Sleet Feet in an extract from the fictional novel: Casual Nexus, currently being written by Alison Little. No characters or events depicted are based on real life.
Sal looks up towards the sky, daylight was only just beginning to make its way through the intensity of the waterlogged clouds. She looks up towards the street lamp, sleet is falling heavily, the cold ice of the snow combined with the raw whipping of the rain. The lamp shines from the centre, enlightening the heavy grey of the skies expanse. The sleet flickers across the illumination lashing towards the ground before it disintegrates and draws its way through the drainage systems. Sal shivers slightly, her feet were cold as her trainers were worn badly, the soles almost coming away from the main body even after being glued back together last week. Her mother had insisted on buying her new trainers for her return to college in September, because of the lack of money Sal had opted for a cheap pair and they were in tatters. She decided she would get a new pair at the weekend after she was paid off her part-time job collecting glasses. She wouldn’t be left with very much but there was a bit extra from the evenings she had covered to avoid Jack. The icy water seeps into her shoes, making its way to her toes as she shakes on the winters morning.
It is Wednesday of the week her brother Jack is home on leave from the army, Sal had been up and out before he had even got out of bed. Since his return on Sunday evening, she had managed to avoid any real contact with him. Apart from an obligatory ‘Hello’ she had either been out of the house or been able to make an excuse to go to bed early. This evening was, in fact, the only one where she was not covering a shift in the pub except Sunday, he should be going back on Monday, then she would be safe again. That afternoon Sal had stayed late in six form, there was an informal table tennis contest going on and she joined in, playing well in view of how distracted she felt. When everyone began to drift off she stayed until there were only one or two others then began to make her way slowly towards home. The darkness had returned, bringing the sleet and ice of the rain with it as the sunset. Although a fast walker Sal took her time, wandering from side to side making progress like a ship lost at sea, circling the expanse of the ocean.
Toes begin to blue as the ice from the sleet seep into the over worn trainers, Sal returns to the smell of her Mum cooking dinner. When she inquires about the location of Jack her Mother explains that he had going to stay with friends for the evening. Relief floods into Sal’s mind than through the tense muscles of her body. Later that evening she decides to boil pots for a bath, as she lies back, her small breasts covered by the bubbling foam bath she hears the rain rattling as it cuts intensely through the black of the night.
She thinks about how she will be safe tonight.