Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Entry #45

“Frozen in Black Ice”
By Susan Flemming


The moon slipped behind a veil of clouds as Howard stepped down from the cab of the truck. He reached across the seat and carefully lifted the bag into his arms. He knew which pole marked the spot and he made his way through the grass and weeds in the ditch to it's base.

A fine mist of rain fell. Howard felt the wetness soaking through his shirt; felt the chill wind begin to freeze the fabric. It had been drizzling and cold that night too.

He set the bag down and began clearing a circle at the base of the pole. Memories flooded his mind. Always they brought with them the questioning; the if onlies. How many times over the years had he played the if only game.

If only they had waited until morning to head out. If only he'd been able to maintain control a moment longer. If only they'd hit the ditch a few feet further on. If only...

When a large enough circle was cleared, he opened the bag and lifted out a bouquet of white lilies and a wreath. He nailed the wreath to the pole and laid the lilies on the ground.

He stood a moment longer remembering and then returned to the truck. As he pulled away, Howard cranked the heat to high and felt the warmth spread through his body. Somehow though, it could never quite thaw that place in his heart frozen in black ice.

[Published short story and article writer Susan Flemming is currently working on her first fantasy novel set in ancient times; where the magic and mystical meet. Visit her at her website: www.susanflemming.com.]

12 comments:

k l gilbert said...

Such a poignant and touching story. Well written. Strong last paragraph.

Thank you kindly for the positive feedback on my own entry. It serves to sustain one in times of drought. (Reference to writing only, as I sit here in the rising flood waters of NE Pennsylvania....literally)

JLB said...

We all have those "if onlies," don't we? A good thought-provoking piece. Left me drifting off into my own memories.

Bhaswati said...

This has a delicate, lyrical charm to it. Nicely reflective :)

Flood said...

Susan! I don't know how I missed your entry until now.

I often think about these small wreaths that I see as we drive past them. Really great use of the theme.

Sad story, loved the end that rang true:it could never quite thaw that place in his heart frozen in black ice.

Sue said...

Thank you k l gilbert, jlb, bhaswati and flood for your comments.

And yes k l gilbert, positive feedback does sustain one in times of drought. And hopefully your real life flood waters will recede soon. Stay safe, though, evacuate if you need to.

Aloha all,
Sue

Scott said...

Sue, I really loved the last line of this piece. Very sweet.

Sue said...

Thanks Scott.

That last line took a bit to get the way I wanted it when I started editing the first draft even though a variation of it was one of the first lines I wrote for this story. I'm weird that way... I almost always know the ending before I start to write.

Lisa said...

A bittersweet story. The last line is packed with emotion. Nicely done.

Sue said...

Thank you Lisa.

Fran Piper said...

How sad! You capture playing "the if only game" so well.

Rereading, it gets me all over again.

jason evans said...

Susan, pulling out the wreath was a great reveal. Also, the freezing mist. Nice set up! High marks for entertainment and storytelling.

Sue said...

Fran, thank you. This piece got to me when I was writing it too. And again during the editing.

And Jason, thank you from one storyteller to another. I'm looking forward to the next contest. I'm sure that one is going to generate even more entries than this on did.