Deleted Scene from “Ice”: the Original Chapter Seven

Okay, here is the first deleted scene from Ice. This is the original chapter seven that is told from Tartok’s point of view to help fill the gap of time when Christine last see’s Kavick to when he is abducted. The final version doesn’t show what it was like when Kavick almost lost all sense of his humanity, and how long it took his body to change back completely. The part where Tartok breaks in Christine’s room, however, is told from Christine’s point of view in the final version. Now you know what Tartok was thinking when he saw Christine for the first time. I decided to chop this scene, and any other told from another character’s point of view, because I thought it would be easier to read if it was all told from one point of view, that being Christine’s.

NOTE: there are many spelling errors. Also, the O’Hara’s in this scene are the O’Connell’s.

Chapter Seven:

Missing

“Stop following me, Tark!” Kavick called back to me. He was stomping through the snow ahead, his black and white hair he so unabashedly displayed swung back and forth with every furious step. But he knew I was right; that was part of the reason why he was so mad. He shouldn’t have been associating with that girl. From his lack of willingness to answer my questions I could tell the girl knew our secret. Ever since we were little I could figure out what he was hiding if he didn’t answer the question. For example…

“Did you tell her about us?” I asked, not bothering to hide how frustrated I was with him. I wanted him to know. He knew better than to tell. No one could be trusted.

“Stop interrogating me!” he shouted, looking up at the dim sky above. There was the faintest wisp of green glowing overhead, the start of yet another Aurora Borealis.

“You told her,” I stated flatly.

“I didn’t say that!”

“You didn’t need to.”

“Whatever,” he huffed, still stomping his way through the ankle deep snow. He had never paused for a second as he avoided my question. He turned around, walking backwards for a moment as he pointed at me. “You think you know everything, but you don’t know her! She’s the kindest, most caring person I’ve ever met, and she’s been helping me for months!”

I wasn’t expecting him to say that. For a second I felt my surprise register on my face, but Kavick caught it. I could tell he thought it only confirmed that he was right and that he knew better.

But he didn’t know better. I was the one always looking out for him and the others. I was as good as the head of our clan. That is, if we had a clan. Just the two of us didn’t feel like much of a clan. It just made us feel like twins instead of the remains of a broken set of quintuplets.

“How is she so much more kind and caring than the others?” I said, once again not bothering to hide my disdain and disbelief. How could she be so different? I heard her talking to Molly. Molly is one of the most annoying people I have ever met. I never understood why Kavick associated with her, and as far as I’m concerned that’s just another of example of Kavick’s poor judgment.

“She’s the one that took me in when I was wounded,” he explained, holding up the arm which used to be injured.

I immediately relived that day for a moment, when Anana had come back panicked, asking for her sister and I to help him against the bear. She was equally worried about the fact Kavick had been spotted in the woods, since Kavick’s presence would look unusual, unlike her appearance.

The three of us had raced to where Anana had left him, only to find him walking naked and wounded in the cold, and not as a dog. He had explained to us about how he had tried to save a girl from a bear and she had taken him in her house and tended to his wounds. However, in order to escape, he had to change back into his human form. Never had I seen Kavick look so disheveled, so uncertain, so dirty, and so cold. There was a time when he was used to the moments of being naked in the freezing temperatures just after a shift. But that day he had been shivering, holding his arms, and there was a strange look in his eyes. I couldn’t quite describe it, but his footsteps did. His walk didn’t seem right. It seemed awkward. I could tell it was unnatural to him. He had already become accustomed to walking on all fours and the warmth of his fur. He stared at everything in wonder as if he were seeing it all in a new light. His eyes were big the whole walk home.

I had told Anana and Suka to go back home as soon as we had spotted him. They had quickly taken off to give Kavick some privacy. I had shifted back into human form and put an arm around him. We tried to keep each other warm as we walked back home since Kavick said he couldn’t walk on his leg. I had then looked at his wounded arm he referred to as a leg. He kept making comments about how pretty the colors of things were and his words were low and hoarse. It had been a week since he had last spoken.

“Why are you doing this, Tark?” he had asked in a shaky voice with chattering teeth.

“It’s only right I suffer with you and give you what warmth I can. I’m your brother. You would do the same for me.”

I had been a little frightened by the state he was in, but I hid it well. I had to be strong. Even though it felt like I had almost lost my brother, living as a wolf was the surest way of staying hidden. To my relief he was back to his old self by the time we got home. He had eagerly run into the bathroom, speaking about how badly he wanted to take a hot shower.

I’ve lived as a wolf for several days before, as well, but not for a whole week straight. There was usually a few brief moments where I had to shift back into a human for some reason. Apparently Kavick hadn’t had those moments. I had spoken to Suka soon after, asking how Anana was after they had gotten home. She had said Anana seemed a little awkward and very happy to be human again. I asked if she had inquired about her time with Kavick when they had been wolves, and she had said that her younger sister had told her they had done a lot of running and playing, sleeping, and only a little hunting.

