Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Teaser Tuesday: The Snow Queen, part 2

Thanks so much for your feedback on the beginning of my short story, everyone! You don't mind if I post a little bit more of it, do you? If you like, I'll post the ending next Tuesday. Because you guys are awesome.

This is from the end of the middle, when Grace goes out looking for Kade. In the original story, the little girl has all sorts of helpers on her quest to find her friend, but I cut it down to just one - I hope it makes sense! Constructive criticism is more than welcome!


The sky that poked through in lines broken by the taller buildings was a dull grey, the kind of sky that threatened snow. Grace wanted to find him before those soft flakes began to fall; she didn’t think she could drag him away from the destructive cold if it put on the guise of beauty for him.

Grace turned a corner and the wind nearly lifted her off her feet; it rattled off of garbage cans and whistled around street signs. Was that what the singing sounded like to Kade? Did that clatter of chaotic noise make sense in his head? She turned onto the street and walked into the wind, feeling as though a hand were pressing into her face, trying to stop her from following her friend.

She fought the wind for several blocks, her small frame almost bent double against the rush of air that raced down the avenue. Other people around her were having almost as much difficulty; she saw scarves whipped down the street and coats billowing out behind their owners, or else plastered to their legs, tripping them up in the force of the icy wind. Manhattan became a wind tunnel in the wintertime; those gusts were the perfect place for Kade’s voices to lurk. But after she had walked down what felt like the entire island, she ducked into a side street, shivering violently, desperate to catch her breath and warm her hands out of the merciless wind.

A few feet away from her, a cardboard box had overturned on the sidewalk. She would not have paid any attention to it, but it jerked suddenly, catching her eye and causing her to jump away from it. She watched it scuttle along the ground for a moment before cautiously stepping forward and popping it off the ground with her foot. When she kicked the box away, it left a confused and startled pigeon behind. The bird flapped about, walking in circles as though it half expected to find itself still trapped.

“It’s okay,” she said, “you’re okay. I let you go. I rescued you, just like I’m going to rescue Kade.”

Grace thought that perhaps the wind might be getting to her as well now, if she was talking to a pigeon, but even though she had spent her whole life in the city and seen pigeons every day, she had never seen one stop and listen to a person before. But her pigeon had definitely stopped flapping and turned its head towards her.

“I wish you were a carrier pigeon so I could send a message to him. Maybe he’d let me know where he was, at least.”

She sighed, sitting down on the curb a few feet from the pigeon, blowing into her frozen hands. The pigeon cooed softly a few times, then walked in front of her as if it was trying to get her attention. Then it launched itself into the air and flew down the alley, doubling back once and circling around her head. It wanted her to follow.

“If Kade thinks the wind calls to him, I can follow a pigeon, right?” Grace muttered to herself as she got to her feet and ran down the sidewalk after the little grey bird.

The pigeon seemed to have even more trouble with the wind than she did, but she was grateful; the gusts kept the bird from flitting out of her sight. Bits of ice or rain or snow swatted at her cheeks now, and either she had been out in the cold too long or the sound that the wind-rattled trash cans made sounded like go back, Grace, go back. He’s ours now. But Kade was hers, and she would get him back, even if she went crazy doing it.

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