Avalanche Pass by John Flanagan

Avalanche Pass by John Flanagan

Author:John Flanagan [Flanagan, John]
Language: eng
Format: epub
Tags: Mystery
ISBN: 9781101559918
Publisher: Penguin
Published: 2013-12-09T16:00:00+00:00


TWENTY-SEVEN

BASE OF THE WHITE EAGLE CHAIRLIFT

SNOW EAGLES RESORT

WASATCH COUNTY

0840 HOURS, MOUNTAIN TIME

MONDAY, DAY 3

It had been a long, uncomfortable night. Jesse had left the shelter of the hotel around 11:40, a few minutes after the moon had set over White Eagle Ridge.

He had decided that moving across the open ground between the hotel and the chairlift system during daylight was simply too risky. He had no idea what sort of lookout was being kept from the roof and all it needed was one man looking down and seeing a figure moving in the open to give the entire game away.

Consequently, he had decided to make his move in darkness, spend the rest of the night in the chairlift terminal building and take the first chair up the mountain once they started running in the morning.

He’d collected some food from the pantry and used Tina’s pass card to let himself into several of the other rooms on the fifth floor, where he helped himself to the minibars, taking a few bottles of soda and as many of water as he could lay his hands on. He’d loaded his supplies into a small skier’s backpack that he found in one of the rooms, then spent the remaining time fashioning a poncho-like garment from one of the hotel’s white bedcovers. With the white poncho draped over his head and shoulders, his dark-colored ski clothes would be less visible as he moved across the snow-covered ground to the chairlift terminal.

That nerve-racking journey was one of the longest in Jesse’s life. He pushed off from the sheltering bulk of the hotel building, gliding smoothly on his skis across the flat, white ground. It was about one hundred and fifty yards to the terminal and for every inch of it, Jesse’s shoulders twitched expectantly, waiting for the shout to come from above and behind him, followed by a hail of automatic fire. Even without a moon, the snow-covered ground provided a terrifyingly bright light. The white camouflage provided by the poncho seemed pitifully inadequate. It was only when he finally glided into the dark shadow of the terminal building that Jesse realized he had been holding his breath, in a ridiculous attempt to make himself less conspicuous. His upper body was soaked with nervous sweat.

The terminal was simply a large metal shed, open at either end, where the chairlift ran in from the mountain, disconnected onto a slow speed bullwheel while skiers took their seats, then reconnected to the fast-moving cable to speed away up the mountain again. The sides and roof were intended to provide a certain amount of cover for the skiers and the lift attendants during bad weather. But it definitely wasn’t designed as a place to spend the night in below-freezing conditions. There was a small, enclosed cabin for the lift attendants. The door was locked but Jesse rammed an elbow through the glass window and let himself in. He huddled down on the floor of the little cabin, wrapping the poncho around him, cursing the sweat that was now clammy and freezing on his body.



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