Snowfall: Flash Fiction Friday Post

It started snowing at seven in the morning. By seven-thirty, it was coming down at about an inch an hour. Social media filled with pictures people took of the snow in their yards, their neighborhoods, their towns. No one had seen anything like it.

“It never snows this far south,” one woman said as she was interviewed by a local TV reporter. I don’t even have a snow shovel!”

Estelle turned the TV off. It was February. Why did they all panic at the sight of a snowflake. She got up and went to the kitchen to make some hot tea. Estelle had come from upstate New York. Snowfall of a foot or even two was pretty normal. It was just after noon and she’d already been out twice to shovel her short driveway and even shorter front walk.

Big improvement over New York, she thought as she waited for the electric kettle to bring the water to a boil. There it would have taken me two hours just to get the driveway cleared, let alone the walks and the decks. No, she decided. It is much better here.

Tea made, she took it into the living room and settled in under an afghan her mother had made for her and read a book. Three hours later, it was time to clear the driveway again.

She dressed lightly. Shoveling snow was a workout. Estelle grabbed the shovel out of the garage and began. It was wet and heavy, this late in the day, not like the fluffy, dry snow from the colder morning. Working steadily, she cleared the walk, then began the driveway. Halfway done she stopped to rest. The street where she lived was populated but no one was out. The snow was still falling at a fast clip, big, fat, wet flakes, drifting down, smothering all the sounds she normally heard in the area.

When she got to the street, she realized the city plows still hadn’t been through, no one had. She shook her head. What if one of the neighbors needed an ambulance. She glanced next door. Trudy Willa had been carried off by ambulance twice in the last year. There was no sign of Trudy or her husband, Dave. Obviously, they were going to wait to clear their drive. They always hired someone.

Estelle knocked the wet snow off of her shovel and got back to work. The cloudy day made nightfall that much sooner. She wanted to get this done and get back inside and make a little dinner. Spaghetti, she thought, with jarred sauce. That’ll be quick and easy. She stopped shoveling to move her shoulder around. It was hurting. No wonder, she thought. She hadn’t had to shovel snow in the six years she’d been here.

After two more shovelfuls, she stopped again. She was a little nauseous, too. Good thing she was going to make a quick dinner. Estelle looked around. The driveway was nearly done. Good. She shoveled more, tossing the snow as far as she could. This storm was supposed to last through tomorrow. She didn’t want the snow to pile up too much right next to the driveway. She rubbed her arm again. Going to have to do more arm work in the gym, she thought and went back to work.

She was close to being done and the daylight was fading fast. Just in time, she thought. She was ready for another hot cup of tea. That’s when the pain hit her in the chest, radiating out to her arms so hard and fast Estelle fell to her knees, the shovel falling from her hands. What the…, she thought as she gasped for breath. What was going on?

The pain wouldn’t stop. She wanted to get up, get inside, call someone, but she just couldn’t get her legs to move. Another sharp pain came washing through her. She fell over on her side, still gasping from the intensity of it. Get up, she told herself. You can’t lay on the driveway. You’ll freeze. But still, she couldn’t move. Estelle lay there, the snow drifting down on her. She concentrated on just breathing. Slow and steady, she thought, but any deep breath made her hurt even more.

Ridiculous. I’m not going to just lay out here. She tried to roll to her knees, but any movement just set off more chest pain. Heart attack, she thought. I’m having a heart attack. She lay her head on the cold, wet, cement of the driveway, her knees pulled up to her chest. She could feel the wet soaking into her jeans and the shivering start.

Gently. Very gently. Get inside and call the ambulance. You can do it. Don’t worry about how much it hurts. So slowly, very slowly, she rolled up, gasping with the pain and began to crawl to the garage door. It was fifteen feet away. You can do it, she told herself. This will teach you to carry the phone in your pocket. At ten feet from the open maw of the garage, she had to rest. Her knees were protesting the crawl on the hard cement. Shut up, she told them. We’ve got bigger problems. Ten feet, let’s go.

It was getting darker. The lights weren’t on. She hadn’t needed them when she’d first come outside. You can’t lay here, Estelle, she told herself. Get inside. Do it! She raised herself and crawled. Her gloves had soaked through and her hands felt like ice. Three feet from the edge of the door, her arms collapsed as another chest pain hit. She fell over and pulled her knees up to her chest, her head next to the wooden door frame. Please no, she thought. Not like this. Then she felt nothing.

Dave found her the next day when he took his fat little chihuahua for its walk—Estelle was a shapeless blob of snow near the open garage door, frozen.

