Snowed In!

by Peter Conrad

Part 1

© 2021 Peter Conrad All rights reserved

This is a translation of my original German story "Eingeschneit".


You better watch out
you better not cry,
you better not pout
I'm tellin' you why,
Santa Claus is coming to town…

Yuck… My right hand jerked to the radio, and shortly thereafter the pre-Christmas drone of the local radio station was replaced by the summery mix from my iPhone. Much better. Even though " summery" didn't necessarily fit the weather and season, and certainly not the road conditions. I carefully steered the heavy SUV along the narrow side road, from which the access road to our mountain cabin would branch off at some point in the white thicket. If I could recognize the access road at all in the prevailing snowfall.

Perhaps it had not been such a good idea trying to escape the pre-Christmas family stress by running off to the lonely cabin. But I just couldn't take it anymore. Four days to go until Christmas Eve, and the house was already overflowing with relatives who didn't want to miss out on spending the holidays in the snow-covered mountains. I actually had nothing against the family, but a set of grandparents, plus three aunts, two uncles, two nephews and a niece were a hard test for my nerves, which were actually set up for relaxation. The final straw came when my parents ordered me to share my sanctuary (i.e. my room) with my little brother for the next few days. Okay, Tom was only a good year younger than me, we got along well most of the time - but that was only because we weren't constantly on each other's turf. A week or more in one room? That would end in murder!

So I fought for the freedom to retire to our cabin for the time being. At first my parents wanted to force my two nephews on me, who were very keen on the forest and snow, but I was able to block that. I was ordered to be back by the 24th, and then I was allowed to leave.

The weather had served me another happy concession: I was allowed to use my father's Jeep, with my little Mazda 3 under my butt the trip would have been even more adventurous. I had packed the trunk of the big SUV with food and clothes, so nothing stood in the way of relaxing days. Nothing but the weather, but I would not need more than half an hour now.

Part of my brain was already occupied with what I would do with myself and the world in the next few days. A little skiing, some hiking, reading, and generally lounging away from civilization. There was no phone, no television, no computer at the cabin - the little electricity that was needed was provided by a diesel generator. Although my mother had insisted that I take my smartphone with me, I had no intention of turning it on. Except for the control call each evening, but that was to be my only contact with the outside world for the next few days. What a wonderful idea…

But what was that? Was that my cabin access road already? And why was there a small car hanging in the ditch, nicely wedged between a tree and a snow bank? I stopped and got out. No, that was not yet the access road to our hut, that was just a forester's road. And why the small car was hanging around there so incongruously became clear to me after a quick look at the tires. Summer slippers. But the car had license plates from our area! Which local was THAT stupid?

The car wasn't particularly dented, it probably hadn't been going fast and had simply slid sideways. The snow clearly showed the traces of the attempts to get the car on the road again. Well, no chance, the car could not be moved under its own power until spring at the earliest. I went closer and peered into the car, which I had meanwhile identified as a Ford Fiesta. Empty. I glanced around the perimeter.

Hello, anyone there?"

No answer. Things were getting stranger and stranger. A native would never set out on this drive with summer tires. And he wouldn't move away from the car after an accident in the wilderness either, but wait on the spot for help.

However, if he didn't have a cell phone with him…. Hmm. I hadn't encountered a car since leaving the main road. Waiting for help could take a loooooong time. I put a hand on the hood. Already pretty cold. Who knows how long the car had been sitting here. On the other hand, there was hardly any snow on the body. In any case, I didn't really understand the situation. And what do you do in such a case? Right. You ask someone who knows better. I went back to my car, got in and picked up the handset from the dashboard.

Wolf One for Wolf One-Seventeen!"

Wolf One listening - geez, Fabian, I told you to keep your hands off the radio!"

Hehe, indeed he had. I could have used the cell phone, but the radio was somehow cooler.

Sorry, Pops, it's important. Are you guys aware of an accident on county road 87?"

An accident? Are you okay?"

Yeah, I'm fine. But there's a car stuck to a tree here, and not a soul in sight for miles."

Wait a moment, I'll see if I can find out anything…"

I waited and looked in all directions some more. There really wasn't a living thing in sight except me.

I just checked with the morning shift again - there's been no accident reported to us. Can you give me the license plate number?"

X dash YZ 32."

I'm checking. And you say there's no one on the scene?"

No, just the empty car. I guess it wasn't a bad crash, but the car only has summer tires on it and it's stuck for the time being."

Hm. According to the license plate, it's a Ford, seasonal plates, actually deregistered from November to April. I'll see if I can reach the owner. Will you please stay on site?"

All right. I'll take a look around and see if I can spot any tracks."

Good, I'll get right back to you. Wolf One out."

To explain, Wolf One was the call sign of the county's police dispatch center. My dad was on duty there at the moment; he wore the hat as a chief inspector. And with that he was in my eyes exactly the correct person to contact in case of accidents and other mysteries.

I got out of the car again and went back to the crashed Ford. There were a few footprints around the car, but one of them was the most interesting: it apparently led away from the car, along the forester's road into the woods. Because of the snowfall, there wasn't much of it left to see, but where the path was particularly well protected by trees, I could clearly see footprints. Pretty big footprints…

Wolf One-Seventeen for Wolf One!"

I sprinted back to the car.

One-Seventeen is listening."

Faby, I can't reach anyone at the owners place. Did you find anything else?"

Yeah, footprints leading into the woods. Forester's road 12a, by the way."

Into the woods? What kind of idiot is that!"

Wolf One, radio discipline!"

Shut up, kiddo."

Pops, maybe he thought it was 14a? Then he'd get to the Stone Valley Inn via the trail. That wouldn't be half as far as the K87 back to the main road."

Then he'd be in for an unpleasant surprise."

Indeed. Forester's road 12a led in a wide arc through the forest, with only a single path branching off from it, which led across some steep climbs to our cabin. In this weather and the current snow conditions, it would take several hours.

What do you want me to do? Are you going to send someone here?"

I guess I have to. I'll alert the mountain rescue squad and send a patrol car to you. Can you still get through with a normal car or do I have to send a four-wheeler?"

I quickly looked around. The road was already pretty snow-covered, and it continued to snow. Not particularly heavily, but continuously.

A normal car would probably make it this far - but if you want it to get back as well, a four-wheeler would be safer."

Smart ass. Okay, I'll initiate everything."

Do you want me to follow the footprints ? "

Fabian, this is not an adventure game. I don't want my people having to look for not only the driver but you as well."

I can drive the car into the forester's road, because of the trees the snow is not that high here."

The answer took a moment, someone was probably thinking hard.

Fine, but only as far as you can get by car, I don't want you trying to find the driver on foot! Promise me that!"

I promise."

Good, check in every fifteen minutes whether you've found anything or not. Wolf One out."

I put the radio handset in its cradle, got out, walked around the car and sat in the driver's seat. As soon as the engine was running, I rolled down both front side windows and turned off the radio - maybe I could hear calls for help. Then I carefully maneuvered the SUV off the road and down onto the forester's road. Fortunately, I already had some experience with such driving situations. Although I had only had my driver's license since my 18th birthday, which was just six months ago, my concerned parents had sent me to a driving safety training course - with the professional who also trained the local police and rescue services. The course also included a few hours of off-road driving, which I now benefited from.

Fortunately, under the loose fresh snow was a packed snow cover - obviously the forester's road had been used often in the last few days. Nevertheless, I rolled more or less at walking speed only, I did not want to take any risks.

Behind the first bend I found - nothing. Behind the second one as well, and also when I came around the third one, I saw nothing but snow and trees. There was also nothing to hear except the engine - the snow muffled all sounds. However I saw human footprints and also those of animals, it was clear that I was not completely alone in the forest.

I did not know how far I had gone into the forest already, I had forgotten to look at the odometer. But I had already been on the road for a good 20 minutes and fortunately I just remembered that I was supposed to report to my dad regularly. I turned the radio back on.

Wolf One for Wolf One-Seventeen."

Wolf One listening."

Sorry, so far I haven't been able to spot anything. But the tracks lead further into the woods."

Okay, keep driving, but slow and easy. We've got another… "

Hold on!"

What's going on , Faby?!? "

Interesting question. I had found someone - or rather, someone had found me. However, it could hardly be the driver who had been in the accident.

Pop, a dog is running at me."

A dog? "

Yes, he came around the corner of the path, and now he's standing in front of the car, wagging his tail."

Just watch out, not that it's a stray with rabies or whatever."

A stray, in the middle of winter? Probably not. Besides, the dog looked far too well-groomed for that.

Doesn't look like it, Pop. It's a Golden Retriever, and it's well fed and well cared for. Now he's barking at the car."

The dog barked, wagged, kept turning in the direction from which he had come from. Maybe he wanted me to follow him? Sure enough, he ran a few steps away, turned, barked again, and waited. It was almost like in the Lassie movies.

Pop, I'll go after the dog and get back to you."

You do that, but like I said, be careful."

Will do. Over and out."

I concentrated on driving and following the tail-wagger, who now, realizing I was following him, fell into a steady trot. After two more turns in the road, he suddenly sped away about a hundred yards and started to jump around a human sitting on a pile of felled trees. The human was hugging the dog and petting him - so presumably he hadn't frozen to death yet. Slowly, I scooted closer.

Wolf One for Wolf One-Seventeen!"

Wolf One copy."

I think I got the driver. Squatting here on a pile of logs, still looking pretty much alive. I'm getting out of the car now."


I had arrived at the log pile in the meantime, stopped the car and got out. The dog owner rose from his seat, and I eyed him up and down. Jeans, quilted jacket, boots, scarf, gloves and hat - well, at least he had given himself some winter equipment, if not his car. He was young and - as far as this was recognizable underneath the thick clothes - sporty, and from under the cap wide-open brown eyes looked at me.

Holy shit… NO! Not him! Why me of all people? This couldn't be true….

I had suddenly recognized who stood opposite me, and also the dog inserted itself now smoothly into the picture. And also my opposite realized who I was, the small grin of the mouth fell together in itself, and the jaw folded down.

You? "

YOU?!? "


Unbelievable. Fabian, of all people. Okay, I was very happy that someone had found me at all, and even more so someone with a temptingly warm looking car, but did it have to be Fabian?

