06 November 2011

Red Snow

Red Snow

The pain in his shoulder kept him down. It had bothered him for years, but never this bad. This was the coldest winter he had been in since fighting his way through the arctic when he was still young, the summer after that winter is when he first injured his shoulder. Blood dripped from his mouth to the snow below him turning the snow below him maroon in the moon light.

"Leave him Sonny, he's not worth killing. He's worth leaving for dead; the wolves will get him if the cold doesn't," The old man with the scarred face called from the dog sled as he spun his .45 revolver around his finger.

Picture property of http://fictionalescapes.blogspot.com
Sonny kicked the man in his face one last time, "Come around my girl one more time ol' man, and I'll make sure I don't leave any room for livin' Hock."

Hock crawled through the snow to his jacket that was covered in Sonny's urine. Holding his shoulder he managed to stand and watch as Sonny and his uncle faded away into the white vail of slow falling snow. His blood began to freeze on his face. He limped around looking for the other clothes Sonny stripped him of and threw around the small patch of tundra that was striped with Hock's blood.

"Sarah!" Sonny yelled towards his house, "get the hell outside and get my damn dogs fed."

Warmly robed in the furs of many wolves Hock had killed over the years to keep her warm Sarah came out barefoot and stepped shin deep into the fresh powder. She kept her head down when she addressed Sonny saying, "I put their food in the barn tonight, it's warmer in there."

"Well take them over there, woman. Is this gonna be what marriage is like? Am I going to have to tell you to do everything or are you just going to do it?"

She remained silent, holding back tears she whistled for the dogs to follow her to the barn. One of the young huskies ran from the barn to greet his mother back from her day.

"Hey puppy," Sarah said through a knot in her throat as she picked him up, "you'll catch your death in this cold. Your food is on its way."

picture courtesy of http://www.zindy-zone.dk/
The inside of the barn was cold, but warmer than the inside of the house, because of all the animals. As she exited the barn and closed the lock Sonny's uncle surprised Sarah throwing her against the barn door. "Take it off."

She held her robe close, "I'm undressed underneath this Frank, I," she stuttered, "sir."

"I don't want anything Hock made in a house I built." Frank grabbed ahold of the robe and tried to rip it from her. He finally managed to get it from her. She fell to her knees trying to cover her chest.

"Stop it," she begged. "Please. Please, that is all I have left of him. That is it all and Sonny doesn't know that, please. He's already killed him, I'm begging you. I know you're not as cruel as your nephew."

As much as Frank didn't want to admit it, the girl was right. He mumbled curses under his breath. He threw the robe back at her. "Get to my nephew, he's waiting on dinner."

"It's been prepared sir."

"Prepared yes, but not served. He'll want his food warm, girl."

"Yes sir. Thank you sir."

She wiped tears away as she walked back through the snow. Sonny didn't like to see tears.

Hock watched the sunrise for the first time since it set in the middle of November. As the sun rose as he traveled south out of the tundra. Spring was nearing, but it was still winter and in winter everything froze. He thought of his Sarah to keep going. She was the only woman he loved for the last twenty three years. He knew of an old shack where he often stayed while hunting white fox and ice fishing; it was only half a day’s journey from where he was.

Hock limped through the vast open white. He was an expert in this area of the world, he knew exactly where he was and where he was going. Hours had passed, but he finally reached the shack that he called 'North Tree'. After changing clothes he went to the kitchen where he found a large pot. He limped outside and filled the pot with snow. He melted the snow over a wood fire and washed himself with the water.

He splashed the water on his face and winced in pain. He hadn't shaved in a week and so he spent many minutes scrubbing blood from his beard. After cleaning he slept.

Hock stayed there a few nights letting his wounds mend and hunting fox and rabbit with the cabin's bow. After a week had passed he took his shot gun and a box of shells from their hiding place underneath the floor boards. He walked out of the cabin with two days’ worth of food, warm clothes on his back, and his shotgun slung over his shoulder behind his back.

