A Story by PoisonedFlower

Riviera’s just another teen girl living with her mother, her day to day life just like anybody’s. Then, during the biggest blizzard of the decade in their little town, her life is thrown upside-down.


          My most vivid memory of that day is the snow. It was a blinding white, falling in thick blobs onto the already-covered ground. At first, I wasn’t even sure it was possible for it to snow that much.

          I guess it wasn’t really surprising, though--it snowed in Colorado all the time. But this was something else. It never stopped, not even for a second. It fell and fell, getting heavier by the minute; the sun was hidden just by the sheer amount of the stuff, and the ground was too bright to look at.

          I glance out my tiny room’s window. Even after thirteen hours of the storm, the snow refuses to stop falling. By now, our gray driveway is a luminous white. My eyes hurt from staring at it for so long, but I can’t seem to look away.

          There is something about this storm that scares me. When the snow first started falling, my heart had dropped. But there is nothing to be afraid of, is there? I love snow. I always have, even as an infant barely able to walk.

          So why does it feel like the world is ending?


          I hear my Mom’s voice calling me down for dinner. Finally, slowly, I turn away from my window and blink. The afterimage stings my eyes, and my room is tinted green, but I hurry downstairs, suddenly impatient to get away"from what, I don’t know.

          When I get downstairs, the TV is on, the deep voice of the weatherman filling up our tiny family room. I lean against the wall so I can listen.

          “…the biggest blizzard in Aurora for a decade, folks! And there’s a lot more ahead of us. You can expect at least a foot of snow tonight…” The weatherman is standing next to a giant map of Colorado, pointing out different symbols. His hand points to a thick rotating blog of white, which I guess is whatever’s passing over us.

And he’s not outside, either. If he were, he would’ve been buried alive by now. When I had stepped outside this morning"in my pajamas"I had almost frozen to death, and it was only getting colder.

By now, Mom has moved towards the kitchen and is getting dinner ready. I walk after her and to help. She doesn’t say anything as I step into the kitchen behind her, or as I start pulling things out of the refrigerator. It’s like there isn’t even a storm. It’s like nothing else exists but the silence between us.

And this is how it is every evening. Just me and Mom, working quietly, communicating without words.

When I was younger, when I felt the need to fill every silence with meaningless chatter, I used to hate this. Now, it is just another part of life. Mom and I don’t have to talk. We connect on a deeper level. For as long as I can remember, Mom has been my best friend, the only person who knows everything about me. Sometimes, it didn’t even feel like she was my mother"she was something like my much-older sister.

Maybe it’s because of the age difference between us. Most parents are at least twenty-five or thirty years older than their kids. Mom was only seventeen when she had me.

I think it really aged her, though. Having me so early, I mean. There are moments when she seems like she’s a hundred years old, not thirty-three. Like sometimes, when she doesn’t know I’m there, and her mind is somewhere far away, her eyes well up with unshed tears, and I wonder. What happened to her? All those years ago? Who broke her heart so badly that she never bothered to mend it again?

I gave up on trying to figure that out a long time ago.

When Mom is done warming up the leftover spaghetti we’re having, I pull out two sets of plates and forks and set them on the table. The howling wind outside keeps me stuck in the present, rather than in the past that has kept me up at night, thinking.

We sit down quietly on opposite sides of the table, chewing in silence. After a while, Mom starts talking. Which is strange, because most of the time she wants to eat in peace.

“I really hope this snow stops soon,” she says. “Something about it bothers me.”

So Mom feels it, too. Earlier, I had felt stupid for being so paranoid. But maybe I’m not the only one who has a bad feeling about this. Maybe there really is something dangerous out there.

“Yeah,” I answer her. “I don’t like it either.” I chew on my spaghetti some more. “But maybe school will be out tomorrow, too,” I add in hopefully.

Mom smiles softly and says, “Probably.”

Then we lapse back into the ever-present quiet, both of us prisoners to our own thoughts.

After dinner, we clear the table without saying anything. I hum under my breath as I start washing the dishes. Mom comes and stands next to me, saying nothing.

This is another thing about Mom and me that can’t be explained. Sometimes, we could stand together for hours and not exchange a single word"and it would be like a whole conversation, just in the whisper of our breaths.

I remember that last moment very clearly. While I am standing there, working my way through the pile of dishes, Mom is turning towards me. Automatically, my face moves in her direction and our eyes meet.

And there is something in my mother’s eyes that scares me. The same thing that has haunted me for years. The sad look she gets when she thinks I’m not looking. Then something changes, for a moment her eyes light up, and it looks like she is about to say something. I let go of the dishes in my hands and turn completely towards her, wet gloves and all. On my face, there is a look of utmost understanding. I want her to know that I am listening, and that I want to know what she has to say.

