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(Author’s note: This story features characters from my novel, although it is not a part of the novel.)

The grey-plaid sky sagged closer to the intrepid voyagers, the streaks of cool blues and threatening encroachment unnoticed.

Established beyond the turning point in a quest poleward, the brave explorers formed conditions faced through their words.  An oral howling wind offered aural signal of inclement frigidity beyond their tight confines.  With an unconscious shift, the two huddled closer inside their body-enwrapping blanket.

One held her morning lifeline of steaming coffee, the other a cup of hot chocolate buoying little marshmallows.  On their blanket lap, a half-empty dish displayed homemade cinnamon rolls, rare fodder in life-threatening conditions.

Outside their imaginings, away from the shield of an improvised tartan blanket, room temperature prevailed, a pristine environment impeccably cleaned the day before.  Nephew Dayton, two years older than his sister Delaney, hovered near the enclave.  Earlier, he decided playing the practise cello interested him more than a blanket fort constructed on a foundation of backwards-placed ladderback chairs.

A howling semi-whistle emoted from behind the blanket curtain followed by twin giggles, one adult, and one child.  The eleven year old regretted foregoing the imaginary expedition to observe climate-change threatened polar bears, but he couldn’t quite ask for admittance.

Inside the blanket fort, Aunt Tess said, “Dayton stopped playing the cello.  Shall we invite him in to join with us?  Maybe he changed his mind.”

Delaney agreed.  The dish of cinnamon rolls and coffee set aside.  Aunt Tess undertook her first polar rescue mission, first by asking and receiving a sheepish nod, and then by braving the kitchen for a second mug of hot chocolate.

Returned, she passed in the mug and tidied up their tiny shelter, adding room curios as weight to hold the blanket in place.  She crawled back inside with a tale of sub-zero weather and vision-hindering snow predicted to grow worse.