Falling Through....... An Icy Nighmare
The purpose of this hub
I was encouraged by one of my followers Micky Dee to post this hub about "falling through the ice" It is an excerpt from the first book i wrote and i would LOVE some feedback on it. Thank You.
An excerpt from my book - This Side of the Flat Irons
Sleep usually came quickly for him, the kind that is dreamless and refreshing when he woke the next day. Other times he had what he called “The Nightmare”
After his wife Ember died, it was the same one he had been having over and over regarding his childhood accident. He could recount it verbatim he had dreamt it many times. But this time unbeknownst to him, the ending would be different. As he lay in bed tossing and turning, unable to empty his mind of worry and concern for his young friend, the nightmare began.
His family had moved from the Greek isles to a small town in upper Michigan to start a better life. New beginnings were hard for a Greek family where they knew no one and were so different from everyone else in town. His father had bought the local bakery and was soon producing fine ethnic breads and pastries. The family of six all worked hard, and the business became a success in the first six months. Yianni was the youngest of four sons and the shyest. A tussle of thick black curly hair, his olive colored complexion, and a funny little foreign accent, sometimes made him a target for bullies at school and friendships didn’t come easily for a 10-year-old boy.
One winter day he and some classmates ventured out to Wilson’s pond after school to play ice hockey. The pond usually froze over quickly, but the last few days had been unusually warm, causing puddles of standing water to pool in many places.
He didn’t really relish the idea of skating on the pond that day. His cousin Theo had fallen through the ice to his death at the town quarry pit several years ago.
They had all gotten the normal warnings from their parents and neighbors who said the quarry wasn’t a safe place to go under any circumstances. Someone had cut a hole in the surrounding chain link fence making it far too alluring for young lads with a sense of immortality in their blood not to brave the odds that day. After all what boy with thoughts of adventure could resist such a temptation?
Abandoned years ago and now devoid of gravel, it was an eerie place even in the daytime. Like a giant stone basin, large cranes and bulldozers had gouged out a gaping hole in the earth resulting in an unsightly pit now filled with murky silt filled water. Old rusted equipment used to dig out the pit, had been driven to the very edge of the wall and parked. Leaving the old relics looking like a skeletal dinosaur graveyard frozen in time, causing them to creak and moan in the wind, casting their ghostly shadows on the deserted grounds below.
An old rope ladder with metal rungs hung over the side of one the towering rock walls as the only means to get down to the water level. Ten boys flung their skates and gear over their shoulders, each taking his turn descending to the frozen surface.
They skated long and hard that afternoon at the quarry, until dark afternoon clouds and fading light started to signal the end of the short winter day. One last slap of the hockey puck sent it streaking across the ice to the far end, well past the normal area of play. His younger cousin eagerly spun around and skated a beeline to retrieve the way ward disc.
Suddenly the ice heaved and broke sending Theo into a whirlpool of liquid Hell. The icy water was black and full of chunky debris, sucking him under like some dark evil hand had reached up and grabbed him, whisking his life away below the surface of the ice in a fraction of a second.
He never surfaced, no second chance to be plucked out and pulled to safety; he was simply gone. Only his hockey stick remained, poised on the edge of the hole, his name scratched indelibly with black ink just below the grip tape.
They all stood there horrified, waiting for some sign of the little boy to crawl back out of the hole. All Yianni remembered after that was grabbing the stick, somehow rescaling the ladder and then running blindly home.
After the memorial service, the young group of friends decided to fashion a simple Cross out of his hockey stick and scrawled his birth and death years down the remainder of the wood. They made one last pilgrimage back to the pit, standing for a moment in a circle, holding hands and saying silent prayers before hammering the cross into the ground in front of the fence.
The city had come, by after the fact, and repaired the hole, then tacked up a flimsy sign that read “THIN ICE, NO SKATING”, but it was too little, too late for Theo. He had perished there in that watery grave and this would have to serve as a constant and unspoken reminder to all.
Yanni cried for days after that. Going to bed and pulling the covers well over his head so no one could hear him, racked with guilt that it never should have happened in the first place. The flashbacks of that accident still haunted him in his dreams sometimes, and the whole family missed Theo more than anyone cared to admit, but it remained a topic never to be discussed.
Unlike the gravel pit, Wilson’s pond was the place where everyone skated, and he dismissed any thoughts of danger, chalking up Theo’s accident up to unfortunate choices from his boyhood.
All the young boys quickly put on their hockey gear and glided out to the thickest parts of the ice. Eager to catch up, he nimbly lacing up his skates, he made his way out to them. Soon the familiar whack, slap, sounds of the puck making contact with sticks could be heard echoing off the ice.
In his mind this is where dream always slowed down.
Suddenly a sickeningly loud “Crrraaaack” filled the air. Looking down, he saw the fissure in the ice start to run. Panic raced through his body, his horrified cries evaporating in his throat. He tried to move his legs to escape but it was as if they were chained to one place. Terrified at the sight, the other boys skated off the pond to safety, only to turn around and find themselves watching him in horror. He could hear their distant yelling and screaming to move, but it did no good. They jumped up and down frantically waving their arms on the shoreline, but all he could hear was the grotesque moan of the frozen water as giant air bubbles moved underneath him. Then, as if opening its icy jaws, suddenly he fell through. The temperature of the water was shocking as it held him in its’ arctic grip. He was only underwater for 3 seconds but it felt like a lifetime, then his head and arms bobbed back up out of the hole like a cork.
Frantically he grabbed the broken edges, desperately clawing at the jagged opening, slicing his fingers to shreds in the process, sucking frigid air into his lungs, gasping and coughing, determined not to go under again. His legs growing numb, his clothes heavy and waterlogged. He could hear the wail of the fire truck siren coming down the winding road, if only he could hold on long enough. He squeezed his eyes shut and pleaded with the Almighty in his head,
“Oh God, please don’t let me to die this way!
Not like Theo!
Please God, NO, NOOOOO!”
And then the safety ladder, long and red slid out onto the ice, the fireman carefully inching his way out to him with rope and life preserver in hand.
“Hurry! he screamed Hurry up! I can’t hold on much longer!”
Losing his grip, he slid under one more time; sure in his mind he wouldn’t resurface, as the old images of his cousin’s untimely death raced through his mind, causing total hysteria to set in. He opened his mouth to scream, and the icy water rushed in. Eyelids frozen open, he saw the blurred image of a hand plunge swiftly down the hole, fingers waving in front of his face, groping madly about, and then finally grabbing his coat sleeve. He heard his name called in the dream, but it sounded muffled, as if coming from somewhere in the distance.
And then suddenly it was deafening in his ear “Yanni, Yanni!!” He could feel the pressure of the grip on his arm shaking him violently, “Yanni, Wake up!!”
Jolted awake, a cold sweat covered his body, and he was shaking uncontrollably. Finally his eyes focused, he recognized the contour of her now familiar face, and he fell heavily back against his pillows exhausted. The dream was over, but this time his rescuer was not the fireman, it was Alexie.
TO BE CONTINUED..................................
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