Excerpt

A draft of my daydream, a book?

Cydney grabbed her cross-country skis from the garage, closed the door and wrapped her handmade wool scarf around her neck.  She pulled her matching, multicolored Fair Isle designed hat down almost to her eyebrows.  In spite of all her sweaters, neoprene jacket and down vest she was able to move easily through the deep snow.  She clicked her ski boots into the cross country skis and pushed off down the driveway.  Cydney needed to clear her mind, the shock of Jack’s death still raw in her mind.

The storm from the night before had piled a foot of heavy snow on the New Hampshire countryside, the drifts obliterating any sign of traffic.  The road sloped gradually downhill for three miles to Bunker’s Corner.  She slid easily through the snow, alone in the freezing world.  The neighbors stayed in their warm homes, the glow from one or two lights inside the only evidence that they were awake this early morning.

It didn’t take long to reach the four-way intersection. Cydney stopped to rest and removed her shoes from the ski’s, setting them against a covered fence post.  She looked around her.  In the distance a farmer’s sheep were huddled in a lean-to by the barn.  The fields, like the roads were pristine, covered in the night’s white blanket.  Cydney leaned against the Bunker’s Corner’ sign post, took a drink from her water bottle that was in her red backpack and thought of her deceased husband.  How odd that she would never see him again, never resolve their differences, never know why he chose to cheat instead of ending their marriage, the worst blotch on their tumultuous relationship.  What would the future be for her now that she was totally alone?  Alone except for Ben, her bay Thoroughbred horse; she smiled as she thought of his soft nicker and velvet muzzle.

The cold wind intensified and the sky turned dark.  Another storm front was arriving, earlier than forecasted.  Cydney shivered, her red cheeks burning as the cold, wet flakes hit her skin.  She put her skis back on and headed back home.  The three miles uphill would be a serious, leg-burning therapeutic workout.

Cydney felt the first mile drop away as she reached the edge of the farmer’s property line, skiing in the middle of the road, alone, bundled in warmth but chilled as the temperature dropped.  She didn’t worry about traffic.  It would have been impossible, she thought, for anyone other than a big County snow plow to drive up the hill in the deep snow.  But with the wind, her heavy ski hat and deep in concentration she didn’t hear the vehicle drive up behind her.  She jumped to the right in panic when she saw a shiny blue pickup hood pull even with her shoulder.  Burdened with the unyielding long ski’s she could not run away from the moving truck and fell heavily into a snowbank.  Then she felt a searing pain in her arm and chest, watched in awe as a hole appeared in her down vest, feathers blowing out into the wind, watched almost in slow motion as bright red blood poured out of the hole onto the blowing feathers.  Cydney felt exhausted, unable to move and in her prone position saw with one eye a woman walk over to her.

“And then there were none and it’s all mine”, the woman said, pulling off her expensive cashmere leather gloves.

Cydney blacked out, alone in the road, the pickup’s studded snow tires gripping the snow as it took off, leaving the body behind. The truck’s tire tracks were soon obliterated by the blowing snow.   It was still early morning and the storm raged on.  The gray clouds and howling wind soon covered the blood soaked body, the only thing marking the spot was one cross country ski tip poking up out of the milky white surface.

No one would have been out in the storm, one of epic proportions but one young man loved storms like this.  He could drive his expensive Ski Doo machine recklessly around the roads and fields.  He drove from across a field onto the covered country road and saw the ski tip strangely marking the middle of the road.  Tentatively he stopped and cleared the snow. He dug until he saw the bloody arm and face.  Panicking he reached into his coat for his cell phone and called 911.  As he waited for help he saw the finger of a brown glove lying in the snow and picked it up.  He shrugged and put it into his pocket.

The first person to arrive was a New Hampshire State Trooper in his heavy 4WD truck.  Officer George, smoothed back the snow from around the body, checking for a pulse.  In shock he recognized the wool cap and Cydney’s face.  There was a weak pulse but her face was turning blue from the cold and loss of blood.  Officer George gave the code on the radio for “Officer Down”, the dreaded call that police hate, that would bring many officer’s to the scene.  She wasn’t really an officer but Cydney was a valued member of the Forensic’s team.  He checked for the arrival time of EMS and reached into his jacket for his cell phone.  He called the Commander.

“It’s George.  I’m at Bunker’s Corner.  Cydney’s been shot!”

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