A winter’s tale

Frozen01a.jpg picture by pemerytx


Marie barely shuffled down the side of the deserted road.  A knapsack filled with a few of her most treasured belongings sagged heavy on her small shoulders.  Time and distance were dropping off like the streetlights were becoming fewer and fewer.  Houses had stopped long ago.  Fields had been put to sleep under thick blankets of snow. 


Life below the heavens was growing dimmer as her body temperature plummeted.  For no reason she was in touch with, she made feeble efforts to keep her thoughts active, alive.  She tried to remember what had happened to her family.  She thought they were dead, the immediate ones.  The others were distant, indifferent.


She felt the muscles along her neck and shoulders tighten under the knapsack straps and soon she began to tremble violently, involuntarily.  Pieces of a memory seemed to shake loose.  One piece, of coming out here for an internship at The Daily News, fit with Michael.  He helped her with her writing, helped her get hired as a reporter, like him.  There was love.  A house.  Together.


The pain of the cold pierced her ears.  In their ringing she heard a man’s voice, could see his handsome face.  She lifted a frostbitten hand toward him, barely formed a whisper of the word, “Michael…”  She shuffled forward, almost fell.  No one was there.  Tears froze to her bloodless cheeks. 


The last streetlight faded away with the feeling in her legs.  She stumbled, dropped to her knees, and crumpled in pain.  The remaining heat and strength within her began to drain fast away after her last coherent thought:  she would never have accepted the promotion over Michael if she had known he would throw her out in the cold in a jealous rage, at the expense of her love for him.






Dark, snowy road from http://lh4.ggpht.com/_xcfjtMYWJZE/R2HWT-eLc5I/AAAAAAAAA1I/wIvM_f-WDxM/IMG_0722.JPG



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Click here for more on prompt “#139 – A Winter’s Tale” from other Sunday Scribblings participants


14 responses to “A winter’s tale

  1. Very thought provoking! I had to read it twice…I felt so sad for her. The confusion she must feel to want him who has just murdered her. Great story!

  2. You are hard on the hopes of women who wish for both love and vocation, but there is some measure of undeniable truth here. I loved the accompanying photograph, which somehow evokes the loneliness and desolation of the piece, and I especially admire this pairing of the lines: “Time and distance were dropping off like the streetlights…” and “The last streetlight faded away with the feeling in her legs.” Not easy reading, but very well done.

  3. No winter wonderland for you, eh, lass? This one aches with Laurentian violence. I imagine her miles away and years away from her banishment, as the last traces of memory die with her.

    Anno and I will co-author the dissertation on “Her Dark Materials” (to borrow from Philip Pullman), once your work hits the Big Stage.

    Have a holly jolly…

    My heart still aches on this one.

  4. Hi Mary! This SS piece was put together not with the care I like to take, but your visit, your Wow!, your evocative, make it alright : )

    Alisa, thank you, but she’s not dead yet! I left the ending sort of open so Paschal wouldn’t convict me of another killing. Our girl had entered a state of profound hypothermia. Her next steps are serious hallucinations, paradoxical undressing…let’s hope someone gets to her by then, which is entirely possible : )

    anno! I so appreciate the constructive feedback! When you say “not easy reading” do you mean the arrangement of words or content? I do seem to arrange words in a way that could make a tongue or two stumble : )

    Dearest paschal, I swear I didn’t kill her. Anyway, of course it’s my ego that likes your dark materials idea. But what about you and Galilee, the piece of the dream, Chimayó? I’m waiting there, at once wanting to know more, but not daring to ask because I’m not done savoring the feeling from what I read… Such a difficult thing to be pried away from a blissful place, be it of mind or matter.

    Hi Tumblewords! You’re a valuable critic, too! And of course I’m pleased with your review today :-D

  5. Such a complete story in so few words! The images are built and deepened in each paragraph. I’m left feeling like I know her and what she is going through, and with that, the person she is (or was).

  6. to love, and to let go, isn’t the easiest of things. i am learning. also that jealousy is such a wasted emotion.

    a tad dark, but words shining like little pearls, as always, missA

  7. oh, dear… I didn’t mean anything about the writing was anything other than luminous and perfectly arranged — I’m always in awe of your ability to sketch in a story and build character in a few brief paragraphs. This round, though, seemed especially chilling. I keep wanting to rescue your heroines. Is this wrong?

  8. Your writing keeps me coming back over and over again. I read this post yesterday and came back and read it again today. Flawless. You allow the reader to walk in Marie’s shoes, to see what she sees, and feel what she feels. This is an unsettled tale, yet I didn’t want to stop reading. Well done, yet again.

  9. Good to see you, Ms. Springtime Mood! Spring would be nice, indeed. It might show itself as a slight smile but probably woudn’t change the writing much. Dark is in my DNA, and I’m not kidding ;-)

    Hi present, I’m a little late outta the gate here, but better late than never, I always say… Thanks for coming by! Your comment doesn’t betray what must have been your thoughts on reading this after preparing your SS offering. Wavelengths are weird!

    Dharmabum! Hear, hear ! especially regarding the jealousy mindset. A waste of time, indeed, that takes too big a toll on the body. Thanks for shining up the pearls here, Bum :-) I’ll be over later to comment on your marvelous dogs piece and see what else I missed.

    Oh, dear, anno, I didn’t mean to make you go oh, dear ! Here, let’s talk about the hopes of women who wish for both love and vocation. You know, I thought about that when this thing was just one, small paragraph. I was so proud I’d pulled off a ThomG-size FF piece before I realized it just all the more blatantly looks like the reverse of the other FF paragraph I did, “For the love of words.” No time to change it, I just embellished it with more details and let my psychoses hang out there. The love and vocation issue looms large for me, for sure. So you should continue to try to rescue the heroines. I take note. And it really might save one of them one day :-)

    Hi BJ! I’m glad you do keep coming back. I’ve said this before, that I love interacting with those whose writing I admire. You’re one of those, so I keep turning up at your site like a bad penny ;-)

  10. Anno: I think Lady A’s female protagonists are just going to have to stage their own revolt against the feudal lordress – phalanx of Mary Poppins umbrella wielders. She’s a sappy romantic just like the rest of us. Love to All: Dame Julie.

  11. My dear Paschal, you are such the devil, delightfully so, for I can barely wait to see how our Anno will respond to the sickeningly syrupy sunshade queen. About DJ’s she remark: maybe she’s right, maybe she’s wrong ;-)

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