Below the Ice

 /   /  By Emma Birches
Stone Soup Magazine
January/February 2015

Below the Ice falling on the snow

He was trying to stop, but it didn’t work

Alex skied down the mountain and breathed in the scent of the pine trees. Everything was peaceful. He spotted a cluster of dark blue puddles of water seeping through the cracked ice. He longed to investigate and decided to stop and take a peek. As he got closer there was a quick flicker in one of the bigger puddles, creating a growing ring of tiny waves. He supposed it was a fish. As he slowed down he pushed his gloves back on his hands and covered his mouth with his neck warmer so his frosty breath would not come out. He quickly skied down but surprisingly skidded on the ice and one of his skis fell off. The screeching of the wind echoed through his ears as he fell on his back and slid down the hill in a tumbling heap of snow. His body was twisted up. He was trying to stop, but it didn’t work. He managed to take a glimpse of the puddles only several yards in front of him.

He heard the icy ground crunching beneath him as he plunged into pitch-black water. All his consciousness streamed from him as he felt the deathly chill of the water. He tasted the saltiness of it in his mouth. He was drowning. It would be the end of it all. He couldn’t manage getting his ski off, so he desperately tried swimming upward toward the surface, which already seemed miles overhead. He could feel thick walls of ice on his palms that he could climb up. He slowly climbed it with great difficulty. The coldness threatened to freeze him to the core until his death.

Random thoughts arose in Alex’s head, which pushed him away from his life. He remembered all the times he went out to dinner with his mom. And all the times he went out to play sports with his dad and all the times he talked and talked for hours with his brother Lucas and watched his cat play with a toy. He remembered the first time he ate mango frozen yogurt with chocolate shavings and he tasted the creamy deliciousness as it entered his watering mouth. The first time he got a home run in baseball, all the momentum and the crowd roaring. His first time playing Handel’s Water Music, the beautiful tones of the notes humming through his ears. The exciting feeling that he had worked hard and accomplished something. Speeding along through the ocean when he was boogie boarding and when he went crashing and tumbling onto the beach and laughing with excitement. The wind rushing into his face as he went down the steep roller coaster with his dad at Six Flags. His first flip he did off the diving board when he landed on his back. Feeling the feeling of doing something he never thought he could do. His life was flashing before him. All these special times in his life. Life. He wanted it. But he didn’t think he could get it through all the chaos and the freezing blackness. He opened his eyes as much as possible and he saw light. Was it actually light? Could this possibly be it? Right as he took his first gasp of air he fell into a sleep he would probably never have again.

Below the Ice cat playing

He awoke in the hotel room staring with fuzzy vision at a burning fire in front of him. He had fresh clothes on and he could feel the leather of the armchair he was sitting in. His mom brought a steaming dish of spaghetti with his favorite sauce, tomato sauce. He took a long sigh and slowly blinked…

Below the Ice Alex Perry

Alex Perry, 9
San Francisco, California

Below the Ice Audrey Zhang

Audrey Zhang, 11
Levittown, New York

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