Because I know she has to tell me something important. It is written all over her face. When Mom says something, it always has a meaning. Every one of her rare-spoken words has something hidden behind it. So I give her all of my attention and wait for her to speak.

But she never gets the chance.

And what happens after that is…beyond words. It is the most terrifying thing I will ever see. It is the nightmare that has been burned into my memories. And it happens so suddenly that even afterwards, I refuse to believe it.

There is a loud knock on the front door. Just a knock, but the sound of it is frightening. We both jump and look at the door. For a split second it is quiet, with nothing but the sound of the howling wind outside. Then in the next moment there is another loud thump. Then another. And another. The door shakes.

I look back at Mom with sheer terror on my face. I know what is happening, even when it is hard to believe. And there is nothing I can do to stop it. Mom looks back at me, the same expression reflected on her face.

Riviera,” she says. Her voice is calm, but hinting at panic. “Go get the phone.”

Without thinking, I bound for the staircase, pulling off my gloves. I run up the stairs, trying not to trip because of the fear that has my knees shaking. In the few seconds it takes me to reach the phone stand upstairs, I hear two more deafening bangs.

Then, the inevitable. I hear a loud crash, hear our weak front door broken into splinters. Panic takes over, squeezing my heart. Quickly, I dial three digits on the phone. A nine, and two ones. Then the “talk” button. But there is not time for me to talk. My mother is still downstairs. I pray that whoever picks up my call will know that I need help. I run down the stairs, tripping more than descending. There is yelling. Deep voices screaming, drowning out my mother’s high-pitched screech.

When I am downstairs, Mom is cornered. Captured. There are two young men, there, barely twenty, one of whom has my Mom, with his tan arms restraining her hands.

Before I can do anything, or even think, he is pulling her down the tiny hallway leading out the door, telling her to shut up. The other man is running in the opposite direction, towards the family room. He shouts something unintelligible. I scream.

Really, what else was there for me to do?

For a moment, both men stop and see me for the first time. Me, holding a phone in my hand. A phone letting out a dim noise, almost like a voice. A voice asking me if I am okay, if I need help.

“S**t,” the man mutters.

 Then chaos takes over again. The man holding my Mom is pulling at her again, while the other runs straight at me.

And over it all, I can hear Mom’s voice.

“Run!” I hear her scream. “Run, Riv! Go!” She turns, trying to twist out of her captor’s arms. She turns her head to look at the man running at me. “Stay the hell away from her!”

I look at Mom for one last time, then I turn and run, screaming. I go up the stairs again, but this time with a new rush of adrenaline.

I should have known it would do no good. Before I can take five steps, the man has caught up with me. I feel his arms close around mine. Pulling me down. Turning me a little so he can wrench the phone out of my hands. Then I am being dragged down the stairs. Then down the hallway. Then out the door, a jagged edge of wood cutting my arm. Down our porch stairs and to the driveway.

Then I am thrown into a pile of snow.

By now, the outside world has been transformed. Snow stands four feet high around me. The wind rages, blowing around even more snow.

And I am almost buried under it, feeling beyond freezing. Quickly, I lift myself up and look for my mother.

She is standing two feet away from me. The man who had dragged her out here is still struggling with her. Through a blur of chaotic thoughts, I suddenly think, Wow, she sure is strong.

The other man"the one who threw me out here, is now standing above me. He is yelling, but the wind makes it impossible to hear anything. His face is furious, his eyes squinted against the flying snow. His head jerks towards his partner. I follow his eyes. And my blood runs cold. Colder even than the temperature outside.

Because the other man has a gun. And it is pointed at Mom. My head spins.

In that last second, Mom looks at me. Her face is pale, dead-pale. Her cheeks are splotched with red. And her eyes are terrified. But she barely notices the gun pointed at her head. Her eyes are focused elsewhere, and I realize that she is worried for me.

By now, I have no idea what my face is saying. I am beyond caring. In two minutes, everything I have ever known has been thrown out the window. Now I am at the mercy of two heartless men. And one of them has a gun pointed at my mother.

I struggle to get up before the other man can grab me, and when I do, I run towards Mom, fighting against the wind.

Mom vigorously shakes her head no, her eyes widening even more. The man holding her screams and points the gun at me. I don’t stop. He pulls the trigger.

It hits its target.             

I fall over again, on my injured arm. The pain is overwhelming, but I don’t think the bullet hit anywhere important. I look up.

My uncontrollable breathing makes it almost too hard to see, but I can see the two men standing behind my Mom, restraining her. Tears are running down her cheeks. Through the pain, I struggle again to get up. I want to hug her. I want to comfort her and tell her I’m okay. That everything is going to be okay.

