Image Credit: _kuri

The city slept, and we huddled together to share our warmth.  We didn’t have a choice, really.  It was either work together or die during the freezing days and nights of winter.  We may call the streets our home, but that doesn’t mean we don’t value our lives.

The city slept, and the cold ate into our bones.  We felt as stiff and brittle as the buildings across the river looked.  Eventually day would come and those offices would warm with the lights and movement of the movers and shakers of the world.  We would stay hidden, out of sight, forgotten, but we would be shaking too.  We never stopped shaking from October to May.

The city slept, and the river creaked and moaned.  We understood how it felt.  We intimately knew its complaints for they were ours as well.  All year long it was open to receive the whims of the weather.  As the chill wrapped itself around us, it blanketed the surface of the river.  That too, could mean our death, because we needed the water to survive.  Dehydration was every bit as deadly as hypothermia for us.

The city slept and we crept onto the ice with our borrowed shovels.  We needed to break through and pull as much water as we could before the ice weakened under our feet.  The longer we took, the more likely the hole would refreeze.  The more times we had to reopen the hole, the more likely the ice would crack and send us into a watery grave.

None who had been claimed had ever been rescued in time.

We drew straws each morning to determine who would brave the ice.

They risked death to provide us all with life.

When they fell they were celebrated as heroes as best we could.

A small memorial was built.

Words were spoken in their memory.

A round of cheers sent them on them.

And still the city slept.


This was my response to this week’s Once More With Feeling picture prompt.  The first thing I thought of when I saw the picture was a backpacking trip I was on years ago where we had to break through ice at a lake we camped at to pump water for our dinner and to refill our canteens…  This story flowed from that.

What do you see when you look at the picture?  What do you feel?

Write it, link it, post it!

48 thoughts on “frozen

  1. We’ll done amigo. That photo made me think of going for a run in a foreign country despite jet lag. I would also wonder about traffic laws – this run could end up in an ambulance!

      • Bugnuts is a state of mind, doesn’t necessarily have to be the words. It just means trying things differently, breaking out. Conversely, bugnuts can be staying restrained, tight. There, now I’m defining a made-up word… excellent.

  2. Chilling. Much to be said for teamwork. This cuts because the picture is familiar to life in the city at night. The people who work during the day go home. The people who have no home survive, unless they don’t. The bridge reminds me of where I used to work and the fact that so many would jump…into the frozen water.

    • I thought about bringing jumpers into it.. but, wanted to keep to the respect for life theme. I actually had to delete out a few lines that didn’t keep with that theme, but they weren’t jumpers they were more along the lines of being envious of those who no longer felt the cold.

      • Good for staying with your theme. It is apparent that the people are fighting for survival. Matt, that is what makes you an awesome writer.

        Moi finds the most inspiring pictures, doesn’t he?

  3. Strange – this reminds me of Charles Bridge I. Prage. When I was there the problem was floods not ice though…. Thanks for stopping by my blog

  4. You have done a great job here – it is perfect with the picture! i always look forward to your response to Moi’s challenge before I start writing mine 😛

  5. I had a difficult time with this picture. I have 5 other drafts for stories that just didn’t feel right like: If it’s Heidelberg it must be Tuesday. Finally I settled on murder, sort of. I like your story– makes me feel frozen for sure., and sad. Lucy

    • I’m glad you liked my story. Yeah, sometimes I’m just not sure which direction to take some of the pictures Moi provides. And, even when I do have a good idea of what I want to say, often the words go a different direction on me anyway.

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