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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Winter (the season) (08/13/09)

TITLE: The Snow Angel
By Debbie Roome
08/20/09


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“I’m sorry, Frankie.”

“Too late.”

“Please take me home.”

He jerks around a corner, the car lurching from left to right. “You need to learn what cold really feels like.”

“Please, Frankie. I won’t use the heater again.” Tears tremble in my voice and I try and steady it. “Mom will be angry if she finds I’m gone.

“Your mother’s as drunk as a fish in a punch bowl.”

I’m lying on the floor of his car, face pressed into oily rags and assorted tools. I can feel we’re climbing and imagine we’re in the mountains. Frankie is slurring his words and fear constricts my heart as he slams on brakes.

“Out!”

“No, no! You can’t do this! Please take me home. I’ll never waste electricity again.”

He steps out the car and wrenches the door open. “I said out!” Meaty hands reach in, and drag me across the floor.

“I’ve only got a sweat-suit on.” My voice comes out shrill with panic.

“Too bad.” He shoves me in the small of my back and I stumble into a pile of snow on the roadside.

“Frankie!” I clamber up and run after his tail lights, slipping in the ice, but he’s gone.

How I miss Dad. Frankie is a total waste compared to him.

After a moment of indecision, I start walking down the road. It’s after 10pm and the chances of anyone being up here are slight ... yet I have to try. Above me, the moon is a pale outline, shedding light, but giving no warmth. The mountains peaks touch it, coated as they are with winter. In other circumstances it could be beautiful; ice pearls beaded on twigs and snow drifts like smooth icing.

The cold is deathly as I keep moving, following the road as it twists and turns. I realise I can’t feel my feet, shod as they are in thin sneakers. They feel numb - like slabs of ice - and I imagine them becoming part of nature, crystallising, becoming ice fossils. I remember the snow angels I made as a little girl, lying on my back, snow feathering as I waved my arms and legs. Then Dad would sweep me up and make me fly like an angel. Do crystallised children become angels, I wonder. Maybe Dad and I could be angels together.

The shaking in my arms and legs is slowing down now and I remember a search and rescue show I saw on TV. When hypothermia sets in, the body stops shaking. I need to warm up, need to keep my blood circulating. I try to increase my pace but my steps are slow. Winter is the season of death. Trees are bare, seeds lie dormant, lawns hibernate, birds migrate, flowers die. Maybe I will die too.

Exhausted, I stumble against a bank of snow and fall face first. My cheek feels frozen and my breath is shallow as I close my eyes. Maybe my friends will miss me. Maybe they’ll ask where I am in the morning. I use my last wisps of strength to murmur a prayer. “Dear God, please send an angel to carry me to heaven.”

The next thing I know, hands are lifting me, brushing snow from my clothes, hugging me tight. My mind is slow, befuddled but I remember praying as I fell asleep. My voice is thick as I force the words out. “Are you an angel?”

“Heavens no, child.” He lifts me into the backseat of his car, a golden cocoon of warmth. “You’re almost frozen to death. Lucky I saw you lying there.” The car’s engine is running and he leans over and cranks the heater onto full; pulls out a blanket and wraps it around me. He places his hands on my cheeks and I feel the warmth penetrating, burning.

“You must be God then.” My voice is still slurred, my core frozen but I’m amazed at this answer to prayer.

“I’m just a farmer, lass.” The man’s voice is rough with emotion. “I was on my way home after being delayed by car trouble. Now I understand why.”

I drift off again, hearing snatches of conversation. “Found her in the mountains ... hypothermic ... if an ambulance can meet us ...”

He reminds me of Dad, and long-lost hope seeps into my heart. Winter may be the season of death ... but it’s always followed by spring, isn’t it. I breathe a prayer of thanks as my eyes droop closed.


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This article has been read 483 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Laury Hubrich 08/20/09
This is a sad story. I am glad the girl was found. I like your descriptions. Nice job.
Dee Yoder 08/20/09
Good story! It had me drawn in from the start. I like the light of hope at the end, too.
Deborah Engle 08/20/09
Excellent job1 I felt her desperation and her pain. The story was well done, but I need to know what happens next!
Janice Fitzpatrick08/20/09
Yes, I agree with Deborah, I want to now what happens next. You have to finish this. It is riveting in parts and the end has me wanting more. Great job, well done.
Connie Dixon08/20/09
Loved this. Two extremes of good and evil people. Great descriptions, and effortless dialogue. Great combination for an awesome story.
Charla Diehl 08/21/09
This grabbed me and still has hold of my need to know what happens next. Liked the pace of this, your characters and the fact that it ended on a good note.
Verna Cole Mitchell 08/21/09
I was captured by your descriptions--pearls and icing, for example. You did a great job of drawing your reader into your mc's feelings.
Val Clark08/23/09
I liked your use of evocative phrases like: 'and I imagine them becoming part of nature, crystallising, becoming ice fossils.' to underpin her thoughts, feelings and her situation. I think it would take a novel and a lot of inner searching and pain on the part of the writer to finish this gritty story. :-)
Pam Ford Davis 08/24/09
Could personally feel her emotional and physical cold, and visualize two very opposite men.
Colin Swann08/24/09
A disturbing story but a good ending. Enjoyed your interesting tale.
Mona Purvis08/24/09
Strong story about a miserable family life due to substance abuse and more. She was powerless, but God prevailed. I love the character of her rescuer. Compelling, rich and deep. Not an entry to just breeze through...leaves the reader aching for change.
Mona
Eileen Knowles08/24/09
I really enjoyed your piece. So many powerful images. I especially liked this line. "Winter may be the season of death...but it is always followed by spring..."
Very nice!
Beth LaBuff 08/24/09
Thank you for the rescue at the end. This was very gripping.