Author Topic: In the Distance--SS--1,256 words  (Read 554 times)

Offline Mike Stevens

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In the Distance--SS--1,256 words
« on: February 14, 2012, 09:44:49 AM »
                                    In the Distance
                                   By Mike Stevens

     The fury I felt was taken out with the slamming of a car door; who in the hell did my bosses think they were?  An attitude problem indeed; I slammed the unfortunate car into 1st gear, and squealed my displeasure all the way out of the parking lot.  At the stop sign waiting for a miracle break in the flow of traffic, I felt nothing but tension, and my arms did their best to squeeze the life out of the steering wheel.  I thought I spotted a break in the traffic, and a horn sounded. Damn it! I thought, and quickly slammed on the brakes.  Piss off! ran through my mind, as I backed up far enough to clear the highway, which immediately clogged up bumper to bumper.  Damn it, there really ought to be a stoplight here!

     A 1/2 hour later, at last I had finally made it out of town.  If it were possible, my blood pressure had climbed even higher.  I didn’t smoke, but a cigarette sounded good right about then.  I couldn’t wait to get home and crack open a cool one, followed by several more.  The normal stress of the workday, combined with the anger of being told I had a bad attitude, had really been to much!  My shoulders ached with tension, and my head was killing me due to the throbbing headache that had come on.  I knew I should slow down, as it had snowed during the day, although it was crystal clear now, and was starting to freeze on this February day, but all I could think about was the beer waiting for me at home.  Suddenly, I must have hit a patch of ice, because the steering wheel did absolutely nothing as I tried to correct a sudden sideways drift.  The car slid, then caught when it found relatively dry pavement; for a heart-stopping second, I thought the car was going to flip, but then it must have hit another patch of ice, and as I had been travelling at a speed too fast for the conditions, it veered off the highway and out into the fields.  As the snow lay in drifts, as soon as the tires hit it, the car decelerated very rapidly, and I wrenched my neck painfully against the seat belt.  It was a good thing I was wearing it, or I would have been eating the dashboard.  As I sat there, waiting for my heart to start beating, I took stock of my situation.  The car was hopelessly stuck in the snow, and was not going anywhere soon.  I had lightweight work clothes on (I worked in a CPA’s office), and was facing a many-mile walk home with snow piled on everything but the road.  I was in a bad way.  

I waded through knee-deep drifts of snow, until I made it back to the roadway.  

     I stuck my thumb out, trying to hitch a ride, and there I was standing an hour later, as the freezing wind tore through my flimsy suit coat.  I realized with a sinking feeling that these b******s were too intent on getting home to their dinners and remote controls in a nice warm house, to ever stop for some poor shmuck hitchhiking.  I knew all-too-well what they were thinking, because I was one of them.  I was wasting my time.  I quickly thought of my options.  I was freezing, with lightweight clothing that was never designed for freezing temperatures; miles from home; it was quickly getting dark, even though I worked a 6am to 2.30 pm schedule, and I was in real trouble.  Unless...the freeway ran north-south, before looping around the mountain in the distance.  There was a trail that went straight to my town.  If I struck out to the trail, I’d be cutting miles off my journey.  

       The numbing cold tore at me as I started walking.  My feet were soaked, as well as numb, as I wearily picked up one foot, dragged myself forward a few inches, and picked up the other.  But having to work so hard seemed to be helping to keep me at least warm enough.  But I knew if I stopped, I would quickly freeze, so I kept moving.  If I kept my mind busy, I wouldn’t think about my dire circumstances.  Unfortunately, I couldn’t help but think of the distance still to go, though, and my anger exploded.  I know I should have been worried about freezing, but all I could think about was how crappy this whole day had been.  Then, in the twilight, or what little of it remained, as I rounded a corner, I beheld an incredible sight.  There in the distance, lay a snow-covered field, with sheep grazing, all framed by the golden fire of the setting sun.  The view was so breathtaking, that it stole my anger, I forgot how miserable I was, and just stared in wonder at how beautiful the scene was.  It was literally impossible to stay in a bad mood gazing at this wonderful sight.  I gazed at the shivering landscape until long after the moonlight was casting bazaar shadows on everything.  Then the cold returned, and I reluctantly resumed my homeward trek.  I knew frostbite was a very real danger, and it drove me on as fast as the snow would allow.

     I swear, my toes had dropped off by the time my town came into view.  

     I staggered up my front steps, and my frozen fingers somehow managed to get the key in the lock, and a wave of warmth flooded out the door into my face.  It felt incredibly comforting, and then it managed to make it to the couch, where in stripped off my shoes and socks.   I went over to the sink, then plunged my feet into a tub of lukewarm water I had run.  Daggers of pain shot up my leg, nearly blinding me.  God, did that ever hurt!  After a few seconds, the shooting pain turned to burning, and eventually to normal.  I was afraid to look, but I forced myself.  My feet where beet-red,  but I could put weight on them.  Thank goodness, there didn’t appear to be any frostbite damage.  After my fear was alleviated, my thoughts returned to the beautiful scene from before.  As I reflected on nature’s beauty, I thought about what my bosses at the CPA’s office had said about my bad attitude.  I thought back to the rage I’d felt before the car wreck; maybe they had a point.  It dawned on me that being full of rage , I was only hurting myself.  I vowed to try not to try and have a better attitude. Starting tomorrow, people would start noticing the difference.

                                        The End
« Last Edit: February 18, 2012, 03:28:04 PM by Mike Stevens »

Offline bobthebuilder

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Re: In the Distance--SS--1,256 words
« Reply #1 on: February 14, 2012, 11:45:10 PM »
Well done. It felt like you were telling a story that actually happened.
Losers quit when they get tired. Winners quit when they win.

Lin

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Re: In the Distance--SS--1,256 words
« Reply #2 on: February 17, 2012, 04:31:34 PM »
I think this needs some tightening up.  Perhaps you could make it stronger by deleting some of the 'unecessary' words, this might create better impact.  Quite a bit more 'telling' in here than was necessary. Yes you are telling a story, but I think showing the action would create a deeper impact in the story.

A 1/2 hour later, in what would should have only taken 10 minutes going by distance, I finally made it out of town.

I think you could tighten this up.

Use words

Half an hour later, at last I had made it out of town. You see you don't need the bit about the ten minutes - the reader can tell it had taken much longer than usual by the sentence I wrote here. Don't hand the story to the reader on a plate.  Let the reader draw their own conclusions. Readers are intelligent human beings.  No need to spell things out to them.

You could make the sentences less dull for example here:-

  My feet were numb, and I couldn’t feel them, when at last the twinkling lights announced I had arrived at my town.

I swear my toes had dropped off by the time I got to the city lights. Perhaps you don't need to mention the lights of the city. 

Remember if your toes were numb, you don't have to say you couldn't feel them - being numb means just that - no feeling, so don't say it twice.

So you see you need to read this through again and tighten it up - well I think so!  LOL

Lin x