Snow covered the ground and came down in big, wet flakes covering everyone and everything. Three children stood by a large frozen lake which froze over every winter. The two boys stood by themselves discussing something as the third child, a girl, emerged from the tree line and started making her way over to the two boys.
“Dametry! Richard!” The small girl yelled out.
“Awh man, she followed us?” One of the boys said.
“Martha, go home. Go bake a pie or something!” The other boy said.
“Shut up Dametry,” The girl said to the second boy. “You too, Richard.”
“Why are you out here anyway?” Richard asked.
“I want to make sure you two stay out of trouble,” Martha said.
The two boys started to laugh.
“You’re not our mother, Martha,” Dametry said.
“Yeah to be a mother, you have to find a boy willing to kiss you,” Richard said with a laugh.
Dametry chimed in.
“Yeah like that’s going to happen.”
“At least I don’t steal chocolate from Mrs. Miller’s shop,” Martha said.
Dametry and Richard’s expression grew serious.
“Who told you that?” Richard asked grabbing Martha’s wrist.
“Ouch,” Martha said trying to get out of Richard’s grasp.
“Who told you that?” Richard asked again with a louder voice.
“No one told me,” Martha said. “I saw you do it.”
“So you’ve been trailing us for a while, huh?” Dametry said.
“Let me go,” Martha said struggling to escape.
“You didn’t tell on us, did you?” Richard asked.
“No. No. Just let go of me,” Martha said.
Richard let go of Martha’s wrist and she tumbled into the snow.
“You better not,” Richard said. “Or you’ll be sorry.”
Martha sat in the snow for a moment rubbing her wrist.
“Yeah? What are you going to do about it?” Martha asked.
“You don’t want to know,” Dametry said cracking his knuckles.
“I’m not scared of you two,” Martha said.
She got up out of the snow pile and brushed the snow off of her dress.
Richard swiped at Martha and pulled her hat off her head.
“Hey give that back!” Martha yelled.
Martha jumped up and tried to grab her hat, but Richard haised it higher out of her reach.
“Give it back!”
“Make me, brat,” Richard said.
Marth continued to jump for the hat, but Richard held the hat way above her head.
“You promise not to tell, I’ll give it back,” Richard said.
“Fine. Fine. I won’t tell. Just give me my hat,” Marth said with a huff.
“Fine,” Richard said.
He lowered the hat for a moment like he was giving it to Martha. Then in one quick movement he flung his arm back launching the hat over his shoulder. It soared through the air for a moment and landed about 10 feet back from the group of children.
“Oops,” Richard said with a smile.
“Nice one, Richard,” Dametry said and he began to laugh.
“You two are jerks,” Martha said pushing past the two boys.
“Be careful Martha,” Richard said in a mocking tone. “You know the frozen lake can be dangerous.”
“Yeah we don’t want you falling in,” Dametry said mimicking Richard’s voice.
Martha was furious and her face was red hot. She marched across the ice to grab her hat. It was out on the ice, but she was confident she could go out and retrieve it without any trouble. Her Papa always warned Martha about playing on the lake when it froze over, but she wasn’t thinking of those words. She was just thinking about retrieving her hat and showing Richard and Dametry that she could do.
Richard and Dametry stood on the shoreline yelling insults and mocking comments about Martha.
She wasn’t listening to the boys. She was just walking out towards the hat.
Martha walked out to the her hat. She picked it up and shoved it back onto her head.
The two boys cheered from the sidelines.
Martha turned, “See? Nothing too it.”
She took a step forward and she heard a loud cracking sound.
She froze there and looked down at her feet. Down below here was a spiderweb of small cracks emerging from her footstep.
“Richard? Dametry?” She called out. Her voice shaking.
“What is it Martha?” Richard called out.
“The ice. It’s cracking,” Martha yelled out.
“What you can’t make it back?” Dametry mocked Martha.
Richard hit him in the chest.
“Dude. Not funny,” Richard said taking a serious tone. “If she falls through the ice. We’re in big trouble.”
“Oh right,” Dametry mumbled.
Martha tried to keep calm as she was standing on the ice.
“Just stay still, ” Richard called out.
There was more cracking as the ice began to crack all around her.
“Please. I’m scared,” Martha said.
Hot tears ran down her face and fell upon the ice.
“Just stay there and don’t move,” Richard said looking around on the lake’s shoreline. “Dametry, find me a long stick or something!”
Dametry gave a nod and ran off towards the woods to find a tree branch.
The cracks spread further and further. Matha could feel the ice bend beneath her feet. She knew she didn’t have much time.
She took a step forward and it plunged through the ice. There was a cracking sound and all the ice under her gave way. One moment she was standing on the ice and the next she was submerged in freezing cold water. Martha barely had a moment to inhale before she was plunged into darkness and cold.
