This week's Red Dress Club prompt is: "You are trapped (alone or with others) in a single location during the fury and/or aftermath of a blizzard of historic proportions."
I'm breaking the rules and not responding to this prompt from my own perspective, merely because it seemed to fit quite well into another piece I've been writing in the middle of the night, when I can't sleep. Forgive me?
Critique is welcomed, thanks.
Sarah's thoughts wander back to last winter, before Granny Rose lay dead beside her on the lice-ridden old mattress; before Sarah sat trying to figure out how to secretly bury her grandmother at the tender age of thirteen.
They knew that winter would be furious, before it even descended on the mountains. They'd gone digging for ramps in the early fall, and Granny Rose pointed out that all the wild onions had more layers than usual. That was the first sign. Then, on the long walk home, Granny Rose paused to rest heavily on her wooden cane, shrugging her right shoulder to ease the pain of bursitis, and pointed toward the beaver lodges, "Ya see, Sarah? Ya see all them logs? Look how t' North has more sticks than t' South. Gonna be a real bad winter."
Well, if anyone knew, it was Granny Rose. Folks near and far knew about her legendary seersaying abilities. It wasn't even six weeks later when over a foot of snow was dumped on their tiny cabin. They'd hunkered down for days, the skies so gray that light couldn't penetrate the home, even during the day. Sarah wasn't able to get out to dig up the cabbages and potatoes that lay buried and waiting by the side of the cabin. Fortunately, they'd spent the majority of the previous summer stockpiling a bounty of foods. Strings of leather breeches beans hung from the low rafters. There was plenty of dried pumpkin, too, even though they didn't have any hog fat for seasoning. It had to be boiled in the big iron pot over the fire much of the day to be palatable, but they ate it anyhow, with hickory nuts on the side, their heavy shells yet another ominous reminder of the winter to come.
Even with the fire going all day and all night, even with every quilt laid thickly on the bed, the chill penetrated to the bone. As the wind howled outside, it's long fingers rumbling across the wood shingled roof, Sarah longed to escape. Her eyes too strained in the darkness to crack the Bible, she spent the long solemn hours dreaming of the spring, when she'd be able to gather herbs and wildflowers and berries in her basket all day, frolicking through the woods completely carefree. Granny Rose believed that children should be seen and not heard, so Sarah kept her thoughts and longings to herself during the long stretching days, the only sound the pellets of snow hitting the roof, the creaking and groaning of the logs as they stood firm against the winds. By the fourth day there was more than two feet of snow outside, a blizzard of such that even Granny Rose swore she'd never seen anything like it. Sarah thought she was going to lose her mind. Idle time was not her forte - she much preferred to keep her hands busy. She couldn't even count the number of times she'd heard, "An idle mind is t' Devil's workin' shop" from Granny Rose, who had made certain a devotion to hard work was deeply ingrained in Sarah's Appalachian blood.
Granny Rose! Jolted back to the present, Sarah's head drops into her hands, and she presses her cool fingers against swollen eyelids. What is she going to do? She would do anything - anything - just to return to those somber snow-bound days of last winter's first blizzard.