But let's start from the beginning. A few hours ago my life was still in order, and I was on my way to my girlfriend Melanie. I had come home a day earlier than planned from a training trip with the German Red Cross, where I was doing a voluntary year of community service, and I wanted to surprise Melanie with my visit. We had been having some stress lately, and I hoped to make things better with a bouquet of flowers and a small gift. The surprise worked out - however, it was not a nice one. Let's put it this way: finding my girlfriend in bed with my hitherto best friend was not exactly one of my favorite happenings. As a result, I was now missing a girlfriend, and my former best friend was missing two teeth.

After making sure our local dental plumber got some business, I ran home. I was in a daze and didn't really know what I was doing. When I got home and my sister started yelling at me about " Storm in Lover's Land" or something like that, it was clear to me that I had to get away. Aunt Resa in Rabach had been nagging me for a long time already to visit her (and use that opportunity to repair her shower stall), so I decided to head there. I quickly packed up a few things, grabbed Arko, our (actually my) Golden Retriever, and headed out. Stupidly, my car was in the workshop, but there was still my mother's old Fiesta in the garage. Hardly anyone drove it anymore anyway.

Sadly, the car's condition matched the rare usage, which I only noticed when I had left the cleared streets of the village behind me. I could hardly keep the car in the lane, but fortunately there was almost no other traffic, so that I had the whole width of the road at my disposal most of the time. If I had been in my right mind, I would have turned around anyway, but that's not what happened.

I was fighting my way along the K87 when suddenly the tires lost their last grip and I slid into the ditch with the car rudderless. Fortunately, I was traveling very slowly anyway, so that everything happened almost in slow motion and neither Arko nor I were injured. The car didn't seem to have suffered any major damage either, but after a few luckless attempts it was clear to me that there was no way I was going to get it on the road again on my own.

So I was stuck. After waiting a few minutes and hoping that some other car would show up and bring help, I realized that I would have to help myself. Well, I had my cell phone with me…

…didn' t I? Shit! The cell phone was in my backpack. My backpack was where I had left it the last time: in the hallway of Melanie's apartment. The day was getting better and better!

After another five minutes without a soul showing up, I realized that I'd better get on my way back to civilization. I looked around and recognized the area. Or at least I thought I recognized the area. From here it would be about 10 kilometers along the road back to the main road - but via this forest path I would get to the Stone Valley Inn, only three or four kilometers, always nicely downhill, and from there I could make a phone call. It's obvious which way I decided to go, isn't it?

So Arko and I trudged through the snowy winter forest. The dog seemed to have a lot of fun, at least he raced enthusiastically around me in big laps.

At the beginning I managed to walk quite well, under the new snow was firm soil, so that I did not sink in much. The clear air made sure that slowly but surely my mind cleared up, which didn't really make it easier for me to deal with Melanie and René. As I said, there had been problems between Melanie and me, but I actually thought that they were small problems that we could have solved together. Obviously Melanie was of a different opinion….

At what point I first noticed that there was something wrong with my path, I can't say anymore. I had been walking for about three quarters of an hour when my doubts became bigger and bigger. Somehow I had the way differently in memory, it did not go constantly downhill as it should. But maybe around the next corner…

Fiddlesticks. After the next corner there was only one more corner, and it became more and more clear to me that this was not the way to the Stone Valley Inn. What now? Should I march back to the car and hope that someone would come along there? While I was thinking about it and walking slowly, I suddenly slipped, and the next moment I was lying on the ground.

Fortunately, it was not a hard fall, I was able to catch myself to some extent, and the soft snow also helped. Nevertheless, when I got up, I found that my right hip had taken some damage, and I could walk only with difficulty. The pile of wood at the side of the path came at just the right moment, and I sat down to collect my thoughts and to think about how to proceed.

Arko had noticed that something was wrong with me and sat down in front of me in the snow.

Well, big guy, I got myself into a mess here."


I guess that was supposed to mean " Yes, you dumb ass!". I gently stroked the silky fur on his head. Suddenly that head jerked up, and Arko's ears perked up.

Do you hear something, Arko?"


Translation: " Sure thing, you deaf nut!"

As if I could help it that dogs hear so much better than humans. After a while, though, I heard it, too: engine noise! Some vehicle was coming along the path, slowly but steadily approaching. It was a heavy engine, well, a small car wouldn't make the trip here anyways.

Run, Arko, check it out and get help!"

The dog had apparently understood me, because he raced away, towards the source of the noise. A few minutes later, he reappeared at the bend in the road, followed by a large, red SUV slowly inching its way along. Saved. Thank God.

When Arko caught sight of me, he rushed to me and jumped on me, and shortly after I felt his tongue in my face. He was probably also glad that we were no longer alone in the wilderness.

In the meantime, the off-road vehicle came closer and closer until it stopped at a distance of three or four meters from my woodpile. The driver's door opened, the driver jumped out of the car and came toward me. A tall, slender, young man wearing a fur cap with earflaps approached me, only to stop, completely puzzled and perplexed.


And I, too, had recognized him by now.

YOU?!? "


Reiko. Reiko Heilmann. Ice hockey star of our little town, constantly surrounded by girls, almost certainly dumb as bean straw (I'm just saying: summer tires!), and generally someone I could well have done without saving.

While I was staring at him and he at me, his dog was happily jumping around us, and I couldn't resist, I just had to pet him. I squatted down and started cuddling him. After all, he wasn't responsible for his stupid master.

Well, you sly little fellow, you've lured me here nicely."

Yeah, Arko's a smart one."

I looked up at Reiko's face, where surprise had given way to a slight grin.

He must be, he has to do the thinking for his owner, too."

The grin turned back into a rigid mask.

Why are you driving through the snow with summer tires, and why are you traipsing around in the wilderness completely disoriented?"

None of your business!"

Yeah, right. But getting you out of this mess, that's my business, isn't it?"

I didn't ask to be rescued by you!"

Well great, then I can get the hell out of here!"

We stood close, staring furiously into each other's eyes. Then a low, menacing growl was heard from our feet. Arko did not seem to be happy about our quarrel.

Very slowly, we relaxed again, and we probably wouldn't jump at each other's throats this time (yet).

Can you take me somewhere where I can make a phone call and wait for someone to pick me up?"

I sighed. Well, since I was here anyway….

Get in the car first."

Do you want Arko in the back?"

No, he'll have to sit at your feet, the trunk is full."


Now, as Reiko walked to the passenger door, I saw for the first time that he was limping.

Did you hurt yourself in the accident?"

No, I slipped earlier."

Badly? "

No. Why the sudden concern for me?"

I just don't want to have half a corpse in the car and then have it completely die on me on the way."

Don't worry, you won't get rid of me that easily."

Crap. I got in on the driver's side. The engine still running, I rolled up the windows and turned the heater to full blast. Reiko sat next to me, the dog in front of him at his feet. I reached for the radio.

Wolf One for Wolf One-Seventeen!"

Wolf One listening."

I found the driver."

Any injuries?"

Just a slight bruise from a slip and a bruised ego."

Well, that's all right then. I've reached the parents in the meantime, they're pretty worried."

As I said, everything's okay. Driver and - more importantly - dog are fine. I'm taking them both down to town now, but it may take a while."

Faby, there's a problem. K87 is closed in both directions. Snow drifts and broken branches, there's nothing we can do about it for now."

Ohoh, that didn't sound good at all.

And what does that mean for me now?"

For both of you, it means that you should go to the cabin. And as quickly as possible, not that the way there is also blocked. There you can wait comfortably in the warmth until the situation has relaxed a bit."

Help! Not that! I looked over at Reiko, who was also giving me a pained look.

Don't you think we can get through to the town in the SUV?"

No! The danger of you getting stuck is far too great, and then I'd have to send more people out into the snow chaos to rescue you. So let's go, get ready! Report back when you get to the cabin. Wolf One, out!"


The school faggot, of all people, had to find me! Two years ago, Fabian what's-his-name had caused THE scandal of recent school history at our High School, when he had answered an eighth grader's " Are you gay, dude?" with " Yes, I am. Next question!".

Okay, I had to give him some kind of respect for the way he so dryly blurted that out and abruptly silenced 50 people in the immediate vicinity. I had not expected that from him. I didn't really have anything against gays, but what he said afterwards I still thought was stupid. When someone asked him what had pushed him to this completely surprising coming out, he answered something like " Now I can finally officially stare at the cute guys." And that's exactly what he did extensively from then on. There wasn't a reasonably good-looking boy over 14 in school that he hadn't flirted with.

This and his status as a school genius (he had even skipped a grade and had therefore finished high school a year earlier than me, although we were the same age) contributed to our growing estrangement. In kindergarten we had been the best of friends, in elementary school until he changed classes we were still quite good friends, but from then on things went downhill. I couldn't relate much with his " highly intellectual" world - and he not with my hockey world. After a while, I thought he was just a nerdy bookworm and let him know it. In return, he made it very clear that he thought I was a brain-dead jock. From then on we avoided each other as much as possible. And now he of all people had to find me…

Fabian made it clear to me again that I was an absolute idiot in his eyes. Okay, just walking into the forest, into the wrong way on top of it, was certainly not a brilliant performance - but just waiting at the deserted street would not have been ideal either.

And now I was sitting next to him in the car, Arko at my feet, hoping that the heating would soon provide a comfortable temperature. My rescuer reached for the gear knob of the automatic transmission, and the car started rolling. Oddly enough, further in the direction I had been marching, which would only take us further away from the road.

Where are you going?"

To find a place to turn around? Or should I back up the whole way?"

Which I guess had proven my stupidity to him once again. After about two hundred meters we reached a fork in the road, which Fabian now used to turn the car around. Then I remembered something.

Doesn't this path here also lead to your cabin?"

I had never been there, but knew roughly where it was.


Then why don't we go this way?"

The trail is too steep, at least in these weather conditions. We'll backtrack to the road and then take the correct access road."

Okay. Then I can take my bag out of the car, I didn't want to carry it earlier."

Wow. That's a sensible idea. You're getting smarter…"


Pleased to meet you, Roecker."

I didn't mean to, but I had to grin a little. Quick-witted Fabian had always been, it was something I had admired about him since I was a little boy.

We drove on in silence through the white splendor, and fifteen minutes later we had reached the unconventional parking lot of my poor little car. Fabian pulled over, and I set about getting out.


What is it?"

Nothing much, just my hip hurts a little."

