by Alex via Flickr Creative Commons

Rebecca Hodge: Snowed In

unpublished timed prompt writing exercise

Edna poured the last half-cup of coffee out of the glass pot and pulled the plug on the Mr. Coffee before she dropped the pot into the sink. Ray would be pissed that she drank it all, but tough shit, that’s what he deserved for disappearing off this way, not even a word. She’d be damned if she’d fix another pot just for him.

She tapped the last Salem out of the pack and struck a match against the striker-stone by the stove. She needed more cigarettes. More matches, too, for that matter, but both would have to wait until Ray got back with the truck. Too cold this morning to walk the mile to Jessup’s. Snow too deep. Maybe he’d pick the smokes up on his way home. Then again, maybe not.

Edna stared out the curved front window of the trailer. Bare branches. Clear blue sky so endless, it made her feel even colder. A single sparrow hopped erratically across the crusted snow, its feathers bristled against the frigid wind. Merken, the red-bone coonhound, was not lying in his usual spot, his long chain coiled up in front of the doghouse, his water bowl frozen solid.

Wherever Ray had got to, leaving off at 4 a.m. in the dark, he had taken that old dog with him. Maybe hunting. Maybe not. Maybe he’d driven that fool truck off Hillman’s bridge, the headlights not working so good any more. Serve him right.

She reached for an empty Coke can, tamped the long ash of her cigarette into it. Leaned against the window glass and felt the cold slice deep through her cotton sweater, a pencil-thin jet of iced air piercing the cracked glazing on the left. Sighed. No TV reception out this far in the hills. No money for a dish. Ray had the cell phone in his pocket, and that was the only phone that worked.
Maybe he was going to drive away and just keep driving this time, not come back. Leave her stuck out here on her own, the way he’d often said he’d do. Edna thought the words, and she waited to feel them hit home, waited for them to cut deep. She felt nothing.

She checked the cigarette pack again. Still empty. Crushed it slowly into a tiny ball, the crackling of the foil like ice chips hitting metal. She sighed one more time, then straightened, walked to the sink, and started fixing another pot of coffee. Ray would most likely be back soon, and he’d want a fresh cup as soon as he hit the door.