The cold spread down through each layer of Violet’s skin. It was too cold, happening too quickly. Shit, shit and double shit! Violet knew she had passed out. Her body was shivering and the sun had moved down. Tears of pain and frustration fell from Violet’s eyes and warmed her cheeks. Sobbing was pointless. Lying on her back, Violet managed to twist and turn to look at the abnormality in her thigh. Bugger! It’s broken.
The tears flowed again as she thought of her late husband. Bob had tried to talk to Violet time and again, before he passed away, insisting she move to Sydney closer to their son. He couldn’t bear to think of her on the property alone. Deep down, they both knew she would never leave Charlotte Pass. It’s too late now.
Looking up at the sun, Violet determined she had passed out for at least an hour. It was approximately three in the afternoon. I have to get to the barn and call for help. Bob and Violet had installed a phone line in the barn years earlier. The barn was where Bob had spent most of his down time, fiddling around with machinery and chatting with his mates.
Violet pulled her arms back and tried to move forward, digging her hands through the shallow snow into the cold dirt. Searing pain shot up from Violet’s leg and she screamed. It hurts too much, I can’t do this! Sobbing now, she gave it another go. This time the pain was overwhelming and Violet passed out again.
On coming to, Violet looked up into the sky and saw a wedge tailed eagle soaring high above. It was alone. She remembered when her son Tom was five years old and flew around the yard with his arms spread wide, mimicking the eagles. They had watched them over and over again, while lying on their backs in the grass. Tom was going to be an eagle when he grew up. Violet smiled weakly through her tears.
The shivering was becoming stronger. Violet had to get a move on before the hypothermia took over. Whilst trying to move forward again, a noise rang out in the distance. The phone in the barn was ringing. Oh damn! Only 100 feet away and it feels like a bloody 100 kilometres. It was Friday and whoever was ringing wouldn’t ring back. Violet was habitually in town at the library on a Friday afternoon, helping with a reading group. No one would miss her if she didn’t answer.
Pulling her way forward a couple of feet at a time was not enough, and Violet knew it. There was dirt under her fingernails and two of them had snapped down low. The smell of blood permeated the air. It doesn’t matter, thought Violet. I’m not going anywhere. Feeling dizzy, Violet put her head down on folded arms as memories swished and swayed through her mind.
Confusion was setting in as Violet again looked into the sky. The wedge tailed eagle was still there, soaring so high it was almost invisible. Oh, what a lonely life, but such freedom. Time passed. Violet couldn’t focus on how late it was in the afternoon. The sun was low. Gripping the ground again, she pulled herself another foot forward. I can’t do this. Too tired!
Violet looked at her hands. They were old. I am getting so sleepy. I’ve worked hard all my life. I am proud of my life. My father… my husband…. my son. What wonderful men.
A snow flurry washed over Violet’s body. Her breathing was shallow. The barn was a blur in the distance. Snowflakes landed on Violet’s hair and sparkled in the failing light. The eagle glided, looking down on the white land. Violet’s final thoughts were of an old tune sung by Johnny Cash, Snow in His Hair.