Icebound

A young boy, living with his father and stepmother, is being bullied by older students. He meets an enigmatic lady, who becomes his only friend. Everything is not what it seems though.

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6. Consequences

 I began to think deeper and deeper about what had happened. Part of me swelled with a cruel guilt, yet the other half screamed from my cold heart that I was better without him and that Anna was completely right. Because also she was my only friend, I had to listen to her. Eventually, that’s what I did; I listened and took in every word Anna said to me. And as I listened, I talked back, revealing a part of me within, expressing my anger and frustration of it all. She hushed me with an embrace and eased my mind with her wise words. She said that she would teach me. Teach me everything.

  Day by day, one by one the seniors departed. As people told me about the tragedy, slowly an odd exhilaration thrilled my mind and I smirked at just the thought. “Oh..?” I would say feeling as though one of the long chains attached to my neck had snapped off. I felt free.

  I realised my father had found out about the deaths that afternoon. My stepmother had not been seen at all that night, and that made my father feel worse and I smiled at the fact that he was irritated. Then, for the first time, he spoke at the table, with Anna watching him. “Get out of my house…” he muttered under his breathe. Then he snapped, loud and clear. “Get out of my house! I never want to see you again!” I sat back, my eyes wide with fear. With his face turning scarlet with rage, he grabbed his plate and threw it at the wall, just missing Anna. Slowly, she stood up and left without a single word or expression.

  I crept to the door too, about to follow her, but he stopped me.

 “Samuel! I don’t want you to see her ever again! She’s haunting me. She’s not right in the head. If I see you with her again, I’ll do something you’ll regret…”

  I stood there - silent.

  “NO!” I screamed, “She’s my only friend in this stupid place!”

 He pushed me over and shouted, “Do you want to live on the streets, in the ice and snow!?” 

  I stayed quiet and he stepped over me, leaving me inferior and weak, just like when I first arrived here. So I took myself back to my lonely room and thought deeper and deeper until my tired eyes finally shut.

  Snow, snow, snow. Another thick layer of white had covered over all the black ice and as I looked out my window I saw something different… Cocking my head to one side, my eyes followed the footprints in the snow when I noticed a word – it read ‘Icebound’. I stared at it and then noticed the footprints led off and Anna lay in the snow, her hair contrasting against the white. If she was conscious or not I wasn’t sure. I ran outside as fast as I could to find her awake but still.  “I want to runaway with you,” I whispered, sitting beside where she lay. She turned her head and smiled. “I want you to look after me and be my stepmother now that she’s gone.”

  “I can…” My eyes lit up. The thought was exciting and just then she pulled my puzzle box out from her dress pocket and placed it in my hands. “I would love to be your mother,” she said and it felt like the ice over my heart had melted for the first time in months; I had never felt so warm here before.

  “Why did you write 'icebound'? What does it mean?”

  Anna sat up and her eyes unfocused a little. I waited a short while until she replied.

 “You once asked me a question: you asked how I retrieved your puzzle box when it was on the lake. I can show you.” She took out her hand and without hesitation I let her take mine. I never wanted to go back home. 

 

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