Living On Oxygen for Life
This is the third part to my short story. I hope to continue it when some more inspiration hits me. The ending of this part of the story is the actual original ending. When I wrote it, the ending just flowed out on the computer but then I realized what I wrote and wasn’t sure how a soldier would interpret it. So, I rewrote it with a different ending. More upbeat. I’d love to hear what you feel when you read to the end of the story. Thanks so much for reading this.
Do you have suggestions on which direction this story should continue? Let me know by comment or email: firstname.lastname@example.org … I have some ideas but I’d love to hear yours. Have a blessed weekend. On with the story…
After endless days of working, your body feels as if it is going to give out. You enter your living quarters only to find two soldiers staring at the wall next to your cot. You feel yourself begin to panic as you rush over to stand behind the soldiers because you know what is hopefully still on that wall. It has become a lifeline to you. Your inspiration for making it through this tour of duty. It has been almost two weeks since you last seen the maple leaf and frankly you have missed it.
When you look over the soldiers’ shoulders you notice what has drawn their attention. The leaf is no longer red and it amazes you because you know without a doubt that it was red when first you touched it while walking through the forest. The men in front of you ask you where you found a living maple leaf out there in the desert but you don’t want to tell them. They would probably think the story you told them was totally made up. So, you tell them it’s just a fake leaf someone sent you. They reach out to touch it but you shove their hands away quickly. You realize as the soldiers leave that now two people have seen the leaf besides you. You only worry about it momentarily before exhaustion takes over.
Kneeling on one knee on your cot, you reach across to the wall and touch the leaf gently with your fingertips to reassure yourself that it is truly real. You pull your hand back and look at your fingers and see moisture from the leaf upon them. Simply amazing, you think to yourself. Never in your wildest imagination could you have thought this could happen to you. However, it has.
You pull off your gear and lie down on your side and just look at the leaf and within a few minutes you find yourself falling asleep. This time is different. This time, you’re ready to return. Almost immediately you feel a wintery chill as you open your eyes. You find yourself surrounded by what must be the neighborhood children.
You are stunned at the sight before you. Snow piled high along each side of the driveway belonging to the three little girl’s house. It must have snowed for days to create such a winter wonderland and the children are now enjoying it to its fullest. All of them making snowballs for an all out war to come. The battle of the fittest or fastest snowball creator. You slowly move to the perimeter of the yard, not sure what you can do or where you can go on this visit. It’s always a guess for you.
Suddenly, a man walks out of the house. He’s bundled up as well as the children. He seems friendly and all the kids gather around him as he announces that they will be building the biggest snowman ever. They all forget the snowballs that they are stockpiling for the grizzly war to help create Frosty the Snowman. You see the Maple Leaf Girls hug the man who joined in the fun. You think maybe he’s their father but aren’t quite sure.
The race was on to see which child could build the beginnings of the base snowball for Frosty. The snow was perfect packing snow and soon, a giant-sized snow ball is being rolled around the large front yard. The children roll until they couldn’t roll it anymore and then begin adding snow by hand. You are becoming skeptical about this snowman. How can these children build something so tall? The base alone is about four feet wide. Off to the side, other children are rolling another ball of snow for the belly of Frosty. This one not quite so big as the first. When the children roll it over to the snowman, they discover one small problem. No one is strong enough to lift the belly onto the base.
After some grumbling and serious debating, the man proposes a solution. You can’t believe what you hear as you stand there listening to the man. You think, this will never work. You see the man get down on his hands and knees next to the base of the snowman and somehow the children begin to roll the belly snowball up his back. The belly, with great effort from the man, rolls right into place.
With the cold wind whipping through the scarves, coats, & mittens, everyone cheers their success. On every face, you can see happiness. You feel elated just watching a happy moment. But the work issn’t over. Next is the head and it lifts on with relative ease since its size is the smallest. The children donate things to decorate the snow to turn it into Frosty the Snowman. When it’s finished, the children begin to go home, suddenly realizing how tired they are.
After a few minutes, the yard stands empty now save for you and Frosty. You walk around to look at him. He is so tall; nearly eight feet high. Standing there you wonder how it’s possible to be back here in the middle of winter. You hear a noise and look up to see the front door opening.
It’s the little girl who you were concerned about the last time you were here. She looks upset and its as if she is looking straight at you. A gust of chilling wind whips past you and knocks the carrot nose from Frosty’s face. Without thinking you reach down to pick up the carrot. The little girl begins to look more distressed with each passing second. As you stand to place the carrot back on the face of the snowman, the ground rumbles as if there is an earthquake. Without warning everything begins to fade around you and the last thing you hear is the little girl yelling as she runs towards you…”Get down!”
You jerk awake to complete silence except for the little girl’s warning in your head. Just as you decide to throw yourself on the ground, you realize your life has just been saved.