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Today we have another chapter for Wind in White Birch and our word prompt is "Tiger".
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“I`m rather good with kids,” I tacked on, figuring that since I had a son that might sweeten the deal. I was willing to offer up the pink slip on my car if I could avoid the battle that was going to break out.
“Fine,” Julia finally said. “Get your fishing stuff from the car. Jonah, I`ll meet you around back.”
Jonah and I watched Julia exit. He looked down at me as the boys roared out the kitchen door, leaving it wide open.
“Coward,” Jonah mumbled before dropping down into a crouch beside me. I nodded in total agreement of the sharp character analysis of my flaws. “I will get this settled today, Dana, okay?”
“Jonah, you can`t force her to like me. She`ll come around. She just has to see that I won`t hurt you,” I cupped his cheek. He turned his head to place a kiss to my palm.
“Maybe I can`t force her, but I can damn sure tell her to back the . . .”
His nephew`s coming back in with poles and a bucket of worms cut short the rather crude statement my lover was about to make. Within ten minutes, the four of us were bundled up and headed along the path that led to the magical trout lake. It didn`t take me long to get the three Windtalker boys names down. Peter was the eldest at twelve, Drew was the middle son at ten, and Archie was the youngest at seven. The boys talked amongst themselves, voices filled with excitement, poles over their shoulders as we walked. The air was crisp but held a touch of spring. The buds on the trees and the song of robins and red-winged blackbirds only added to the ‘spring-is-coming’ concerto.
When we arrived at the lake in under ten minutes I`ll admit I was more than shocked. It was a huge chunk of iced-over water, four times bigger than Mud Puppy Lake where I had met Jonah.
“Are you boys sure about this?” I asked, padding up to the edge of the freshwater lake. “I bet it`s really cold out there.”
“We`re not going out to the middle of the ice this time of year,” Pete told me with a definite ‘DUH’ tone. “We`ll just knock a few holes near the edge." He swirled the small hatchet their uncle had given them back at the lodge. I was dubious about the whole thing, but who was I to say? Peter and Drew made a hole about a foot wide for Archie then ran off. The youngest Windtalker looked up at me with his empty hook dangling in the breeze. I was not ready for this.
“Let me guess, your Uncle Jonah baits your hook, right, Tiger?” I asked. Archie nodded then shoved the rod into my chest.
With a dramatic sigh, I somehow managed to skewer the fat, wriggly worm onto the hook. I looked at my work and decided that it was crappy. So, with Archie telling me what to do, I finally got the worm hooked through in three places. Just as Archie and I were exchanging pleased smiles, someone shouted my name. I handed Archie his pole, turned around, and saw Drew trying to slide out onto the ice on his belly. I screamed at him to stop, and it was then I saw his older brother trying valiantly to scrabble out of the frigid water where he had fallen through.
I`m not sure exactly how I got down to Drew as fast as I did. I am no sprinter, but the screams of a terrified child does amazing things to your system. I bulled past Drew, who was frantically screaming at his brother.
“Take Archie and go get Jonah!” I yelled at the middle Windtalker boy. He blinked tears away, ran down the shore, grabbed Arch who was frozen in fear, and then pulled his sibling into the woods. I put one foot on the ice and it cracked ominously. Peter was crying and clawing in a panicked state. I wanted to ask him what the hell he had been thinking but the sound of his teeth chattering pushed that question aside for later. I eyed the ice, trying to think of something to do. Drew`s shouts for Jonah had dwindled. Now it was just the wind sloughing through the trees.
“Dana, get me out!” the lad screamed. It shook me from my stupor. I dropped to my hands and knees, locked onto Peter`s light blue lips and wide brown eyes and began moving slowly across the frozen lake. Praying that the ice would support me if my weight were spread out, I slid closer and closer to Julia`s son.
A sound like a starter’s gun filled my ears. I froze and glanced over my shoulder to see a jagged crack forming at the shore and racing towards me. It then began to spread outward in a thousand different directions. I did the only thing I could do. I inhaled deeply, threw myself forward, latched onto Peter`s trembling cold hands, and then plummeted into the spring fed lake.
Copyright 2013 ©by V.L. Locey
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