Sit tight and give me the keys, I'll get your bag."

I looked at Fabian in amazement. He was going to help me? Completely voluntarily, without my asking him to? My surprise must have been obvious, because he shrugged and held out his right hand to me, demanding the car keys. I rummaged in my jacket pocket and handed them to him.

Here. The big gym bag from the trunk, and the bag next to it. There's food and stuff in there for Arko."


Hm. The dog seemed to be very close to his heart, which got me into a bit of trouble. On the one hand, I was convinced that someone who loved animals couldn't really be a bad person - on the other hand: Reiko was just Reiko.

I got out and went to the unfortunate summer Ford. The quicker I got it over with, the quicker we'd get to the cabin - and the idea of being stuck in a car somewhere, snowed in, scared me a little.

The lock on the trunk was frozen, but as an experienced, hardy mountain dweller, I naturally had a bottle of de-icer spray in my jacket pocket. Shortly thereafter, I packed the required gym bag and bag of dog paraphernalia into the SUV's trunk.

Anything else you need from the car?"

No, thanks, that's all. I travel light."

Just as well. I locked the Fiesta again, took off my thick jacket, which I no longer needed in the now well-heated car, got in, and off we went on the drive that would now hopefully take us to the cabin. At the start the wheels spun a little, but then the electronic helpers intervened, and it went forward reasonably fast.

It was snowing harder and harder, and the road conditions got worse by the minute. After about a kilometer I discovered the access road to the cabin and carefully steered the car into the deeply snow-covered path. Reiko peered somewhat doubtfully through the windshield.

Can we get through there?"

Yeah, no problem. There's no normal forest floor under the snow but a gravel road."

Since we were also renting out the cabin to tourists, a reasonable access road had been imperative. Not that some city slicker with a lowered VW Golf could sue us for damage to his car.

The road led through the forest for about 2 kilometers, always slightly uphill, and after a larger number of curves, the trees opened up in front of us, and in a clearing we spotted the cabin.

Pinch me!"

Why? So your dog can bite me or what?"

THIS is your cabin?"

Yes? "

By now we had arrived, and I reached for the radio.

Wolf One for Wolf One-Seventeen!"

Wolf One listening."

We've arrived at the cabin safe and sound, Pops."

Thanks for the info, I'll pass that along to your mom and Reiko's parents so everyone can be relieved."

Tell mom I said hi."

I will. She'll be very sad that you probably won't be there Christmas Eve, I doubt the roads will all be clear by then."

And I regretted that soooo much, the beautiful big family celebration! However…

Pops, that's still four days away! Do you think the weather will be that bad?"

We just got a severe weather warning in from the weather service, new snow up to a meter is to be expected in the next two to three days. In addition, there will be strong winds with the corresponding drifts. So you better not expect to return anytime soon."

That didn't sound so good, this morning the weather report had sounded quite different. But that was just the way it was in the mountains, the weather sometimes changes between lacing up the left and right shoe.

Okay, Pops, we'll survive."

Hopefully. With Reiko at the cabin. For days.

Well, that's what I think, you're both old enough. Okay, I have to take care of other things. If anything comes up, call or radio in an emergency. Your mother is guaranteed to call tonight, so turn on the cell phone!"

Will do."

Good. Wolf One - out!"

I hung up the handset, and we got out of the car. Reiko was still staring wide-eyed around the area.

You call this a cabin ? "

What else?"

Geez, it's a full-blown house!"

Well, I guess you could look at it that way. I went to the door and unlocked it.

Come on in, I'll fire up the generator and the heater."

It was dark in the cabin, which was because the shutters were closed and the only light coming in was through the open door. I grabbed a flashlight and marched to the equipment room. Behind a heavy, thickly padded door was the diesel generator, which I started with the push of a button. Fortunately, it started immediately. I left the room, and after closing the insulating door, hardly anything could be heard from the generator.

Let there be light!"

With these words, I flipped on the light switch for the main room. This was a combination of living room and kitchen, where kitchen meant a bottle-fired gas stove with three burners and baking oven, a sink, a coffee maker, and a microwave. A small counter with three bar stools separated the kitchen area from the living area, where two armchairs, a two-seater and a three-seater stood around in front of a fireplace. On the ground in front of the seating was the proverbial bearskin - albeit an artificial one. Otherwise, the room - as well as the entire rest of the cabin - was covered with wooden planks.

Wow, a palace."

Now don't get carried away…"

Are there more rooms?"

Yes, or do you think we'll sleep here on the bearskin?"

Sounds romantic…"

I had to agree with Reiko on that one. I should probably try it out with a suitable boy when I get a chance.

There are two bedrooms, a big one with a double and two single beds and a small one with a double bed."

What about a bathroom?"

Is also available, including a shower."

Whew, good to hear that. I saw the outhouse out there and was already fearing the worst."

Well that really would have been extremely unpleasant, especially now in winter!

Nah, that hasn't been in use for ages, it's just decoration."

So it's a palace after all. How did you actually get that cabin? There's officially no building allowed out here as far as I know."

The whole thing originally belonged to the Federal Border Patrol, they had a base here. After reunification, of course, it was no longer needed, so we were able to buy the cabin for little money. They also left behind the generator, we then renewed the sanitary installation and renovated a little, and that was it."


Here a little renovated, there a little renewed, that was it. That could be called the understatement of the year. I had to admit that I was impressed by the house in the forest.

I heard that you also rent out the cabin. So why is it all empty now at the height of the season?"

Actually, the cabin would be occupied, but we got a cancellation two days ago. The people who booked the cabin over Christmas have a death in the family and had to fly to Australia. Now we don't have someone coming until the 29th, and they'll stay until January 5th."

Well, I guess I have to thank them, only because of that you came around and were able to find me."

Rescue. Not find. Big difference. Yeah, thank them."

Blah blah blah… I would probably hear that over and over again now.

Will you help me open the shutters?"

Well, that was the least I could do.


Okay, you open the windows and unlock the shutters from the inside, and I'll go around the outside and fix the shutters."

Cool, I didn't even need to go back out in the cold.

Just here in this room?"

No, through that door are the bedrooms. But start here in the living room with the far left window."

As you wish."

Fabian went back outside, Arko glanced back and forth between the door and me, then decided to follow my host. Unloyal fellow. Well, the dog was downright snow-happy, no wonder he took every chance to get out.

I went to the first window, opened it, released the latch on the wooden shutters and pushed them open.

Ouch! Are you trying to beat me to death or what?"

Oops… Fabian had already been standing in front of the window, waiting for me to open it. I guess he hadn't counted on my momentum.

Sorry! How could I know that you're standing right in front of it. Are you okay?"

Yeah, no harm done, must have been more the scare."

I had to grin slightly. In my head I saw the headline of tomorrow's newspaper: Death by shutter! Exclusive report on pages 2 to 5!

In the meantime Fabian had hooked the shutters to the wall of the house and we went to the next window. There I was much more careful in pushing open the shutters, but Fabian had also kept plenty of distance.

You don't need to disappear quite so far into the forest, or are you afraid of me?"

Reiko, you are unpredictable, one MUST be afraid of you."


I guess I'm not the only unpredictable one."

What do you mean?"

What was that about your completely surprising answer to a certain question from a certain eighth-grader? That wasn't exactly predictable either!"

That seemed to make Fabian think a bit, anyway, he silently hung up the shutters, and we moved on to the next window. We worked through this one in silence as well, and I made my way to the first bedroom, where my first reach was for the light switch. Here I found a relatively narrow double bed in one corner, and in another part of the room were two single beds across the corner. In addition, there was a large closet, a small table and two chairs - that was it in terms of furnishings. After looking around I went to the first of the two windows, opened it and unhooked the shutters. Outside, an impatient Fabian was already waiting for me.

What's taking so long? Hurry up, I want to get back in too."

Take it easy, an old man is no race car!"

So we proceeded swiftly, and a few minutes later we were done with all the windows. I had a little trouble convincing Arko to come back into the house, but eventually he too had had enough snow fun and came trotting into the house. Which presented me with a bit of a problem.

Fabian, do you happen to have a big towel to dry off the dog? I don't have anything with me, I wasn't planning on hiking through the snow with him."

Hold on, I'll get one."

My host disappeared, only to reappear moments later with a huge bath towel.

Is that enough?"

Yes, thank you, you could wrap two of Arko's kind into that."

I set about drying the dog, whose fur had a few clumps of snow caught in it. This was not one of Arko's favorite activities, but he obediently let me do it.

Fabian, meanwhile, had got rid of his jacket and boots and set about lighting a fire in the open fireplace.

Reiko, can I start a fire or will that cause problems with your dog?"

Nah, he knows perfectly well that fire is dangerous, he won't go near it."

That's good."

Hehe, a fire in the fireplace? Are you in the mood for a romantic evening?"

Nah, but it saves electricity. The electric heater will eat the hair off your head otherwise."

Well, that's good then. I would have had to disappoint you anyway."

Disappoint me? With what?"

In terms of a romantic evening - I'm not available."

As if I'd be interested in spending a romantic evening with YOU…"

Haha, just admit it."


Reiko wasn't cocky at all! As if I would take the first best opportunity to make a pass at him! AT HIM! Really…

Whereby… Reiko didn't look that bad. Well-trained body, nice face, fuzzy brown hair - I was actually more into blond, but I was quite capable of making exceptions. But wait, it was Reiko, and he had made it pretty clear that he was absolutely not interested. And I would never admit that to him anyway!

Okay, Arko is dry."

Reiko released his dog from the bath towel, and he took advantage of the freedom he had gained to sniff around the whole cabin for a while. My two-legged guest now also took off his jacket and shoes and then joined me at the fireplace, where in the meantime small flames were flickering on the wood.

I just realized that your cabin is not a palace after all. Something very crucial is missing."

Nice, he hardly arrived and started to criticize already!

So? What's missing?"

Underfloor heating."

Reiko pointed to his socked feet, with which he stood on the quite cold wooden floor. I had immediately put on warm slippers and was thus protected.

There are some slippers in that closet over there, help yourself. Will be quite a while before it's really warm in here."


The fire in the fireplace was burning quite nicely by now, it probably wouldn't go out so easily again. Time to warm up from the inside, too. Let's see what I had brought with me.


Reiko looked in my direction in wonder.

What's wrong?"

