Winter's Angel

By Cheryl

EMAIL: Cheryl

The sidewalk became slippery, the light drizzle making it all the more treacherous. Jack O'Neill's dazed face was bloodless, and the miserable weather meant nothing. His knee throbbed, and started to swell from the impact of crashing to the ground. His frantic dive had been for nothing. He could never have been fast enough. He reacted quickly to the sound of screeching tyres, but the vehicle spun out of control, too fast for anyone. Even for a daddy.

Flat on his belly on the wet grass, and struggling to make sense of the accident, Jack wondered whose blood trickled into his mouth. The screams around him only added to his confusion.

A perfect winter's day, the day began with such promise. Skates in tow, Jack had bundled his small son into the truck for his promised skating lesson.

Wide eyed with anticipation, and despite his misgivings about the cold and wet, Danny had donned his new, blue, winter jacket. Chattering constantly, and holding his daddy's hand, the five year old all but bounded out the door.

Coughing to clear his throat, Jack shook the pleasant memories from his mind, and struggled painfully to his feet. Whirling around, his mind clearly too slowly, he spotted one of Danny's blue skates lying on the ground. Wrinkling his brow in confusion, he wondered why Daniel abandoned it. Why leave it discarded on the ground like that? Scanning the chaos, none of it registering, Jack searched for his child.

Wincing, his head throbbed painfully. The sound of people crying and shouting bothered him, and he wanted to scream at them to shut up. They would scare his child.

"Danny?" He groaned, "Baby? Answer me!" The gash on his forehead bled profusely, and swiping at it with irritation, Jack couldn't remember what hit him. He vaguely remembered something coming at them, but blinking, he couldn't remember what. Swaying back and forth, he felt a sudden wave of nausea, and struggling to remain on his feet, he rasped, "Danny?"

Slowly, his mind began to clear. Something was terribly wrong. The blood streaming down his face was his, and he knew he suffered a concussion. Turning around slowly, he could see bodies lay strewn everywhere. Some moved, but others remained forever still and lifeless. "What? What happened here?" he mumbled to himself," bomb?"

Cradling his aching head in his hands, Jack drew a sharp breath and remembered. No! Not a bomb. A car! Narrowing his eyes in concentration, he pictured the black car hitting the sidewalk and hurtling towards the tiny skaters. The car gathered speed, and he remembered thinking how frightened the driver had looked.

Oh, no, he screamed silently. It hit us! The car hit Danny! All thoughts of his aching body forgotten, Jack stumbled amongst the carnage, "Blue," he said softly, repeating his desperate mantra, he was wearing his blue jacket.

The wailing of an emergency vehicle siren cut through the air like a knife, letting the small crowd know that help was on its way. Picking up the tiny blue skate, Jack began the terrible search for his child. He had no time to stop and help the out stretched hands begging for his strength. He wanted to, he felt their pain, but the need to find his child dominated his thoughts. "Danny? "

"Blue, his coat is blue." Jack repeated to himself, "I have to find something blue."

Out of the corner of his eye, Jack saw it. Saw the tiny scrap of blue material peeking through the snow. Forcing himself to look closer, he knew.

"Oh, baby!" Jack knelt beside Daniel and lifted his tiny body onto his lap, rocking him gently. "Come on, Danny, we can fix your skates, there's plenty of winter left to play in." Jack reached out and brushed a stray lock of blonde hair away from Daniel's forehead. "We still have a snowman to build together."

Danny lay still. His waxen, grey face, nestled peacefully against Jack's chest, blue lips slightly parted liked he'd just fallen asleep. Jack pulled him closer, feeling the jarring of broken bones beneath cold skin, "Sleep baby, Daddy's here."