#tuesdayuseitinasentence : Seemingly designed to kill

Cabin in the snowy woods

Image : Pixabay

The valley feels smaller since the snowfall, the mountains closer, as if they tore up their roots as she slept and inched nearer to the cabin. Snow distorts everything, swelling the trees, the cowshed, even the bucket on its stiff rope.

The winter has made her at once smaller and larger. Her skin feels dry and stiff – reptilian – her body shrinks from her clothes which are always chill and heavy with damp. Layers of clothing bulk her frame, but dresses, shifts, coats, shawls make her arms rigid, constrain her legs so her movements have shrunk too.

Before the valley she was a vain creature, standing before the glass in her room for half an hour at a time to appreciate the sweep of her eyebrows, the pleasing bow in her top lip. This life has peeled that from her. Now she only dresses for warmth and can’t recall when she last wore a boned corset. The thought of Mother’s reaction to her body’s natural state makes her laugh, the sound low and hoarse, a bear like growl.

She remembers cold when she lived with her mother, but now that seems like a comforting kind of chill, existing to accentuate the pleasures of a warm parlour, a blazing fire, the shimmer of candlelight on glass.

The cold here is different from that as a slingshot from a rifle – one is a plaything, the other seemingly designed to kill.



Written for Stephanie at Word Adventure’s #tuesdayuseitinasentence. Use the word – today it’s VAIN – as the basis for a post. And see here to read the other posts and to play along.

To read more about Sara, see here to read How long will you be gone?




Sunday Photo Fiction : How long will you be gone?




‘How long will you be gone?’ She tries to keep the anxiety from her voice but fails.

‘Until the thaw,’ he says, voice gruff.

All she sees is Patrick’s back, broad, blank as the hills that surround their cabin. He fills the tiny bedroom, heavy furs the same dun brown as the wooden walls. He doesn’t fit with the indoors, with the shutters, the rag rug she made from old dresses, the lamp with its blackened glass chimney. His world is the deep woods, the river contracted in its icy husk, the smell of hot blood and cold air.

She remembers her mother’s words, speaking through her pinched nose, her pursed lips. What will you do when he’s trapping, Sara? Knit? Darn socks all winter?

How sweetly simplistic her mother’s view of their lives was, as if the greatest hardship Sara would face through the long lonely season was to prick her finger.

Patrick turns, face clean shaven for the last time in months. ‘The Tappers are only a mile away up the valley.’

She nods. Only a mile. But what will sniff just outside the door? What will scratch the bedpost as she lies awake?


Written for the Sunday Photo Fiction prompt. See the picture and write a tale. See here to join in and to read the other stories.