All my luggage is still in the car, now I can get dressed again and bring it in."

Now Reiko burst out laughing.

Hahaha! And you accuse me of not thinking before I do something."

Blah blah blah…"

I reached for my boots, put them on, and slipped into my jacket. Out of the corner of my eye I saw Reiko doing the same.

You don't have to come out again, it's my stuff I forgot."

How ungrateful do you think I am? You helped me, I'll help you."

Hm. Sounded reasonable. And different than I had imagined Reiko to be.

Okay, thanks."

With some effort, we managed to keep Arko from rushing right back out into the snow. I opened the trunk, and Reiko looked inside in amazement.

Shit, what are you lugging around! Are you going to feed a whole army or what?"

Be glad that I'm carrying so much. Otherwise you would have to starve now."

I'd have to starve? We'd have to starve!"

No, not us, just you. I would have brought enough for me in any case."

How selfless you are."

It's one of my great strengths!"

I would never have thought that."

Before a wrong impression arises: that was already a rather friendly teasing, no real argument. I don't know why, but somehow I didn't find the idea of being stuck at the cabin with Reiko for the next few days that bad anymore.

We had to go twice to get everything into the cabin, well, I had a lot of canned goods and drinks with me to be stored as well. When we had finally stowed everything and freed ourselves from the winter clothes once more, it had already become pleasantly warm in the cabin. The fire in the fireplace was crackling, and I turned off the electric heater.

I need something warm to drink and something to eat now. How about you? Tea, coffee, cocoa, mulled wine?"

What are you drinking?"

I've got some Christmas tea mix here."

For me, too, thank you. It's still a little early for mulled wine."

Afraid I'll get you drunk and then do bad things to you?"

Hahaha… You and what army?"

Pah… Don't think you're stronger than you are."

I don't. And I especially don't think YOU are stronger than you are."

Reiko, in the meantime, had dropped into an armchair and was now grinning cheekily at me. Arko lay at his feet and dozed off. I decided not to delve further into the subject for the time being and went to the kitchenette.

There I loaded the electric kettle and started it. While it was doing its work, I prepared the teapot, took cups and plates out of the cupboard, prepared sugar and lemon, and so on.

A piece of Stollen , anyone?"

I'd love to. Can I help you with anything?"

Nah, you'd better sit tight, I know where everything is and I can manage fine on my own."

Just an offer."

To which I will return with thanks when there are dishes to wash."

It's a deal."

I turned back to the countertop and put the tea on with the now boiling water. Suddenly, I felt someone standing next to me.

Can you put some water in here for Arko? Preferably not ice cold."

Reiko handed me an aluminum water bowl, which I now filled with water from the tap and a little from the kettle.

Here. Does he get anything to eat too?"

No, not now, he'll get his food later. About 7pm is his time."

I looked at the clock: it was half past four by now, which was also made clear by the darkness that had fallen.

Not even a piece of S tollen? "

No way, that would be much too heavy on his stomach! So please don't go for it when he starts begging."

Oh, he begs?"

Yes, we haven't been able to break him off that habit yet. At least with strangers - with us he knows exactly that he doesn't get anything from the table."

Would I be able to resist begging, cute dog eyes? That remained to be seen. Arko was already slobbering away at his water bowl, and Reiko carried the plates with the Stollen to the sitting area.


Finally sitting comfortably, just wonderful. Slightly in thought I leaned back in the armchair and didn't really notice how Fabian brought the tea, turned down the electric light almost completely and then sat down opposite me in the second armchair. I must have tuned out everything around me for a while, and suddenly I was startled by my host.

Hello, anyone at home in the upper room?"

Huh, what? Oh, I see. Sorry, must have been somewhere else with my mind for a moment."

Dig in and drink before the tea turns to iced tea."

Good idea, I was thirsty and could also use something warm for my insides. I still felt the long snow hike in my bones, and I was only slowly getting really warm again. The tea tasted good, two more squirts of lemon and it was perfect. And the Stollen… like from another world.


I should hope so, I baked it myself."

Excuse me? I chewed down quickly.

YOU baked the Stollen ? "

Yep. So be aware of the honor of eating it. Usually only family and a few close friends get some of it."

That reminded me of something.

We used to be that…"


Close friends."

That had probably hit Fabian harder than I had intended, at least he gave me a pained look.

Yeah… We used to be…"

To be honest: I missed those times. Before the great estrangement, we had done lots of things together and had lots of fun together. We had been almost inseparable. Maybe…

Fabian? "

Yes? "

I guess we'll have to get along here for the next few days. What do you say we try to be friends again, at least for this time. Would make things a lot easier here. If it doesn't work out, we'll just forget about it afterwards and go our separate ways again. If it works out - all the better."

My host looked at me thoughtfully, then sipped from his teacup.

Just an idea, if you don't want to…"

Yes, yes, you're right. Your suggestion just surprised me. I thought you couldn't stand me."

I sighed.

Fabian, I can't stand the way you act sometimes. In general, though, I have nothing against you, not at all."

Fabian looked slightly doubtfully in my direction. Then he seemed to have come to a decision.

Okay, let's give it a try. And just for the record: I don't have anything against you either. Not most of the time, anyway. I just have something against some of the jerks you've surrounded yourself with over the years. I'm constantly afraid of running into them alone in the dark."

I couldn't leave that uncommented. Sure, some of my friends were neither the brightest nor the friendliest, but that also applied to Fabian in a slightly different way.

Well, some of your brainiac friends are no better in their arrogance than the worst dumbasses from my surroundings."

Now my host grinned at me - was that a good sign?

True. And on the subject of arrogance, I guess I'd better do some soul-searching myself."

Self-awareness is the first step to improvement…"

Well, I hope you relate that to yourself a little bit, too."

I refrained from answering and toasted Fabian with my teacup.

Well then, to good friendship."


We drank tea, munched on Stollen, and I had to wonder again about Fabian's baking skills.

Did you really bake the Stollen yourself?"

For the third time, yes, I did."

Cool. You really do seem to have a lot of talent. I'm sure you'll make a really good housewife for a man someday."

I gave him a friendly grin to take the possible edge off the words.


Sorry, couldn't help myself."

You're not getting any more of that Stollen!"

Oh. Now that was harsh. I didn't really deserve such a bad punishment.

Come on… Faby… Please, please, forgive me!"

Faby?!? "


That's what you used to call me…"

I actually did that. Long, long ago it had been.

And even then, I couldn't refuse you a request when you begged like that."

Ah! Done!

Thank you, thank you, thank you! Is there anything I can do for you? Do the dishes? Mop the cabin? Shovel snow? You name it and I'll do it!"


Interesting offer. I looked challengingly at my guest.

You would do anything?"


Have you thought this offer over really carefully?"

At that moment, Reiko probably realized that he'd better be careful with such promises. Anyway, he turned bright red in the face and started stammering.

No. Uh… I… I didn't mean it like that… You know!"

How he fidgeted! But I wasn't going to be like that for once and decided to let him off the hook.

I get it. I don't want you to get in trouble with your girlfriend either."

I guess I had put my foot in my mouth, Reiko's face darkened and he literally slumped in his chair. Oops…

Reiko? What is it? Did I say something wrong?"

He sighed and looked at me sadly.

I caught Melanie in bed with another guy earlier…"

Shit. Sorry, I didn't mean to remind you of such nasty stuff."

That's okay, you couldn't have known."

Is that why you were so messed up that you took off with summer tires and then wandered through the woods?"

Yeah, probably. I just wanted to get away from home. By the time I started to realize that the car wasn't winterized, it was too late."

My God, I was actually starting to feel sorry for Reiko. I must be getting soft in my old age.

Just a week I was away, on Red Cross training, and already she jumps into the box with René."

Ouch. Wait a minute!

What? Isn't René your best buddy?"

Reiko looked at me in pain.

Yeah, great, isn't it? My girlfriend and my best friend. And they don't even have the decency to tell me to my face, they just do it behind my back. Who knows how long this has been going on - and how long it would have gone on if my training hadn't been a day shorter than planned."

Well, too bad for everyone involved.

And, is René still alive?"

Yes, unfortunately."

What, Reiko hadn't had a go at his former best buddy?

However, he'll probably have some problems nibbling on gingerbread this Christmas."

Ah, yes. Would have kind of surprised me if Reiko had let that go so easily.

So you beat him up good."

No, I only hit him once. And my right hand still hurts a little from it."

Something like that comes from something like that.

And your girlfriend?"

The stupid cow didn't say a word the whole time. After I had taken care of René, I rushed out and went home. I even left my backpack with my cell phone at her place."

And that's why you ran off into the woods?"

Yeah, I didn't feel like sitting around idly and ending up freezing to death - I hadn't encountered another car on the road the whole time."

Okay, that at least explained why, as someone who should have known better, he had pulled off the road.

Stupidly, I took the wrong road. They all look so much alike in the snow."

I had to admit that this was true. If I hadn't known my way around particularly well because of our cabin, I probably wouldn't have been able to distinguish between the different forester's roads.

Fabian? "

Yes? "

Thanks. If you hadn't come, who knows what would have become of me."

A small-town edition of Oetzi , probably.

No problem. I was going to catch me someone on the way here anyway, to wash dishes and clean up around here for me while I was having a good lazy time."

Reiko chuckled, well at least he wasn't quite as down anymore as he had been a moment ago on the subject of his faithless girlfriend.

Yeah sure, I'll be your house slave now."

I loved it when a plan worked out.

My plans for Christmas fell through anyway. I was going to spend a few nice days with Melanie - pooh-pooh."

And with that, his mood improvement was gone again.

Hey, I realize this hurts a lot right now. But be glad you found it out at all. And besides, I guarantee you'll find something better for you. With your looks, you really shouldn't have any problems with that. And then you'll find a girl who appreciates what she has in you."

Could someone pinch me? Or maybe Arko could bite me! I was complimenting Reiko here!

You say that so easily. But I was with Melanie for over a year and a half. And that's what I want. I want a solid, lasting relationship, not just a bunny for bed. I'm not like you."


How am I supposed to understand that?"

Reiko looked over at me seriously.

Well, I hope you don't kick me out of the cabin right away, but you just have quite a reputation in the relationship department. Jumping from one affair to the next."

Ouch, that hurt. Was my reputation really that bad?

What's the matter, you're not jumping down my throat."

