The wind blew the dry snow across the road, reducing the visibility to about five feet. Don was forced to slow the car to a crawl.
“We’ll never get home at this rate.”
“Better late than never.”
It wasn’t a good night to be traveling, but they had no choice. They were on their way back from the crematorium. Grandma had died on Christmas Eve, her heart finally giving out as she took the garbage to the roadside at minus twenty.
“I’ll miss her. I loved her so much,” said Linda.
“You were her favorite. She always went the extra mile for you. Remember when she punched that kid who was bullying you?”
She smiled at the memory, looking out the car window at the snow-covered fields.
“She always loved this weather. I thought she was crazy, but it was her favorite time of year. She was such a tough old lady.”
“She had to be, living by herself on the farm.”
“She was so stubborn. Didn’t want to sell up after Grandpa died. She might have lived a bit longer if she hadn’t had to drag those bags to the end of the driveway every week.”
“Well, she’s at peace now.”
Linda glanced out into the darkness. The wind blew across the open landscape, lifting the snow into huge whirling clouds. She saw something moving in the drifting snow, a figure.
“What was that?”
“I saw a shape in the snow.”
“It looked like a person.”
“In this weather? No way. It’s minus thirty out there.”
“We should stop.”
“I guess, it could be a stranded driver.”
He pulled over and Linda got out.
“Hello? Is anyone there?”
There was no response. The snow was blowing into her face, the flakes sharp against her skin. Her face started to freeze. She knew she wouldn’t be able to stay outside for much longer.
A figure appeared, standing about ten feet away. It was human.
She spoke without thinking. The figure danced and twisted in the wind. It whispered to her.
“Go no further…”
The wind stole the rest of the sentence.
Linda’s nerve failed and she bolted for the safety of the car. Don looked up as she climbed back in.
She thought back to the words she’d heard.
“Just be careful. Drive real slow.”
“Slower than I have been?”
“Yes, I have a feeling.”
Don crawled along at a snail’s pace. A pick-up truck roared past them, horn blaring. Its taillights disappeared into the snow. Suddenly Don braked. Hard. Even at such a slow speed, the car skidded for a few feet before crunching to a halt on the icy road.
He pointed in front of them. The road crossed a narrow bridge. It had collapsed. The taillights of the pick-up truck were visible in the water below. If they hadn’t been going so slowly, they would’ve had no chance of stopping in time. Linda, suddenly aware of what had happened, looked out at the drifting snow and silently thanked Grandma for looking out for her, one last time.
∼ RJ Meldrum
© Copyright RJ Meldrum. All Rights Reserved.