I wrote this flash fiction piece on a cold day at work, but I don’t remember how I was actually inspired to write this up. I’ve been working on building tension so maybe that’s how this came to be. Hopefully by the end, you can’t wait to find out what happened!
No one told him how cold it would actually be. They all hinted towards it with hushed voices, saying, “You’ll freeze your nuts off,” and “You think you know cold, but once you feel this, you’ll question everything you know about cold,” and “Look at this dumbass who thinks he can take it.” All of these comments were obviously challenges to his masculinity that couldn’t go unanswered.
To be fair, it wasn’t his idea. Everyone did it. What a reason, right? But seriously: it was a right of passage. Everyone’s heard the stories. They go around and ask others and are told, “You have to do it once.” There are others that make a point of telling only the bad stories.
The scary thing about this is that no one knows what’s happening while it’s happening. Their body acts on pure instinct; no one can guess what will happen either. It’s up to the brain to decide whether or not they’ll make it out. They either do or they don’t.
No one knew how the tradition started, or why, but the most obvious answer is that it started as a way for adolescent boys to prove to all the girls that they could actually follow through with it. Everyone would know when it was going to happen. All it took was a look from a spotter who’d be the only one with the boy when he goes. These events take place right before the first heavy snow, so no one can be tracked.
When the boy’s spotter returned to school on Monday, people were already spreading rumors because the boy who never missed class didn’t show up. Before the boy made his decision, the rest of his friends chose a spotter. No one outside that small group of friends would ever speak of what happened. A head nod was all that was needed to know that he actually followed through. In less than a day, everyone will see the boy in a body bag on the news with the headline Another Boy Found Frozen in Lake.
If you’re interested in submitting your own flash fiction piece, please see my submission guidelines on my website. You’ll see that I’m not very picky. I’m more about making this blog a place where everyone can get their work out there.