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BALLOON'S POV

When I wake up, it was all dark. {SQUISH} Ew! My soggy tears are absorbed in the pillow.

I don't feel like going back to sleep, so I decide to sit in front of the fireplace. {BURNING FLAMES}

This feels SO good..

{MUMBLING}

Is that OJ?!

{DOOR CREAKS SLIGHTLY}

I notice OJ pacing back and forth, talking on a cell phone. "I know that Paper..but I'm having mixed feelings about this. Should I leave Balloon here at the cabin, or just send him back to the hotel?"

Send me back to the hotel..?!

{EXASPERATED SIGH}

"Yes Paper, I understand he's sick too, but it's not like HE has hypothermia. It's POST, which means he's at the BRINK of it."

So what?! I'm still in a frail state.

He turns around. "And--" {GASP} I run back to the room, and cry.

"I've got to go now Paper. See you soon." {BEEP}

{DOOR OPENS}

"Hey little buddy--" {CRACKING} OJ gasps. "You're becoming more blue and blue Balloon. Is there anything I can do to help?!"

Just great. I'm deflating again from the bitter cold.

"Why do YOU care?! After all, aren't you going to DITCH me in the mountains?!?!" He looks stunned. "What..?! Wait, you heard all that?!"

I nod. "Yeah, you really hurt my feelings." OJ doesn't say anything. I get up to pack my bags. "If I'm such a burden to you..I'll just leave."

He grabs my arm. "You can stay here..since you're sick. Not saying if you weren't I'd still want you to leave."

{GIGGLING} I know he means well.

{PLOP!}

He runs over and hugs me. "I would NEVER want you to leave. You need me Balloon, and I need you too."

I just can't stop smiling. "Thanks OJ. You're the best." {BLOWING WIND}

Oh no! The wind was so strong it blew the window open!

My heart grows weaker, and I fall to the floor..AGAIN. {HEAVY BREATHING} "Uggh.."

OJ picks me up. "Come on. I know what will help you." {PLOP} {RUMMAGING}

He takes out a tank of some sort. "What is that?" I ask. {PSHH..} "An oxygen tank."

So..I could use it?

OJ winks. "It's very handy for balloons to use. Perhaps I could deflate you, then inflate you again. You'll be filled with warm air!"

His facial expression darkens again. "But I'll need to open you up, so the tube can fit inside your body."

I blush a light shade of rose. "Do you..have to literally touch me?!" He frowns. "Not really. But I'll still have to do it..even if it's for a short period of time."

{GULP} I still feel uncomfortable. My body's deflating again, but with anxiety.

{CHURNING} My uneasiness grows at a rapid rate.

OJ stares at me in horror. "Balloon, you feeling--" {SIGH} "Yeah..just a little nervous."

He holds my hand tightly. "It'll be over in a jiffy." {DEEP BREATH} "Are you ready?"

I nod. "I've never been so ready in my life." "Okay. Close your eyes." I close my eyes, and OJ spins the wheel. {SQUEAK}

{BLOWING HELIUM}

This is kinda taking a long time..


"Balloon..?! You can wake up now. I'm finished." I rub my eyes. "Oh, hi OJ. How long did I sleep?" {BEEP}

"For like a few hours. But I wouldn't worry too much." Ahh! That heater felt so good.

{SIP} "Let me know if you need anything, okay Balloon?" {NOD}

{DOOR CLOSES}

I rest my arms on the pillow. {BANG} What the heck?!

My arms are FREEZING. {PSHH..}

I notice solid ice spreading up to my wrists. Just wonderful. Now my left arm's frozen solid.

And it is hurting like hell.

I start to cry again, my tears falling on my frozen hand.

It's numb, it hurts, it's cold, and..I can't even MOVE it without flinching.

Now I'm getting the feeling that my post-hypothermia is coming back..