At first it was only shock. Her body was so cold she could barely feel it. Martha floated for a moment unsure of what to do. She was just floating beneath the surface of the frozen lake.
Then her survival instincts kicked in. She felt the cold wrapping around her body. Her lungs burning from the lack of oxygen.
Martha kicked her legs, but the cold sapped her energy. The muscles in her arms and legs burned as she clawed her way to the surface. Despite all her effort she was sinking towards the bottom of the lake.
Martha heard muffled yells coming from above the surface. Then there was a splash. She heard movement beside her.
Did Richard jump in to rescue her? Or maybe Demetry? Or maybe she was just imagining the shape in the water.
Martha’s vision began to blur as the last bit of air in her lungs escaped. An arm wrapped around her waist and she began moving to the surface of the lake. Her vision went blank.
She laid on the side of the lake in the snow. Her lungs burned with each breath.
“What…” She coughed.
“Oh thank god,” Richard stood over her.
“She’s…she’s ok,” Demetry said.
“For now, but she is weak,” A new voice said.
Martha rolled from her side onto her back. She looked up and there was Richard and Demetry with a third person.
Martha took a moment to study this person. This was a boy a little older than Richard and Demetry. He had locks of white hair and bright blue eyes. He wore a deep, red scarf that obscured part of his face. His ears were pointier than she had ever seen before.
“Who? Who are you?” Martha asked.
“Shush now,” The boy said. He seemed much more serious than the boys who lived in the village. He only looked a little bit older but he seemed much older.
“Save your energy,” The boy said.
The boy looked towards Richard and Demetry.
“You two. Run to the village. Bring whoever you can. Bring warm blankets. Tell them a girl has fallen through the ice,” The boy said.
“What…what about you?” Demetry asked.
“I will stay here and keep her safe.”
Richard took a step forward.
“How do we know we can trust you?” He asked.
“You let her fall through the ice. I rescued her,” The strange boy said.
“Rescued me?” Martha asked looking between the boy and Richard.
“Plus, the two of you can spread the news to more people if you split up. One of you bring help. One brings the blankets,” The strange boy continued.
Richard and Demetry looked at each other and then took off towards the forest which lead back towards the village. This left Martha and the strange boy near the edge of the frozen lake.
“Who…who are you?” Martha asked.
The boy looked down at her. He pulled off the red scarf revealing his mouth.
“My name is Chris,” He said.
Chris lifted Martha’s head and wrapped the scarf around her neck.
“Here, this should help,” Chris said.
“Chris…you…saved me?” Martha stuttered.
“Yes I did.”
“Thank you,” Martha said.
Chris smiled a little.
“You’re welcome,” Chris said.
“My name is Martha,” Martha said. “Just thought you would like to know.”
“That’s a beautiful name,” Chris said with a smile.
Martha broke eye contact with Chris. Her cheeks became red.
The wind picked up and Martha shivered. Her body was almost completely numb.
“Here, this should help.”
Chris took off his jacket which was lined with soft, warm fur. He wrapped the coat around Martha. She was still cold, but the coat did make it better.
“If you jumped into the water, how come your coat is not wet?” Martha asked.
“Call it a special power I have,” Chris said.
Chris wiggled his fingers and a spark of light appeared for a second before disappearing.
“You…you…have magic?” Martha asked.
Her eyes were large.
Chris was about to answer but the sound of yelling and talking coming from the woods interrupted him.
Chris looked up and there was a crowd of people coming from the woods.
“That’s my cue to leave, I’m afraid,” Chris said.
“Wait you can’t leave,” Martha said grabbing his arm. “I need to repay you for saving my life.”
“Maybe we’ll meet again,” Chris said. “But for now I must say goodbye.”
Chris snapped his fingers and he seemed to flicker before Martha’s eyes. For one moment he was there and then he was gone.
“She’s over here,” Richard yelled from the tree line.
He lead a group of people over towards Martha who laid there grasping at the heavy fur coat still wrapped around her body and the red scarf around her neck.
The group consisted of people from the village including Martha’s parents. Her father wrapped her up in the coat and carried her back to the village.
She was checked out by the village’s doctor. Martha was sick for several days after falling through the ice, but eventually recovered fully without any complications.
A few weeks after the incident, Martha’s mother asked her where Martha got the coat and scarf she was wearing the day she fell through the ice.
Martha lied and said that she was not sure. Her mother seemed confused, but she let it go. She told Martha that if someone asked for it back, she would have to return the coat. Martha agreed.
Martha stood in her room looking out the window to the snow covered village. She had the coat wrapped around her and the scarf in her hands. She hoped that one day she would be able to see Chris again, but for now she just had to wait and hope.
Header Photo Credit to EskiPaper’s Wallpaper