A Midwinter’s Tale – The Extended Version

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This is the woefully over the word count version of this week’s Red Writing Hood prompt!  However maybe I’m joining a bandwagon as films all seem to be coming out on DVD with extended versions available so here’s mine:

The doorbell rang, the harsh, jarring note of an antiquated model rupturing the night.

It had been dark for hours but now the purple sky was gently being invaded by the gathering white, thick clouds.  The village was snuggled in the valley, its breath rising slow and straight from a few remaining chimneys.  There were sheep on the hills, drawing together in woolly groups, silent in the night.  The lanes were iced over in the thickest ice of the century, cutting off the village to all but the most determined.

She stirred, surprised by the noise and her surroundings.  She must have fallen asleep.  It was late, far too late for visitors.  She pushed the crocheted blanket to one side and drew her jumper around her tighter, shivering.  The old gas fire glowed a pale amber, powerless against the worst of winter.

She eased herself up, stiff, and cautiously made her way across the room, minding the coffee table pulled up close to the sofa and the long trailing lead of the electric kettle.

She flicked on the hallway light  and eyed up the door.  Who on earth could it be?  The bell sounded again.  She muttered to herself about patience as she set about retrieving the key.  She opened the door a chink, the chain still on.

“Mum!”

“What on earth are you doing here?” she opened the door properly.  “You needn’t have come.”

“I left as soon as you put the phone down.  I had to leave the car on the top road and walk down, it’s so icy.  I reckon that’s taken nearly as long as driving here.”

She wrapped the slighter, frailer woman in her arms and they both breathed deeply, both secretly relieved to see the other.

“You better come in before we both catch our death of cold.”

The daughter released her mother and stepped into the tiled hallway, noting the cold air.  She didn’t take off her outer things.

“I’ll make us both a cup of tea,” she said, heading to the kitchen.

“I brought the kettle into the living room, to make it easier.”

A standard lamp was switched on and the kettle filled.  They both sat down on the sofa, a little awkward for a moment.

“Mum, why didn’t you say anything earlier?”

The mother shrugged her shoulders.

“Don’t worry, it’s going to be alright.  We’ll get through this together, I promise.  It’ll be alright.”

She drew her mother close and pulled the blanket over them.

“No one should be alone at a time like this.”

Outside, the snow began to fall.

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7 thoughts on “A Midwinter’s Tale – The Extended Version

  1. I can imagine the deep, dark, cold night so clearly. I miss those nights sometimes.

    I also wonder what the “time like this is” and I want to know more about them.

    BTW, we do have electric kettles in the US. I own one. :)

  2. earlybird

    Oh yes. Very good. So many questions. (Americans don’t seem to ‘do’ electric kettles, no. It’s always been a mystery to me, that!)

    I particularly enjoyed that first paragraph setting the scene. And this: ‘The old gas fire glowed a pale amber, powerless against the worst of winter.’

  3. Finally! Bothersome MSWord has been refusing to launch the comments for me. I keep checking back, and I finally won out. First of all, I love the Britishness of jumpers and electric kettles stretched into the living room. I also love wondering what “a time like this” is, besides just freezing and snowy, and what it is that the Mum hadn’t said before.

I'd love to know what you think, concrit is especially welcomed on fiction pieces. Thank you.

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