“I thought Kavick looked a little thin,” Suka had commented from the roof of her house. It was late at night and everyone was asleep. Whenever we spoke about our siblings to each other, it was usually at this hour on her roof. Waiting to talk until so late was about the only way it was sure to stay just between the two of us.

“And that also explains why he ate the whole fridge when he got home,” I had said with a frown.

She grinned slightly and had a knowing look in her yellow eyes. “Anana did the same thing.”

            I brought myself out of my memories a second later, strangely feeling a little grateful for this girl who had helped my brother. Because of her treatment Kavick’s wounds weren’t infected when I had found him. Kavick recovered well, but he didn’t shift into a wolf again until his gashes were reduced to just mere scratches on his arm and side.

Kavick turned his back on me again. “Now leave me alone!”

I stood still then, not wanting to fight with him anymore. I decided to let him be for a bit. “Be back in time for the Lights.” It was all I would say.

He just waved a hand up in the air, letting me know he heard me through the rush of wind that suddenly hammered us. It sent his long hair flying and it made me remember how my father was proud that he wasn’t afraid to display his heritage. An outsider wouldn’t know what it meant, but all of our kind would. He was even picked on by our own people for his Husky ancestry, and it showed more strongly in him than any other of my brothers. I was a black wolf, like Father. So was Maguyuk. Anuun was a Husky, but he was solid black. Tupit had a little, such as on his face, but he had many of those long streaks of black patterning his face like tattoos. Kavick’s face on the other hand was full white, framed by dark black. He had much more white than Tupit, just like our mother. Half his body was in white. Mother always felt guilty, though, like it was her fault, always saying she was sorry she had placed such a burden on her children.

I turned around, feeling conflicted feelings. I felt a bit of that same pride like Father had spoke of, but I was still frustrated with my last remaining brother. I didn’t want to lose him like Tupit. Tupit’s death was still fresh in my mind. I had been a witness to him being shot down in his Husky form, lying still that cold, snowy night during that unusual cold snap we had in the summer. I had been injured by gunfire, and Kavick was with the others trying to free Suka and Anana’s father from a trap in the distance. I had been made useless, forced to watch the hunter drag my brother away. I was surprised the hunter hadn’t tried to take me, as well. Perhaps he couldn’t manage dragging two wolves in the snow. The hunter placed Tupit on the front of his snowmobile, and took off. Kavick had come to my aid then, turning into a human in his worry. He was so busy checking on me he didn’t realize the hunter had killed Tupit.

“Stay with me!” he pleaded with me. He then whipped his head around, noticing our brother wasn’t there. “Where’s Tupit?!” I could hear the panic in his voice.

I finally managed to shift into a human and pointed to the snowmobile that was quickly growing distant. “He’s got Tupit!”

Kavick had jumped to his feet and ran after the hunter, shifting mid-run. But he couldn’t catch up with it.

He didn’t return to us, either.

Anana and Suka took me to their home that night with their father where we could tend to our injuries. I could hear Kavick wailing away at the moon in the forest somewhere until I finally fell asleep. Part of me wondered if he was hoping Tupit was still alive and would be able to escape and come back at his call. He was probably blaming himself, like our mother he took after. I could hear Anana crying, too, but she wasn’t howling like Kavick. I could hear it through the walls of the old house. Suka was trying to comfort her little sister in the living room. Anana had been just as close to Tupit as she was to Kavick, maybe even slightly more.

But it wasn’t Kavick’s fault. It was mine. I had been standing next to Tupit when it had happened. I should have been able to save him. It was my fault.

“Where’s Kavick?” I asked as I met up with the others at the bonfire. There was Suka, Anana, their father Tunerk, and their grandfather whom Kavick and I refer to in our private conversations as “Old Man Miller”.  And then there were the O’haras, a family of six which had the exceptional good luck of not losing anyone to the hunter. However, we all have our suspicions if there is actually more than one hunter and if they had grown to such a large number that they were building that “factory” as a cover for some kind of base. Our suspicions have been growing stronger and stronger over time. Why would anyone want to build a factory out in this tiny, dying town?

“I don’t know. He’s your brother,” Suka said with that sarcasm I knew all too well. I should have known better than to ask her that.

I looked out toward the trees, feeling worried. Knowing him, he probably went to see that girl, putting himself in danger. I was so certain; I knew that had to be where he was. He was skipping the meeting just to send a message to me. And it just happened to be one of the most crucial meetings. The oldest O’hara boy, who was seventeen, was supposed to have been tailing a person we suspected of being a hunter. But Kavick doesn’t even know what that person looks like because he was with that girl the last time we spoke of it.

