The prompt at Writer's Island is: Wondrous
Lying stretched out to full extent on my bed, I’m staring at the steel toes of my boots and listening to the howling winds buffering the sides of the tent as though trying desperately to get inside and freeze us all solid in a mass. Beside me lies the captain, breathing slowly and laboriously. To him every breath is an effort, a measure of time passing, minutes ticking away. On my other side is the still form of Doctor Wilson, already dead. At least that’s what I imagine – I can’t actually see him, as my neck won’t allow me to turn my head far enough… or maybe some part of the heavy clothing I’m wearing prevents me. Or maybe the doctor has not been there at all, maybe we left him somewhere outside, wondering across the icy wastes, searching for a way back through the blizzard, battling against the horrors of frostbite, always searching for a way back… though it is too late now for the winter darkness is already upon us and there is no hope now. We lost, all three of us, we reached the south pole some months ago but found it was useless, we were too late. And so what was there left to do but to come back? But even then, we knew there was no point… we were already lost, even as we set out to return.
I turn my face very slightly to the left, framed by the furred edges of my hood I can just make out the form of Captain Scott, his face ashen white against the brown canvas sides of the tent behind him. his face seems frozen and stiff, even though he’s still living – or at least, I think he is. Upon his face I can see the traces of the wondrous sights we have seen, the light fantastic. Such sights can never be forgotten, they leave their mark upon his pale skin… which twitches a little to string together a few words.
“Bowers… is Wilson… dead?”
Several long moments pass before I can muster up before I can force myself to speak, for my own lips are so dry now.
“I… think so.”
I think I’ve said those words, but I may be wrong… maybe I said nothing at all. The captain doesn’t seem aware anyway, his smile is fixed in place, to no one in particular. When he speaks once again, his words float across the frozen spaces between us, as if suspended there by the cold.
“I have seen… such wondrous sights that will never leave me…”
He’s silent then. I lie there and listen to the wind… I’ve never felt so frightened, so completely alone. I will be the last man to die.