My good friend Stacy ( who is also one of my editors who takes care of everything on this blog) told me a couple of weeks ago that her mom had fallen at home, breaking her ankle and upper arm. After her surgery, she was sent over to a rehab facility. So I decided to write a little story for her to keep her entertained while she is there. Here’s the first chapter. Enjoy!
No Rehab for Murder
Not for the first time, Violet Janson wondered what in the world had possessed her to go along with this cockamamy idea. She was standing at the top of a snowy mountainside in Vail, Colorado, wearing a neon pink snowsuit, a blue hat with a bright green pompom on top, holding two pairs of ski poles. A very handsome young man named Sven was helping her put on a set of skis. “There, Mrs. Janson, you’re all set,” he said, getting to his feet. He took his poles back from her. “You’ve been doing very well this week during our lessons. Today, we’re going to ski down to the bottom of the hill.”
“I’m not sure I’m ready for this, Sven,” Violet said as she looked down the slope. She watched people swishing their way confidentially across the snow. A snowboarder zoomed past her, and she thought that person was crazy to be doing this with just one board. She thought she was crazy for trying to do with with the very thin pieces of wood on her feet. “Couldn’t we do this tomorrow?”
“You’ll be just fine, Mrs. Janson,” he assured her. “I’m going to ski ahead of you, just a little bit, and then I’ll stop. You watch me and then follow me down.”
He took off before she could protest. She watched him turning left, then right, then left again. He made it look so easy, so graceful…and he really had a nice looking butt. Sighing, Violet pushed off and started down the hill.
She made it down to where he was standing with no problem. “Well done, Mrs. Jansen!” Sven said, a huge grin on his face. “Let’s go a little bit further this time.” He took off again.
Before she could follow him, someone went flying by her. The person briefly looked back, and Violet could tell it was a woman, and she looked terrified. The woman faced forward again and dug her poles into the snow, trying to make herself go faster. Violet shook her head. Didn’t that woman know it was dangerous to race on the slopes with so many people around?
She started down, keeping an eye on where Sven was standing. He started waving his arms frantically. Was she doing something wrong?And was he yelling at her now? She thought that was odd; he had never yelled at her before.
Suddenly, she was hit by something from behind, throwing her off balance and off course. Instead of heading down toward Sven, she was headed for a grove of trees to the right. Oh no, this was not good.
Whoever hit her managed to right themselves and was headed after the woman who had just passed Violet. They seemed to be gaining on her. At the same time, Sven was moving horizontally, trying to cut Violet off, hopefully to keep her from slamming face first into a tree. Unfortunately, Violet couldn’t remember how to stop, and she braced herself for impact.
She slammed into something hard, but it was Sven and not a tree. Her momentum kept them going, and the next thing they hit was a tree. There were several snapping noises, and Violet wasn’t sure if it was the skis, the poles, or various body parts that had been broken in two. They landed on top of the snow in a tangled pile of limbs and skiing equipment.
“Mrs. Jansen, are you all right?” Sven managed to gasp.
“I’m not sure, Sven. What about you?”
“I think my back is broken.”
“Don’t move,” she said. She looked around and noticed a couple of people coming toward them. “Do you have your phone with you?” she asked one of them when they stopped next to them.
“Yes, ma’am,” the young man said. “I’ll call for help.”
The woman took her skis off, stuck her poles in the snow, and knelt down next to Violet and Sven. “I’m a nurse,” she said. “Try not to move.”
“I’m all right,” Violet told her, “but Sven has hurt his back.”
“Ma’am, I’m afraid you’re not all right,” the nurse said. “It looks like you might have a broken leg.”
“Funny, it doesn’t feel broken.”
“The adrenaline is giving you a natural high,” she explained. “Give yourself a couple of minutes; you’ll feel it. Just sit there and let me take your skis off.”
“Ski patrol is on their way,” the young man said as he shoved his phone back into his jacket. “What do you need me to do, Mom?”
“Let’s move this broken equipment off to the side, Sam, so it won’t be in the way when the patrol gets here.”
Working carefully, the two of them took off Violet and Sven’s skis. “I saw what happened,” the young man said. “That guy was chasing someone. He almost ran me over right before he hit you.”
“Did you get a good look at him?”
The young man shook his head. “Mom and I were at the top of the hill, getting ready to head down, when we heard a couple arguing. The man grabbed her arm and told her that she was going to give him what he wanted, or she would be sorry she ever crossed him. She jerked her arm out of his hand, said that it was too late. She had given it to the authorities, and that she was going to enjoy watching him go to jail. The man stuck his hand into the right pocket of his jacket, and she suddenly looked scared. She took off, he said a few choice words and went after her.”
Violet looked down the hill and noticed that a crowd had gathered around something lying in the snow. She hoped it wasn’t that young woman.
“Ma’am?” the nurse said. “I’m going to have to move your leg a little so I can check out your friend here. This is probably going to hurt.”
Violet merely nodded. The nurse took her leg in her hands and moved it slowly, and Violet felt a shooting pain, and she sucked in her breath. Sam knelt behind her, and Violet leaned against him. He held her hand. “I broke my leg on this same hill last year. I lost my balance and tumbled halfway down the hill,” he told her. “Snapped my tibia in two. My friends never let me hear the end of it. At least you have a way cooler story to tell your friends about how you got hurt.”
Violet didn’t think slamming into a tree was a cool story, even if Sven had had his arms wrapped around her when it happened. Then she smiled; the girls were going to be SO jealous when they found out that she had been in Sven’s arms, especially Fern. She had been trying to figure out how to get Sven to hold her all week, but had failed miserably. Fern was going to pout all the way home.