“Go ahead, start,” I said as I sat down alone on the empty log. Kavick was supposed to be sitting beside me on it. I was incredibly annoyed at my brother for skipping this meeting. Jonathan O’hara (the O’haras preferred to not use native names unlike the Millers and my family) was going to tell us what he had found out from trailing the suspected hunter. He stood then, looking a little uncomfortable at starting without Kavick. Most of us didn’t look Inuit anymore from all the breeding with white people, except the Millers. The O’haras were almost as pale as Kavick and I, and they all had brown hair since they had a lot of brown mixed in with their gray coat, unlike the Millers who had virtually no brown in their gray coats. They bred with only other wolf people, and used to only breed with other Inuits. Old Man Miller had dark skin and you could see some of his Inuit heritage in his facial features. His son Tunerk carried on the skin color to his daughter’s, but it was much lighter since their mother had been white. They all had gray hair and yellow eyes, except for the old man whose hair had turned white. Suka’s hair was cut incredibly short, almost like a boys’, and Anana’s hair was a little longer, hanging down just to the middle of her neck.

Jonathan cleared his throat and addressed us all. “I’ve been tailing the human who we saw the night of the fire at the factory. I wasn’t able to look around in his house for long, so I only have a last name. I was not able to find any concrete evidence that he is the hunter, but he did have a yellow snowmobile like the one the hunter who killed Tupit Skarling used.”

I felt anger and pain surge through me at those words. Everyone was locked on the oldest O’hara boy as he continued on with what he learned. He told us the last name he had discovered and said he was going to keep following this factory worker, along with another one of his brothers, and wait for another opportunity to search his house.

That’s where the meeting ended. It was short, as were most meetings anymore. We no longer played music since we had already reflected on the dead during the first few nights of the Lights. However, I remained long after the others had walked away, still reflecting on the dead of my family. I don’t know how long I sat there, staring into the fire until I finally left.

 

“Where’s Kavick?” I asked yet again on the following night. I looked around at everyone who was seated around the fire just as before. There was only silence and awkward stares. Tunerk Miller sighed loudly from beside Suka, showing his unhappiness. He raised an irritated eyebrow at me that spoke volumes. I could imagine what our next conversation would be like. I could hear his voice in my mind. “Get him in line.”

            Tunerk didn’t like how Kavick was spending so much time away where nobody seemed to know what he was doing, and skipping meetings, at that. He had always had little respect for Kavick until Kavick helped him out of a bear trap the hunter had set the night Tupit was killed and taken. Despite Kavick not being a “true wolf” as he had said before in the past, he was suddenly polite to Kavick after that incident and soon asked him to marry Anana to carry on the wolf bloodline. Tunerk felt like we were a dying breed and needed to change that quickly before we were extinct. However, in his conversations with me, Tunerk still showed his unhappiness with Kavick’s relaxed, carefree attitude, saying he had no sense of duty for not wanting to marry his daughter. And now he had added “wild” to that list of traits he didn’t like about Kavick. I knew I would be hearing more of his complaints about my brother in the very near future.

I huffed and turned around. “Go on.”

“Without both of you?” Suka inquired in a surprised voice as I walked away.

“I’m fetching Kavick.” I stopped then, realizing there was a much faster way of hunting him down. Instead of sniffing him out, I could use Anana’s directions, since she was the one who had been spying on him, wondering where he was gone to so much instead of trying to get adjusted as living as wolf. He and Anana were supposed to be spending more time together, hunting and such, as wolves, because I thought he should marry Anana, as well, and soon. Even though Kavick didn’t to marry her, Anana was his friend so he didn’t mind spending time with her.

At least, until recently he didn’t mind. He had been spending less and less time with her. His excuse had been he was spending more time helping the O’hara’s with their store, but she didn’t believe him. She had told Suka she could smell a different scent on him and was curious to know where he had actually been spending so much time. She had carefully followed far behind him one evening and discovered him climbing through the window of a house. She could hear a girl’s voice talking to him.

I turned around and looked at Anana. She slowly tipped her head up at me, her yellow eyes growing bigger. I could tell she was figuring out what I wanted and she didn’t want to do it. But she would do what I asked. She hardly ever said no to anyone. That’s why she wasn’t protesting her father’s marriage proposal to Kavick. She was eighteen, but she did everything he said like she was a little child still with no free will. I then looked at Suka who was staring at me, wondering what I wanted. “Can I borrow your sister?”

Suka’s eyes grew a little larger then and she looked at Anana. Anana and her exchanged stares. Anana knew then that Suka had told me what she had told her in confidence about Kavick. Nothing was said and it only lasted a second. Suka looked down at her feet in a guilty way and said, “Ask her, not me.”

I looked at Anana again. She hesitantly stood, holding her side for a second, and then followed me into the trees. I stopped after a moment of walking and then turned to her. She wasn’t holding her side anymore where she had been shot, but she still looked frail. She always looked frail and delicate to me, because she was short and bony. She kind of did still look like a little girl. “Do you think you can show me where Kavick’s been seeing that girl?” I glanced at her side then to let her know she could say no if she didn’t feel like she could do it.

She was quiet a moment, mulling it over, and then gave a tiny nod. “Yeah, I can do it.”

