Wednesday Briefs: Close Call

This week Avery is piggy-backing on a flash fiction piece she wrote on Monday. This week’s Wednesday Briefs piece is titled Close Call and features Daniel and Ian. If you read Swiss Delight, this story is set a couple of days after that one.

Don’t worry, we’ll catch-up with Det. Henry LaSalle and his nightmares soon, but this week we’ll be in Switzerland with the boys.

Photo courtesy of Kevin Mitnak

The writing prompt in this story was the use of: Nature, First, and Wish. See if you can spot them in the story. Remember, too, the story has to be 500-1000 words.

Don’t forget to check out stories from the rest of this week’s Wednesday Briefs crew (you’ll find their links below).

Close Call


Avey Dawes

Daniel glanced at the clock before shutting down his computer. It was half past six. Technically his work day ended at five o’clock sharp. Swiss bankers were dedicated—at least in theory—so he’d agreed to stay late at his boss’s request. What a long ass day! He shook his head and donned his wool overcoat. Hopefully Ian would be in the mood to go for a beer tonight. Daniel was in desperate need of several.

The security guard nodded as Daniel pushed through the outer door and onto the bustling sidewalk of Route de Verbier Station. Lovely. His walk home would be filled with wealthy European skiers on holiday. With any luck, he could avoid being whacked by a pair of snow-covered skis.

He skillfully rounded a group of French women who were well on their way to inebriation. Taking in his coat, tie, and worn leather briefcase, they pointed and giggled, smiling flirtatiously. Not going to happen. You don’t have any parts that interest me. At least their bright parkas made them easy to spot—and avoid.

The crowds never relented as he turned onto Rue de Médran. Only a couple more blocks until I’m home. Not that Daniel enjoyed calling the shabby studio home. However, it was all he and Ian could afford in the pricey resort town.

When they’d spoken of moving to Switzerland, Daniel had envisioned a modest chalet on a green meadow, surrounded by nature and the bucolic sound of tolling cow bells. Ian, though, had other wishes. He liked being in the heart of the action—both skiing and nightlife. Daniel relented when Credit Suisse offered him a nice signing bonus. Between his salary and Ian’s, they could afford to live just outside Place Centrale.

Daniel unlocked the door and was greeted by their barking pug, Monte. The dog squeezed by Daniel, in a hurry to relieve himself after being trapped inside all day. Daniel’s briefcase thunked when he dropped it on the scuffed wood floor. He threw his coat over the back of the sofa.

Leaning outside, he whistled for Monte, and the pug trotted back. “Did you have a good day, boy?” He knelt and scratched the pug under the chin. The dog licked at his hand before walking to his water dish.

First things first. Lose the suit and don a pair of comfortable jeans and a sweater.

After he finished changing, he checked his cell. Ian should have been home by now. Maybe he got caught late on the mountain with a client? The weather had been cloudy all day. Maybe visibility had impaired some of the lifts.

His stomach rumbled, reminding him that he’d skipped lunch. Daniel really needed to eat. And soon. The hell with it. He dialed Ian’s cell and crossed his fingers his boyfriend would answer.

After four rings, a strange voice said, “Hello?” The speaker was definitely French and definitely not Ian, who hailed from one of London’s many suburbs.

Daniel paused, a million thoughts jumbling his mind. Why was some strange man answering Ian’s phone?

The voice repeated a bit more insistently, “Hello? Salut? Is someone there?”

“Yes.” Daniel cleared his throat. “Yes, of course. I’m looking for Ian. Ian Jameson.”

Daniel paced the small living room-kitchen area while he waited. He heard voices hurriedly speaking French in the background, but he couldn’t decipher what was being said.

Finally, the original speaker came returned. “Is this Daniel? Ian’s boyfriend?”

“Yes. What’s wrong? Where’s Ian?” Daniel raked a hand through his short hair, trying not to imagine the worst case scenario.

A scratchy radio transmission sounded in the background. “Daniel, I’m Gérard Séverin, a Valais Mountain Rescue Team Leader. There’s been a small avalanche. Ian and his group were caught in it—”

“Where’s Ian now? Is he hurt? How do you have his phone?” He couldn’t help the rapid-fire questions, but that was the last thing he’d expected to hear. A sense of defeat weighing him down, Daniel sank onto the couch, his head bowed.

Monsieur Jameson is in communication with us via radio. He left his phone in his locker.” The team leader’s voice softened. “He knew you’d be worried so he instructed us to retrieve it.”

“But he’s okay?” Daniel couldn’t focus on details. He needed the man to reassure him Ian was going to be fine.

Oui, monsieur. He is still on the mountain, and has suffered only minor injuries.”

Daniel relaxed, a sense of relief permeating his body. “Thank God! When will he be down? Is there somewhere I should go?”

“Weather conditions are limiting our rescue options at the moment. Once he’s off the mountain, he’ll be transported to the Institut Médico de Sion. Are you familiar with it?

“Vaguely. It’s fine, I can get directions…” What to do in the meantime? Waiting was going to kill Daniel.

Gérard seemed to sense Daniel’s unease. “Why don’t you wait for my call? I can let you know when he’s being transported.”

“That would be much appreciated. Thank you. Merci.”

Although he wouldn’t be completely relieved until he saw and touched Ian, at least he felt like he had a mission. Ian would need Daniel to be strong. That meant food, though he’d skip the beer. Hopefully by the time he finished a light dinner, Gérard would call and Daniel could be on his way to Sion.

Check out stories from these Briefers:

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