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The Wicked Sister by Karen Dionne

The Wicked Sister by Karen Dionne

Author:Karen Dionne [Dionne, Karen]
Language: eng
Format: epub, mobi
Publisher: Penguin Publishing Group
Published: 2020-08-04T00:00:00+00:00


* * *

Pain.

Sharp. Insistent. Overwhelming. Everything hurts. My head, my neck, my back, my arms, my legs. My body feels like it’s on fire.

I open my eyes. See nothing but sky.

I turn my head to the side. Rocks. Snow. I’m lying on my back in a pile of rocks. I’m not sure why.

“Jenny!” Peter calls from somewhere high above.

“Is Mommy dead?” Diana asks.

“Jenny! Answer me!”

I roll onto my side, wrap my arms around the boulder next to me, pull myself up until I’m almost sitting, hang on to the rock with one hand and prop myself up with the other. The snow is freezing. I don’t know why my mittens are gone.

No. I took my mittens off so I could untangle the binoculars’ strap from my parka drawstring before I fell.

I fell.

I’m lying in a pile of rocks and snow at the bottom of the west cliff because I fell off it.

I fell, and I am alive.

“I’m okay!” I call, though one of my legs is definitely broken. I can tell by the way my boot is turned too far to the side. I’m not sure about the other.

“Thank God! Are you hurt?”

“I think so. Yes. I can’t move my legs.”

“Stay there! Don’t move. I’ll be right down!”

I almost laugh. As if I could possibly do otherwise. But Peter can’t climb down to help me. He can’t leave Diana on top by herself. And even if they both climbed down, he can’t carry me two miles back to the lodge wearing snowshoes.

“Go home! Get the snowmobile! I’ll be okay! Just hurry back!” I pour all the strength and confidence into my voice that I can. I don’t want him to leave me. He has to leave me.

“All right,” Peter calls back after a long silence during which I imagine him weighing all the options and coming to the same conclusion. “Just stay calm. Everything will be fine. I’ll be back as quickly as I can.”

I let go of the rock and lay back in the snow and close my eyes. My entire body is shaking, whether from the effort to hold myself upright, or from shock, or from cold, I don’t know. It’s impossible to wrap my head around the enormity of what happened. I fell off the cliff. I’m lying on my back in a jumble of rocks and snow at the bottom. I’m hurt. Probably badly.

On the plus side, I didn’t die. On the negative, I still might.

I close my eyes and picture Peter and Diana following the trail we made back to the lodge, Peter running as fast as his snowshoes will let him, Diana struggling to keep up, Peter barely noticing that she’s lagging, intent only on getting back to the lodge as fast as he can. I see him ripping off his snowshoes when he reaches the side yard, yelling for Charlotte and Max to look after Diana while he drags the snowmobile out of the lean-to and hitches on to it the sledge that we use for hauling.



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