Previous Challenge Entry (Level 4 – Masters)
Topic: CHILL (10/29/15)
TITLE: Nice Day for a Walk
By Gary Ritter
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Helen’s legs got restless. She tapped her feet but that didn’t change the uncomfortable feeling coursing through her legs. She pushed herself out of her favorite chair and with difficulty stood up. The ground wobbled beneath her but soon steadied. The sun shone outside. That meant it was nice. Helen decided she’d take a walk.
The chill hit Helen as she walked through the door. It was cooler than she anticipated, but the blue sky and bright sunshine enticed her. She navigated the steps. On the driveway she noticed she’d left the door open. The woman could close it later.
Walking felt good. The faster she walked the less her legs bothered her. Moving onto the sidewalk she made her way to the end of the block and turned. The cool breeze on her arms raised little bumps. She ran her fingers over them. They felt prickly to the touch.
On the next block a hard sheen lay ahead. Her foot touched it and slipped. It meant she couldn’t walk as fast. She slowed and noticed the unfamiliar houses. In some spots on the lawns a touch of green or brown appeared. Otherwise a bumpy blanket of white surrounded each house.
She came to a spot not covered by the slippery sheen. Next to her a pile of the white fluff beckoned to her. She plunged her hand into it. Oh! Cold! Some of the white stuck to her hand and she tasted it with her tongue. It turned to water in her mouth. Thirsty, she scooped up more of the substance. How chilly her hand got! The shock of it in her mouth changed as she chewed and swallowed it. The sensation on her tongue became metallic. Her teeth turned on edge. With a shiver she spit out the remainder.
Continuing on, Helen left the sidewalk in the middle of the block. Garbage cans lined this narrow road. They sat next to small houses with big overhead doors. One of the doors stood open. She peered inside at a couple of two-wheeled contraptions hanging from the ceiling. Toward the front she saw a bench with some tools sitting on it. She wandered in. At the bench she picked up a long pointy thing that had a wooden handle with a rounded piece of metal sticking out of it. Thinking it might come in handy, she stuck it in the waistband of her pants. She noticed that inside this house the wind didn’t cut into her and the bumps on her arms disappeared.
With a shrug she ventured onto the narrow road again and saw a stand of trees up ahead. She almost slipped again on patches of the hard, shiny stuff. At the end of the road the houses stopped. With delight she noticed a path continue into the trees. She crossed a bigger road to reach the trail; underfoot it changed to dirt and hard-packed white.
In the woods the bumps on her bare arms returned. It caused her to shiver, yet she felt such awe looking above into the bare branches she forgot about her discomfort. Some of the limbs swayed from an invisible force. A whistle sounded from high up. She puckered her lips and tried to whistle back, but couldn’t. There might have been a time she could do that. Not now.
The sun disappeared. It grew dark in the woods. Swirls of white flakes began to fall. She lifted her face in delight, but soon cold pressed in upon her. Helen crossed her arms to keep warm. Her ears began to burn. When she pressed her hands around them she heard stillness. They felt better for a moment. The rest of her felt cold.
A great tiredness came over her. She wished her easy chair would suddenly appear. A big tree next to the path looked like a good place to rest. Stiffness seized her. She eased down, her back to the tree. Helen’s heavy eyes closed. The woman’s distant voice called her name. She’d answer. Later.
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