Thursday, January 26, 2012

The Perfect Story by E. L. Gross - Part Two

  Fireworks were going off somewhere in the distance. John could see the muted glowing bursts and then they would fade. With such clarity, he remembered being on the sandy beach of Cape Cod and watching the 4th of July fireworks display with his parents. With every explosion, his mother hugged his little body tighter and whispered "oohs and aahs" in his ear. He had been six years old and the bursting of the colorful spirals made his head spin in excitement. As they spread out in to the night sky, lighting everything up, they would change from reds to blues, then yellows and greens. Then slowly, they would trickle to the earth and disintegrate in to nothingness. His mother's lap had been warm and secure and he felt safe from any wayward sparks that might float down and land on them.

  He twisted his body and realized that he was laying down and something very soft was under his naked body. Burnt, orange, light warmed his eyelids. Opening his eyes, he saw that he had been lying in front of a large, stone fireplace. A radiating heat flowed from the flames that stretched out towards the chimney grasping for more oxygen.  There was a loud crackle, and then a pop as a log with its scorched underbelly gave way. The flames readjusted themselves and grew taller from the fresh burst of air.
  He almost dozed again from the overwhelming heat when his mind suddenly came back to life "Where am I?" Heavy pelts were covering him making it hard to turn his body. As he surveyed his surroundings, he became cognizant that he was in a tiny log cabin.

  "Ah, you are awake!" A melodic voice floated towards him and he perched himself up on to his elbows to see beyond the rocking chair that was to his left. An old woman was coming in from a doorway, holding a stack of wood.
  The woman walked towards him and gently placed a stack of wood on the ground by the fireplace. Brushing the chips off her clothes, she stood up straight, and smiled at him. "How are you feeling?" she said.

  John pulled the pelts to cover his chest and smiled wearily back at her. Confused, he said, "Where am I?"
  Again, the old woman smiled, and then reached on top of the mantle and took down two mugs. "You are in my cabin. Don't you remember getting lost in this storm?"

  All of a sudden, John remembered his trek through the woods. He remembered his frozen body, the bitterness of the storm, and his desire to give in to the cold. "The cabin, I'm in the cabin."
  Inside the fireplace was a cast iron stand placed to the left of the fire. Sitting on top of this stand was an old pot. The woman picked up a cloth and gently lifted the pot from its place by the fire. Pouring the steaming liquid into the two mugs, she returned the pot to its stand and placed the cloth on a peg on the bricks. "Yes, you are in my cabin. You had collapsed at my door, so I brought you in and placed you by the fire. Your clothes and body were frozen solid. In fact, I had to use a knife to remove your backpack and that was not an easy task. I felt it was best to lay you between the pelts for extra warmth."

  The old woman knelt down next to him and handed him one of the mugs. Picking up the metal poker, she poked the fire, giving it more life. Then she settled on the corner of his pelt and drank from her mug. "Drink the tea while it's hot."
  John took a sip from his mug. The liquid was hot but did not scald his mouth. It had been lightly sweetened and had a light fruity flavor. "Thank you, this is delicious. Actually, thank you for everything. I guess you can say you saved my life."

  The old woman chuckled, as she brushed a stray hair from her face the light from the fire made her glow. John noticed that her hair, which at first, he thought was gray, was actually blonde, with silver threads flowing through it. Her face, which had appeared to be old and withered, was really much younger than he originally assumed.

Stay Tuned For Part Three!
(copyright 2012 E. L. Gross)

Thursday, January 19, 2012

The Perfect Story by E. L. Gross (Part One)

   The white storm was unrelenting as the wind whistled and whipped unremittingly at his frozen ears. Snow had begun to cling to his eyelashes making it harder and harder to blink. He had given up on removing the heavy falling snow from his face since his gloves already coated with the heavy slush made it worse. Each step forward, grew heavier and heavier, making his legs ache and his body grow increasingly more tired.  The backpack he wore was becoming substantially heavier under the weight of all this snow. The path he had been following had disappeared hours ago and now he pressed slowly forward through the blinding whiteness, hoping and praying for the road or a camping hut to appear before him. The layer of sweat that had originally been keeping him warm was now chilling his body and dulling his senses. If he could just sit for a moment and rest but the raging storm around him would not permit an opportunity.

