Sledders

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More by this author
Gabe


It was icy in the park and the girls found it difficult to stop. The small red cart sped down the dimly lit concrete path, splitting the snow-covered park in two. It was late by now and only a handful of dimly lit people could be seen lining the path, their breath rising into the bitter New England night. Claire and Maggie clenched their teeth, burying their faces deep into their coats; it was the second to last turn in the park, leaning all their weight on one side, the cart turned with great effort, wooden wheels only finding traction on the sea salt laid down the night before on the icy stretch. As they cleared the turn and found themselves back on the main park road, the occasional person sped by, there was no applause, just a tense silence. The cart flew by the rustic white park gazebo, Claire and Maggie clamped their hands down on the steel handles that their father had screwed on, this was the final stretch. They both knew what was ahead, one more turn, leading straight into the steep downhill, 'the widow maker', as the boys at school called it with a certain reverence. It had been a little over a year since Tommy Warner had tried the hill, getting about a quarter of the way down before one of his wheels, catching a rock, twisted off, sending the cart into a barrel roll, Tommy lodged inside. A little less than a month ago, William Hollins, had attempted the hill, he was only a little more fortunate, making it no more than fifty feet further than Tommy before his cart too malfunctioned, sending him to the hospital for almost three days. And here they were, Claire and Maggie, the first two girls to ever try the hill, over half way down, in the home stretch. Rounding the last corner, Claire and Maggie zoomed past a flock of schoolmates and parents huddled together, a cheer went up as they passed, a red blur to the onlookers. They turned the corner, two feet until the big hill. There it was, from the cart, one could make out the onlookers waiting at the bottom of the hill, illuminated by the parking lot, but here, at the top of the hill, Claire and Maggie were alone. There was no time for sentiment, before they knew it, the cart had rolled over the flat land and began to plummet down the hill, the loose stones on the path sent vibrations through the cart wheels, rattling Claire and Maggie so violently that their teeth chattered together. They were picking up speed now, wind howling past the small red cart and the two girls huddled as deep inside as could fit. A few years ago after a big rain-storm, some visible erosion had appeared towards the bottom of the big park hill. This was unlucky for the girls for as their cart sped down the final thirty feet of the hill, their wheel met the eroded crack in the path. The sound of splitting wood could be heard from the base of the hill as the wheel lodged itself in the crack. As the wheel separated, it seemed like the carts structural integrity completely gave in. splinters of wood flew though the air, some say the two girls sailed almost five feet though the air before their bodies met the icy path. As shock rippled though the onlookers below, the two girls, now indistinguishable slid face first down the hill, arms and legs limply extended.





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