Hypothermia Sets In

Marcus came to. Jules was standing over him.

It was not a dream. Marcus was lying on the snow and the metal of the pylon. Jules, shaking like the Devil, was sitting over him.

Marcus gave a ragged sob. He could hear barking. Something was shaking near him. Jules shook him. "Look, mate, you've got to get up," he said.

"Jules," said Marcus. "What are you dong here?"

"I had to get off the cable," said Jules. "Gallin didn't like it, but it's sitting there or saving ourselves."

"You're right." Marcus struggled to a sitting position. "It's too cold." His speech was slurred. "Where are the others?"

As if on cue, a shaking, sweating Jessica pulled herself up from the pylon. She looked very close to tears, but she still batted away Jules' outstretched hand. They moved themselves along.

The next hour saw all fourteen of them - and even brave Mr. Gallin - make their way up the pylon. In ordinary circumstances it would have been the weirdest thing in the world, but alas, it was the only way they coul save themselves. It was now seven o'clock and very dark, and the wind had picked up a lot.

Mr. Gallin, the last up, did not look happy. "Marcus," he scolded, "Why did you ignore me when I told you to come back?"

"I couldn't hear you."

"You could have died!" thundered Mr. Gallin. "You all could have!" He looked round at them. There was a guilty silence.

"Would you have rather waited for your doom, sir?" cried Jules all of a sudden. "We had no choice! We were terrified!"

"It was my idea anyway, sir," said Jessica quietly.

Mr. Gallin turned to her. He looked set to have an outburst, but he stayed surprisingly quiet. It was very quiet all of a sudden - apart from the baying of the wolves, the whisper of the wind, the laboured breathing of he students, and - the crackling of packets.

"Don't look at me!" cried Big Ifram, who was shoving a Kit-Kat into his mouth.

"Depends," said Jules stubbornly. "How much've you got?"

Big Ifram, noted for his permanent store of chocolate and his appetite, looked around nervously. "Maybe this is my last one," he said.

"Maybe it isn't." A flash of Jessica's terrible self showed. "Maybe you have three more Kit-Kats, two Milka bars, a sizeable pile of Kinder  eggs and a Happy Meal." It was a horrible thing to say, of course, but it put a smile on everyone else's face as they thought about the steaming McDo's that they wished was theirs.

Reluctantly, Big Ifram pulled out his rucksack. He carried a ridiculous amount of chocolate, and these were shared out by all. In the dark, the class feasted on Milka and Kinder, bread and Nutella, and even a pack of donuts, on the top of a pylon by the light of the moon. After a filling, if sugary, meal, many closed their eyes and leaned against their friends' shoulders.

Up above, the wind blew. The temperature began to drop.

The End

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