Friday, January 08, 2010

Entry #41

Ice
by Beth Harar


Leigh pressed her hands to the wall of ice, watching the inky silhouettes of the barren trees above. Their branches intersected like a puzzle.

Her body was no longer cold. A calm numbness had enveloped Leigh’s skin and she tried, once more, to bang her fists against the ice. The blue water hindered her movement, and though she pushed her arms forward, her fists only made a soft thud when they hit the frozen sheet overhead.

Small bubbles slid from her mouth and popped on the ice. There were few sounds underwater. Leigh had expected to hear the roar of rushing water. Maybe even frantic voices. But there was only muted quiet.

She kicked her legs to stay near the ice and pressed her face against the wall. A strand of hair floated in front of her eyes and, for the first time, she realized her vision was narrowing. Leigh shook her head, the motion sluggish underwater. Screaming, she pushed her palms against the ice.

Nothing.

Not even a fish to watch her die.

Lungs burning, Leigh looked at the sky and tried to remember. Marrying Jack. The smell of Emmy’s hair after a bath. Her mother. Leigh hoped her mother might come to carry her away, into the gray sky, before she sucked the water into her lungs. But those memories grew dim. And her last thought was how she longed to be like the hawk, whose black silhouette circled above.

36 comments:

wrath999 said...

'Not even a fish to watch her die'
Great line.

I enjoyed your story.

Leatherdykeuk said...

Oh! What utter horror!

Lena said...

I wonder how many people died in this contest.
But I did enjoy your story!

Preeti said...

:-(

A sad story written in such a lovely manner. Extremely vivid description. I could see everything. Maybe that's why I'm so sad.

Four Dinners said...

Left me feeling sad too. Only when well written can a tale do that.

Great writing!

Kate said...

Very good job - this made me sad and scared, but not confused, for which I thank you.

pjd said...

I think you did a great job of the progression and scene setting, and her thoughts and feelings. Really well written. I'm glad you didn't go overboard with the physical aspects of this; you used just the right amount of description and carried us through her final thoughts beautifully. Awfully, awfully tragic.

Sarah Laurenson said...

I echo Pete. This was so very well done and the balance was perfect.

SzélsőFa said...

at first I thought she was caught in a slaughterhouse's cold room, but quite soon it was all clear. the imaginery was so vivid it almost froze me, too.
I liked how her thoughts calmed down with her loosing her consciousness.

maybe genius said...

Chilling, in the very best way.

Aniket said...

The next time I see a howk/crow, I am so gonna run for it. :)

On a serious note, great imagery. Like others said, its a perfectly balanced and well crafted piece. Love it!

Meghan said...

'Not even a fish to watch her die'

That's so tragic. :( Very well-written. Good job.

Janel said...

Absolutely terrifying. The last paragraph did a great job providing some backstory.

Craig said...

Bone chilling. The progression from rationale thought to outright panic to grim acceptance was amazingly done.

JaneyV said...

Beth I think you've done an excellent job here. Peter said it all above but I have to re-iterate how beautifully balanced a piece this is. I'm left feeling bereft and hoping she gets to smell her daughter's hair again. Heart-wrenching stuff.

Aimee Laine said...

My worst fear. Sounds like she didn't intend to fall in? Yikes!

Amias said...

Death is cruel. This was most enjoyable.

Kartik said...

echoing Lena's comment! tragically well done!

laughingwolf said...

nicely done, if horrific, beth...

Beth Harar said...

Thanks for the positive comments. I worried that perhaps it was too morbid, but when I looked at the picture I saw a woman looking through a sheet of ice. Can't help the inspiration!

kashers said...

Chilling... in more ways than one. The 'not even a fish...' line is a gem.

catvibe said...

That's always been one of those kinds of deaths I'd rather not have. Extremely well written.

Laurel said...

Ditto to catvibe. This is a personal terror of mine...I hate being cold and air hunger is dreadful.

Beautifully woven detail of what she'll be leaving behind. So sad.

Tara said...

This is my biggest fear. And you captured it just a little too well for my comfort. *chills*

Terri said...

Very sad. We can see the same scene you saw when you looked at the picture, now.

Jimmie Vee said...

Great job here, Beth. This reminds me of the scene in The Omen II when the father falls into the lake while playing hockey and is being pushed around underneath the ice by the current while trying to break out. Certainly not a pleasant way to go (although methinks it beats being burned alive by a long shot).

Jean Ann Williams said...

This piece is so very good!!! It'll be on my pick list.

I believe you that this is how it feels to die underwater.

Great, great writing.

Jean Ann

Rabid Fox said...

Pretty good story with nice description. But I didn't catch on that she was underwater until the second paragraph. "Wall of ice" felt misleading, as "ceiling of ice" may have been a better choice.

truevoid said...

i liked the inky silhouettes usage. nicely written.

Deb Smythe said...

Well written. And I also loved the 'Not even a fish to watch her die' line.

My Blog 2.0 (Dottie) said...

Nicely written and a dreadful fear, brava!

Dottie :)

McKoala said...

Great description of something awesome and terrifying.

james r tomlinson said...

I'm wondering how she got there in the first place. Was she ice fishing. I do like the natural progression and the ending is well done.

Tessa said...

Beautifully written - compelling and so poignant. Well done!

Aerin said...

Dear Entrants #1-105,

I have read your pieces so that I can fairly participate in the Readers' Choice vote. (I read all of them through last week, before I started commenting.) I will be coming back around to offer my keep/tweak comment, but I didn't want anyone to snark.

Cheers,
Aerin (#236)

BTW, it's perfectly fine if you still want to snark, but this way you can choose a more appropriate subject, like the new Starbucks paninis or the people over 35 who are exclusively on MySpace

Beth Harar said...

Darn. And I was so looking forward to snarking. :) Looking forward to the post. Thanks!