The Ice Queen

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"It's to be a slow, painful death then?" Krystine Pearson asked. She shivered as she watched the never-ending snow pile higher and higher. "Why must we always come in November?"

"Because that's when our anniversary is?" Her husband, Lee, gave her a quizzical look as he tossed more wood into the pot-bellied stove that filled one corner of the tiny cabin.

"I hate snow." She sighed and allowed the worn plaid curtains to fall back into place. She imagined they did little to block out the cold.

"You say that every year." Lee brushed his hands off on his jeans.

"And yet, here we are again." She scooted one of the matching rockers closer to the little stove, plopped down on the cold wooden seat, and stuck her hands out in front of her. The little stove churned out a small but steady heat wave.

"You'd think after six years I'd listen," he joked.

"Seven years."

"Right. Seven. I was just making sure you were paying attention."

"I hear the mountains are beautiful in the fall. We should have come in late September. Maybe early October. Not November."

"We always come in November, Krys." Lee slid the other rocking chair next to hers and settled into it with a weary expression.

"But we shouldn't."

"You're the one that can't take time off in October."

"It's the busy season."

"Which is why we always come in November."

"I hate the snow."

The rocker scraped against the hardwood floor as Lee stood up, shoved it with his foot, and stomped toward the door.

"Where are you going?"

"To get more wood."

Krys looked at the stack of firewood in the corner. "Isn't that enough?"

"Nope. Looks like it's going to take every tree in the forest to melt the icicle you have up your ass."

Krys shot him a glare that was colder than the draft that swept through the room as he opened the door. He didn't even notice as he disappeared into the cold, dark night. "I hope you get eaten by an abominable snowman!" she yelled at the closed door.

Some anniversary trip this was turning out to be. Every year was a little worse than the one before. At first it seemed romantic to return to the scene of their passionate honeymoon. But then everything changed. Seven years in, it was just boring. Lee was boring. Marriage was boring. Every week the same housework. Every month the same arguments. Every year she thought things would be different. They'd return to the cabin and everything would just click and fall back into place, just the way it was that first year. It never happened, though. Every year just found them another year older and facing another year of similitude. Her life had been reduced to Lee snoring in her bed, leaving his dirty socks everywhere but the hamper, and never noticing her new hairstyles. Whatever passion had gone on in the lofted bedroom of the cabin seven years ago was just a memory. One of many memories frozen in time by the winter winds... forcing her to return every November in hopes of thawing them out.

She turned her attention to the door before letting her hand slip into the pocket of her jeans. Sliding her cell phone out she checked her signal. One bar. Not much, but enough to send a text message. She really shouldn't. She chewed at her bottom lip, debating. What if Lee found out what she was doing? He'd be furious. He'd never trust her again. She pushed the phone back into her pocket, only to retrieve it again. She knew it was wrong, but she couldn't stop herself. She composed her message and hit send just as the door opened. Shoving the phone away- they'd agreed no phones-she glanced toward the door, only to find it empty.

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