My winter thermals and thick woolly beanie made no difference. Raw, biting air chattered my teeth, iced my bones: turning my nose pink and stiff.
Wafting drifts of burning oak tantalized my goosebumps as I strode past the 17th century “Ferret” – thatched, village pub: dilapidated, with its faded orange chimney – puffing relentlessly, like an old steam train. Hopping a wooden gate – I entered a snow-coated field and started to hike; my size twelve boots – crunching through the crisp white blades – imprinting the ground like a Sasquatch.
Around five minutes in – someone shouted – ‘Jack!’ On a steep, white, snow peppered hill – directly to my left – I noticed a small, muscular, muntjac, motionless; gazing at me as the sun rose: asserting its yellow glow, accentuating the animal’s golden coat, erect ears and nervous, pointy face. Someone shouted my name again – ‘move Jack!’ My blood froze, ears tingled as the booming, whip of a gunshot – echoed past – jolting me to attention like a busted burglar.
It was a local from the Ferrett – lumbering, wide-shouldered, countryman named – Boglin. Chewing a soggy cigar – grinning like a merry simpleton; puffy red cheeks, shining in the snow as he aimed his rifle at the small beast.
Primal instincts took over – bending my slender, shivering frame – I scooped up a cool ball of snow – perfectly formed like vanilla ice cream. I threw it at Boglin, watched it mount his ear, stuck – like a frozen earmuff. He screamed, turned – charged towards me. I ran – ran for my life. Crunchy footprints in the distance. My nearest option was the Ferret – toasty warm fire, low hanging beams, battered, whale-sized portions of crisp cod, and country ales – instantly calming my nerves.
I thought I was safe – then the door swung, crashed off the back of the wall – it was Boglin: still wearing the earmuff. The entire pub burst into hysterics. Then went quiet. Boglin drew his rifle, aiming it at the jolly locals. ‘None arrrr that, me old mucker’ echoed through the tense, beer-flavoured air. A rosy-cheeked, bobble hatted boy entered the pub: armed with a snowball. Like a mini superhero – the kid launched the soft white ball at Boglin’s other ear. The pub became raucous again, festive, laughing, singing – swaying arm in arm like a Sailors’ knees up.
Boglin walked home, growing rather fond of his snow-muffs.
A.T Hawthorn – 19.12.19 – just a quick slice of freewriting!