Friday, June 4, 2010
A blog buddy of mine is hosting a blog fest. The theme is dream sequences, so I thought I'd throw one of mine out there from the beginning of my novel, Amidst the Fog.
Madison drew in a deep breath. As she exhaled, she watched an eerie frost roll from her lips. The light from the moon was enough that she could see the path. The ground beneath her sounded as if it would shatter beneath her step. The field was full of small mounds that in the summer months would become tall cornstalks.
After she had been walking for what seemed like forever she spotted it. In the middle of the corn field, was the rink her grandfather had built to teach her how to play hockey. She solemnly scanned the sheet of ice in front of her. Silence was all around.
This place, this small rink was home.
Although it was no where near regulation size, many games had been played on it. The boards around the rink were nothing but plywood that her grandfather would spend the summer replacing. The team boxes were made of chain link fences. The most elaborate thing about the rink was the nine foot tall scarecrow that was staked into the ground at the end of the rink. Haywire, as her grandfather had called him, was the object of many stories during her childhood.
Madison manipulated her way to the center of the rink. The fog from the ice rolled all around her. Her arms lifted from her side to form the shape of a cross. She imagined that she was floating in the clouds. She spun in circles on the ice until she thought she would fall. This was the meditation she performed morning after morning.
Madison could hear the giggling of a little girl coming her way. She spun towards the noise just as the rink’s light flashed to the on position. Walking towards her, she saw her grandfather, John and a smaller version of herself. She felt a sharp shiver go up her spine as she began to realize that she was dreaming. The solace she had found in the fog drifted out with it.
Madison’s gaze was fixed on the ghostly figures in front of her. Her grandfather had always towered over her in height even as she got older. His years in the Navy had left him broad shouldered. Madison had believed that back in the day he had been somewhat of a ladies man. She imagined him dancing to jazz music in the local bar with women swooning all around. She saw the years of hard work in his face and hands. Something she should have appreciated more.
She watched as her grandfather slowly bent down and one by one put skates on the tiny girl’s feet. He had trouble with her staying still. The smile on her face went from ear to ear. Her shoulder length brown hair was braided in two pigtails. As a child her nose had been covered with freckles. He finished tying her bright pink laces.
Madison mouthed the words as her grandfather spoke to the girl. “Wouldn’t want the prettiest girl in town to have a bruise, because her skates weren’t tight enough.” The ghostly girl reached down and grabbed her grandfather’s head. She kissed his forehead. The kiss was part of their morning ritual as well; it possessed all of the love and feelings she had for him in one simple gesture. Then with love and care he put her helmet on her head and gave it the all finished pat.
“Go get warmed up and by warm I mean starting slow.” He touched her cheek like he had so many other mornings. Madison closed her eyes and tried with all her might to feel his warm hand pass through the younger version of herself to her.
“I only know one speed…fast! Whoa!” Madison stood tall on her skates and sprinted hard on to the ice. The blades slicing the ice were like a soothing melody. The older Madison smiled at the excitement the spirit of herself showed for their morning activities. It had been along time since Madison had felt that free.
Out of the corner of her eye, she could see her grandpa trying to get up off the ground. It would be many years before his death, but age had already began to cripple his bones. He reached almost helplessly for his cane. As he slowly rose, she felt a multitude of regrets start to haunt her.
“Excellent…Madison! Keep you head up and you will go even faster.” He blew his whistle and reached in to his right coat pocket for his stopwatch.
Madison studied her grandfather’s expression. Beneath his big green eyes, she could see all the love and admiration he had for her.
She wondered how he felt raising another child after her mom had gone down such a dark path. She thought about all the things he had done to make sure she didn’t do the same. He had cared for her as if she was his own and looking at him now, she wished that she would have done the same for him. Reminding herself that she was dreaming, she had to fight the urge to go embrace him.
The tears began to burn a path down her cheek. The wind howled taking her breathe away. Her throat started to tighten and then a small cough escaped. She felt her body turn over.
Madison was waking up.
The memory in front of her vanished slowly, like the ending to a tragic movie. Madison slowly opened her eyes and stared at the ceiling. She waited for it to collapse on her like every thing else in her life.
Her mind drifted back to her grandfather. She pondered if he would still be able to look at her with those proud eyes. Not a day had gone by that she hadn’t asked herself that question. Her life had changed courses after his death. Would he even recognize who she had become?
The alarm clock started its morning blast. Madison reached over and unplugged it. Madison sled into a sitting position and then one by one put her feet on the floor. It was time to go back to the life she had not planned.