Salt Sisters · Short Salt Stories

The Icy Lake (re-edit)

***I am going to be entering a writing competition through my school and so I thought I would submit this one. I changed the ending and I think it’s much better. So here it is: ***

“You will never enter my tower and rescue the fair Lady Evelyn, for there is no door.” Willow crackled loudly. “No door for you to reach your beautiful princess by. What shall you do now, Lucas?”

                “I shall climb the tower as if I were walking up a ladder. And it is Sir Lucas to you, you ugly old hag!” replied the knight as he took a step towards the witch and her tall, dark tower. He looked up to the highest window and saw the beautiful Lady Evelyn looking down at him. Her brown hair was flowing down from her golden crown. Her hair and the white ribbon she wore in it were being blown around in the frosty wind.

               

“Why do I always have to be the ugly one? I don’t like being ugly. Does Willow always have to be ugly?” Ella asked. She was standing next to the frozen Dove Lake wearing a black dress two sizes too big for her. A white ribbon was just visible under a big black witch’s hat.

“Willow is a witch and witches are ugly. So naturally Willow has to be ugly. She’s not a beautiful princess like Lady Evelyn,” Lydia called down from the nearby tree. She was standing on a little shelf of wood wearing a long green dress that was too long for her, and a yellow, paper crown. The tree was completely bare of all leaves and was covered in snow.

“Can’t I be Lady Evelyn? I want to be Lady Evelyn for once.”  Ella kicked a nearby pile of snow they had pushed away to clear the ground for their game and sighed.

“But Lady Evelyn is Lydia’s character. I’m Sir Lucas and you’re Willow the Witch. That’s how it always is. Maybe next time we can swap or make a new game?” Lilith suggested. She was wearing leggings and a tunic which was tied to her by a belt, with a wooden sword attached. The tunic was far too big for her too. Her hair was tied back by a white ribbon into a pony tail.

“I am not going to play a witch!” Lydia said from her tree.

“Then you’ll be the knight and I’ll be the witch,” Lilith tried to bargain.

“No way am I being a boy!” Lydia shouted at them.

                “I will turn you into a boy, Lady Evelyn,” Willow snapped at her imprisoned princess.

                “Sir Lucas, save me from my evil guard and I will be yours forever,” Lady Evelyn called down to her knight from her tower window. Willow the witch was a powerful witch and she could turn Lady Evelyn into a boy if she wanted to. Lady Evelyn didn’t want to be a boy and Sir Lucas didn’t want her to be either.

                “I will slay the witch myself if I must, but I will save you, my princess.” Lucas yelled to her as he ran towards Willow.

                The witch cackled loudly and twisted her hands in strange motions. She was speaking gibberish. Then, in a cloud of smoke, a giant red dragon appeared between Sir Lucas and his lovely lady and her guard. Willow stepped back and cackled extremely loudly as she saw the horror flash across the knight’s face. But that look didn’t last long. Sir Lucas was King Arthur’s bravest knight, he wasn’t afraid of a dragon. No matter how big it was, he would slay it. He reached for the sword at his side.

                “Not so fast young knight. If you slay the dragon you are only one step closer to Evelyn. I have many more tricks up my sleeve,” Willow smiled wickedly.

                “A step closer is better than a step further away,” the knight replied as he drew his sword and charged towards the dragon.

                “Be careful my dear knight,” Lady Evelyn called from her tower. From where she was standing, the dragon looked a million times bigger than Sir Lucas. The witch was laughing at the pathetic sight; Sir Lucas didn’t stand a chance.

                “Watch out for its tail!” Evelyn called out. Lucas turned around and, in one swift motion, chopped the tail off before it could hit him. The dragon let out a scream of pain. So did Willow. Lucas turned to his beautiful lady and blew a kiss at her.

                “How dare you hurt my baby?” Willow yelled.

                “How dare you steal my bride!” he yelled back.

                “You’ll be a pile of ashes when my baby is done with you. He’s just playing with his food right now.”

                “And I’m just playing with your mind,” Lucas replied.

“What does that even mean?” Lydia asked.

“I don’t know. I heard father say it to Tomas the blacksmith once; ‘you’re just playing with my mind, Timothy isn’t seven already.’ That’s what he said. But Timothy is seven,” Lilith said once she stopped hitting a nearby rock with her wooden sword. It was a big rock and all three of them agreed that it was the dragon.

“But what does it mean?” Lydia asked again.

“We don’t know. It’s like those other things the adults talk about. I barely understand them when they talk,” Ella said. She was now standing on the frozen lake. From there she could see the smoke from the chimneys in the town. Ella smiled evilly back at her sisters.

                “Yes, burn him, my little angel, burn him!” Willow told her dragon.  The dragon breathed fire in Lucas’s direction but he dodged it. He was now standing behind the dragon. He raised his sword high above his head and brought it down into the dragon’s back. The witch screamed and the dragon disappeared.

                “I defeated your dragon,” Lucas told the witch.

                “But you’ll never defeat me,”

                “I will kill you like I killed your dragon!” he yelled as he ran towards her.

                “No, Sir Lucas, she’s too powerful. Just climb the tower now,” Evelyn called out. The tower was only a few steps away. Lucas turned and ran towards the tower. When he reached it he started climbing up it as if it was nothing more than a wooden ladder. Willow screamed with rage and started to run towards the knight who was climbing towards the imprisoned princess. Then…CRACK! 

