Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Baby It's Cold (AW Blog Chain)

Inspired by the intrepid Ralph Pines, administrated by the bold and blue (haired) Aheila, this month's AbsoluteWrite blog chain is dedicated to: Seasons. Methinks I must stay true to my climate.
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“You can’t stay out there forever,” Boy Whatever said. “You’ll freeze to death.” Maura snuggled her neck further into her coat, pressed her fingers into the seams of her pockets, searching for warmth in the gaps. She got nothing. She was used to that. Chelsea, the black-haired girl who was always at the center when Maura got sent back, said that freezing to death didn’t hurt. She said it felt like going to sleep and just never waking back up. Chelsea’s mom died from carbon monoxide. Her dad from a knife. She knew about things like that.

Maura rubbed her knees together, and the bright blue denim of her jeans felt thick and stiff. Maybe because they were new. Maybe because they’d already frozen, gone to sleep on her legs.

“Maura!” Mrs. Whatever now calling for her. The moms usually tried to play good cop. “Why don’t you come inside? Dinner’s ready. You might like it.”

Maura twisted away, her tennis shoes shuffling snow into the hole she tried to hide when the social worker dropped her off. The snow wasn’t melting any more, just piling up like a soft, white hat on her big toe. She peeked around the side of the shed. Mrs. Whatever had her arms crossed and was peering around the yard, her big, bright house behind her. They had a tree up, a big sucker covered in gold bows and red and white ornaments. Maura turned away. She shivered. Her butt had been wet, but was now just numb. Her butt and her big toe, abandoning her.

The yard, covered in rolling waves of downy soft snow, ended in a patch of skeletal trees, the branches bowed down by – you guessed it – more snow. It wasn’t white, not away from the lights of the house. The silver moonlight painted it pale grey. Maura shivered again, and this time couldn’t stop. Her fingers ached. Her lips felt raw. She didn’t feel like she was just going to sleep. She felt like she was going to shake apart, one layer at a time. She'd never seen snow before, never been sent to a family that lived this far North.

“Maura?” Mrs. Whitacre said, so close she was probably just on the other side of the shed. “Why don’t you come inside?”



  1. Lovely piece...very evocative use of words and a strong picture of the season you chose. I did a double-take at your characters' names though because they rang so true--Chelsea was my first novel's MC and Maura was my latest flash fiction's MC.

  2. Ooh, I love this. That first pp is really powerful. Is this something you came up with for the post or is it part of something longer? I'd love to read it.

  3. Now my cold office feels even colder. ;) Time for some tea to warm up. Thanks for sharing this!

  4. Very enjoyable piece. I especially liked the unusual character names: Boy Whatever, Maura.

    I notice that the mother's name changes from "Whatever" to "Whitacre" in the last paragraph; is that intentional?

  5. claire - The universe apparently has opinions about these names staying together. Spooky.

    freshhell - This was special just for you guys...unless Maura decides she has other things to do.

    Sandra - My pleasure. Thanks for stopping by.

    Alex - It was intentional. Maura's been through a number of homes and families. Calling the Whitacres the "Whatevers" is a distancing mechanism that breaks down as she's drawn to them.

  6. Sad piece. And now I want some tea. :) Thanks for sharing.

  7. I love your descriptive style. This is something I need to work on.

  8. I love the way you kept bringing back that initial image, "like going to sleep and just never waking back up", with the jeans, her butt, her big toe. It really does a fantastic job of reinforcing the sense of insecurity/rejection/abandonment this girl feels. The sensory description highlights her character is so many ways. Very well written.