I stepped aside and motioned for her to take the lead. She went over behind a large pine tree and came back a second later as a Timber wolf. I walked up to her and she stared at me. “I’m not shifting. I don’t want to frighten the girl.”

She let out a whine as she started walking ahead of me, clearly regretting her decision. She probably felt like she was betraying Kavick. We both knew he wasn’t going to be happy.

Anana led the way at a leisurely pace, making it easy for me to keep up with her. During the long walk to the girl’s house it seemed to get even darker and the Aurora Borealis grew even brighter even though it was already night when we headed out. The white snow stood out in the darkness. Moonlight filtered through the trees now and then, but I could make out Anana just fine without it. Once we finally reached the edge of the forest where there was a little light blue house in a clearing, Anana darted away, back to the meeting, not wanting Kavick to see her.

I looked down in the snow and could just faintly see tracks leading to the house. However, they looked old. They were have filled with this morning’s snowfall. Had Kavick actually taken the front door?

I walked around the tree line, staying hidden behind the trees. I could see the window the tracks led to. The blinds were up and it was the only room in the house that appeared to have a light on. I ran up to the window then as fast I could in the deep snow, ready to give Kavick the worst scolding and lecturing of his life. I couldn’t believe he had made himself known to the other person this girl lived with whom Suka had also told me about. Anana assumed he was probably the girl’s father. What if he was one of the hunters?

I forced the window up, making a bit of a racket, but not too bad. If her father was asleep then it probably didn’t wake him. I climbed through to see the girl sitting on the bed, staring at me with big gray eyes. For a second I nearly sighed out loud. I could see why Kavick had spent so much time with her in the past. She was pretty. He was being a typical, thoughtless, hormonal teenage boy. She had long straight brown hair that went down to her waist like curtains. She was a bit pale, but not nearly as bad as Kavick and I. Really, though, was there anyone here that wasn’t pale who was white? Summers are short and usually cloudy in this part of the world.

She was dressed warmly in a gray turtleneck that brought out the color of her eyes even more, blue jeans, and she was wearing boots, as if she were ready to head out into the snow. And then I noticed the coat and gloves beside her. She was planning on going out, and probably with him.

However, I was surprised to see that Kavick wasn’t there. Now I had exposed myself to the girl. Kavick was making me even more furious than before, and he wasn’t even present. I stood my full height and stared the girl down. “Where is my brother?”

100 “Likes”!!

Yesterday I reached 100 “likes” on my Facebook page, you can visit it here.

THANK YOU SO MUCH!

I felt like I had to give back a little to you guys, so here is the first 10 pages of “Ice”, and for those of you who have read it, I will be uploading a deleted scene for you next. I am just copying the first 10 pages directly into this post to ensure everyone can read it.

Thank you, again! Here is “Ice”:

Copyright © 2011 Elissa Len Lewallen

Ice

Elissa Lewallen

Chapter One:

Wolves

 

 

Nobody wants to admit it. Nobody wants to feel it. Pain. That cold, hard thing…just like the Alaskan ice I ran my glove over so many times, thick and dusted with a thin veil of snow.

I know; it sounds like such a strange way to start a story, but it seems like that’s exactly what this story consists of: pain, and all its various degrees of torment…and ice.

Life is like that. It’s bittersweet. So, it’s not all tears, either. Some of my fondest memories are here in the snow. But, it also contains some of my worst memories. I’ve seen the white snow turn red with blood, a sight I will never forget.

I could never have dreamed what would happen to me when I moved to Alaska. I had no idea that it would be just as mysterious as it was majestic. Amidst the dense forests and towering snow-capped mountains, there’s a little town called Riverton. And in this small town, there’s a secret.

That secret changed my life forever.

 

“Christine!”

I turned around at the sound of Justin’s excited voice calling my name. There he was, jogging from his big Ford truck, his salt and pepper colored dog running beside him. Big John was over to me licking my face so fast, I didn’t have time to stand up. And the name really suited him; he was huge. I didn’t know much about dogs, but I was almost certain he was a wolf, I just didn’t understand why someone would take a wolf in as a pet. I hadn’t had the chance to ask Justin yet, since I hadn’t been here long and most of that time I had spent in bed sick from the temperature change. When I had left California, it was 91 degrees; when I arrived in Alaska, it was 50. It was kind of a shock to my body. It was summer time (could have fooled me), so I was hoping it would get warmer.

When I was sick, the dog slept on the floor beside my bed, next to my worried Uncle. I had a nasty cold that lingered for a grueling four weeks where I was constantly going in and out of fever. One day it would break, a couple days later I would be burning up again. Even though I didn’t like Alaska, I liked Justin. He quickly earned my respect during that period of time. He had waited on me hand and foot and prepared me a beef stew one day that was supposed to work wonders.

Poor guy didn’t know I was a vegetarian.