Is that really how you see me?"

That's how a lot of people see you. You flirt with anything with a dick and at least three hairs around it, don't you?"

I stared piercingly at Reiko.

Sorry, Faby, but I thought if we were friends again, I'd tell you the truth."

Great. But what did he just say? If we're friends again, we'll tell each other the truth? Well, then maybe I should try that.

Reiko, it may seem that way, but in reality it's a little different."

Doubtingly, my old, new friend looked in my direction.

What do you mean?"

Okay, cards on the table.

Reiko, it's true, I like to flirt, but that's all there is to it."

What are you saying?"

I sighed. But I had started it, now I had to follow through.

I've never had a relationship with a boy, let alone sex. Well, and not with a girl anyway, but that's obvious."


What… No… Fabian wasn't serious now! Or perhaps he was? I eyed my counterpart sharply.

You're kidding me, right?"

Silently he shook his head, and I suddenly realized that Fabian had not lied to me!

I don't believe it! Fabian, Mr. Sex on legs, is still a virgin!"

Yeah great, I hope you're happy!"

I should probably pull myself together a bit, although this confession had really knocked my socks off.

Sorry, but that really surprises me."

Reiko, be realistic for once. Okay, I flirt a lot, but that doesn't mean that anything will come of it. Think about it, we're in a small town here. How many gay guys our age do you know here?"

I didn't have to think too hard.

Three. You, Markus Zimmermann and Ralf Vollmer."

Well, Markus and Ralf are so in love with each other and absolutely monogamous that I have nothing to expect from them."

That's right, they were a couple for two years or so already. They were so in love with each other that it seemed downright cheesy.

The two of them only have eyes for each other."

Yep. And so far, unfortunately, all my attempts to change a cute boy's mind about his sexuality have failed."

Well… Maybe not changing minds, but there were those rumors…

But at school it was always rumored that anyone who wanted to get a blowjob could get it from you."

Uhoh. Judging by the pained look on Fabian's face, I had just put my foot in my mouth so deep that it almost came out of my butt.

Yeah, I've heard about those rumors too. But believe me, they're really just rumors. Even I wouldn't stoop that low to just blow some guy in the school bathroom. I'm not that desperate for sex!"

The pinched face showed me that Fabian again told the pure truth. Interesting how one could be so wrong about someone, if one only looked at the reputation without looking closer.

I want a boy for myself, for a long time relationship, not just for sex. Just for sex I would not jump into the box with anyone. There has to be more to it."

Obviously, we were more alike in this relationship thing than I would have ever thought.

Sorry, Faby, I didn't mean to offend you. I'm sorry that I even thought that way about you."

Oh my god, he actually had tears in his eyes!

It's okay, Reiko. It's not like we spent the last few years as the best of buddies. I guess I too saw more the image you show in public, and not the person behind the picture."

Faby? "

Yes? "

I'd like to get to know you again. You, not your reputation, but the real you."

He looked at me in silence for a long time, then a grin spread across his face.

Okay, I think I'd like that too. I guess we have quite a bit of time for that in the next few days."

Oh God. And all that time without a TV or computer, how was I going to survive?

Is there at least a radio or something at this place ? "

I brought one, and my MP3 player."

Well, at least something.

And what else can we do here?"

Hiking. Skiing - although with all the fresh snow, that might be problematic. And somewhere in a closet there are a lot of books and games."

Games? "

Yes. Those things with game pieces, etc. etc., you know, that old-fashioned stuff from the pre-computer age."

Haha, don't act like you're not as spoiled by technology as I am."

Okay, you caught me. But that's what I was looking forward to, to be honest: being here away from the computer and the boob tube. To get away from the overstimulation of everyday life. And I think, after your experiences today, you could use some peace and quiet, too."

I had to agree with him on that one.

And what are we going to do with the rest of the day?"

Fabian looked at the clock, and reflexively I did the same. It was already half past five by now.

Well, I'll take off my warm clothes first, then I'll lie down for an hour. Is it okay for you if we have dinner after seven?"

No problem, your Stollen was very filling."

Fabian grinned cheekily at me.

You ate enough of it, after all."

Hehe, sorry, couldn't help myself. It's really very good."

Thanks. Good, then we'll do it like this, first a break, then dinner, then I'll prepare the beds."

Okay. And you're right, now that it's nice and warm in here, I think I'll go change too."

You can change in the big bedroom, I'll take the small one."

I nodded, grabbed my bag and disappeared into said room. There I got rid of my jeans and sweatshirt, then an idea came to me. I left the room, knocked on the small bedroom and entered. Fabian was rummaging in one of his bags.

Faby? "

He turned to me.

Yes? "

You said something earlier about a shower…"

Yes. Do you want to take one ? "

Would that be possible? I've been working up quite a sweat trudging through the snow."

I fired up the water heater right away, so there should be enough hot water. Towels are in the closet by your room. Do you need anything else?"

I thought about it for a second.

Nah, thanks, I should have everything else with me."

Well have fun."

Thanks, I think I really could use a warm shower right now."

I turned and prepared to leave the room.

Oh, and Reiko?"

I turned back to Fabian.

Yes? "

If you were trying to turn me on with your outfit: sorry, it didn't work. It looks rather ridiculous."

Oops… Okay, I guess I really didn't look very attractive in my long army underwear. I gave Fabian the finger, then headed off into the warm rain of the shower…


Honestly, this was a typical straight guy. How could one pack one's body in such an unflattering way. Especially if you - like Reiko, which I had to admit - had a nice looking body. Well, here in the mountains one was dependent on warm clothes in winter. But there were also other possibilities than these flabby Bundeswehr longjohns.

Oh well, Reiko was the one having to live with that. I looked for my book from the bag, then I also undressed. Well, not completely undressed! It was not that warm in the hut. I got rid of my thermal underwear (of the skintight, sporty kind!), then I put on jeans and T-shirt again and went back to the living room.

Reiko's four-legged friend was already waiting for me there, still lying in front of the armchair where his master had been sitting until a few minutes ago. Now his tail was rhythmically thumping on the floor.

Well, Arko, has everyone left you?"

The dog got up and came trotting to me, so I did what he probably expected me to do and petted him. In the distance, I heard the water from the shower. Any further thought of the fact that my guest was not 10 meters away from me stark naked under the water, I decided to quickly ignore. Fortunately I had something with which I could distract myself.

Arko, your lazy master has disappeared, and I have to take care of the dishes."

The dog looked at me and wagged his tail. Maybe he knew that from his master.

Well, there was no point in doing the dishes just now, I had to do the dinner dishes later, too, so I just quickly put the cups and plates away, then I made myself comfortable on the couch. I did not get further than two pages in my book, then my eyes fell shut…

Suddenly I was awakened by the clattering of dishes. I blinked a few times, then I could see what had woken me up. Reiko was busy spreading plates and glasses on the table. I yawned heartily.

Ah, good evening sir, are we back among the living?"

Yes, you had to wake me up with that clatter."

Sorry, but I thought I'd prepare dinner. And I'm afraid that doesn't work completely without noise."

What time is it?"

A quarter past seven."

Already that late. I swung my legs to the floor and wanted to get up.

I'll help you, Reiko."

Forget it, you just sit tight, it's almost all done. Arko got his food, I found some bread and sausage and stuff, and also put on some more tea. Or did you want something else to drink?"

Nah, tea's fine. We can have something cold later."

That's what I thought, too. So sit back, we're almost ready to eat."

Well, if that's what he wanted, I certainly wouldn't stop him from working alone. I watched Reiko pour the tea and gather some more cutlery. He was now wearing a dark blue fleece house suit - in which he looked much better than before in the olive green long comrades. A few minutes later everything was ready, he sat down at the table with me, and we enjoyed the delicacies my parents had packed for the cabin.

Well Fabian, with these supplies we could feed half an army. Who's going to eat all those canned goods?"

We always have an emergency supply of shelf-stable food here. Sometimes the cabin dwellers are not able to shop for a while."

Like we right now?"

Yeah, it's not the first time the cabin has been snowed in. If a larger family is stuck here, we don't want them to starve to death. It's always such a hassle to get rid of the bodies afterwards."

Reiko laughed heartily, but calmed down quite quickly.

Sounds logical - I guess the two of us will have to be careful not to completely overeat with all that stuff, though."

Well, I have enough self-control - don't you?"

Hehe, not when I see all the good stuff. I'm really struggling with myself there."

You couldn't tell by looking at him.

Oh, by the way, when this is all over, of course I'll pay you for what I ate here. And also my share of the diesel costs."

There was really more brain in his head than I would have given him credit for a few hours ago. If he really were such an egotistical airhead as I initially thought, he would never have come up with such an idea.

You don't have to."

I will pay my share, end of discussion!"

Okay, okay, I wouldn't fight with him over a little thing like that. We kept eating until we were really well fed. Arko seemed to be full too, at least he didn't even try to beg for anything from the table.

Okay, I'll do the dishes as promised. I'm your house slave, after all."

I couldn't leave it at that.

Nah, you have prepared the food, I'll do the dishes."

Reiko looked around briefly.

There's enough space here. I'll do the dishes, you dry them off. Deal? "

I could live with that.

Okay, deal."

So we did, and within no time the traces of our meal were gone. While Reiko was now sitting down, it occurred to me that I had almost forgotten something very important. I grabbed my cell phone and turned it on. After a few seconds, two bars of the network indicator lit up - not much, but still, it worked, even out here in the wilderness.

Do you have any reception out here?"

Yes, unfortunately."

Why unfortunately?"

At that moment, a whole bunch of beeps began to indicate the arrival of lots and lots of text messages. I sat back down in my chair and pointed at the cell phone.

That's why."

Hehe, Faby, you seem to be a man in demand!"

It's just always the wrong people asking about me, unfortunately."

I looked through the text message list - all messages about missed calls. And they all came from a number I knew well, my parents's. My mother would probably never get that I was no longer her little boy she had to keep an eye on every spare minute.

Oh, who's always asking about you?"

My mother. I'm going to get quite an earful because the phone was off for so long."

Haha, almost sounds like my own."

Trust me, yours can't be that bad."

I deleted the next message, the list slid forward one position, and lo and behold, a number popped up that I didn't know!

Hmm… Who was that?"

What is it?"

Someone here has been trying to reach me whose number I don't recognize."

