Laura lifted the lid off of the pot, peering at the contents inside. She picked up a long wooden spoon, dipping it into the stew and stirring as her eyes drifted to the window. It was a beautiful day outside, the sun shone brightly though the temperature was somewhere around 20 or 30 degree's. It had been like this all week, it would be perfect for iceskating!
She removed the spoon and set it to the side, closing the pot as she looked about her. The kitchen wasnt too busy right now, after all, there werent many at the Inn this late into the winter. This inn that she had been born in and lived in for the last 15 years, slaved away in for many of those years. Every child was expected to help and do chores, she had just had less time to play than most it seemed.
Today she would play though, her parents had gotten her a new pair of iceskates the year before, despite the outrageous cost. She was eager to try them out again this year, after having the thrill of discovering how to skate only the year before she hadn't had another chance to give it a whirl.
She could still remember that day from the year before. Her parents had given her the one day off for reasons she had yet to figure out, and she had gone skating with the neighbor boy, Nathaniel. Nathaniel...how handsome he was. The very thought of him still managed to bring a faint blush to her cheeks. He had brought her out to the river and helped her to find her balance, holding her hand and whirling her around, her skirts swirling about her. It had been wonderful. How she wished for last year to be today...
Nathaniel had died though. As strong as he had seemed it wasnt enough to save him from the demise he met in his last year of apprenticeship to the towns blacksmith. Only last summer he had been shoeing a hotblooded young stud, when it had reared up. Beauty, intelligence, and kindess had done him no good when the hoof had come into contact with his skull, crushing it much like cracking an egg on the side of a bowl.
Laura removed her apron, hanging it up as she scurried out of the momentarily deserted kitchen. She would go skating, in rememberance of her Nathaniel. It mattered not to her whether her parents noticed or not. She would be punished when she was discovered missing, but it would be worth it.
She grabbed her iceskates where she had hidden them near the backdoor and took off in great leaps across the deep snow, giggling softly to herself as she did so. Freedom was intoxicating.
Her breath was coming in soft wooshing clouds as she entered the stable, tying the laces of the iceskates together and slinging them around her neck. She wasted no time once she got to the stable, grabbing a bridle and putting it onto the head of a small, willing black pony. She led it down the aisle and out into the snow, closing the door behind them.
Once outside she glanced about, seeing that no one was watching. She slung the reins over the pony's neck and backed up. With a few running steps she managed to fling herself up onto her stomache on his warm back and scramble to a sitting position. Her skirts were bunched up above her knee's, an unforgiveable sin in these days, but no one was watching so why should she care? Giving a whup she kicked the pony into a run and causing it to plunge through the deep snow in a leaping run. Her legs clutched his sides, her hands buried in his whipping black mane as she crouched low over his withers.
She reached the riverside in a short rush of adrenaline and speed, it wasnt too far from the inn. Laura pulled back on the reins, sitting back and the horse slid to a stop, her herself sliding off before it quite stopped. Her legs plunged deep into the snow and she simply plunked down onto her butt with a soft giggle to herself.
Her fingers fumbled in their hurry with the laces of her tall boots, before finally managing to pull them off. She pulled her skates on over her woolen stockings. Making sure her horse was snuggly tied to a tree she wobbled over to the waters edge.
She stepped out onto the dark ice. After a momentary loss of balance she found it again, gliding out across the frozen river. Another one of her soft giggles slipped forth from her lips as she pushed herself along, feeling the wind biting into her cheeks.
Laura spun, practically feeling her dear Nathaniels arms on her waist as she spun about on the ice, not paying much attention at all to where she was going, even closing her eyes momentarily.
Her skirts swirled around, just as they had on that day with Nathaniel, her breath making dragon breath in the cold air. She reached her hands out in front of her, as if he was there after all. In fact, she was to the point where he practicly was. Her heart ached for this boy who had meant so much to her, who had been so sweet and kind...
A loud crack split the air, causing her to snap out of her daydream/hallucination and look about her wildly. Looking down she saw that she was only feet away from where the water fell from a different level, and the ice was obviosly weak there, right in front of the open water of the river.
She let out a cry as she leapt for the thicker ice, only to have the ice let out another loud crack as she slipped and fell in the process. Her body hit the ice horizontally, slapping it hard as she threw her arms out, immedietly going into a desperate crawl in the right direction. The water was welling up and seeping into her skirts, her stocking soaked.
Tears ran down her cheeks as she scrambled, hearing the last and final crack. Her body slipped and fell under the ice, her fingertips just catching the edge as she fought to keep her head up above what she was now quickly learning was a rather violent and strong river.
Her body was wracked by terrified sobs as she fought for her life, trying to scramble up onto safety. Blood stained the ice red as her fingers scratched against the slick surface. And just when she thought she was going to be safe, had finally hauled her torso up, the ice gave way beneath her.
She was swept beneath the ice, cold water rushing about her and pulling her down, down, down. The current pulled her further beneath as her already bleeding and numb fingers scratched at the ice above her, trying to somehow break through this thick barrier. A prison, an icy tomb.
Her body emptied itself in her fear as her whole body shook from the cold, her lungs screaming and burning for the air that it felt she was denying it. Her legs kicked, doing basically nothing against the angry animal that tugged at her heavy waterlogged skirts, the creature that was sucking the air and warmth from her body and taking it away. Taking her away...
And so Laura died that day, in a whirl of cold river water, soiled by her own urine and feces and fear. They would find her next spring, laying half decayed under some bush or bridge, and wonder what had become of this girl. How she had drowned. They may suspect murder, they may suspect suicide, her family would cry for her return from a suspected kidnap. It wouldnt change anything though, Laura was dead.
She wouldnt be with Nathaniel, but at least she would no longer pine for him. The girl wouldnt live out her life, getting married to some boy she didnt really love and have dozens of children, whom she may or may not love. She wouldn't labor for the rest of her life to do work around the house, to feed her children, to keep the farm running, to stay out of debt yet never be free of it. No, she wouldnt.
She'd been delivered from life in a rush of cold river water.
Just a oneshot i created after walking through the woods behind my house and across the creek back there. Its not very deep but when i heard the crack and broke through i realized it could be one of the most terrifying things you've ever heard if your in the right situation.