Stranded by a blizzard on his way home for Christmas, Jarrod waits for death by freezing in his pickup, until a large, white-haired, bearded man steps out of the forest to rescue him. Jarrod is reluctant to follow the handsome man but decides his chances of survival aren’t good if he stays in his truck.
Caleb takes Jarrod to a warm, inviting cabin in the middle of the forest and offers him food and drink to warm him up. Jarrod’s apprehensions begin to dissipate as his attraction for the mysterious man increases.
Jarrod wonders what it would be like to live in the wild with the handsome Caleb, but he soon finds out the white bear is not what he appears to be.
His beard and mustache dripped with condensation from his breath but the water soon froze, forming ice on the blond hair. He curled up on the seat with his head under the steering wheel, praying the end would come swiftly and painlessly.
A soft knock on the driver’s window shocked him and he yelped in surprise. A small point of light glowed outside. Jarrod’s heart leapt for joy in his chest as he fumbled with the door handle, spilling out of the truck.
“Hello! I’m so glad you found --” The words caught in his throat as he saw his visitor through the blowing snow. A large man with full white beard and mustache stood bundled up against the cold holding a kerosene lantern in one hand and an axe in the other. Jarrod recoiled in horror.
“Aw, damn,” the man said, turning to toss the axe on a sled full of chopped wood he had been pulling. “Sorry ‘bout that, son. Didn’t mean to scare you. Thought you might be needin’ some help.”
“Uh ... yeah,” Jarrod managed to utter, relieved the axe wasn’t so handy now. “I ran off the road a while back. Can you help me dig my truck out?”
The white-haired man stepped toward the rear of Jarrod’s truck, holding the lantern close to the tires. He walked around the truck and examined the snowdrift which buried most of the vehicle.
“That dog won’t hunt! I don’t think you’re going anywhere for a while.”
The man pulled his right glove off with his teeth and extended his hand. “I’m Caleb. I live not far from here.”
“I’m Jarrod. I’m on my way home for Christmas.”
“Damn, son!” Caleb kept his warm hand clasped over Jarrod’s. “Feels like you’re frozen solid already. Come on up to the house and thaw out a bit. The way the snow’s coming down right now, we’d just be pissing in the wind if we tried to dig you out.” He placed the lantern on the ground and, removing the other glove, held the pair out for him.
Jarrod cast a doubtful glance toward the sled with the chopped wood and axe. “Maybe I should stay with my truck. Perhaps you could send someone?”
Caleb gave him a placating smile. “Son, no one’s going to be coming around tonight in this. And if you stay here you’ll freeze to death, and I can’t let that be on my conscience. If it’ll make you feel better, you can carry the axe.” He chuckled as he stepped to the sled, picked up the axe, and offered it to Jarrod.
Still unsure but willing to risk anything to get warm, Jarrod pulled on the gloves and grabbed the axe. Caleb seemed to wield it without much effort. He had not expected it to be so heavy, and on his first attempt, he dropped the axe into the snow, nearly pulling his arm off. Worried that he looked wimpy, Jarrod reached down and clutched the handle with both hands. With a tremendous heave, he hoisted it to his shoulder and signaled for Caleb to lead the way.