"Oh you must be so excited, Sarah," the seamstress Mary exclaimed. "Everybody in the entire village wanted to be Sonny's wife and then he leaves town for a few months and comes back with you. You are so beautiful, have I told you that yet." Mary rarely stopped talking.

"Yes Mary, you've told me a million times this morning," Sarah looked at herself in the mirror. She loved this dress. She dreamt as a child of wearing this dress, but feared wearing it now more than anything. Her grandmother wore this on her wedding day as did her mother, but she'd rip it apart if she could leave Sonny.

"Did you hear," Mary continued, "Mrs. Blumly walked in on her husband and sister in bed together last week. And the Sheldon twins got caught stealing chocolate from McFreely's store again, they're nearly fifteen you think they'd no better. Oh and look at that woman out there." Mary pointed her short chubby finger towards the window at a girl dressed as if it were the middle of summer and spring was only a week old.

"Aye, I see her Mary. Who is she?" Sarah hated the gossip in this town, but it kept her mind away from Sonny and her wedding that as only two days away.

"I hear she's a prostitute from down south. Came up here to see family or something. Now I know we've got a fair share of problems, but we don't have any whores in our families. I personally think she's up here with those business tycoons. You know the ones I'm talking about, they're always hanging around Frank. I guess that make sense seeing as Frank owns three quarters of the town."

Mary kept talking, but Sarah tuned her out. She watched the prostitute walk into Sonny's closed butchery across the road. She wasn't surprised or even disappointed in her groom to be. She knew Sonny was still sleeping around with every girl who threw herself at him. She even heard them coming in and out of the house some nights. She was trapped and in her head Hock was long gone and dead.

Hock was finally south of the arctic circle where the trees grew closer and closer together and the animals were more abundant. He walked the entire night until sunset revealed the village he was looking for. His Sarah was less than three hours away. He walked faster now. The snow was not as deep here and the ground was beginning show in some places.

Dong! Dong! Dong! Dong!

Church bells rang. What little snow hadn't melted from the bell was flung off of the bell as it swung back and forth.

The bells rang again. Hock knew this meant a wedding was about to take place. He entered the village. It was completely empty save for dogs running around the buildings looking for scraps of food. Hock walked down the center of Main Road heading straight to the church.

"If any man or woman shall object to this marriage, do so now or forever hold your-" The priest was interrupted by the abrupt opening of the church doors.

"I told you Hock that I would kill you," Sonny yelled down to Hock as he left the altar and stormed towards Hock.

Just as Sonny raised a fist to strike Hock, Hock put the barrel of his shotgun to Sonny's chest and pulled the trigger. The crowd mostly ducked behind pews and fell silent as their ears rang.

Frank yelled at the top of his lungs, "Hang the murderer."

The crowd began to grow furious and eventually fought the enraged Hock to the floor of the church as he yelled, "Sarah!" Sonny's dead body laid in the middle of the church, the crowd dragged Hock out the front door leaving the shotgun at Sonny's side, only Sarah and the priest remained motionless at the altar.

The moment Sarah dropped her bouquet the rest of time seemed to slow down to her. The priest tried to grab her and take her away from the angry mob, but without looking at him she rejected his offer and slowly walked to Sonny. Wordless she grabbed the shotgun and walked outside to see Hock standing on a stool with a rope around his neck beneath the hanging tree.

Sarah pointed the gun at the man tying Hock's wrists behind his back. "Let my father down ass hole or I swear on my mother's grave I'll end you," Sarah demanded.

"Sarah no!" Hock cried out jumping from the stool trying to save his daughter.


It was too late Frank pulled the trigger on his .45 revolver shooting Sarah point blank in her back, the bullet ripped through her heart. Hock tried to yell out and cry as he watched his daughter fall dead to the snow below them but the rope had a firm grip around his neck. He swung about like a crazed dog, but that just made the choking worse. Soon he calmed down and became still with the occasional jerk until he passed. The crowd, unsure how to carry on, circled around Sarah watching quietly as her blood stained her grandmother's dress and transformed the snow below them into red ice.

On that beautiful spring morning it began to snow. It is said that the snow that fell was red snow. The villagers called it Sarah's snow believing it was her heart crying for her father.


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