Winter Weather, Tested, Giveaways: Monday Blog Post

Newest News:

While the rest of the U.S. has been struggling through a very cold spell, Central Arizona has remained sunny and warmer than normal. That is, until Saturday. On Saturday, I attended our local Women’s March. I’ve never been to a march or demonstration, so I decided I had to come. Anyway, for the first time in months, it was cold and rainy. Of course! Over 50 people came to stand along the sidewalk on the primary street running through town with signs. We had lots of honks for us and a few who decided the middle finger salute was more appropriate. Oh well. Everyone is entitled to their opinion. Anyway, it rained on and off all afternoon and in the evening, when the temperature dropped, it snowed. We woke to about an inch on Sunday morning, covering everything in the area. Very pretty. See the above picture.

My second All About Bob story, It’s All About the Game, is in full swing. I have several chapters written already. My main character Roberta Hixon, or Bobbie to her friends, is in trouble up to her neck. She has just days to figure it out! This is a YA contemporary, novelette series that I think everyone will like. The plan, as I discussed last year, is to write all five and release them one right after the other, probably in 2019.

Had a bit of a slump last week as my mom went into the hospital again. She’s doing better now, and my brain has come out of it’s fog and I can get some things accomplished.

I’m finalizing the formatting of Tested, then I’ll put it up for pre-sale. I’m thinking of putting it into my St. Patrick’s Day giveaway, so stay tuned for that.

I’ve made a calendar for 2018. It’s for sale at http://www.lulu.com/shop/connie-cockrell/my-calendar-2018/calendar/product-23462179.html. The photos were taken by my husband of places around Arizona where we live and hike. If you haven’t gotten your 2018 wall calendar, check it out. I hope you like it.

 

Giveaways:

The Christmas Giveaway is over. My prize winners were Sparrow Chaser, Richard Brandt, and Christina Tatt. They all have their prizes. Now, for the Lovestruck Authors and Bloggers Valentine’s Day giveaway there are 32 authors giving away at least two prizes each and there’s $100 in PayPal cash for the grand prize winner. This is a great way to find new to you authors, but it doesn’t last long. The St. Patrick’s Day giveaway will start after Valentine’s Day. Check out https://conniesrandomthoughts.com/giveaways-and-prizes/ and click on the Rafflecopter link to enter the new contest. Books, ebooks, jewelry and more is being given away. You don’t want to miss out.

My January giveaway, Ring in the New Year with Killer Mysteries, hosted by author Anne R. Tan on BookFunnel.com ran from January 5th to the 21st. Lots of new to you authors were also in the giveaway. For the over 1100 readers who downloaded my book, Mystery at the Fair, thank you. A welcome email will be coming to you shortly.

Shout Out:

I’m reading Connie Willis’s short story collection, The Best of Connie Willis. These are all award-winning science fiction, science fiction/horror stories. I wouldn’t be surprised if one or two of these appear on the hit show, Black Mirror. They are that good. I attended the 2017 Westercon with her and served on a few panels with her. She has an encyclopedic memory of everything science fiction. I was honored to be sitting next to her.

Where Will I Be?

Check my website, https://conniesrandomthoughts.com/where-will-i-be/ for my next engagements.

I’m already scheduled to go to the Phoenix Comicon May24th – 28th. I’m putting together at least 2 costumes. Hope to see you there in your costume. I’ll be in Artist’s Alley!

Newsletter Sign Up:

Click here to sign up for my newsletter. I’ve put sign-up gifts on both the regular and the Brown Rain newsletter sign-ups. That’s right. If you sign up for my newsletter you get a free story from me. Be prepared for fun and contests! Click on the video link for a short video from me. Hear what I’m working on. Join my “A” Team to be the first to read my books and hear what new books are coming.

Don’t forget to follow my blog, too. Different material goes in the blog as in the newsletter. You can share both, so spread the word!

Newest Book Release:

Mystery at the Book Festival released June 1st and I’m pretty excited about it. You can buy it and my other books at: Apple, Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Kobo, and Smashwords, today! You can also see all my books on https://conniesrandomthoughts.com/my-books-and-other-published-work/. If you’ve read any of my books, please drop a short, honest, review on the site where you bought it or on Goodreads. It’s critical to help me promote the books to other readers. Thanks in advance.

Finger Paint: Chicklets in the Kitchen Post

It’s the winter doldrums. The kids no longer want to go play in the snow. You are tired of them either being underfoot or want them off of their electronics. What to do?

I downloaded this graphic years ago and though it says Easie Peasie on the bottom, a website search did not reveal an actual link to give you. So, with my apologies to the actual author, enjoy!

Thanks for stopping by Chicklets in the Kitchen. Do you have a favorite craft? Please tell us about it in the comments box below if you feel so inclined.