I had thanked him for the stew, never letting him know just how much I hated meat. I kept thinking about the cow it must have come from, as weird as that is. It wasn’t so much because of sympathy for the animal, or even a political decision. Cows just strike me as dirty, smelly, and gross, along with most other farm animals.

Today before he left for the grocery store, he told me that he was going to make his famous deer jerky.

Now that was where I began to feel sympathy for animals; I couldn’t imagine eating a deer! They were cute, majestic, beautiful, furry…not gross and smelly like a cow. I had no idea how I was going to manage faking that one. How could I possibly eat Bambi? It was my favorite movie when I was a kid, despite the fact it always made me cry….

I ruffled Big John’s thick fur and then stood up. Big John was persistent, though.

“Now, now! Down boy! Porch!” Justin commanded in a firm voice. Big John sadly dropped his head as he reluctantly walked over to the front door. He sat down on the tiny square porch and patiently waited for us.

I stood up and headed for the porch. I had been swirling a stick in a puddle, watching the ripples when my uncle drove up. I had gotten tired of walking around the front yard after I had cleaned the kitchen.

“I got lots of good stuff for dinner tonight,” he said excitedly as we walked toward the porch together. He had a brown paper bag in his arms stuffed full of food. Immediately I felt grateful for having such a caring uncle; I had heard how expensive groceries were in Alaska. I was so indebted to my Uncle for everything he had done for me, which was one of the reasons why I had cleaned the kitchen instead of going to the grocery store with him. I had to do something in return to show my gratitude. He didn’t have to take me in, but he did. He was a single guy of thirty-five, being five years younger than my dad. He had no experience with kids before me. And, I was a teenage girl at that, which probably made it even more undesirable to take me in. But, he hadn’t hesitated for a second when he first met me at my parents’ funeral. He had walked up to me, shook my hand, and said, “I’m your Uncle Justin, and you’re going to move to Alaska with me. Don’t you worry one bit, I’ll take care of ya.”

As strange as it may sound, Uncle Justin had a southern accent. Even though he had been in Alaska all of his adult life, he still had the twang from Texas where he and my dad had grown up. Why someone would have picked Alaska to move to from Texas, I had no idea. It was the polar opposite.

Justin had dark, messy blond hair (just like my dad) that stuck out from under his baseball cap, and he had a little bit of scruff on his face, which wasn’t an uncommon sight for him. And, besides loving meat, he also loves John Wayne movies. I had only been here a little over four weeks and already he had watched ten westerns that had John Wayne in them. There were only three channels Justin watched: the local news channel, the sports channel, and the Western channel. And, as if that wasn’t enough to tip me off, there was Big John; John, after John Wayne, of course.

“Even though it really wasn’t dirty, I cleaned the kitchen for you anyway, since you were planning on fixing a big dinner,” I said as I stepped through the front door.

“Aw, thanks,” Justin said awkwardly, but in a very grateful way as he walked up the steps. “Now, you didn’t have to go to all that trouble. Don’t you overwork yourself. I don’t want you gettin’ sick again. You should take it easy.”

I smiled at Justin as I stepped into the center of the light blue living room with all its woodsy, cabin-like decorations that were appropriate with the area he lived in. Even though everything was strange, new, and even kind of scary at times, I was glad I was stuck with Uncle Justin in this foreign place. He was always telling me I could rely on him, and he hadn’t given me any reason not to.

As Justin told Big John to sit on the couch, he sat his single brown grocery bag down on the little kitchen counter and took off his denim jacket. I headed for the hallway so I could take a hot bath while he fixed dinner. I was a little achy after bending over the stove, scrubbing the old grime from it. It was the only thing in the kitchen that had really needed cleaning.

I walked through the dark hallway and opened the white door that was next to my room. I flipped on the light and everything became coated in a dim, orange glow. As soon as I removed my sweater, I felt twice as cold, even though I was wearing a long sleeved shirt. I was beginning to wonder if I was ever going to get adjusted to the weather here, even though mid-sixties didn’t sound like it was that cold.

I turned on the bathwater and started taking off my sneakers. After I had peeled my socks off, I stood up straight in front of the bathroom sink and caught a glimpse of myself in the dim reflection. I did a double take and stared at myself. My tan was already almost nonexistent, thanks to it being cloudy the majority of the time. It had rained nearly everyday last week. This place was draining the color out of me. I pictured my skin in the near future being just as dreary as the overcast sky that hung around most days. My eyes were the same color as the gray clouds outside, only adding to the effect. I ran a hand over my ridiculous brown hood-hair and frowned at my pink nose. I sniffed and turned away from the mirror, not able to stand the sight of myself.

I soaked in the water for a while, just lying there in the warmth. I wanted to stay in the warm water forever. I felt alone, even though I had Uncle Justin. I still felt so empty and strange.

What had happened to me? I didn’t feel like myself anymore. I felt like a stranger in my own life.

