutch onto him.

Finally, after what felt like hours, we made it back to my front door. I swung it wide and half carried, half dragged the man the last few feet into the living room where he collapsed onto the couch.

"Hey, hey, don't go to sleep, now. Can you hear me? What's your name?" I tried to keep him concious as I moved about the house collecting blankets and dry clothes. I could hear a low moan as I came back into the room. "What's that? I didn't hear. What's your name?"

His head lolled to the side, his eyes fluttering. I hauled off his wet, ragged clothes. I didn't have any men's clothes in the house, but, after much difficulty, I managed to get my big, fuzzy bathrobe wrapped around him. I covered him with blankets then, and wondered what I should do next.

I wasn't a medical professional in any way. There was no use in calling an ambulance; they had stopped operating over three weeks ago since the plows could barely keep the main streets clear for any length of time as it was.

Just then, his hand moved up to his mouth. I assumed he was indicating thirst. As I was pouring a glass of luke warm water in the next room, I heard him mumbling again.

"I...I'm. I -- Jared."

He seemed to be getting a little strength back.

"Nice to meet you, Jared. I'm Kaleigh." I held the glass out to him. "Now, what exactly were you doing out there?"

The End

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