Ice Skating

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All autumn my little sister had been begging me to take her ice skating. Winter arrived early and stayed late this far north but still we had to wait for the lake to freeze over deeply enough to be safe.

‘Can we go out to check today, Alex?’ she asked me as we ate porridge before the roaring kitchen fire.

‘It won’t have frozen enough yet, Beka,’ I replied, ‘it only snowed a little last night.’

‘Still I want to see!’ Beka cried.

I rolled my eyes and finished my porridge.

‘Take her out Alex,’ mother said from the huge table, ‘today, we are getting the  sweet puddings ready for the Winter Feast day. You two will only get under our feet.’

Both grandmothers, cook and maid agreed.

‘I want to help father hunting,’ I spoke.

‘He left all ready. Now, be a good son and look after your little sister.’

Grumpily, I got ready and the maid helped Beka with her fluffy elk boats, long red coat, gloves, scarf and matching red hat. We meet by the kitchen door, all ready to go out in the freezing morning.

‘You won’t need your ice skates, Beka,’ I said.

Beka pulled a face and shifted the white leather ice skates on her left shoulder, ‘it’s just in case.’

I shook my head, decided not to argue with her and opened the door. An icy wind blasted in and the fire began to gutter. Quickly, we went out and saw a thick frost and light dusting of snow on the ground. The sky above was a steel blue colour and the sun was a weak yellow in the sky.

We walked to the end of the garden, through the gate and around the edge of the woods. Gun shots echoed and a few birds flew up from the trees.

‘It’s father,’ Beka spoke.

I nodded and we walked on to the lake. Ice cold, clear water lapped at a frozen mud shore. A few ducks were swimming in the distant and the little wooden rowing boat was rocking against it’s wooden walk way.

‘See,’ I pointed out.

Beka sighed and looked downcast, ‘it’s no where near frozen!’

‘In a few more weeks it might be. Let’s go out in the boat instead. It might be the last time we can.’

She nodded, we climbed into the boat and I rowed us around the lake.

In The Boat

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The sun was dipping low and reflecting on the lake’s still surface as if there was a second sun setting on another world under the water.

I didn’t look back as I walked on the planks towards the small blue painted wooden boat that lay in the tall rush reeds. I was calm in mind; empty headed my grandmother would describe it as.

Untying the boat, I pushed it out so the bottom wouldn’t get stuck then got in. I rowed out, noticing the thin mist parting around me and the ripples the oars created. It was all ready freezing out here and a thin frost was settling were it could. I could imagine the morning sun making the frost glitter like candlelight on crystal.

Stopping, I lay down in the boat’s belly and listened to the lapping of the small waves. I shut my eyes and let the cold come to me. Tomorrow, they would find me with frost on my eyelashes and lips. My yellow and gold lace trim ball gown frozen to my body and his last letter against my heart.

 

Boat Hole #CCC

They were all dead now.

I toss pebbles into the sea then at the boat. I make a game of trying to get stones through one of the many holes. The smaller the hole, the higher the points.

Boredom and tiredness kick in. I walk away towards the stream for a cooling drink and a wash. I cut down some coconuts, split them open and gnawed on the white insides.

I don’t want to be rescue. Being here’s the safest I’ve felt in a long time. If anybody did find me they wouldn’t understand.

I’m not myself anymore.

 

(Inspired by; https://crimsonprose.wordpress.com/2019/06/12/crimsons-creative-challenge-31/ with thanks).

Burning River #WhatPegmanSaw

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The waters of the Ganges lapped at the edge of Varanasi city’s western bank. Fires rose on the burnt ground, the flames reflected in the river like the rays of the setting sun. The smell of burnt flesh, cloth and wood chocked the air making the mixed spice fragrances of the markets seem lost in the past.

From the distant boat, I watch men bring my relative’s body down to wash in the river. I wasn’t allowed to go because it was believed women make the event more sorrowful but I had want to see this ancient tradition.  

 

(Inspired by; https://whatpegmansaw.com/2019/05/25/varanasi-india/ with thanks).

Querencia #AtoZChallenge #3LineTales

Querencia; a place from which ones strength is drawn, where on feels at home, the place where you are your most authentic self. 

The sea called to me. It flowed through my blood via generations of fishermen and sailors. The sounds of the waves, the salty air made me feel calm and reassured. I could draw strength from the sea, from the knowledge it was ever changing yet stayed familiar.

On stormy days, I would brave a walk on the sandstorm beach and watch the wind and rain whipping the high waves. I would shout into the storm, letting all my angry out.

On calm days, I would take my boat out  and just drift. Feeling at home and most like myself. I could be whoever I wanted to be out on the waves but most of the time I could just be me, without judgement, without a care.

 

(Inspired by; https://only100words.xyz/2019/04/11/three-line-tales-week-167/ with thanks).

 

The Land That’s Not Green #Pegman

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The boat bobbed through icy water, sliding past icebergs that drift on the sea.

Lola took a few photos then turned to look for her sister. Other tourists blocked her view but she spotted Rey at the bow. Going over, Lola joined her.

‘Isn’t Greenland just something else?’ Rey spoke.

‘It is but it’s not very green,’ Lola answered.

The girls smiled at that on going joke.

A blast of sea spray fell like harsh snowflakes on their faces and drew them both to look over the side. Below, large creatures were breaking through the bow waves.

‘Whales!’ Rey cried.

‘Amazing!’ Lola added.

 

(Inspired by; https://whatpegmansaw.com/2019/03/09/greenland/ with thanks).

Adrift #FFfAW

The days and nights had become one long stretch of nothing. It seemed there was only the sea and the sky left, the rest of the world has just gone. Dad and son sat in the tiny dingy, thinking, sleeping, daydreaming, hallucinating, hoping and praying to be saved. The sinking of the fishing boat haunted them but they were far away from that now and everything else. Large waves rocked the boat, the sky grew black, another storm was coming and this time they might not survive.

(Inspired by; https://flashfictionforaspiringwriters.wordpress.com/2018/11/26/fffaw-challenge-193rd/ with thanks).

Ferry #FFfAW

They changed the timetable of the ferry for the summer and forgot to update everything. Cars were queuing for miles, people double checking their watches then staring around confused. The complaints were flooding in like storm waves, so the ferry company had no choice but to put the timetable back again.

(Inspired by; https://flashfictionforaspiringwriters.wordpress.com/2018/08/13/fffaw-challenge-178th/ with thanks).

 

 

Leaving #FridayFictioneers

Finally, they had got Mrs Willoby out of the old peoples’ home. Supporting her, the careers walked her onto the awaiting boat. The crew were silent, nerves building. They didn’t like being here, an eerie deadness hung about the empty island.

Once the hundred year old lady was seated, Mrs Willoby smiled and peered into her handbag. Nestled in a tissue was a throbbing green stone. Space contamination the government said, but she had never believed them. It was just a pretty stone.

The boat took off at high speed, leaving the condemned land but sealing the fate of another.

 

(Inspired by; https://rochellewisoff.com/2018/07/25/27-july-2018/ with thanks).

Storm Sea #TwitteringTales

The sky looked angry as the storm rolled in. I watched the clouds from my fishing boat and decided to return to the harbour. The choppy sea and pouring rain slowed me down but I made it back as the first rumble of thunder echoed.

I hurried from my boat on to the wooden dock and tied her up. Looking back, I saw a fork of lighting striking the top of a large wave. Flickers of electric current rode the water, zinging their way to shore. I got out of there, dashing for the shelter of home.

(Inspired by; https://katmyrman.com/2018/06/04/twittering-tales-87-5-june-2018/ with thanks).