The Iron Writer Challenge #197
2017 Summer Solstice Challenge #3
500 Words, 5 Days, 4 Elements
Authors names will be posted to their stories next Thursday, after the voting is concluded.
A wind chime
A snow angel
There’s a coffin buried under thick snow,
You’d never tell from close or far,
Beyond where the roads no longer go,
In which a life unlived and stories untold are hid,
Who lines up perfect with the Northern Star,
And when it does, underneath the starry grid,
A magic comes to show.
Birds fall quiet,
And snow blows no more,
All is listening, to what comes that night,
Some call it angelic, others fright,
A gentle breeze carries the humming of a child,
Only the fauna did witness bore,
As she makes angels, in white powdered snow, forever more.
She reminds of dreams long lost,
Beyond where the roads no longer go,
Where she frolics on her own, never daunted by the frost,
In perfect solace a child plays free,
Till morning cawing of the crow.
Yet beyond the footing of the hills,
Lies a house that once was home,
Where an old man sits and remembers still,
A little sister once long lost,
Beyond where the roads no longer go.
When the wind chimes ring at night,
He smiles and kisses the sky,
For he knows that she is there and still sings,
She will never say goodbye.
The road ran to a commune in the nineteen-sixties. A group of talented individuals living on and from the land. Skills were shared and taught. Crafts and artwork bartered and exchanged for necessities. Wind chimes and dream catchers in every cottage garden for miles around. Of course modern life caught up with them. Mobile phones came in and the community, in finding a world outside that promised new adventures, simply drifted away.
No longer in constant use, the track forgot the swish of drindl skirts. Ankle length in their coloured and patchworked cotton. No wooden clogs trod it’s path into flat submission. The track simply disappeared under the weight of disuse, weather, burgeoning seeds and bramble thickets.
Forty years later, a bunch of young lads chanced on it. To anyone else, a tangle of mud and twigs. With trees grown tall, it suggested nothing much. Inventive minds saw an opportunity. Removing the thick mud became a must do. The overgrown bushes cut back. Talks with local businesses, newspapers. The council for outdoor funding. Local groups arranged helping schedules that wouldn’t clash. Thicknesses of mud were taken up and used to fill in dips. Bends became built up curves in smooth concrete. Rubbish was gathered from the commune site and either repurposed or taken away. Several lengths of piping retrieved, carried between them, shoulder high, to be straightened and secured in place.
Manny pads with a small grind edge, were ordered. Their elevation decided, measured out and put together by the technical college students, as a hands-on lesson. Areas of brush cleared and flattened by a digger, with a safety fence added to keep both riders and viewers from coming into sudden contact. A pop up shop and cafe was opened at the commune site. Offering the latest equipment and accessories with refreshments besides.
First down was one of the founders. Using his infamous coffin move, he lay back on the skateboard. Kicking off, he barrelled down the track. Skimming the curves and taking off at the dips. The tree branches rushed overhead. The sounds of the forest learning a new song. The whoops of a person delighting in the sheer freedom of throwing themselves downhill while lying on a bit of wood with wheels attached.
Opening day saw a host of people converge on the site. Most were carrying a board. Success was the buzzword on everyone’s lips. Cameras flashed. iPhones Facebook’d. Column inches in the papers. Organising the longest skate board track in this area, had taken some amount of thought, planning and people.
The long forgotten road? It was happy to be alive again. To the myriad sounds of small wheels, running feet and..now and then..a prolonged bout of cursing as someone took a header off the track to do a snow angel in last years leaves.
Our Memories of Friendship
A hand-made wind chime tinkled from its place in the trees, playing nature’s beautiful song. It took me back to that day which seemed not so long ago, when we had sled down the snowy mountains – racing against the wind. We laughed at the icicles that formed on our faces back then. Boys of ten, with no worries – we became good friends ever since. To be staring at his still and broken body now, weighed heavy on my heart.
There used to be a road that ran through the abandoned woods but the birth of the cemetery had ensured that its existence had soon faded away. Jimmy and I spent many-a-summer there, climbing trees or entangling ourselves in the bushes. And when winter came, it was all about fun in the icy white fluff. The woods had been a second home to us all through high-school, until I moved away. Although Jim and I had kept our friendship alight, our days in the woods became memories.
Standing at the cemetery, I could almost hear our laughter echoing on the other side. Tears streamed down my face as memories poured down on me like the summer rains did, when we hadn’t a care in the world. Friends and family huddled around his body, struggling to say goodbye. How could he have left so soon?
It was just last week that we were planning our next big holiday, bidding Winter farewell.
“David, leave the details to me, just reserve the dates!” he said.
The thrill-seekers that we were, it was bound to be epic. Mountain-climbing, sky-diving, para-sailing, nothing was too extreme for daredevils like us. We loved to live on edge. And it was that edge that had taken Jimmy’s life. Skiing down the mountain slopes at a weekend retreat, he lost footing and suffered a heavy landing as his body slammed atop a sharpened rock. While I reached for him, an ear-splitting crack ran through the icy air. His face contorted as all the bones from his back to his neck shattered from hitting the boulder.
“I’m so cold,” he sputtered, blood choking his words into a whisper.
I held his hand to comfort him, saying words without knowing what they were and then I saw the life slip away from him as his eyes glazed over, staring blankly up at me.
Paramedics ushered me away. I vaguely remember seeing him loaded onto the stretcher. Resuscitation had proved to be fruitless and I remember the distinct crackle of the glinting foil, as they covered his body. A moment of fun had quickly become one of disaster. My best friend was no more.
I placed the picture of the two frolicking, little boys, admiring the artistic snow angels they had created, onto the coffin as it lowered into the ground, while I said my final goodbye. The picture had captured our moment of joy forever – it paved the way for the beginning of a life-long friendship. Jimmy would remain my best friend always, because I have our memories.