For my November Story Dam introduction, I chose to revise an old piece of fiction I wrote because it holds significant meaning for me as a writer. The original was the first piece I submitted to a writing community back in January of this year. It was the first time, short of a few blog posts, that I truly took a chance and put my work in front of people knowing it would be criticized. I was terrified. I didn’t know what to do with the ending or how it would be received.
It’s a scary thing for a fledgling writer to expose him or herself for the first time… but I lived through it. Now, I welcome the criticism. I live for comments and viewpoints that help me to hone, shape, and perfect my writing skills.
I considered adding the old comments as well, but I chose to start with a clean slate—new community, new people, and new points of view.
This is one side of me. I will continue to show you more as we get to know each other better.
I’m glad to meet you.
Welcome to me.
“Able… my fingers… I’m… so cold.” Linea stammered.
“I’m cold too, but I can’t start the car baby, I’m sorry. Damn it! Where in hell is that plow?”
Able was an eternal optimist, but even he knew this situation wasn’t good. The weather had gotten noticeably worse in the last hour. It had been more than two since they slid off the road, stopping short of the river embankment only at the mercy of a young white birch.
The car was stuck and he didn’t dare start it again. The snow was now halfway up the door panel. The first half-hour he kept the car running, but shut it off after he remembered the news reports saying that many of the deaths from the last snowstorm were caused by carbon monoxide poisoning. Stranded motorists tried to leave their heaters on and the snow-blocked exhaust backed up into their cars. In trying to stay alive, they met silent death. How ironic.
Able hated driving in New England. The switchbacks and crisscross networks of overgrown roads always confused him. They were lost; there was no doubt about that. The plow they had been following apparently only did this stretch of back road as a courtesy. It was entirely possible that the driver only used it as a shortcut to get back to town. Able never saw the driver look in his rear view mirror. He wondered if he even knew they were behind him at all. Judging from the fact that he didn’t stop when they failed to round the sharp curve behind him, it was pretty obvious he didn’t.
Able was getting worried. Linea wasn’t wearing her seatbelt when they wrecked and her forehead was bleeding more than Able was comfortable with. He knew that head wounds bled worse than what they actually were, but it should have slowed by now.
“Linea? Linea, you have to stay awake, sweetheart.” He rubbed her shoulder gently. “Look, it’s starting to get dark, if I don’t try to find help we’re going to freeze to death out here.”
Linea moaned lightly in agreement. Her eyes slowly closed again. “So… cold…”
He dabbed the trickle of blood running down her forehead with a shirt. “Good lord, honey, you are a bleeder.” He chuckled uneasily. “I am going to run up the road and see if I can find a house. I will be back as fast as I can. No one is going to find us out here.”
Able covered her with a blanket her kept in the back seat, then glanced one more time at the signal strength on his phone—nothing. The storm had effectively eliminated the one bar he intermittently had on the road. He shook his head. Shouldering the driver door, the snow gave way just enough to squeeze through. The barren trees whipped in all directions. Snow stung his face as it flurried around in hurricane winds. Able followed the tire tracks some thirty yards or so to the road. Looking back, he noticed they were already filling in. He needed a landmark, just in case. A boulder—perfect. He made a mental note of the rock and said a silent prayer of thanks that they had missed hitting it when they went off the road.
He started down the road at a moderate jog; he didn’t want to break a sweat, but time was of the essence. The deserted byway seemed to go on forever. He had no idea how long he had been running when he saw the mailbox, but it had been too long. He sprinted the last hundred yards to the small cottage nestled into the trees. The lights were on. “Thank God.” He said to himself.
Able pounded on the door. A few seconds later, an older couple peered at him in bewilderment.
“What on earth are ya doin’, sonny? Christ, it’s in the negatives out there!” The man exclaimed.
“I can’t… my wife… is still out there… please… I need your help!” Able was winded.
“Wife?” The woman pulled her housecoat tight around her as she stepped out on the porch.
“She’s… down the road… I lost control… please, she’s hurt pretty bad…”
“Come in, come in! Bill, get your coveralls on!” The woman pulled Able into the house.
Bill gathered up flashlights and got dressed. He and Able raced out of the cottage to his truck. The engine roared to life and they backed down the narrow drive to the road. The heavy snowfall reflected the headlights, blinding them as they drove back the way he came. As he feared, Able couldn’t see his tracks, much less anything off the side of the road. He desperately searched for the boulder, but it was nowhere to be seen.
Able was in agony. “We’ve gone too far. I know it. This cannot be happening! We need to turn around. We’ve gone too far…the boulder shouldn’t have been this far…”
“Sonny, you need to relax! Gettin’ yeh’self all worked up isn’t goin’ ta help us!” Bill stated.
“STOP! THERE IT IS!” Able yelled.
Able threw the truck door open and bound toward the large mound he thought to be the boulder. He frantically scraped away the heavy snow only to find oak bark glaring back at him. “What the… NO!” Able screamed at the top of his lungs. Dropping to his knees, he wailed uncontrollably. The torrential wind immediately stole and cast aside his racking sobs.
Bill caught up to him and tried unsuccessfully to lift him back to his feet. Shining his flashlight at the mound revealed nothing more than a rough pile of firewood.
Two hundred yards away, a single rust colored handprint stood in sharp contrast on the frosted passenger window. Linea’s glassy, lifeless eyes were open slightly, staring into nothing. Her body stilled as she exhaled her final breath.
I hope you enjoyed the story. Not everything I write is along these lines, but I do seem to have a tendency to lean this way. I’m looking forward to spending time with you all and seeing what we all come up with for future prompts.
Please introduce yourself below! You are welcome to leave any comments or constructive criticism on this edit, but it’s not necessary for this link-up.