I always follow my guts… And from the get go I could feel something was screwy with this new client… Zilverman may have been on the cover of Forbes and Time magazine as the wealthiest living entrepreneur but it didn’t tickle my fancy.

The man is pushing ninety with a bald skull all shiny and chrome and wears an oversized pair of glasses on his hooked nose. I didn’t like, in that order, his smug face, his futuristic spacecraft dedicated for hiking and his two bodyguards… See, he fell off a horse like the Superman actor years ago and found himself stuck on a wheelchair for life.

This accident didn’t refrain him from pursuing new endeavors. Climbing the dark side of Kangchenjunga between Nepal and India was one of them. The infamous gloomy side sends shivers down the spine to any qualified mountain guide… The white trail is crammed with colored parkas. Dozens of frozen corpses who failed to climb any farther.

I was also insanely short on cash… I agreed to lead the man up to the top with my Sherpa Hari. My new client showed up with this customized bubble with oversized tracks. The interior was designed by the manufacturer Hermès with a swanky calf leather dashboard… A 2 millions jewel that could overcome any slops bragged Zilverman… Cocky and vain if you ask me. But I hadn’t seen anything yet…

The weather forecasts were awful… But he seemed oblivious to that and even eager to tackle the trail… Little did I know that the upcoming storm was part of his plan…

 

On the second day we faced the first serious climb trail named after his most famous victim… Palatz was a Sherpa unanimously considered as one of the finest alpinists… He died alone in a cave amid the worst snowstorm ever recorded.

 

I was convinced that Zilverman would wise up, backtrack and resume his multi-billion deals 3 000 feet below. But again I had no idea what I was in for… His mountain capsule unveiled two automotive cables that pulled him up swiftly and smoothly. His bodyguards followed above in achopper…

 

Our third night started under the worst possible conditions… Snowfall was so thick that we found ourselves getting lost between our tents… The storm blew up our flaps so often that we didn’t sleep a wink… I urged my client to postpone the final climb and to slog towards better weather conditions.  Hari, my sherpa, stood by me until the two bodyguards pointed their handgun at us…

 

Hari was kneeled down with his arms tied down behind his back. One of Ziverlman’s bodyguard kept him in check with a gun. The other bully was setting up a weird magnetic drilling engine that started punching the ground as if they were hoping to see petrol squirting at one point.  

 

Zivelrman started talking to me from his heated, cushy module. Invisible loudspeakers were broadcasting his smug voice.  He was sipping tea from an LVMH thermos while listening to some classical music. 

 

Bianca… I really appreciate you… You are smart, lovely, and one of the best among your peers… But as much as I want this climbing to succeed, I must confess that this is not my main priority… I… I want to get back on my legs… I have tried everything and everything let me down. But here, hope lingers in the air… 

 

I didn’t have to listen more… I knew the legend… A victim offered to a beast could trigger a vow…

 

And the pounding of the ground was getting louder and louder… Far away, a roar broke through the upcoming storm. 

 

I’m leaving you Bianca… I will never forget your sacrifice…

 

I didn’t see it coming. The other bully jabbed me in the nape of the neck. I blacked out.

I woke up against a large vertical ice ring… My body was literally glued to the ice. I was frozen stiff. The bangs were no more. All hints of a previous encampment had vanished.

 

A shadow grew larger at my feet, along with deep roars and groans. And suddenly it obstructed my horizon with its huge mass of black fur. A gargantuan pinky tongue was dangling from a massive jaw. The creature was towering at least 10 feet, looming over me with an appalling stench of a midsummer dumpster. Two dots were scanning me through his long, thick strands of stinky hair. Those dots were as dark as the bottom of the ocean. I wanted to blow off the steam and scream my lungs out, but no sound exited my mouth… My lips were frozen…

 

He licked my face and I enjoyed a panoramic view of his windpipe. His fangs were cluttered with several pieces of rotten flesh. He could have easily gobbled my head. While his slimy tongue was running up and down my face, the thin layer of snow crust started to melt. For a second, I wished he would lick my body so I could escape this torment ASAP.

 

But dreams always clash against reality at some point. And I had reached that point.

I blacked out again. And I opened my eyes again… My heart in pulse pounding cruise… All of a sudden, the pieces of this nightmarish puzzle felt into place… Like Russian dolls piling up…


The feel of cold at 8000 feet ? The icy water I’m in right now. The drill on the ice crust ? That was this pipe bumping against my cryogenic chamber. And the hairy beast ? That was the grandson of Zivelrman running around with his Chewbaca mask on… What a nightmare… Let’s think right for a sec…


I’m a mountain climber… That’s for sure… And one of the best… I was the one suffering from crippled legs… I begged the best MDs around to give me a glint of hope but to no avail. The cryogenie program of professor Zivelrman came as the Carpathia for the Titanic, a promise of a better tomorrow. He was maybe scorned by his peers for his unorthodox practices, but I was ready to take my chance. A cryogenic freezing in his lab for an unknown trip until science would be ready to get me back on track.


Silly right ?


Something is not right anyway. I woke up but the lights are all off in the cryogenic chamber. Even worse, a doomy atmosphere lingers in the air. I spot a huge spider web between two computer dashboards… All of a sudden, a rat jogs casually before me. This can’t be real !


And then, it struck me real bad. Zivelrman, this son of a bitch, locking my cryogenic chamber with his unaltered vainglorious smile… His last sentence echoes on the remnants of my sanity.


I may join you, Bianca… Who knows ? I have a lot to bring to the future generations…


His vanity turned out to be a death sentence for both of us. His experience failed miserably and I’m stuck here forever.