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"Something really odd is going on," said the older man, who finally introduced himself as Dave. "Do any of you feel cold?"
The snowboarder, Geoff, shook his head. "Not even a little."
"And what's the last thing you all remember, before we stopped?
"I don't know. There was a flash, like Derek said, and then there was a scream."
"Or screams," said Tanya and shuddered.
"And then?" Dave prompted. "What then?"
"Well, then nothing," said Derek. "Just nothing."
"So what are you saying Dave?" Geoff asked, turning to study the old man's face. There was no expression on it at all.
"I'm saying that something strange has happened here. We're not cold. We can't see anything. It feels like we're moving but we're not getting anywhere. And we've been here how long?"
Geoff took out his phone again to check the time and looked more closely this time. His heart fluttered. None of the symbols or characters on his phone were recognizable. It was like his phone had reset to another language, like Arabic or something. Some of the symbols looked familiar, but he couldn't make his eyes stick in one place long enough to make sense of things. He sat transfixed for a moment, pushing the home key, tapping the surface.
"Phone's busted," he said blankly, his hand shaking as he slid it back into his pocket.
"I'll check mine," said Derek. He took out his phone, switched it on and then, just as quickly, switched it off.
"What did it say?" asked Tanya.
Derek mumbled something inaudible.
"Derek," she repeated loudly, "what did it say?"
"I don't know," he said, despondently. "It's broken or something."
"So how long do you think we've been here?" Tanya asked the group. "They have to be coming for us by now, right?" Nobody answered.
Time passed as they sat. It could have been minutes and it could have been days. At times it felt like they were asleep, only to wake up and start talking again, picking up the thread of conversation mid-sentence where they had left off. Nobody felt cold, thirst or hunger. Nobody had to use the bathroom.
"I felt like I was about to say something," said Derek dreamily, "then I forget what it was."
Geoff swore loudly. "I should have stayed home. I should be with my wife and child right now, but no, I had to sneak up the mountain and now I'm in this — this hell!"
"Not hell," Dave corrected him, his voice calm and collected. "This is what they call Limbo."