Hehe, do you have a secret admirer?"

I wish. Wait a minute!"

I thought of something.

What number do YOUR parents have?"


Well, maybe it was them. I would imagine that my dad gave them my number. He had to explain to them where you were anyway."

You're right, that could be."

So? "

So what?"

Your number!"

Oh. Sure. *****."

Congratulations, a slam dunk. You want to call them back right now?"

Nah, nah, you better call your place first before your mom rubs the skin off her fingers from all the calling."

At least that would have the advantage that she would stop trying to reach me all the time. But well, I shouldn't be like that, so I hit the speed dial.


Fabian's mother seemed to be even worse than mine, looking at the number of her unsuccessful call attempts. While the good son now faced his fate and called said mother, I reached for the book Fabian had put on the coffee table.

Peter Conrad - The New Beginning. What was that supposed to be? I read the text on the back. Well, a gay youth story. Not really surprising that Fabian was into that kind of thing, but it wasn't really something for me. But wait, didn't he say something about a closet full of books? Maybe there was something suitable for me in there.

Hi mom, it's me."

Ah, he had reached home base.

Yes, I know, but I ha…"

Ouch, the poor guy didn't seem to be getting a word in at all!

Yes, but…"

Grinning, I studied the selection of books and found something for me pretty quickly - the latest Harry Potter volume. And if ANYONE tells my hockey buddies, I'll visit him at night!

Yes, we are well supplied, the pantry is full, the diesel tank too."

The cell phone battery probably won't be soon.

Besides, if possible we will only heat with the fireplace, we have more than enough wood for it."

I sat back down in my armchair, carefully stepping over Arko, who had made himself comfortable right in front of it and made no effort to give my feet a little more space.

Yes, mommie dear, I'll tell Reiko to call his parents."

Oh, they must have called Fabian's parents already.

And that's why I have to end the call now, so that Reiko can take care of calling his parents. We don't want them having to wait too long for a sign of life from him."

Which, of course, was the only reason for cutting short the conversation with his own mother. Not!

Say hi to Pops and the others for me."

With eyebrows raised in annoyance Fabian looked over at me.

Yes, mom, tomorrow evening we'll talk again. But I'll leave the cell phone off during the day, otherwise the battery will run down too quickly."

There was the charger, after all, but there was no need to remind his mom of that.

Well then, bye!"

My host ended the conversation and sank down in his chair, relieved.


You can say that again! To this woman, I'm not 18 but 8 at the most, if even that old."

Hehe, well, typical mother. You never really grow up for a mother."

That's probably how it will be. Hashtag mother: here, now it's your turn. Your mother has already called mine twice to see if she's heard anything from you."

Oh God, now it was time to have a not-so-nice talk, about running away, with the car on summer tires. But I couldn't avoid it forever anyway, so it was probably better to get it over with right away. Fabian handed me the cell phone.

What about Arko, he has to go out once more later, doesn' t he? "

I thought about it for a moment, actually I didn't feel like another walk in the woods, even more so in the dark.

Yes, but we'll just send him out the door for a bit, that's enough."

Okay, then have a nice phone call. I'm going to jump in the shower real quick, so you'll have some privacy."

You do that, have fun."

I'd rather not think too much about WHAT kind of fun Fabian would possibly have in the shower!

While he now disappeared into the back rooms, I dialed my home number, and after only two rings, the call was answered.


Hi Nicole, it's me."


That's the one."

Finally you call! Is everything okay with you? Mom and Dad are worried out of their skins!"

Oh, and you weren't worried about me ? "

Nah, more like hoping to inherit your room!"

Typical my sister. Somehow she was always picking on me. But I also picked on her, and she could take as good as dishing out.

Why did you run away like that, you idiot?"

On the other hand, we mostly got along very well and had almost no secrets from each other.

I caught Melanie in bed with another guy."

Ouch! I guess my comment about a storm in lover's land hit too close ? "

Indeed, that was the last straw to kick me off track."

Sorry, if I had known that, I wouldn't have made that comment."

You're about to be even more sorry very soon."

Why is that?"

The other guy was René."

What?!?!?!??? "

I had expected this surprised outcry. Not only because Nicole knew, of course, that René was supposed to be my best friend, but also because I knew that she secretly, or rather not secretly at all, had a big crush on him.

That asshole!"

You can say that again."

Great, it all came together for you. But don't worry, I'm sure you'll find someone better than that unfaithful bitch Melanie, someone who really cares about you."

Funny, that's pretty much what Fabian said, too."

Oh yeah, that's right, you've ended up with the fag."

Please don't call him that."

Why? You've called him that often enough!"

Yeah, and I'm ashamed of that by now, okay? So please don't do that either."

Well, that's new!"

Actually not, actually it is quite old. Fabian and I used to be best friends, and HE never betrayed me the way René did."

Ahem… Reiko?"

Yes? "

You don't have a crush on him, do you?"

Me? A crush on Fabian? Nah, sis, never! I'm straight through and through, and I intend to stay that way. But that doesn't mean Fabian and I can't be friends again."

Well then, that's fine. Okay, mom almost rips the phone out of my hand, so talk to you later! And remember, you better sleep with your back to the wall!"


I could still hear Nicole's giggling, then my mom's voice rang in my ear.

Reiko! Glad you finally called!"

Hi mom, sorry I couldn't call earlier."

Well, I could have, but she didn't really need to know that.

And, son, how are you? Did you make it through the accident all right? Mr. Roecker said something about a bruise!"

Yes, Mom, I'm fine. I didn't get the bruise from the accident, I slipped in the woods later, but I hardly notice it anymore."

Well, that's good then. Do you get along with Fabian? You two weren't exactly the best of buddies in the last few years."

I know we weren't, but we're working on it. We've cleared up some misunderstandings, and I guess we can become good friends again."

I not only thought that, I hoped that. Funny how you can completely change your attitude toward a person in a matter of hours.

Glad to hear that, kind of reminds me of the old days, when you two were hardly ever to be found anywhere without the other."

Well, long, long ago.

And since Mr. Roecker says you'll probably have to endure quite a while up there, it would be really good if you got along well."

I know. As I said, things are looking pretty positive. Has Fabian's father said HOW long we'll be cut off here?"

He certainly doesn't think you guys will be out of there by Christmas."

He said something on the radio about a severe weather warning."

Yeah, there's probably going to be some more snow coming down. And even when the snowfall has stopped, the main roads will have to be cleared first. But he's assured me that you have enough supplies up at the cabin to last you a whole month if necessary."

Hopefully it wouldn't take that long, but the supplies would probably last through a couple of weeks.

Yes, mom, we don't have to starve or freeze to death."

Well, that's good then. Okay, I think we should end the call, this is all going on Fabian's phone bill."

Okay, you're right. Please say hello to the others for me, and tomorrow you can call here on Fabian's cell phone, you already have the number."

That's exactly how we'll do it. By the way, René was here earlier, but he just dropped off your backpack and disappeared again immediately."

That asshole actually dared to come to my home!

Why did he have it anyway?"

Mom, let Nicole tell you about it, okay? We should really break up now."

Fine, whatever you say. Now then, behave yourself and help Fabian if you can. And take good care of Arko!"

Don't worry, I'll do that. Well then, talk to you tomorrow evening. Bye."

Bye, big guy."

That was the end of the conversation. And it had gone over entirely without reproach for my hasty departure! Relieved to some extent, I leaned back in my chair and immersed myself in the book.


After I had left Reiko alone with the cell phone, I went into the bathroom and tried out first of all whether already again hot water was available. It was, so now I could treat myself to a little shower pleasure. After a look at the clock, which already indicated shortly after eight, I decided to put on my pajamas right after showering, so I took them with me into the bathroom, together with my nice thick anti slip socks.

In the bathroom I undressed, and since I had no desire to wash my hair again and then having to dry it off once more, I put on a shower cap, then I got into the warm water jet. While I was soaping up myself, I suddenly remembered that not so long ago another naked boy had been standing in exactly the same place - and immediately something stirred in the middle of my body. I wondered if Reiko had felt the same way. Well, after his experience with Melanie and René probably not. But that should not stop ME! Especially with having to spend the next days in the proximity of this quite handsome guy. So I did what one does in such a case, and hoped that I would be spared from wet dreams and similarly embarrassing events in Reiko's presence. It was always embarrassing enough when Tom noticed something like that - although the situations in which he caught me jerking off or such things and those in which I experienced the same with him were more or less equally numbered. But away with the thoughts of my brother. Why roam in the distance, when the good is so close? I gave myself to these wonderful feelings…

…and just as I was approaching the climax, the water became significantly colder, and all my mood was ruined! Damn it! I had forgotten that the content of the hot water tank was limited, and now the water was starting to get really cold!

Well, God punishes small sins immediately. All thoughts of cute boys were driven out of my head with one blow, and also driven out was the blood from another not quite unimportant body part. As fast as I could, I rinsed myself off with the now almost icy broth, then only a quick jump from the water jet saved me from a miserable frostbite death. Thanks a lot!

Shivering, I dried myself off, even the heating didn't help much, so I hurried to slip into my pajamas. After putting on my socks, which also served as house slippers, I took one last angry look at the shower stall and wandered back to the living room, discarding my day clothes in the small bedroom on the way. Reiko sat comfortably in an armchair, reading… Harry Potter? Now that's something I didn't expect.

I'm back. I see you found a book."

Yes, I did, you have a really large selection here."

Well, if there's no TV, then there need to be at least enough alternatives. Did you reach your parents?"

Yes, I did."

Reiko looked up at me, gave me a quite a stare, then burst out laughing. What was going on now!

What's so funny?"

Still laughing, Reiko pointed upward. What did he mean by that?

Fancy… hihihi!"


Your head, Faby!"

My head? I reached up with both hands and immediately knew what Reiko was so deliciously amused about. Due to the surprising cold snap, I had completely forgotten that yes, I still had the shower cap on my head! And to top it of it was such a funny pink thing with colorful flowers on it. Argh!

Suits you really well… hahaha… is that the official coming out model?"

As quickly as I could, I tore the still somewhat wet shower cap off my head, although it was too late anyway.

Hahaha. That's not mine, that's someone else's!"

Oh, your brother's ? "

Nah. Some guests forgot it here, and since then it's been hanging around in the bathroom."

Yeah sure, anyone can say that."

