Forums → Art, Music, and Writing → Burning Ice (by: Acmed)
Well, here's my novel that was originally for NaNoWriMo, but lost pace with the word count. I wasn't gonna finish it by the 31st. BUT! It inspired me to continue it anyhow! So, the first chapter of Burning Ice:
Chapter 1: Painless Agony
Michael Lambert first looked at a glass wall on the boards of the rink as he got the puck behind his team's net. After a large hit from behind, he saw shattered glass and empty bleachers. All's he could hear was a ref's whistle for icing (and the broken glass). Anything after that moment was black.
Opening his eyes slowly with many blinks to get his vision back, Michael was back in the locker room. He didn't see much lockers, just teammates surrounding him, and a doctor next to him checking his heart rate.
"Good morning, Sleeping Beauty." His teammate Grant Sullivan said, slightly sarcastically. He was a good friend of Michael, but had a dead serious expression planted on his face, "Nice job taking that hit. Without you, we lost the game." Michael hadn't realized he was out cold for the rest of the game. It was only half way through the first period. He was probably their star defender. The backup defenders barley see any ice time, but they did today. They all lost their man on every breakaway, and cost the Hillside Eagles the game. It was lucky their goalie only gave a 5 point blowout, and nothing worse.
"I know how to take a hit, Grant." Michael replied.
"You also know how to avoid a hit, Mike! That guy was far away enough for you to run a marathon!"
"It was an icing call, play was over anyways!"
"It doesn't matter if you..."
"Ladies!" Coach Adkins interrupted loudly, "Settle your argument at teatime, okay?" Michael was standing up again, stretching and yawning, like he took a sudden 2 hour nap. He acted like this comes as often as breathing. But it really did.
Every since the day Michael could speak, he would say "Hockey" or "Check" or "Knock Out" every so often. He could not only take a hit; he could hit as well. Playing hockey in the basement with his dad when he was four years old, was like playing in the NHL with Niklas Kronwall. As his dad was on his knees playing mini sticks with his future NHL star, he'd receive a full on body check by his violent checker of a son. Of course he never said that. He started skating at age 5, played in toddler and children hockey leagues ever since. Although he got often game misconducts for checking (which isn't allowed in younger leagues), he was a great defender, who scored more than his great friend Grant, who played left wing. Once the 11-12 season started, he crushed bodies from every inch of the boards and ice. He set a peewee league record of minutes in the penalty box (most of them roughing, boarding, and crosschecking).
As a junior in high school, Michael was used to hits he gets on the ice. Most people find it scary, but Michael found it to test his man inside him. He got an A+ at that. Only a B- student at school, he kept his grades up to play his game of hockey. He reminds himself of this every day. Not socially retarded, but not the biggest fan of many other students. He had a few friends in his high school years, but they're all hockey fanatics. Which is the only thing Michael sees inside his friends. It's not like he gets talked to, but more of "if I hear you mention hockey, I'll go and talk to you". He was a bit undefined on the radar for quite some time. He wasn't at all ever noticed, that nobody had the time to bully him with threats or fists (maybe because they hear about his record of hard hits from hockey). It only made school worse for Michael with a limited amount of people to talk to.
It was going to be another brutal day at the prison so called school, Michael had thought to himself. As much as he acted like he usually did in school, he was deep down excited about hockey practice after school. But his hatred of learning kept him from showing it. As the first bell rang at the same time Michael walked into his day's worth a nothing, he slouched down the main hall passed peppy cheerleaders flirting with the cool jocks that seemed to notice Michael as much as they notice a gust of wind in Italy. Better yet to say: they ignored him. His locker was probably at least a mile from all 6 hours, which got him to class barley 7 seconds before the second bell rings. His locker is a piece of crap. You have to put in a wrong combination to at least un-jam it. He needs 8 large tugs to get his locker open. It was practice at school. To his misfortune, everything that happen once to a few kids, happened all to him every day.
As Michael approaches his locker as an invisible force, he felt a slight tap on his shoulder. It didn't feel like a rubber band snap sort of tap, but a light tap from another someone. That someone could be anyone, as most of his friends are slightly embarrassed to talk to him anyways. He turns slowly, but casually, as he didn't want to knock away a chance of someone to talk to. He finally saw the force who got his attention, and almost jumped from shock. The eyes were looking AT him for some particular reason. And even more shocking: they were female eyes. She smiled as she could tell Michael was indeed not expecting this. It proved Michael was indeed socially retarded to any human being...
