Wednesday, 2 July 2014

Chapter 56: The Deep Freeze

The autumn months sailed past peacefully at Clone Island.  Life continued, pretty much as it always had, with a regular diary of birthdays, marriages and the occasional pregnancy or new birth.

Most residents tried to stock up on food supplies - Matt Green ensured he took his eldest son, Rocky fishing as much as possible. 

It wasn't always easy squeezing family time into the Green's busy schedule. Matt worked long hours helping to build fridges and ovens for the local residents.  Meanwhile Anya was left to tend to the garden, horses, the pet dogs and to care for their youngest son, Rex.

Rocky was good at entertaining himself.  He had a vivid imagination and was very easy going.  He loved playing Kings and Queens with the other children his age (so long as he got to be a King) just as much as he enjoyed a quiet afternoon painting or reading.

Anya only wished that the rest of the family were as laid back.  She was relieved when one Saturday, after weeks of constant work, Matt offered to look after the kids whilst Anya took a break.  There was a nip in the air but the skies were clear, so Anya decided to indulge in a horse ride.  To her dismay, Chardonnay got spooked by an aggressive stray dog and broke into a wild gallop.

Despite Anya's best efforts she soon found herself being brutally thrown from Chardonnay's saddle.  She landed hard on her head and for a moment all she could see were stars.

Gently she eased her battered body off the roadside and limped back home.  Matt urged her to get herself checked out - a health centre and hospital had now been built in the top floor of Founders House.  But, Anya just shook her head, she'd have a bath to ease the bruising, waving away Matt's concerns as 'fussing'.

Secretly though, as Anya soaked herself in the warm water, she couldn't help but worry slightly.  Her head ached terribly and she felt sick.  Determined not to create a drama, she shrugged off her ailments, telling herself that a good nights sleep would be all the cure she needed.

It wasn't just the Green's that were manically busy in the lead up to winter, the rest of the families on Clone Island also continued to prepare for winter, carrying out their tasks as agreed at the Town Council meeting.  As Andrea and Fawn returned with fresh supplies everyone started to relax a little.  Sure, it was chilly but hardly life threatening and the long autumn of light showers and occasional small thunder storms lulled everyone into a false sense of security.

Gradually the long mild autumn melted away into a harsh bitterly cold winter.  Fallen leaves and cool rains were replaced by snow storms and freezing gales.  The novelty of snowmen and sledging soon wore off for even for the youngest of the islanders.

As the snow settled, Yadira was pleased that Lewis had installed an oven into their home.  She might still be burning the pancakes, but at least the hut was cosy with the heat of the stove fire.

As Yadira glared at her burnt waffles, she couldn't help but notice the snow falling thickly outside - and she couldn't stop worrying about her sister, Sierra, who lived outside of town and who had not yet had her oven installed. 

She wondered whether she ought to ride over to her sisters with some supplies, before the storm got any worse.  The only problem was, Yadira had been feeling a little off colour recently...

...still, Yadira expected that her nausea was more than likely caused by her recent attempts at cooking.  Burnt waffles would make anyone sick!  Yadira was more worried about Sierra, and after an hour or two of indecisive fretting, she decided to tack up Daisy and head over to 1 Anglers Way.

The family dog, Rusty, rescued from Green Island decided to follow Yadira and Daisy as they made their slow trek out of the village.

By the time Yadira reached the remote log cabin home of Sierra and Xavier the wind was howling and the snow was getting very deep.  The last patches of green were fading and Yadira was feeling more and more sick.

Sierra rushed out to meet her sister, hurrying her inside into the warm.  "I'm glad you came sis, we are running low on supplies.  But you really don't look very well!"  Yadira nodded, "I don't feel so good" she agreed, peeling of her snow laden coat.  Suddenly she felt very hot inside the thick walls of the log cabin.

"That's better" she sighed, now free of all those bulky extra layers.  Sierra eyed her sister suspiciously.  "What!?" Yadira exclaimed.  "Well..." Sierra smiled awkwardly, "You look like you've put on a little weight..."

"Oh charming!" Yadira replied, thinking that Sierra was being unusually unkind.

"And, you're being sick..." Sierra said slowly, forming each word carefully and looking eagerly at her sister.  Finally the penny dropped.

"Oh Plumbob!  I'm pregnant, aren't I?  I've been so wrapped up in cooking and preparing for the winter that I didn't stop to consider the obvious!"

Yadira smiled, rubbing her belly.  She was pregnant!  She couldn't wait to get home and tell Lewis.  But hang on, how would she get home?  There was no way she could ride home.  It was too great a risk now that she knew she was pregnant.  "What am I going to do!?" Yadira exclaimed.

Sierra quickly came up with a plan.  They would send the horse back to the village with a note for Lewis.  In the meantime, as soon as the storm eased, Yadira and Sierra would walk back to the village with Rusty and the Sierra's dog Pochi.  The girls reasoned they would be safer with the dogs!

Luckily for the girls the pets were very well behaved and extremely loyal.  Daisy wasn't sure what to do when Yadira untied her from her hitching post.  She could have roamed free, but instead she headed straight back to the village.

Lewis was overjoyed at Yadira's news, and at the same time a little alarmed to find her stranded at Sierra's.  He wanted to set out himself to fetch Yadira but by that time the storm was too intense and he figured Yadira would be sensible enough to wait until the snow settled before risking the journey home.

Two days later the snow storm eased and Yadira finally began her trek back home.  The sisters set out just before sun rise, wrapped up as warmly as possible.  Sierra walked ahead checking the footing for Yadira.

It was a tough journey and Yadira was glad to have Rusty by her side.  The loyal dog worked hard to help tug his owner along through the snow drifts.

Poor Pochi wasn't as much help, he was up to his middle in snow, but he trudged on regardless determined to accompany the girls on the long journey.

Everyone was relieved when they arrived back in the village.  Rusty and Daisy seemed very pleased to see each other too.

Lewis was delighted to see Yadira home safe.  He spent the next few days fussing over her, and her increasing bump.

Yadira's pregnancy progressed well, although she went into labour a couple of weeks before the baby was due.  She was the first resident to use the new medical facilities, and gave birth to a tiny, but completely healthy, little girl.

Upon arriving home Lewis and Yadira decided to hold a private marriage ceremony.  They'd never really worried about getting married before but Yadira really wanted to have the same surname as her daughter.  As there were already lots of Milton's in the village, the couple decided to select a new surname, Lewington.

Yadira quietly rocked her baby to sleep on her newly carved rocking chair - a present from the Beasley's to celebrate the birth of Lewis and Yadira's first child.  Now that Yadira had finalised the family surname she felt almost complete.  The last detail was to name the little girl in her arms. Freya Lewington had a lovely ring to it.  Yadira smiled softly, "Freya" she cooed.  It sounded perfect.

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