Blah, blah, believe it or not."

I dashed back to the bathroom and got rid of the ugly foil thing. By the time I got back to the living room, Reiko had finally calmed down.

Sorry, Fabian, I didn't mean to make fun of you."

How generous. But oh well.

That's all right. To be honest, I probably would have laughed in your place, too."

Hehe, most likely."

I'll go see about the beds, they still need to be prepared."

Wait, I'll help you with that."

I had no objection to that, it was certainly better with two people. But there was still one thing to clarify.

Where do you want to sleep, in the master bedroom or the small one ? "

I thought we'd sleep in the big one, there's more space, right?"

Us? Did he really want to sleep in the same room as me?

We can do that, but you can also get a room to yourself."

Why would I want that?"

Reiko looked at me with his head tilted, and I didn't quite know how to answer.

Well… I thought… I thought you wouldn't like it so much…"

You thought I'd rather sleep in a different room than you because I might be uncomfortable sharing a room with a gay guy?"

That's exactly what I thought, but I couldn't get a word out, only nodding my head slightly.

Fabian, you moron, that you're gay doesn't bother me, get it? It's not like you're going to jump me at night!"

Not ? Crap…

Besides, I still have my guard dog with me."

With that it was clear that Arko would spend the night in the bedroom with us.

Okay, Reiko, whatever you say. I just didn't want you to feel uncomfortable in any way."

Let me worry about that."

During this exchange of words, we had arrived at the master bedroom. That we would both sleep there was quite convenient, because all the bedding was in a large closet in this room. I went to it now and picked out two sheets, two comforter covers and two pillowcases. And then the devil rode me.

So, honey, are we going to take the double bed, or what?"

Reiko stared at me with wide eyes and open mouth, then a grin spread across his face.

Hehe, separate rooms one minute, and then a double bed the next? You should decide what you want."

I grinned back cheekily.

I know what I want. Do you know what YOU want, too?"

I sure do."

Oh, now I was getting excited!

I want that single bed under the window over there."

Too bad. Oh well. I grabbed a full bed set and walked over to said bed.

Well then, let's go, I thought you wanted to help me?"

That's exactly what Reiko did then, and pretty quickly his bed was made.

Well, let's see if I'll be able to sleep here. I hope the mattress isn't too soft."

A beggar making demands! Reiko sat down on the freshly covered bed and rocked a little on it.

Well, does it meet your requirements?"

Yes, seems to be just right."

Puh, thank god, not that you ended up complaining to the tour guide."

Reiko chuckled softly to himself.

Nah, the bed is fine. I do have one small complaint to the tour guide, though."


Yeah? What's there to complain about?"

Oh you know, there's that cheeky tour guide shamelessly flirting with the guests again."

Oops. Had I really been flirting with him? I hadn't noticed - but in retrospect I had to admit that he had a point.

Oh, I'm very sorry about that. What could the tour guide do to appease the esteemed guest?"

Sit down, let's think about it together."

What was going on in Reiko's mind? But being a well-mannered host, I sat down next to him on the bed.

Well, Reiko, do you have any ideas yet?"

Hmm… I think… Well, I think… Yes, I know it now!"

So, what?"

Since the staff is prohibited from flirting with the guests, there will be a contractual penalty."

Funny, I didn't even know we had a contract. And Reiko hadn't paid anything for his accommodation. But okay.

And what does this contractual penalty look like?"

Very simple, like this!"

With these words, his right arm reached behind me, he dragged my upper body first forward then over to him, and the next moment I found myself laying over his knees.

What are you doing?"

Naughty little Fabian is going to get a spanking!"

A spanking? But before I could even start to complain he did what my dad had not done for at least five years: he spanked me!

Ow, what are you doing!"

I just want to clear up the situation, not that you'll attack me at night!"

At these words, he continued to pound my poor rear end, only stopping after about 10 not-so-gentle strokes.

There, I hope that will teach you a lesson!"

He let go of me, and as quickly as I could, I got myself back upright and, more importantly, a safe distance away from him.

Reiko sat on the edge of the bed grinning and seemed to be very pleased with himself. I, on the other hand, was rubbing my poor bottom, which had only been protected by my pajama pants.

I couldn't quite figure him out. Okay, in the past, when we were still best friends, we often wrestled and did other things like that. However, a few years had passed since then, during which we had nothing to do with each other at all - and now, on the very first day, he lapsed back into the behavior from our childhood days?

Reiko, you're crazy!"

I know, Faby. But we had unfinished business anyway."

What did he mean by that?

Unfinished business? What unfinished business ? "

Remember the night after your seventh birthday?"


I can see you don't. I spent the night at your place that night, and that's when you and Tom did something really mean to me that I never really got revenge for later."

What really mean thing did we do to him? Wait a minute! There was a memory crawling through my brain!

Ah, looks like you remember now!"

I actually did.

You'll have to admit that those few spanks were absolutely harmless in comparison."

Harmless. Painful it had not been at all for Reiko at that time, in contrast to what was just done to me.

That was so embarrassing back then, especially when your mother noticed."

What a wonderful memory, my backward area didn't hurt so much anymore. What had happened back then? Well, Tom and I had wanted to try out the ancient trick of dipping a sleeping person's hand in a bowl of warm water and then having him wet the bed.

And what can I say: the trick had actually worked! Reiko had woken up in a wet bed, which of course had caused his head to turn red and Tom and I to laugh. Our mother, however, had not been so enthusiastic about it, although there was still a rubber mat under the bed sheet anyway, because Tom still had nightly accidents from time to time. And Tom was the one who lost control of his blabbermouth a few days later, so that Reiko found out that his accident had not been a real accident. He had sworn terrible revenge, but nothing had ever come from it. Until today…


Well, Fabian didn't expect that! One could say a few things about me, but certainly not that I had a bad memory. And the incident at that time even today was amongst the most embarrassing ones of my whole life. Now I just had to take revenge on Tom, but there would certainly be an opportunity for that, too. Especially now that I was friends with his big brother again.

However, not only Fabian was surprised by my action - somehow I was surprised about myself, too. If someone had told me twelve hours ago that I would become that " intimate" with Fabian, then I would have declared him crazy. But now? I felt somehow comfortable in his vicinity (No! Not as some of you might think now!). It was almost like before, when we had been through thick and thin together, it felt as if the last six or eight years of estrangement had been literally wiped away.

I hope you're not planning on getting revenge on Tom, too."

Sure, he'll get his turn too! Why shouldn' t I? "

Because that's my little brother, and if you tried anything on him, I'm afraid I'd have to stop you by any means necessary."

My, how cute, big brother Fabian to the rescue.

Faby? Reality check. Your little brother is half a head taller than you and besides, he is a big judo jock. I don't think he needs your protection."

Maybe I should be glad that Tom had not been present during my revenge on his brother, otherwise he would probably have protected Fabian against me.

Now, how about it, should I help you with your bed too?"

Slightly doubtful, Fabian looked at me.

Okay, but only if your 'help' doesn't end up like it just did!"

I had to laugh.

I promise, I've had my revenge, you're safe from me."

Together we set to work, and shortly thereafter the second bed was also completely ready to be slept in. My host yawned heartily.

Well Reiko, to be honest, I could just lie down and fall asleep right now. The day has been quite eventful and exhausting."

I couldn't agree more with him, I wasn't planning on staying up much longer either.

Then go ahead and do it. I'll let the dog out the door for a minute, and then I'll call it a day, too."

Nah, it's not that easy. I still have to turn off the generator and stuff."

I hadn't thought of that at all, it would be quite a waste of diesel if the thing would run all night. But wait a minute…

Say, if it's off, then we don't have any power, do we?"

Right. Why?"

Well, then we won't have any lights!"

Hehe, you're a really fast thinker. Are you afraid that you won't find your way to bed then?"


Take it easy, look, the kerosine lamps on the nightstands are not dummies but real and ready for use. Also, I'll show you where we have flashlights for emergencies."

Petroleum lamps. That felt like a trip to the Middle Ages!

Well, here we go. You let the dog out, I'll make sure that all the electrical appliances are turned off."

That was exactly what we did, I shooed Arko into the dark night (which was not so dark because of the snow and the moon shining now and at least at the moment no clouds) and prepared the big bath towel for the dry-rubbing of the tail-wagger. Arko probably had no big desire to romp through the snow, he came back to the cabin door after only two or three minutes, where I received him with a mix of drying him off and cuddling him. Due to the shortness of his excursion, there fortunately was not much to rub dry, so that task was done quickly.

Well, has Arko peed himself out for the day?"

I certainly hope so."

And how long will he last now?"

Well, he'll have to go out around eight at the latest."

That's okay, I was afraid that he would wake us up at six or so."

Well, I didn't want to advise the dog to do that! At eight was bad or rather early enough.

Here, take this flashlight and then come with me. I'll show you how to operate the generator."

As Fabian said this, he thrust a brightly shining flashlight into my hand, then turned off the lights in the living room so that the room was lit only by the slowly burning out fireplace, and then went ahead toward the room in which the power generator was hidden. I followed him in the glow of the fire and flashlight, and a moment later we were standing in the noise of the diesel generator.

So, it's really quite simple."

Fabian had to speak quite loudly for me to understand him, but then he pushed a button and the roar of the diesel slowly died away.

This thing really only has two buttons: on and off. When you press 'on,' it takes a few seconds, then the engine starts, and shortly after that, full power is available."

Let me guess, when I press 'off,' the machine goes off."

I hope you don't expect me to applaud that ingenious thinking."

Hehe. Even I get that."

Great. Please remember that too, you'll have to use this knowledge soon."


Simple: when you get up tomorrow morning to let the dog out, you can start the generator right away, so we'll have hot water and heating as soon as possible."

Ah yes…

And here I thought I was a guest!"

Nah, you're a house slave, you said so yourself."

Okay, okay, I'll take care of it in the morning."


Well, he'll better! And I would make sure to be the first to use the warm water in the morning. Maybe, and really just maybe, I would then leave Reiko a few liters for brushing his teeth, etc.

Okay, now that's actually all done and settled, and we can hit the sack."

I was really tired by now and longed for a soft, warm bed. Maybe read a few more pages, if my eyes didn't fall shut on their own before that.

Do we need to do anything with the fireplace?"

Meanwhile, we had arrived back in the living room, where only a few small flames still flickered in the wood embers.