No, this wasn’t my life. It couldn’t be. I live in California, where every day is bright, sunny, and hot. Not cold, damp, dark Alaska. I was used to looking out my bedroom window to see other houses. Here, all I saw were trees.

I lifted my hands up out of the water to rub my face. What happened to me? I wondered again in frightful astonishment.

Tragedy happened. Death. My parents were gone.

Now I felt like I was being crushed by an overwhelming sense of helplessness. How was I ever going to adapt to this place? What was I going to do when the school year started? Thank God it was summer, but what about when winter came? Alaska has a reputation for brutal winters, and I lived in the middle of nowhere.

I achingly remembered my two friends in California whom I had left behind, but Charlotte was the only one I still had. She had seemed horrified when I told her I was suddenly moving to Alaska. She acted like that was the worst place in the world I could go to. At the time I had thought it wasn’t quite that bad, and that it could be worse. I could be going to a whole other country. What’s wrong with Alaska? How is it any worse than Washington, or maybe Texas?

Now I knew. It was completely different.

I silently prayed I would grow to love it in time like Uncle Justin had, otherwise I was going to be miserable for as long as I was here. Charlotte was already acting like I had made my mind up to move back to California as soon as I had graduated.

“Next year we can share a place,” she had said excitedly into the phone last week. “It’s only a year.”

Personally, I didn’t see how I was going to be able to get out. I was going to have to get a job first in this strange, cold place. How was I going to manage driving myself on icy roads in the winter? What if I had an accident like my parents? The last thing I wanted to do was get behind a steering wheel. And how was I going to get a car, anyway?

I took a deep breath and decided I would just have to discuss it with Justin later.

Later. I didn’t want to think about it anymore. Everything was happening so fast. I needed to calm down and take it one step at a time.

I took another deep breath. This time I held it, and dunked my head into the warm water. For some reason I thought it would clear my head. It only made me feel better as long as my head was under the water, though. As soon as I broke the surface, I returned to my troubles. There was no escaping it.

After my bath, changing into several layers of clothing and drying my hair, I stayed in my room until Uncle Justin called for me. I didn’t wait long for dinner, though. I was just sitting on my bed with my laptop, staring at my e-mail’s inbox, hoping for a message from my other friend in California which would never come.

“Christine! Dinner’s ready!”

I quickly turned off my computer and darted up from my bed.

“Okay!” I called as I slipped my sock feet into my warm, fuzzy slippers. I quickly walked out of my room, nearly running. I shut the door behind me to keep Big John out. I loved him, but I really didn’t want his fur on my bed. The last time I left my door open I had awoken in the night to him jumping up on my bed to curl up next to me. I had regretted letting him lay there because I woke up the next day to wads of gray hair all over the burgundy comforter. It was a job getting all that fur off.

I stepped through the dark hallway, wondering if Justin would ever replace the bulb that had burned out in the little light fixture on the ceiling. I could see him in the kitchen setting silverware around the table. Big John jumped up into a chair like he was going to eat with us. Uncle Justin smiled at me before getting on to Big John.

“Get down, boy!” He used that same firm voice as he snapped his fingers and pointed to the living room. Big John let out a single airy whine as he got down out of the chair and walked over to me. He wagged his tail as he looked up at me. The way he opened his mouth looked kind of like a goofy smile.

“Hi, boy,” I said as I petted his head. Justin was washing his hands at the sink, so I bent down and scratched behind his dog’s ear and whispered, “Don’t worry. I’ll give you some meat.”

He started licking my face again, making me stand up to escape the smelly, slobbery kisses. I wiped them away with the long sleeve of my red sweater and walked into the kitchen. While I washed my hands, Justin excitedly began telling me about all the food he had made. I looked over my shoulder, carefully listening. Once again, I felt indebted to him.

“I got some corn while I was at the store,” he said as he motioned toward a big bowl of it. I almost heaved a sigh of relief. Finally, something I actually liked. Then he motioned toward his deer jerky and some beef patties he had made, just like the ones he grew up eating in Texas with my dad. I smiled, and then I felt my face immediately fall at the same time as his. We both looked down and took a seat at the table, a kind of quiet understanding not to say anymore about dad, or mom.

It was the first time he had mentioned my parents. It was a good start. Maybe one day we could say a little bit more, and maybe this time next year before I leave, we might actually be able to have a full conversation about them. There were plenty of things I would like to discuss with him about my dad. Just not today.

I bowed my head across the table from him as he said grace. Usually it was the same words, but tonight he thanked God for the beef, corn, and other foods on the table he was able to buy from the grocery store.

And, “Thank you for healing Christine. Amen.”

“Amen,” I echoed with a little smile. I was grateful to be well, but it felt a little unusual. My parents had believed in God, but they almost never said prayer over a meal unless it was Easter, Thanksgiving, or Christmas. Uncle Justin never missed a meal. Even though it felt odd, it felt nice, too. It felt a little wholesome for some unknown reason.