But I can’t.

The man points his gun at Mom’s head. Mom is screaming. I think I am screaming, but through the wind, I can’t be sure.

The man pulls the trigger. Lets go of my Mom. She falls to the ground like a bag of flour and doesn’t move. I don’t move. Can’t move. Suddenly, I am empty.

The two men walk over to me now. They tower over me for a second, then one man lifts his foot. He kicks me. Hard. Again. Then the two turn around, start to run away. They think I am dead. I let them, because even I can’t be sure I’m alive anymore.

The kick leaves me breathless, and I don’t think I am able to stay conscious any longer. But at that last moment, I look past the dark shadows and I see my mother. Or what is left of her. Her face is still turned in my direction, her eyes not closed. Red, bright red blood is pooled next to her head, tainting the snow. Still moving, creeping towards me.

The red is the last thing I remember.

© 2010 PoisonedFlower

Author's Note

I wrote this a few months back, (around the beginning of spring of 2009) after the idea came to me during a snowstorm. I know I'm not a great writer, but I would really appreciate it if you guys would take the time to read and critique this! Tell me what you love, tell me what you hate. Tell me what you would change! Even the title is temporary--do you think something else would be better? Lemme know! Thanks!
One thing I can't believe? This story won an award in the contest : Descriptive, fill me with imagery! I'm not trying to sound shallow, but this was the first contest I won on here! The feeling that your writing is actually liked by someone pays off for all the frustration you feel when you lose faith in yourself! Such an amazing, exhilarating feeling!

My Review

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What a gripping story, I really enjoyed it. It's been hard for me to find writing on here that I read to the end but this one sucked me in!
Hopefully we hear more from you soon.

Posted 9 Years Ago

Poisonedflower...:O this is a WONDERFUL read! It left me bewitched!

I mean...! How did you come up with suh a deep, startling story line! I was thoroughly captured by the characters, the emotions, the sincerity, the love...

I LOVED IT! This deserves a lot more awards ;)
Thank you

Posted 10 Years Ago

Very nice read. You have the talent to touch emotions in a subtle and intense way. Nice!

Posted 10 Years Ago

It is in some way a chilling piece of writing had me hooked from beginning to end and left me begging for more, creation of both the voices of characters without actual voices is superb. It is something I wish I could write like, the suspense, mystery and question that are left hanging in such a short time. Brilliant is all I can think to say. Thank you for the good read.

Posted 10 Years Ago

Well, I don't know why you are saying that you are not a great writer because I just read a great piece of literature. It was full of suspense and full of thrill and the outcome was quite cathartic which adds to the meaning. I think that the idea of everlasting snow is definitely a depressing thing, versus replenishing rain, for example. One more thing, a father was never mentioned which raises a question mark and leaves an intentional, or so I believe, gap, which further adds to the meaning of despair and loss. Silence is one of the greatest hallmarks of a mesmerizing thrill, mystery and suspense. I personally would have given this a ranking in a contest: the grammar is faultless, you used one word sentences which add a great drama and pack a serious punch, and there was the timeless hint of irony and sarcasm which I don't know if it was intentionally made. This is a superb piece. You should be very proud of yourself.

Posted 10 Years Ago

awesome job. it's a great ending too, because i love stories that dont have full closure, makes me think what happened next

Posted 13 Years Ago

Great story- there was obviously a great deal of emotion throughout it. I personally would add in a bit more imagery, try to keep the tense, and, perhaps add another installment. :)

Wonderful job- I was hooked.

Posted 14 Years Ago

That was great story. You really are a great writer. I love how descriptive it is. The only thing I didn't like was the tense it's written in. You kind of did a little jumping between present and past tense (with the exception of flashbacks, of course) and it might flow a little better if it is all in past tense. Other than that it is absolutely exceptional. Great job!

Posted 14 Years Ago

Oh my goodness. I said it in my other review, and I will definitly say it again: I don't know why you doubt yourself. This is simply amazing. Everything was so vivid, and the voice of Riviera should I say it? Electrifying? Yeah, thats it. Electrifying. You should really post more of your work. I love it.

Posted 14 Years Ago

I think this is quite the amazing story.
I like it alot. You have wonderful detail and vivid detail in this.
It's wonderful. I like the last line there. Amazing!

Posted 14 Years Ago

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10 Reviews
Shelved in 5 Libraries
Added on December 28, 2009
Last Updated on May 21, 2010
Tags: crime, tragedy, short story, fiction




I'm just an ordinary seventeen year old girl living in Colorado who loves reading, writing, music, and her friends! There's a lot more to me than you might think, but I guess this is all I can say abo.. more..


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