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You are here: Home --> Forum Home --> Creativity Forum --> Personal Creations --> Futility, a short fiction that won Honorable Mention
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    Messages in Futility, a short fiction that won Honorable Mention
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Lady Dark
Karma: 39/2
285 Posts

Futility, a short fiction that won Honorable Mention



Arlynn maneuvered the aging pickup closer to the side of the unfamiliar road. As she downshifted, the back swung sharply on black ice and spun the truck several times before slamming into something. The crunch of metal and the shattering of glass echoed in her ears. Her forehead ricocheted off the windshield. Her mouth filled with blood. It ran from her eyes, her nose, her forehead. She watched, dazed, while it dripped onto her patched parka and her scuffed, threadbare snow pants. The engine stalled. Arlynn leaned her head back, closed her eyes. Nausea and confusion passed. There was a boy, she remembered. Uselessly, she tried the safety belt, fingers bound by too-small mittens. Frustrated, she tore them off, threw them onto the littered floor of the passenger seat.

She tried the door. It wouldn’t budge. Summoning every bit of will she could manage, she threw herself sideways into the door while pulling on the latch. No give, just a near blinding agony that lived in her shoulder now. She had to find the boy. Maybe they could help each other, she hoped in a rising panic. Arlynn scrambled across the torn bench seats and tried the passenger door, to no avail. With a roar, she kicked hard, and was rewarded with a few inches that only welcomed in the whipping, freezing winds.

Her mind wandered briefly to the ticket in her backpack, now half submerged beneath the detritus and debris on the floorboard. What good was it now? She touched a hand to her forehead and it came away dripping. A few inches was enough. Scooting closer to the passenger door, she lay back and kicked again and again  till at last she had enough room to squeeze out into the snow, hard, jagged where the glassy surface had broken, but soft and light beneath. Arlynn sank to her waist. For a moment, she wondered if she could just dig herself a little hole so she could sleep.

Everything hurt. Years of injuries, passed off with nervous laughter and jokes about door knobs and stairs, combined with the fresh spate of injuries made every movement unbearable. She hoped the boy was okay. When she called out, her voice was stolen by the howling winds. Tears burned hot wet lines down her face before freezing. As she crested the snowbank, she realized she had no idea where she was, or where she had seen him. She tried to recall the spinout, to estimate how many times the truck had turned, but all she could think of was the cold. For once, the winds died down enough for her to see clearly, if only for a few moments. He was there, a few hundred feet away on the opposite side of the road.

How long had he been there? How long had she? In agony, she made her way, sinking, half crawling, till she found the road. Crossing it, she slipped and fell several times. Her head bounced against the ice-crusted pavement, and it took her ages to move again. Arlynn couldn’t feel her hands, face, or legs. She’d torn her snow pants at some point, and her thigh. When she turned, she could see a trail of bloody snow.

The boy didn’t move. She turned back to him, reached out to touch his face, and screamed as her fingers broke through hard packed snow and ice. A child’s hat fell to the ground. Panic rising, she moved her hands down to his thin coat and found it broke away easily. The snowman collapsed, leaving a pile of discarded clothing. Arlynn screamed.

Struggling to her feet, she rose and looked about frantically, her eyes wild with fear. All that time wasted, time she could have used to find shelter, to find help. The swirling, biting winds slowed briefly and allowed her just a moment. Like a beacon of hope, a farmhouse waited several hundred feet behind the boy who wasn’t. Warm thoughts fought for dominance in her mind; coffee, hot cocoa, stew and soup and homemade bread. Her stomach rioted at the idea, and she forced her body to keep moving.

Halfway now. She tried not to get excited, but all she could think of was getting inside. Would they have a fireplace? She barely noticed when her foot sunk into a hole. The rest of her body pitched forward and her ankle snapped. As she fell, she cried out for help, and her head hit sharp, jagged chunks of broken asphalt that had frozen beneath the snow. Hot fresh blood pooled beneath her cheek. No, she wailed, no please, not like this…

It took forever to free herself. It took even longer to stand. She limped closer, gaining inches. Pain was a concept. Escape was theoretical. She sank to her knees a hundred yards from the house and stared at the caved in roof, the broken wrap around porch with entire sections missing from the floor and the rails. Her eyes roamed over the broken window panes and her heart shattered. The front door swung on a single hinge, blocked by snow drifts from shutting or opening too far.

Arlynn crawled.

Posted on 2018-03-06 at 14:01:39.

Eol Fefalas
Keeper of the Kazari
RDI Staff
Karma: 453/28
7561 Posts

And it only got Honorable Mention?

That was intense! 


What happens next?

Posted on 2018-03-06 at 14:20:17.

Lady Dark
Karma: 39/2
285 Posts


I had a few things in mind when I wrote the ending, but I don't know. I'd like to think she made it, somehow. Having survived the domestic abuse, and after finding the courage to leave, even having a ticket to somewhere different, it would be a shame if the thing that finally took her out was winter. She always felt to me like a force of nature herself. 

And thank you for the kind words  

Posted on 2018-03-06 at 14:40:39.

Eol Fefalas
Keeper of the Kazari
RDI Staff
Karma: 453/28
7561 Posts

I hope she made it, too!

Like I said... INTENSE!!!


I got to the end and literally went, "Nooooo! It can't stop there!"

Posted on 2018-03-06 at 15:08:49.

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