My name is Connie Cockrell and I write SciFi, Fantasy, Mysteries, and a lot of other things and you can find links to all of my books at www.ConniesRandomThoughts.com.

Spring is Coming: Flash Fiction Friday Post

Lake Thaw, Sacandaga Lake, Fulton County, NY by Randy Cockrell

Free from my nurse and my Lord mother’s demand to learn needle work, I hurried to my room and changed into riding gear. In the stables, I saddled Dawn, my uhlans, as the stable master eyed me.

“And where are you going?”

“Hunting.”

His eyebrow rose. “Spring is coming. Who are you going with?”

“No one. I want to get out of the castle and breathe the cold air.”

He watched as I fastened my bow to the saddle and my spear. “A lot of gear for a ride.”

I wagged my eyebrows back at him. “You never know what you’ll run into.”

“Hmm,” was his response. “I’ll send Ben with you.”

Ben was his son. He was a good companion. “Sure. Where is he?”

The stable master whistled and Ben hurried through the stable door. “Papa?”

“Saddle up and go with Lady Zung.”

Ben gave me a quick wink as he hurried to saddle his mount. I noticed he packed weapons as well. The same age, fourteen, we learned to hunt together and I was glad to have him along.

We rode out. His father called out behind us. “Be careful. The ice is melting.”

I waved and kicked Dawn into a cantor as we reached the gate.

Two hours later we were at the lake. I knew that the wisent herded on the other side. I guided Dawn down the bank.

“Don’t, Yunki. We don’t know if the ice will hold.”

I sniffed. “It’s too early for the lake to melt.” I kept moving down the bank.

“Lady Zung!” His tone was sharp and he only called me Lady Zung when the adults were around or I was being particularly dense.

I sighed and turned in the saddle. “The melt has only just started, Ben. The ice is going to be four feet thick.”

“Do you know where they cut last?”

I had to stop and think. Where was the last place the men had cut ice? I shrugged. “Don’t know. It’ll be obvious.”

Ben shook his head. “Better not. I know you’re after a wisent. But let’s just hunt for a gulate instead. There are bound to be beds around here. Look,” he pointed at the lake edge. “You can see a thin line of water.”

He was right but I really wanted a wisent before their thick winter pelt started to shed. “Then you hunt for gulate. Summer will last three years. I’m going for a wisent.” I kicked Dawn in the ribs and dashed down the bank and onto the lake. I ignored the faint cracking of ice as I guided her straight across. I could hear Ben behind me and I grinned.

Dawn’s large feet were secure on the ice but I didn’t push her. No sense risking a slip and having her break a leg. I eyed the lake in front of us. It looked completely safe. As we neared the center, Ben four lengths behind me, I heard the ice crack. A loud snap that made Dawn’s head toss.

“Stop, Yunki!”

I tried to get Dawn to back up but more cracking made her dance. Then we were both in the water, the uhlans thrashing all six legs and shoving me into the sharp ice as she tried to climb out.

“Hold on!” Ben was off of his mount and pulling rope from his pack.

“Get Dawn first.”

“Don’t be stupid! She’s made for the cold.”

“So am I.” I argued with him but he was right. Even as cold-adapted as we were, the icy water was having an effect.

He tossed a loop to me and despite Dawn’s struggles, she had her two front legs up on thick ice now, I could grab the rope and pull it over my head and arms. “Ready,” I called.

Ben finished fastening the other end to his saddle and began to back up his uhlans. “Hang on.”

I kicked hard, trying to generate some lift but my fur boots and leggings were already soggy. The edge jabbed into my chest. I could feel the force break a rib and I cried out in pain.

“What?” Ben called.

“Nothing. Keep pulling.” I gasped and did my best to slide up the edge with a wave Dawn caused as she got a third leg up onto the ice.

Dripping, I slid up just as Dawn crawled out of the water. The air caused icicles to form as the water dripped from her. She shook, sending a spray of water over me and Ben as he hurried to me.

“Let’s get you back to shore.” He helped me to my feet. As I grabbed my rib cage he brought Dawn over. “I should build a fire.”

“I’m fine. Let’s just head home.”

“In wet furs?” He looked at me as though the top of my head had just fallen off.

I started to shiver. The water had gotten to my skin. Ice was forming on my coat. My boots were already solid ice. “It’s only two hours.”

“You’ll be dead and then your Lord father will kill me. Don’t be stupid.”

In the end, I gave in and probably as well. Ben left me at a huge fire, Dawn standing as close to it as she could, and rode home for dry clothes. My oldest brother came back with him. He laughed as he dismounted. “So, little sister. Spring is coming.”

I just rolled my eyes.

 

 

 

 

Thank You!

909 Words

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