Uncle Justin immediately started passing me the necessary things to make a hamburger. He passed me the slices of cheese, hot sauce, the plate of patties, and the buns. I could see that he was looking forward to me eating a burger like him. I wondered how I was going to be able to slip the patty to Big John. I didn’t see how it was possible without Justin noticing, so that was one ordeal with meat I wasn’t going to be able to wiggle out of. I started building up my burger like he said.

“…And then you load up the hot sauce!” Justin said with the largest smile I had seen on his face yet.

I felt my eyes widen in horror. That much hot sauce?! I’m a wimp when it comes to spicy foods.

I momentarily had an internal panic attack while he continued to shake drops of sauce onto his beef patty. He then passed the bottle to me. To my relief, not long after I started putting the hot sauce on my burger, he started eating his. I immediately stopped since he wasn’t looking anymore, and then closed my burger before he could pass me anything else. I took a bite and my mouth was instantly on fire.

Justin looked up from his burger. He swallowed and asked, “What’s wrong?” with a worried look on his face.

I couldn’t spit it out; not only would that be gross, I didn’t want to risk hurting his feelings, so I chewed it as fast as I could. Finally, I couldn’t take it anymore and forced it down while it was still a big, hot lump of food. I grabbed my glass and gulped down the icy water for several seconds. Eventually I had to put the glass down because I needed to breathe. I took a few breaths, seeing Justin grin awkwardly through my watery eyes.

“Too hot, wasn’t it?”

I nodded.

He wiped his mouth with the back of his hand despite the napkin next to his plate, just like a typical guy. “Sorry, I forget how hot that is to people who aren’t accustomed to it.”

I shook my head. “It’s okay. You didn’t know. I should have said something.” I took another big gulp of water and then continued, eager to drown out any doubt that I didn’t enjoy it, “It’s really good, though. Really.” I nodded for extra emphasis.

He smiled, and then returned to his burger, believing my lie. He passed the jerky next, and when he wasn’t looking, I quickly broke off pieces to drop for Big John, who was sitting diligently beside me. I then chewed, pretending I had just taken a bite.

Justin asked me if I liked the jerky and I lied, nodding my head like before, saying it was delicious. He would smile in that way that was part bashful, part proud.

After dinner, he insisted on doing the dishes, just like he always did. The only reason why I let him do it before was because I had been sick. Now that I was well, I felt up to it.

“No, let me do it,” I said, stepping over to the sink next to him. I held my hands out for the plate he was holding. “I want to. You cooked the meal, so I can clean the dishes. It’s only right.”

He stared at me for a moment like he was stunned by my determination to work. I don’t think he expected that from a teenage girl. He hesitantly handed me the plate.

“Okay…but this doesn’t feel right,” he said slowly with an unsure shake of his head. “I feel like I’m workin’ ya.”

“It’s fine, I want to,” I said as I poured the bright orange dish soap onto the plate.

Uncle Justin started putting the leftovers into the fridge then. After I was finished with the dishes, I joined him in the living room for a few minutes to watch TV. I sat on the opposite end of the couch and Big John sat between us. I petted him as I watched a boring game of baseball for about ten minutes. I then got up and left for my room. I went through the tiny, dark hallway, and as soon as I had closed my bedroom door, I heard Big John whine.

“Sorry, boy,” I said through the door to him. As if he knew it was a lost cause, I heard his heavy footsteps as he walked away, toenails scratching against the hardwood that wasn’t covered by the dark blue and tan floral rug in the hall.

I walked over to my bed and turned on my laptop. I signed on the Internet and stared at my empty inbox again. Thankfully, Justin had a computer in his room with high-speed Internet; he had bought a router so I could have Internet on my laptop.

I slipped my feet out of my slippers and tucked them under me as I clicked the “compose” link so that I could write a message to my friend who didn’t want to talk to me. I reminisced about the good old times with Charlotte and Marcus. They were my best and only friends in California. Now it was just Charlotte and me, hundreds of miles apart.

I felt the familiar pain that Marcus’ memory never ceased to bring forth in me. As always, I couldn’t help myself from reliving the nasty memory of how it had all fallen apart.

Marcus Garcia had been more than a friend to me. I had secretly admired him since the first day I laid eyes on him. He was tall, tan, muscular, and always the charmer. It seemed that Charlotte and I were the only girls he hadn’t tried to charm in the school.

Just before my parents’ accident, Marcus started dating a fellow Junior. Not long after they started dating, I struggled with my feelings for him. I told Charlotte, who had always suspected it, and she told me I should tell him how I felt. Just as I was about to spill my guts to him, he told me his girlfriend didn’t want us hanging out anymore, because she suspected I had feelings for him. I went from nearly telling him just that, to lying, saying that it was a crazy idea. He said he had already told her that, but if he didn’t stop associating with me, she would dump him. And, he couldn’t bear that, because he loved her.

But, I couldn’t bear saying goodbye to one of my best friends, especially him…yet, I did anyway.