Ella screamed with fright as she disappeared under the ice.  Her scream was cut short as her mouth was filled with water. Her head bobbed above the icy water leaving her just enough time to yell out for Lilith. Ella fell under the water again. The next time she surfaced she tried to grab the edge of the ice but it kept slipping out form her grip.  Her fingers were starting to freeze and she couldn’t hold on to anything. A third time she surfaced and yelled for Lilith again. She heard running footsteps on the ice.

“Go get Father, Lydia. Quick! Ella, I’m coming!” Lilith said. Ella fell under again. It was getting harder and harder to surface and easier to sink. Ella managed to get her head above the water once more. This time someone grabbed the back of her dress and tried to pull her up. Ella looked up and saw Lilith through the water on her eyelashes. She could feel her dress slipping out of Lilith’s grip. Ella threw her hands towards her sister. Lilith let go of the dress and grabbed Ella’s hands just as Ella’s head went under again. Lilith pulled as strongly as she could and managed to get Ella’s head above the water.

“Stay with me Ella. Ella, don’t go under again please. Somebody help me! Anybody!” Lilith yelled out into the silence. “Ella. Ella, no!” Ella’s hands were slowly slipping out of Lilith’s grip. Lilith reached for the sleeves of her dress. Maybe they would be easier to hold on to. Lilith tried to look around but couldn’t see anything through her tears. Ella was slipping into the water again, this time she was dragging Lilith down with her. Lilith thought she heard footsteps in the distance. They seemed to be running towards them.

“Father, is that you? Help me!” she cried. There was no response but she was sure she had heard the footsteps. Lilith looked around frantically. To her right there was a tree branch. It looked strong. Maybe if she could reach it she could pull Ella out of the freezing water with it.

“Ella, hold my left hand. I’m going to try to get that branch over there,” she told her sister. Ella was too cold and scared to answer. Instead she reached over to Lilith’s left hand and nearly slipped under the water as she did so. Lilith stretched her arm out to the branch; it was just out of her reach. She tried again, and again to get closer. The tips of her fingers touched it but they seemed to push the branch away. Sure enough, the next time she tried, it was once again out of her reach. Ella’s grip on Lilith’s hand and arm was softening and her hands were slipping from Lilith’s grip. Lilith decided to abandon the branch and went to reach for her sister again but just as she did, Ella fell under the water.

“No, Ella! Ella, No!” Lilith screamed. Ella’s hands were just visible in the dark icy water. Ella didn’t resurface this time. Lilith reached towards her sisters hands and grabbed them. Ella didn’t hold on tight to them. In fact Ella didn’t do anything. Lilith grabbed her sleeves and pulled as hard as she could. Lilith was flung back onto the ice. She looked at her hands and she saw she was holding the dress, but not Ella. She must have slipped out of it. It wasn’t surprising. The dress had always fallen off her.

Lilith threw the dress aside and raced back to the hole in the ice. She reached in and grabbed her sister’s forearms and pulled. Ella’s head bobbed up to the surface but it stayed under the water. Lilith adjusted her grip and held her sister under the shoulders. She pulled again but nothing happened. Ella barely budged.  By now, tears were streaming down Lilith’s face. She couldn’t let her sister die. Breathing in heavily Lilith found the strength to try to pull her sister out of the water once more. She pulled as hard as she could and Ella moved. Her head now rested on the ice but she wasn’t breathing. Lilith grabbed her sister by the hips that were still under the water and pulled them up. Then she removed her tunic and wrapped it around Ella. Lilith held her sister close. Lilith was shivering in her singlet as she rubbed her sister’s arms trying to warm her up.

“Oh Ella, wake up. Please wake up,” she said. Her tears fell down on her sister’s wet face and there was still no sign of movement. Lilith held her sister close and cried. She couldn’t even feel Ella breathing. Where was their father? Why had he not come straight away? If he had maybe they would be okay. Maybe Ella would be breathing.

The wind was getting stronger and colder. The wind felt like someone was whipping Lilith across her back with a frozen whip. She was shivering. When she breathed out she could see her breath it was that cold. Lilith pulled Ella into a tighter hug and just sat there squeezing her waiting for their father to arrive. The wind maybe freezing Lilith but Ella was soaking wet. She was bound to turn into an ice cube if Lilith didn’t hold her. Maybe Lilith’s body heat would heat Ella back to life. Was that even possible? Lilith didn’t know what to think anymore. It was getting too cold to think.

Lilith squeezed her sister tighter and she burrowed her head into Ella’s shoulder. Ella gave a tiny cough followed by a bigger one. Lilith felt water trickle down her back, then she felt Ella’s chest fall up and down. She was breathing again! Lilith’s head snapped up and she looked at Ella’s face. Ella opened her eyes and tried to blink the water out of them. Lilith wiped the water from Ella’s forehead away. Then Ella looked up at her sister and saw Lilith’s tear-stained face. She tried to smile but it was a weak smile.

“The knight saved the witch this time,” she laughed faintly.

“No,” Lilith shook her head as a smiled spread across her face and tears continued to roll down her checks. “This time the knight saved the fair Lady Willow.”

 

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