Chapter One


Adam Lutz was writing a proposal for a new opportunity he was working for his software company one early Saturday, March morning. His beautiful blonde wife, Janie and his energetic son, Dylan wanted to go skiing, but Adam couldn’t. “You guys go…there aren’t going to be many days left this season.” Adam’s wife and son left early from their Capitol Hill home that Saturday morning to ski at Snoqualmie for the day. He would have loved to go with them, but the deal he was working on was the largest-to-date for the startup software company and if won, would keep ten people employed for over a year.

He worked for many hours on the proposal and at one point woke up to find that he had keyed pages of gobbledygook with his left cheek after a quick nap. He went back to the last intended writing in the proposal and removed his accidental text, and saved his work. Janie is going to love it when I tell her that one, he thought.

It was well past 5:00 PM and Adam hadn’t heard anything from his family since they left. They frequently wrapped up the skiing by 3 or so, to beat the crowd and traffic back into Seattle. Adam ambled over to the refrigerator, grabbed a bottle of Fat Tire beer, popped the top, and headed to the living room to catch the local news. There was a “Breaking News” banner flashing across the local network news. The image on the screen was from a mountain somewhere covered in snow with emergency vehicles and helicopters everywhere. Various parts of cars, trucks and RVs could be seen partially buried and erupting from the snow in unnatural angles.

A female reporter was reporting live,” At a little after 3 o’clock this afternoon, on I90 in the Snoqualmie Pass, a freak avalanche ripped across the highway obliterating the backed up traffic in its path. Witnesses say it sounded like a thousand freight trains and what looked like 25 feet or more of snow rushed across the westbound side of I90.”

The bile in Adam’s stomach raced into his mouth. His beer fell from his hand, hit the ground, and leaked its contents onto the hardwood floor. His hands were shaking violently, and he broke into a cold sweat.

Adam was trying to call his wife’s cell phone when there was a knock at his door. His legs felt like they were encased in quicksand as he struggled to get to the door. The news flash and the knock were too perilously close together. Adam finally opened the door slowly. As his eyes caught the sight of the two Washington State Police officers at his door, he briefly kneeled to one knee.

“Hello. Are you Mr. Adam Lutz?” the tall dark-haired officer asked as he helped pull Adam up. He was accompanied by a female officer who stood close.

“Ye..Yes. I am.”

“I am Lieutenant Ross with the Washington State Police and this is Sergeant Kurtz. Not sure if you have seen it or not, but there was a massive avalanche in Snoqualmie, and we have been able to recover some of the victims from the scene. I am sorry for your loss Mr. Lutz. Janie and Dylan were retrieved  from the site and both died. Is there anyone who can be with you now?”

“Oh my God. I should have gone with them today! I stayed home to work on a fucking proposal. And now they are dead.”

“Mr. Lutz. This was an accident. It is not your fault, and no one could have predicted or known this was going to happen today. Again…Do you have someone who could be with you now?”

“Both our parents are dead. My twin brother, Donnie, is a professor at the University of Washington. I’ll call him.”

The trooper spoke again, “I am so sorry for your loss. You will need to identify the bodies at the morgue.”

(Want to read CHAPTER TWO?)


(c) 2013 –  2016 – Darin Hartley


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