  This was going to be his breakthrough into the book publishing industry. All he wanted to do was publish the perfect story before he turned thirty-five next year. He had gotten this great idea in his head six months ago about a man's journey northwest through the woods right after the Civil War. He planned for it to contain all the special ingredients, excitement, adventure, mystery and a bit of romance. He had already completed much of his research but this trip through the woods would give him the feel he was missing for living in the great outdoors.
  Everything had started out so flawlessly when John decided to take this camping trip through the Notch. His boss at the Verizon store let him have his two weeks of vacation later in the year. The man at the outdoor store was extremely helpful in packing his backpack. The writing was going smoothly so far and he knew this trip would be the clincher in getting the details correct.
  He had done overnighters before with friends climbing the trails and heading home the next afternoon, but this was his first trip alone. He had checked the weather, which was supposed to stay cool but calm. Now here he was caught in the middle of a blizzard and it wasn't even mid October.
  Things had turned bad yesterday when he had lost his footing on the trail and slid quite a ways down a slope that lead to a small pond. He managed to stop the skid but not before his legs entered the water. Trying to wiggle out of his backpack, he slid on a rock and again lost his footing and fell back first full into the pond. Dragging his wet body and soaked backpack out of the water, he made the last miserable mile to the campers hut where he was able to get his things partially dry. He hadn't run into any other campers and for the first time since he had started his trip three days ago, he felt as if he had made a terrible mistake.
  The wind and snow tore at his body as it tried to push him backwards. Gritting his teeth, he leaned ever so slightly forward hoping this would detract  the onslaught of the storm, but this lessened his gaze of the evil white goblin trees that were perfectly camouflaged in this wintery mess. His hands and feet were on fire with prickly cold and he kept trying to wiggle his fingers and toes as he trudged on.
  For a fleeting second, he thought he caught a whiff of burning wood. "I'm going insane," he thought. There was no way he would be able to smell anything out here in this storm, not with the wind blasting and ripping at him from every direction.
  John tripped over something under the snow and managed to keep his balance by grabbing for the closest tree trunk. Although the trunk saved him from falling in the shin deep snow, it did deposit a large clump of snow onto his hat and shoulders. The snow on the tip of the coats neckline slid into the warmer folds to his neck and made him cry out in anguish. His leg muscles were burning, making each step forward seem like his last.
  He could not go any further. He knew his body was shutting down from the cold. If he just sat down, right here in the snow, he could mercifully go to sleep and let the elements have their way. He had read that with hyperthermia, there was pain at first, but as your body froze your mind took over and put you quietly to sleep. The pain had already started, so maybe he was already halfway frozen.
  The smell of burning wood hit him full in the face like that of ammonia being waved under someone's nose after fainting. He peered through his ice-crusted eyelashes but could only see the white torrents pelting back and forth. Pushing harder forward, he heaved his throbbing legs ahead one-step at a time. Then he saw the outline of the snow-covered shack. He saw the curling fingers of smoke climbing out of the small chimney. It was twenty feet away but he had made it. Warmth and safety from the storm lay straight ahead.
  With all his might, he willed his legs to keep going. His breathing was erratic and dizziness began to swirl about him like a drunkard. Stretching his arms painstakingly forward, he reached for the door jam and pulled his body closer like a lead weight. With enormous relief, John coughed, sputtered, and then slid to the ground.

Stay tuned for Part Two
(copyright 2012 E. L. Gross)

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Happy Birthday to Me!

  Today is my birthday and I turned 49. No big deal, next year is the scary one, but there is something I miss very much. Every year when my Dad was alive, I would call him as soon as I woke up and say "Today is a special day! Do you know why today is a special day?" He would spit out some crazy answer and laugh.
  I know this is very childish, but I loved to do it every year on my birthday. It was our thing. He has been gone for 7 years now and I miss doing that so much! I talk to him everyday (when I am alone - otherwise I would look crazy) but I wish we could do our shtick again.
  Anyway, Dad where ever you are, today is a special day, do you know what day it is? I love you. I miss you and you will always be the "wind beneath my wings."
Love, your #2 daughter!

Wednesday, January 4, 2012


OK, So I have no excuses for not writing except that I had been sick for almost three weeks and the holidays are exhausting. Oh Yeah, one more thing, I have been feeling exceptionally lazy.
My son and I were laughing about that last night when I returned home from work and he from school.

My husband had to go to a meeting and we were trying to figure out what to do for dinner. I spent so much time during the last two weekends cooking and washing dishes that I wanted nothing to do with the kitchen.

It was decided that subs from the local pizza place was the quickest and easiest way to deal with the situation. So down the mountain we drove (in slippers) in the freezing cold.

Is anyone else as lazy as this?