Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Bad Ice - Sandra Cormier

Bad Ice
A Writers Vineyard Holiday Treat




After a bit of organization, the brood tumbled into the two vehicles and headed down a winding, evergreen lined track. A pond rested at the bottom of a sloping ravine behind the grey stone farmhouse.

It's beautiful, she thought. A mixture of pine and birch trees surrounded the spring fed pond and rose in steep hills on three sides.

"It looks like a Christmas card," she commented as she laced her old skates. "I hope it's safe."

Jason pulled her to her feet and guided her onto the lumpy surface. "I'll keep you safe." His blue eyes crinkled. "Now for a warm up lesson before we start our game."

***

For the rest of the afternoon the pond was alive with the muffled sound of metal blades scraping on windswept, uneven ice mixed with chatter and laughter. Occasionally a cracking sound echoed off the densely treed, steep hillsides when two wooden sticks collided. The sun, a pale white disk, barely succeeded its feeble attempt to penetrate the icy haze in the platinum sky.

Jason took his turn tending goal at one end of the pond. He leaned against the chipped metal hockey net as the action heated up at the far goal. He loved watching young people playing pond hockey; it took him back to his own childhood. No referees, no grouchy coaches, no shit-disturbers chirping from the opposing players' bench. Or my own bench, for that matter.

Watching the children in carefree play, as he often did, he felt a mixture of contentment and loss. He wondered what it would have been like if a child of his own had been among them. Well, he thought, maybe I'll never know.

He picked out Mishayla, her flowing honey coloured curls bursting from under her helmet. Then again, maybe there's hope.

She kept up with the Gauthier children with apparent ease. She'll make it far, he thought. Maybe by the time she hit her teens, a professional women's league would be ready to welcome her. Christina, on the other hand…

He laughed when Christina awkwardly pushed the puck past Bertie at the other goal, obviously by accident. She raised her arms and squealed with delight. She almost lost her balance and Bertie dropped his stick and reached out to prop her up.

Jason skated over to join the others as they offered congratulatory back slaps.

The daylight turned from light silver to steel blue, and a few snowflakes began to drift about. Jason squinted upward and called across to Bertie, pointing at the sky.

Bertie waved in assent, and placed his whistle to his lips. He blasted a call that ricocheted off the pine trees. Corinne, who had been at the edge of the pond attending to little Barbara, beckoned to the children.

"It’s getting dark, my children; I can hear the cocoa calling me all the way out here. Wrap it up, time to go."

With moans of protest, the Gauthier children gathered their sticks, dumping them on the snow at the edge of the makeshift rink. They climbed up on the tailgate of the SUV, and Corinne helped them to exchange their stiff, frozen skates for chilly boots.

Jason skated toward his friend. "I’ll take these two ladies in a few minutes. I think our novice here needs one more lesson."

Bertie glanced at the still struggling Christina as she inched along the ice, using her hockey stick for balance. Mishayla skidded around her, laughing as her mother squealed in protest.

"Yeah, she looks like she could use some help, but I don’t think she’ll be an expert today."

"Not that kind of lesson, idiot."

Bertie raised his eyebrows. "Oh, that kind of lesson. Don't forget this is a family rink." He winked. "Don't be too long. Can you grab the net and sticks, please? There’s no room with this brood. See you back at the house."


This has been an excerpt from Bad Ice
Writing wasn't always Sandra's passion. First it was horses, then
painting, then hockey. When she got her hands on an old refurbished
laptop, she immediately began to write down the stories that had been
building in her head for years. Sandra loves to write romantic
adventures, sprinkled with a little humour and spice.

Please visit her website at:
http://sandracormier.com/

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