I received a new story at the beginning of the week, but due to being busy with my Etsy shop, running a horse club, and working through Finals week in college, I have only recently put this one up. The 2nd Writing Challenge prompt is after the story. This story is called The Journey by Teresa H.
Mama handed the cable man our passports, he slowly flipped them over, examining every inch on them.
“That way, ” he muttered, pointing to a line of people who were getting on the cable cars. Mama and I walked over to the line. Brother tried to follow, but the guards grabbed him, holding him back. The cable man shook his head at him, the oily braids which he pulled his hair back into slapping back and forth. Mama stepped forward, her usually steady blue eyes snapping as she yelled,
“What are you doing? Let him over here!”
One of the guards shook his head heavily, darting his eyes to ovoid mama’s. The guard found a sudden interest in his boots. The cable man laughed, snarling, “These tickets aren’t valid. I’m afraid he’ll have to stay behind, and enjoy the bitter cold!” He didn’t sound sorry at all. I clutched my stomach, sickened by the absolute heartlessness. I almost screamed, but thought better of it. I might vomit, this man was so disgusting.
We were one of the last families of a dying race, and that horrid ‘cable man’ just laughs and says Háno can’t come? Cable men are supposed to be nice! Mama trembled with rage, but before she could say anything we were jostled on to the car. The door shut and it began to move. I clutched at Mama’s sleeve and whispered, “What’s going to happen to Háno?”
I loved Háno like nothing else, I couldn’t lose him. Mama just cried. I grabbed the nearest man and repeated my question. He stared at me with tear filled eyes then said rather flatly, “He’ll probably freeze with my wife. It gets way below freezing on the mountain side.”
I felt tears bubbling up and hastily wiped my eyes. “No,” I said crossly, “He can’t die. That’s not okay.”
The man shrugged and pulled away from me to stare out the window again. Not helpful. I glanced out the window at the fog, the ground was barely visible. Then it struck me. I could get out, after all. The window opened from the inside. I glanced guiltily around then leaning forward and pried open the window a crack, nobody looked my way. I sighed in relief and set about the task of getting the window open enough to slip through. By the time it was open wide enough for a four foot two inch girl, I was getting quite a few looks and some, “Shut the window, you’re letting the cold air in,” and “What are you doing little girl? Shut that!”
I just flipped my golden braids at these remarks and said, rolling my bright blue eyes, “Saving siblings is worth a slight cold.” I then went about the business of finding someone with rope. A bright spirited young man offered me his two jump ropes, one red, and one green. I thanked him greatly and went back to the window. I found a seat to tie the first jump rope about and set to tying a figure eight knot. After that was done, I tied the next jump rope to the first using the same knot, then I dropped the rope out the window. As I climbed on the edge of the window, Mama looked up and saw me.
“What are you doing Lessie?!” she gasped,
“Saving Háno.” Was my only reply, then I dropped out the window. I faintly heard Mama scream, then the wind whipped away any other sound. And I was falling, the snow bit my cheeks and stuck to my lashes. Then the rope jerked and I screamed with pain. The rope left my hands and the last thing I knew was the jarring shock of hitting the ground.
I rolled over and moaned. My arm hurt. My head hurt. In fact, my entire body hurt. Slowly, moaning and groaning the entire way, I pushed myself to my feet. Looking down, I noticed the green jump rope and a red jump rope handle lying there. I shook my head to clear it, then stood up fully, straightening my back. I shivered, pulling my coat closer. A cold, snowy breeze whipped down the mountain side. Suddenly I wasn’t so sure that this was a good idea, but there was no going back now. No way to go back, I would just have to push on ahead.
Turning to face the way back up the mountain to the station I realized the wind was coming down the mountain, meaning a lot of trouble climbing up as I would be fighting the wind the entire way.
“I wish it wasn’t snowing.” I muttered through half-frozen lips. The snow that stuck to my lashes was so thick I could hardly see. Raising my right hand, I rubbed my eyes hard, only making it worse. I searched the sky for the sun, needing to know how long I had lain there unconscious. But the clouds were too much and the snow too thick to see the sun. I could only hope I had been there for just a little while. I stopped in my tracks, thinking I should go back for the jump rope. It might come in handy later, and besides that, I had lost my hat in the fall. It was a bad plan to go without head protection in this place. I returned to the place of my fall, wincing at the sharp pain that tingled through my legs. But the jump rope was gone. It was just snow. In fact, I couldn’t be certain this was where I had fallen. The snow was coming too fast. It covered my tracks in a matter of seconds. I would never find my hat and the rope; there was no point in trying. I turned and ran, moving slowly because of the wind. As I pushed my way, slowly and painfully, up the slope, I thought I heard light, airy laughter. Parting my lips a crack I tried to say, ‘who’s there?’ but it came out as no more than a meow. The laughter came again, more distinct this time. It seemed to be coming from the air, strangely enough. A sudden gust of wind threw me off my balance and I stumbled backwards and fell, tumbling down the mountain side. Laying face first in the snow I tried to breathe, but I was too tired to breathe. I lay there for a few seconds. Then I realized that if I didn’t move I was as good as dead, but I was so tired and the laughter was harder than ever. It seemed that the mysterious person was laughing at me. I forced myself to take a deep breath, then another. And another. Driving my hands deep into the snow I pushed myself off the ground. I was so tired and my head hurt so much, I wished someone else was there, to encourage me. To make me move. I forced my mouth open and yelled, “Help! Someone!” But my words were whipped away as I spoke them. Laughter again. I clenched my fists and managed to yell, “Who are you?”