No, I added a few more small logs earlier, so they can still glow slowly now, and the place won't cool down completely overnight."

Okay. I'll go to the bathroom one last time. Wait a minute. Does that even work now? No water pump works without power, does it?"

True, but the toilet flush works without power, by gravity, the tank is at the top."

I see. But doesn't the water freeze?"

Yikes, Reiko was asking really intelligent questions! I guess he really was nowhere near as dumb as I had imagined in the last few years.

The diesel charged a big battery pack, and that runs a little electric heater and a small circulating pump. That's enough to keep the water from freezing overnight."

And what if the cabin sits empty for a few days in a row during the winter? Will the batteries last that long?"

No, but the generator has a timer for that, it runs automatically every day around noon for an hour, heats up briefly and charges the batteries."

It all seems really quite cleverly set up."

Most of it still comes from the Federal Border Guard. But they only got smarter after the whole installation blew up on them one winter."

Hehe, I guess that wasn't very pleasant. Well, I'm off to the bathroom. Let's see how I do in the light of the flashlight."

Should I tell him or not? Well. He was my friend again, so I didn't want to be like that, and I called after him.

Reiko? "

Yes? "

You can try it with the flashlight, of course, but it would be smarter if you just flipped the light switch."

He looked at me big.

Huh? I think the power is off…. Wait. Don't say it, I already know. The bathroom light runs on the batteries too."

I grinned.


Ah. Thanks for the tip, that makes things easier."

He disappeared in the bathroom, and I went to the bedroom, trailed by the scratching of Arko's claws on the hard wood floor. By the light of my flashlight, I lit the kerosine lamps one by one with the lighter that was strategically placed on a nightstand, and the bedroom was bathed in the flickering light of open flames. The flashlight landed on my nightstand, as did the book I had brought with me, I threw back my covers and made myself comfortable. That felt nice…

I closed my eyes, somehow I didn't really felt like reading anymore. In the background I heard the toilet flush, soon Reiko would appear here and I could watch him undressing. Oops. Away with these thoughts!

Just at that moment, I suddenly felt a heavy weight on my feet! What was going on now? I opened my eyes, lifted my head a bit, looked at the foot of my bed - and looked into the brown eyes of Arko, who had made himself comfortable there! Now that didn't look right!

Shoo! Get down! That's MY bed!"

I guess I could just as easily be talking to a wall, the dog didn't budge.

Get down, Arko! Go and annoy your master!"

He knows very well that he's not allowed to do that with me, so he's probably trying it with you."

Unnoticed, Reiko had come back into the room and looked amused at the bed situation.

He must be allowed to do it with someone, otherwise he wouldn't try it in the first place, right?"

Oh, Faby, I didn't realize you were a dog specialist, too! But you're absolutely right, Nicole often lets him in bed with her when he sleeps in her room."

Oh great, and I now got to suffer from his sister's inconsistency.

Come on, Arko, get down!"

Oh, his master's voice seemed to work, at least the dog slowly and reluctantly descended from his chosen sleeping spot - which my legs were happy about, he was quite heavy!

But there we have a little problem now, Fabian."

I didn't like problems at such an hour.

What kind of problem ? "

I don't have a blanket for him with me, at my aunt's he would have had his own sleeping blanket. And I don't really want him to sleep on the cold floor."

Hmm, that sounded reasonable. Just as reluctantly as Arko had left my bed, I now struggled to get out of it. In the closet with the bedding I had seen something earlier, which I remembered now. The old army blanket would ensure that Arko had a warm place to sleep.

I think I have a solution for that problem."

I went to the closet and pulled out the blanket.

Will this do?"

Reiko smiled at me with relief.

Yes, great, that's fine!"

There you go. I spread the blanket between our two beds and showed it to Arko.

You can sleep here, you shouldn't live like a dog."

The furball seemed to have understood what I wanted him to do, he ran up to the blanket, sniffed around a bit, turned in circles three times and then settled down with a clearly audible sniff.

Okay, Reiko, any more problems to solve? Or can I go back to bed now ? "

Thank you very much, kind sir, I guess all problems are solved now."

I hoped so too, and with this pleasant thought I lay down in my bed again. Meanwhile, Reiko flipped back the covers of his bed and then began peeling off of his house suit. And, of course, I wasn't looking at all! His muscular upper body became visible, and that was something he really didn't need to be ashamed of!

Don't you want to take a picture, that would last longer."

Crap! He had caught me!

Um… Sorry… I'll turn around."

Haha, don't be, we've seen each other naked often enough."

However, that was many years ago, and at that time, naked boys' bodies had not been that interesting to me yet.

Reiko slipped into the top of his pajamas, and I was already very curious about what would follow now. Somehow I had the feeling that Reiko knew exactly that and also took advantage of it, in any case he did not make the slightest effort to hide his naked backside from me when he took off the pants and his retro shorts and then put on the pajama pants. Only he did not do me the favor of turning around at least once in between.

Okay, Mr. Roecker, that was enough peepshow for today!"

How unfortunate. And after my nasty cold shower surprise, my own pajama pants had suddenly become VERY tight.

Reiko put his day clothes on a chair, then came my way! I wondered what would happen now?


Poor Fabian, I had probably heated him up quite a bit, hehe. Well, that was not so bad, in the quite cold bedroom. As I now approached him, he looked at me with big eyes. What he probably thought now would happen?

Two steps before his bed I stopped and went into a crouch.

Good boy, Arko, now sleep."

I petted the dog's silky fur on his head, looking over at my host with one eye. He seemed a little disappointed that it wasn't HIS head I was petting, but that's where I drew the line. I got up, walked over to my own bed and let myself sink into it.

That feels good!"

Finally stretching out, finally calling it a day, a day that had really been pretty extreme.

Do you want to read some , Fabian? "

Nah, I've had enough for today, I'll turn off my lamp now. But you can still read, it doesn't bother me."

Thanks, but I don't think I feel like it anymore either. How do you turn off the lamps?"

You just have to turn the little wheel until the wick disappears, then the flame goes out automatically."

I did just that, and almost at the same moment both our kerosine lights went out.

Ah, that feels good. Finally, some rest for my eyes."

True, I too found the darkness, brightened somewhat only by a little moonlight or its reflections from the snow, very pleasant.

Good night, Reiko."

Good night, Faby."

Silence returned, now and then from the direction of the living room could still be heard the crackling of wood in the fireplace, otherwise I perceived only the soft breathing of Fabian and Arko.

Oh, and Reiko?"

Oh ?

Yes? "

I'm glad I found you."

A few hours ago, it had sounded quite different.

Faby? "


Me too."

Fine. So sleep tight."

Same to you."

It was hard to believe how this day had changed my life. Just a few hours ago, I had a girlfriend and a best buddy, and was actually quite content with my life. Now, half a day later, I no longer had a girlfriend or a best buddy, but I guess I had my old best friend back. And somehow, as hard as it was for me to admit it, I felt even more content than before. How to understand the human mind. Over these profound thoughts I fell asleep, accompanied by the steady breaths of Fabian, who was probably already slumbering in Morpheus' arms, dreaming about… no, I didn't want to know!

I was awakened by a rather unpleasant coldness on my left foot. I quickly pulled it back under the warm blanket, then slowly and carefully opened my eyes. The room was in light twilight, and a glance at the clock told me that it was just before eight in the morning. It was time to make sure Arko got out the door to do his business for the first time in the day. I looked at the dog blanket - but there was no Arko to be seen!

Where was he at this early hour? My eyes wandered around the room and very quickly brought me the answer to my question. My spoiled four-legged friend had probably found his blanket a bit too uncomfortable, he again was lying curled up at the foot of Fabian's bed! Under his blanket I recognized that my host had pulled his legs in a little, so that Arko did not lie directly on him. I had to grin, then I addressed the dog very quietly, so as not to wake up Fabian.

Arko. Come on, get down!"

The dog didn't move from his comfy spot.

Come on, before Fabian finds out!"

He found out a long time ago, or why do you think he's huddled up in bed like that?"


Sorry, Fabian, did I wake you up?"

Nah, I've been only half asleep for a while now, just dozing around."

Why didn't you kick Arko out of bed?"

Hahaha. I did that twice tonight, but as soon as I fell asleep, he jumped up again. The third time I just gave up."

I'm really sorry, I didn't notice that."

How could you, as sound asleep as you were. You probably wouldn't have been awakened by an elephant jumping into your own bed."

Hehe. That's right, I always sleep very soundly."

Well great. But now that you're finally awake, maybe you could talk that little rascal into jumping out of my bed."

All right, that was the least I could do. Besides, I knew the magic word that I could use to chase Arko off the bed.

I worked my way out from under the covers, meanwhile watched curiously not only by Fabian but also by Arko. My God, the slippers were cold! I should probably take them with me under the covers in the future. With a hearty yawn I got up and went to the room door.

Arko, Gassi!"

With a huge leap, the tail wagger jumped off the bed and had overtaken me before I even reached the door.

I'll have to remember that, just say 'Gassi!' and I'll be rid of the pest."

I turned briefly back to Fabian, who by now had his head propped on his elbow.

Well, but don't rejoice too soon, if you put the word in your mouth, you'll have to really let him out, otherwise he'll get a tiny bit upset."

Then it could happen that he no longer lay quietly at the foot of the bed, but downright trampled on the bed owner, until he finally was ready to follow the words with deeds. I had experienced that myself…

That's why I have you. Oh, and please don't forget to start the generator."

Such a slave driver.

Okay, okay, I'll take care of it."

I would have done so anyways, after all, I also wanted to have hot water and the other conveniences of electricity as soon as possible.

Fortunately, the living room wasn't as cold as I had expected; the fireplace had probably been burning for quite a while, even though it seemed to be completely out now. I went to the front door to let Arko out, and the next moment I was glad that this door opened inward. Otherwise, we probably would have been completely locked in!

There was a good 25 centimeters of fresh snow in front of the door, Arko first looked at it a bit puzzled, then he took a running jump outside, only to immediately sink into the snow up to his belly. But that didn't seem to bother him, he jumped around barking happily and made his way to the next tree to do his morning chores. Which reminded me that I had things to do, too, so I went to the engine room, pressed the famous red button, and shortly thereafter the diesel came to life. It was so loud that I quickly retreated and closed the soundproof door.

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