The Waiting Game

The storm raged on throughout the morning hours. By the time, it was over.  The entire North East Corridor had been crippled by the icestorm.  Nothing was moving.  Every dam thing was frozen solid.  Trees that once stood proud in front of the mountain range, now hung their heavy treetops tilted downwards, as if they had become obedient servants bowing their heads in defeat, to the mighty storm's fury. The power lines that were strung throughout the mountains tops had failed, leaving thousands without electricity.  The folks up here were used to this sort of thing, and kept a generator on stand-by; year round.  They were raised to be tough, resilient, and resourceful.  They just jumped into their snowmobile's, instead of their pick-ups, to move around.  It was business as usual.  

The smell of fresh coffee, that was being brewed downstairs in the kitchen, filled the morning air with a renewed feeling of energy.  Eli rubbed his eyes to clear them, and reached over to pull back the curtains.  A glaze of ice had formed on the outside of the glass, making it impossible to survey the damage outside.  He hopped out of bed and into his demin jeans and flannel shirt. He hurried into the bathroom, and poured out a strong measure of Old Fashion Listerine to wake him up. He grabbed his baseball cap from the back of the door, and darted down the wooden staircase.  Baron raced towards the landing at the bottom of the steps to greet him.  "Morning! Come on!" he said with a young man's optimism.

The mud room's entrance was frozen shut.  Eli threw his shoulder's into it, several times, but still, it refused to budge.  The dog positioned his head sideways, as if he was even wondering what Eli was going to do about this.  Eli let out a sigh.  "All Right. One more push should do it." he confidently said, and with all the strength he could muster up, he slammed his left shoulder into the door frame.  The door flew open, and  Eli flew down the back porch, onto it's landing.  The sharp icicles that had formed off of the roof's edge, were shaking loose by the boy's determination to break the door's stronghold.  One by one, they seemed to break loose and were now on their way down.  Eli rolled off of the small porch, and crawled quickly underneath of it, to safety.  He threw his hands and arms over his head.  As the transparent daggers smashed on the landing, sharp pieces of ice that were small enough to penetrate through the spaces in between the slats of wood, shattered all around him.  Eli could hear Baron inside of the mud room. His nails tapping swiftly, on the tile flooring, as if he was running in circles. The anxiety inside of him, building,  as he watched the massive blocks of ice, exploded into slender needles, that shot off in all directions.  

When the noise of the avalanche ceased.  The only sounds that could be heard was an occasional creaking sounding coming from the surrounding trees, as the weight that had been deposited on top of it's branches, were now beginning to crack and splinter from the heavy burden, they now carried.   "Baron? Baron?  Come on out Now!  It's OK...I'm alright  boy!"  Eli called out to the dog.  "Baron!....Where are you?" Eli crawled out from underneath of the wooden staircase, on his hands and knees, and reached up to the banister to steady his upward movement.  Some of the remaining ice was still intact.  They were at least, 5 inches thick around. Eli called out to Baron, once again.  The frightened creature poked his head around the door frame, inside.  Eli let out a loud laugh, at the site of him.  The last remaining icicle that was still clinging to the gutters on the rooftop, broke free and descended downwards.  "Whoooa!" Eli dove onto the mudfloor, sliding his head into the legs of the small bench, his family used to undress.  Baron let out a whimper and ran underneath of the picnic table in the kitchen.  Eli watched, as the animal's paws slipped out from underneath of him, and his hind legs fell to the floor, as he scrabbled for safety.  Eli couldn't help but to laugh uncontrollably, at this hilarious creature's attempt to find safety.  He was laughing so hard, his stomach began aching. 

Eli pulled himself up from the tile floor, and sat down on the metal bench.  He patted his hand onto his thighs, trying to coax the dog from out of the kitchen.  Slowly, the dog rose up from the floor and walked over to him.  "You ok?....he said in a whisper. Baron lifted his sad eyes up at Eli, and let out a quick bark.  "Alright, then. Let's try this again?...You ready?"  The large dog followed Eli cautiously out of the doorway, sniffing at the place where the icicle's had broken.  "It's ok, now...I promise...Come on!" he said, waving his hand for the dog to take his place beside him.  The daytime temperature hadn't risen much, since last night.  Although, the sun was shining brightly against a pale blue colored sky.  The glare that reflected off of the ice, shimmered like diamonds, that were hidden beneath the snowcovered hills and trees.  It was mystical to watch, as each flicker of light that got trapped in the ice, released a spectacular display of twinkling flashes of white light, as you moved along the frozen ground, beneath you.

Eli could see the smoke, rising from the chimneys', of the houses that dotted the hillsides.  The smell from a newly light fire,  filled the chilled air with all the familiar scents of country living.  It was peaceful.  It was a good place to raise a family, that's what his father always told him.  Looking around him.  He was inclined to agree.  Eli's mood quickly change when Sheriff Ross and Melvin surprised him, by showing up in the squad car.  Melvin jumped out of the passenger side and ran up to him. "Eli? Where you been?" Eli seemed confused by his question. "What ya mean? Where I've been? Right here! Why?"  "You never answered my phone messages?" Melvin asked. "Ahh, Sorry..Man...I was whipped last night..and this storm hammered my dad's barn." Eli pointed up towards the roof of the barn.  Sheriff Ross was busy talking to Rochell, the dispatcher, down at the station.  "Hey, Ahh..we really need to talk about Andy and his brother?" Melvin said in a low manner of speech. "I know...I know!"  he answered him.

"You all by yourself up here, Eli?" Sheriff Ross shouted over to Eli. "Ahh, Yes Sir!...I am"  "Melvin got a bit worried about you last night, truth be told, So did I!" "I'm ok Sheriff Ross...Really!"

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