My words whipped away again, but the laughter was closer, almost in my ear. The wind ruffled my hair and suddenly I understood. I was hearing the wind. The wind flashed around me, pushing me down again. It was still laughing, and now I was sure the laughter was directed at me!
“Go away.” I whispered, my words faint and unheard. My hands were numb with cold and now were slowly beginning to feel warmish. That was a bad sign. And I wasn’t even half-way up the mountain. I gulped and pushed myself off the ground again. The wind tried to push me down but I was determined not to fall. Raising my hands to protect my face I noticed how red they were, I needed to reach the top! Protecting my face with my hands I threw all my strength into fighting the wind. Moving so slowly I could count the seconds in between each step, I began to move upwards. It got colder as I traveled. I had never felt this cold nor been stuck in this kind of weather before. I peeked through my fingers at the way up. The top was invisible. The snow and wind swept down on me, blocking my vision and stinging my cheeks and forehead every time I lowered my hands. I raised my hands again and kept moving. The snow got deeper and I began to walk in snow up to my waist. At least it held me up so the wind couldn’t blow me back down again. I walked two more feet and ran into a wall. Brushing one hand against it I craned my neck to look for the top of it. It was made of cold, rough stone and dead moss. Then I remembered there was a slight drop at the end of the station. I was almost there, I just had to scale this cliff first.
Slouching against the cliffside I felt something other than the snow and wind stinging my eyes. I blinked to clear my eyes and felt tears sliding down my face, bringing my knees up. I hugged them, staring blankly out at the snow swirling past. I sat there for ages, just watching the snow pile up and be blown about. Another tear dripped off my chin. I couldn’t do this. The tears were coming fast now and my heart ached as if someone was crushing it between their fingers. A tear whipped off my face and vanished into the storm.
‘Get up little girl.’
I blinked, wiping the tears off my face,
“Wh-” my throat hurt too much to talk, though I longed to call out for whoever I heard. My cheeks were stiff and achy. I brought up one frozen hand to feel them. The tears I hadn’t wiped away were ice drops on my face. I lowered my golden lashes, which were now white with snow, to block out the sight of the snow. I couldn’t bear it any longer. Opening my eyes and stretching out my stiff legs I lay down, my eyes drifted closed and I dropped off into sleep, vaguely knowing in the back of my mind that I was giving up. I would die if I slept now. But I did anyway.
Chapter 4. (The Wind)
I fluffed more snow into the air, trying to hit the little girl. Unfortunately, she had positioned herself against the cliff and it was well nigh impossible. Perhaps I could get her attention some other way. If she didn’t move soon then she would die and I would have failed. If only she wasn’t all the way up the slope. It was easy for me to push her down, making her fight, which kept her going. Suddenly I had a thought. Spinning away, I launched into the sky and returned to the top of the cliff. Just as I thought! The little girl’s little friend was there, crouched next to a thin little twig of a woman. He had given the little women his coatish thing and I noted the purple tinge to his arms,
“Come on.” he whispered to her, “You have to get up.” She shook her head, her raven black braids shaking ever so slightly, then returning to their limp state of defeat. He stood up and I spun around him, making him shiver and say in a low voice,
“Come on. If you stay here, this wind will blow you straight off the cliff.” Just to prove his point I poked her, making her shift and her feet went off the cliff. She grab wildly at the little boy.
“Help!” she screamed, her voice was hoarse with cold and I winced sympathetically. I was always cold, trapped in this endless field of cold. I would give anything to see what I heard people on this station talk about. Something called a sunny beach. Up here they were always talking about going there and getting out of the cold. The little woman screamed again and the little boy pulled her under a little stand with rails. I fluttered around it, but found the rails and roof did a good job keeping me out. Sighing deeply, I turned and swept back down the cliff to where the little girl lay. Freezing. She wouldn’t survive much longer. I had to wake her up! Then something occurred to me, I could wake her up by talking. Hopefully.
She didn’t move. I tried again, vainly hoping. This was all I could do.
‘Little girl!! Wake up!’
She stirred and I yelled louder.
A voice yelled out in the dark. I tried to open my eyes. They wouldn’t open. I felt dizzy and weak. Then I realized, I wasn’t breathing. My lungs didn’t draw in air when I told them to. My entire body felt weirdly numb. I was dying!
