Originally written by Jaycie Ewald for Boreal Alyph
Creative Writing

Gordon stumbled through the cave entrance, falling to the floor. The raging storm outside had sapped all but the last of his energy. Gordon scrambled to his feet and took cover behind some debris. He prepared a grenade for the Combine soldiers that were right on his tail. After several seconds, a squad of Combine Enforcers came into view. He pulled the pin and tossed the grenade towards the mouth of the cave. The Officer barked orders and dove for cover. Gordon shielded himself behind his cover. With a reverberating crash, the grenade exploded. The rock around him began to shake, and within seconds a mountain of snow and rubble had completely blocked the cave entrance.

He fumbled in the sudden pitch darkness. As his eyes adjusted, a large shape manifested itself in front of him. Gordon clicked on his flashlight. In the dim light he saw what seemed to be the overturned hull of a small boat, badly decayed and torn. Stenciled on the side was a single word that made his blood run cold: “BOREALIS”. It must have been one of the doomed ship’s lifeboats. It had clearly been there a very, very long time.

He couldn’t dwell on it. They knew exactly where he was and wouldn’t be long before they dug through his accidental blockade. Flashlight in hand, Gordon descended into the depths. Deeper in the cave, he saw more evidence of habitation. The remains of a fire sat in a small clearing. On the far wall sat a rotting skeleton near a lonely cairn of stones.

A light gust of air breezed past him. A connection to the outside world must be somewhere nearby.

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