I had told Charlotte all the details after school that very day, crying my eyes out.

“Marcus and Marcia,” I had said, scrunching up my wet face. “Makes me want to gag.”

And I did.

She was almost as sad as I was; she had wanted us to get together so badly. She wanted to confront Marcus, tell him he was being stupid, but I stopped her, pointing out that it wouldn’t do any good because he loved her. He still wouldn’t talk to me, no matter what anyone said as long as it was what Marcia wanted. I knew it was useless, which was probably how I found the courage to let go of him.

I had only called him once since then, telling him I was leaving for Alaska and just wanted to say goodbye. To my surprise, he showed up at the airport with Charlotte. Apparently, Marcia had granted him the privilege of telling me goodbye in person.

How generous of her, I had thought bitterly.

We had hugged, and that was it. It still hurt to think about the hug, along with everything else. Somehow I hadn’t cried that day at the airport as I said my goodbyes. I think I had run out of tears.

I forced myself to put the memory behind me and started typing feverishly the first words that came to my mind, hoping he would read them and reply despite the voice in my head that still told me it was useless. At least it would make me feel better. (Well, that’s what I hoped.)

 

I feel like I should be talking to you right now. I’m used to talking to you whenever I’m sad…but what can I do? I feel like I have no one. I know I have my uncle, but I can’t talk to him like I could with you and like I can with Charlotte. I feel like I’m alone. It’s just me, alone, in the quiet of the night on my computer, thinking of all the words I want to say to you, all the words I will never say to you. All these words full of so many different emotions that will never reach you, staying locked up in my frustrated, aching head.

I feel so…it’s so hard to describe. Sad doesn’t explain it. I feel hollow in my chest without you in my life. I need to talk to you, but I know I shouldn’t. Know I can’t. Know I won’t, no matter how much I want to. Besides, even if I did, you wouldn’t respond, anyway. You love someone who made a request that you not talk to me. You’re going to uphold that request as long as you love her, and that will probably be forever, unlike me, which will be never.

 

 

If you like what you’ve read of “Ice” so far, you can buy it on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, CreateSpace, or order at your local bookstore. You can also purchase “Ice” from the Kindle store and at Decopolis, located on S Boston in Tulsa, Oklahoma.

New Cover, Trailer, and Another Book Signing!

Hello, everyone!

A lot has happened since we last spoke…or rather, since I last typed at you. It’s been crazy and exciting. Remember me teasing a new cover for Ice and going on for months about making a trailer for it? And did I mention a book signing? I know I did on my Facebook page (shameful plug not-so-cleverly inserted there). Those are some of the things I am going to talk about in this blog post, then I am getting to work on the Secret Lives of Characters series again, and of course, the sequel to Ice.

 

Book Cover:

Ice cover Ice back.

Ta-dah! Photographer Micheal Lowther (Remember her?) assisted me on the new back cover, which is something I could not do without her expertise. We private messaged on Facebook back and forth until we got it just right. I am so happy with the new cover! The snowy image she selected for the back fits the story perfectly, don’t you think? If you would like to reach out to Misha, here’s her website, where you can see more of her great pieces of work and pricing. I highly recommend her. Note to Tulsa authors: she is very interested in working with you! You won’t be disappointed.

 

Which brings me to the trailer that features the new cover! Ta-dah again!

I know, it’s quick and short, but that’s what I wanted. Hopefully a longer trailer with actors will be coming in the near future. It’s definitely something I want to do and have discussed with someone on how this might be possible for my small budget. I hope this tease trailer is simple and straight to the point and intrigues one enough to check it out.

 

2nd Ice Book Signing at Decopolis:

decopolis

On November 30th, which I discovered that very morning was this new thing (well, new to me anyway) called “Small Business Saturday,” I had a book signing at Decopolis in the afternoon and into the evening. The guys there are so cool. They let me set the hours for the signings, so I am welcome to stay as long as I like. And they really do make you feel welcome. And did I mention the store is SO COOL? Some time I will have to ask them if it’s okay to shoot a video of the place and post it on here and my YouTube channel for you guys. (Oh yeah, I’ve got one of those now. Here’s the link. FYI, I am most likely going to neglect my Google+ account, because I only created it so I could have a YouTube channel.) It was another great book signing where I met some interesting and lovely people. Decopolis is doing more book signings with local authors now, so if you are in the Tulsa area check out their Facebook and their website, DecopolisStudios.com, for information about when they are having book signings. By the way, William, one of the owners, is an AMAZING artist and has designed some awesome Christmas cards you can buy. So check. It. Out.

william's christmas cards

Jeez, I’m so bossy! ;)

Also, Ice was featured on the local news!

2013-12-02 01.13.18

Decopolis had a great turn out that day. Some people said they came out just to support local businesses. Thank you so much to everyone who came out to Decopolis. And thank you to Channel 2 News for inserting my little novel into your broadcast.

 

I think that covers everything, so talk to you later!

 

-EL