‘LITTLE GIRL! WAKE UP!’
The voice came again, sharper than ever. I tried again and again to force my lungs to work.
The voice sounded desperate now, crying, pain filling it.
‘Don’t die. Háno needs you.’
That did it. Air filled my lungs and I mentally winced, hearing my ragged, gasping breath.
‘Yes. Get up.’
The voice was so hopeful I couldn’t deny it. I cracked my eyes open and forced my cold body to a sitting position. ‘Where are you?’ I mentally asked, because I couldn’t say it aloud and I didn’t see anybody.
‘I’m the Northern Wind’
The voice said this without a moment’s pause or hesitation. I gasped again. ‘You can hear my thoughts?’ I thought
Now the voice was laughing. The same laugh I had heard before. Slowly, putting my arms out to support myself, I got to my feet, and stood up. It was so dark, I judged that it must be nighttime by now. What if Háno hadn’t survived? He isn’t that strong! I gulped, tears trying to force their way out of me.
‘Go left. About ten feet. You should find a ladder made of metal rungs. Climb those, and go to the station.’
‘Thanks’ I thought, and turning left I took a step. My legs buckled and I tumbled over. ‘I don’t think my legs will support me.’
‘You can do it.’
The voice said encouragingly. I smiled slightly, my lips were too cold for something larger. ‘Yes’ I thought ‘you are right. I can do this.’ Once more I got to my feet and took another step. Then another. ‘Only seven more,’ I thought cheerily taking another five steps. Then another. And the last step. Turning to face the wall, I felt for the ladder. At last my hands fell on a cold metal rung. I could have screamed for joy. At last, I would reach the top. Slowly I grabbed hold of it I pulled myself upwards, placing my feet on a lower rung I had discovered. I pulled and pushed. It was hard at first but eventually the pain and hardness faded to nothing but a throbbing in me as I climbed in that never ending dull pattern. Pull, push. Pull, push. Putting out my hand, I expected to find another metal rung. Nothing but air met my hand; I had reached the top. Pulling myself over I climbed slowly to my feet. The clouds were clearing and the sun was just coming over a hill. The snow glinted in light, looking beautiful. But I was not fooled. I knew what a monster it really was. I looked, but didn’t see Háno. ‘No!’ This time the words made it out of my mouth,
“No!” There was a moment of dead silence, then, “A ‘chiad?” Háno’s voice was quiet but determined as he spoke my name. I gasped with relief and sank to my knees. Háno appeared in the doorway of the cableman stand.
“You came back!” he cried, I could hear the tears in his voice, then the worry, “Where’s Mama?” I smiled, laughing lightly, “She’s okay.” He sighed with relief and ran over to me, then jerked back, remembering something,
“Just a second, A ‘chiad.” Turning, he bolted back to the stand and went in.
Coming back out, he led a young women to me. “Lilathia, meet my sister, A ‘chiad. A ‘chiad, meet Lilathia. She was left behind without her husband.”
Suddenly I remembered the sad man’s words, “He’ll probably freeze with my wife. It gets way below freezing on the mountain side.” I gasped, “I met you husband. He wants you.”
Lilathia smiled in relief, “Thank you, A ‘chiad. I needed that.” Her voice was quiet and soft.
“How are we going to get to the cars?” Háno asked, looking around, “They don’t appear to be here.” I looked at the sky, thinking, ‘You idiot! You should have thought about getting back before you left.’
What I said was, “I’ll think of something.”
‘What about me? I could take you back’
I had almost forgotten Northern Wind. Háno and Lilathia both looked around nervously, saying at the same time, “What was that?”
I shrugged. “Nothing,” I said. What I thought was, ‘Sure, give us lift.’ And just like that, the wind struck us with unexpected hardness and we were pushed backwards, off the cliff. Everyone screamed. We were blown up, up, up.
Northern Wind asked, I tried not to panic and thought, ‘The third to last car’
Through my squinted eyes I saw the cars coming up. We blew over the first, then the second. And then the wind let us go. We fell, smashing right through the ceiling of the cart. I moaned, ‘That seriously hurt.’ Then I saw the familiar face of Mama leaning over us.
“A ‘chiad?” Then with a slight sob, “Háno?”
I nodded, my cold lips breaking into a full blown smile, “Yes Mama,” I said. I couldn’t explain the excitement that bubbled through me, so instead I repeated, “Yes Mama.”
Suddenly, I heard a familiar man’s voice. “Lilathia? Lilathia!” and I knew that husband and wife had been reunited. Smiling even harder I said, “I love you Mama.”
Thanks for reading the story everyone. With it comes our new challenge. This time we will be working off of a sentence prompt. Inspired by my own absent-minded dreaming, and introduced by my sisters, the prompting sentence you must include is, “Honey, where did I put the baby?”