"Hi", the mystery girl had said, "I'm Jackie. Jackie Westbrook." She stuck out her hand with long nails painted hot pink at the ends of her fingers. She had a blinding smile. Trying his best not to be awkward or anything, he took the hand and shook it normally. So far so good.
"I'm Michael Lambert," He replied with a smile, "It's great to meet you." His facial expression was calm and relaxed, but really a drum solo was going on in his chest.
"You must be new here, do you need help getting around the school or anything?" Jackie had asked. Michael had thought she was kidding. He then realized what was happening.
"Ummm," Michael started, "I've been a student in the district since kindergarten." Jackie Westbrook's facial expression turned into a mild shock face into an embarrassing laugh and smile.
"I'm so sorry," It was obvious she felt bad. Michael couldn't notice that. He was too busy thinking about human interaction he hadn't felt in quite some while, "I've never seen you around school before." Shocking. Michael thought. It's been early January and still only 10 people in the school knew his name (only 4 know his last name).
"I just seem to slip a little under the radar," Michael said. He couldn't fail to throw away a conversation with a girl who talked to him without saying the word 'weirdo'. "But I do need help finding room 78. They changed my schedule recently, and I don't know where it is." Lies. Michael could walk the school blindfolded to every class. His schedule had never really changed either. Just a little strategy to take a long walk with the girl. Jackie Westbrook was pleased to do so.
"Of course I will. I owe it to you. Besides, my first period is just down the hall from there." Jackie waited patiently with her blond hair reflecting of the ceiling lights. Michael, trying not to star, quickly grabbed his stuff from his demented and sad locker, and walked away without just the company of himself.
"So I see you play hockey." Jackie mentioned as they walked slowly down the small hallway towards class. Michael had noticed he was wearing his Hillside Eagle hockey jersey from the game last night. Luckily, it didn't smell.
"I do. I play here, for the Eagles. I'm the star defender," Michael remembered most girls either like tough hockey players, or muscular football players, so he felt much more confident than before.
"Really? Sweet! I've been to a few of the games before. My boyfriend plays center." When Michael heard the words 'My Boyfriend', he was shattered. Maybe he shouldn't get his hopes up too much next time he meets a girl. "Ryan Roberts ring a bell?"
It did ring a bell. That center had never scored once in the past 3 years Michael had known him, but gets all the fame from the school for his hit. He stapled gun people to the boards like papers to a billboard. Just like Michael. He never scores, even if there were a breakaway with a down goalie right into the slot. Michael can shoot from the blue line and make it. And every guy who had ever came to him in the neutral zone, got pass him effortlessly. Lucky for Ryan, Michael was there to stop their offensive chance. But nobody cared for the number 45 defender in the back, they cared about the cool jock who played center as an assistor. Michael found him a pathetic loser. Knowing that the girl he recently just met had a relationship with him, made it feel so much more personal.
"Yeah. He's a great center," told Michael, lying upsettingly. For every great play he would get, Ryan would give him a good old punch in the gut as a reward. And boy did he feel proud to have such sportsmanship. He had reached his destination to room 78. So much for a fun filled conversation he was expecting.
"There you go. Mrs. Smith U.S. History." Jackie said smiling, not knowing the fire burning inside the socially beaten Michael Lambert. She waved and walked down the hall to her class. He was then feeling less excited for hockey. It wasn't about Ryan Roberts, but just feeling upset.
And speaking of Ryan Roberts.
Michael never felt a blow to the nearby lockers coming at all off the ice. Brutally hurt to his back, he looked up to see the eyes of someone he'd seen before, but knew who he strongly disliked.
"Out of the people you never talk to, you decide to talk to my girlfriend?" Ryan had said sternly. An evil grin widened upon his face, "You know you can't impress anybody who isn't in your imagination."
"I can beat the hell out of you if I wanted to, Roberts." Michael snapped, still aching on trying to get up, "I'm the star player..."
"And who's getting all the love now? I AM! Because I'm not a ******* who doesn't speak to anybody. I'm social, I'm loved, and you can't keep up with this 'I'm a better hockey player'. I'll shine this year, and you'll be bowing on your knees."
Michael got up finally got up. More man than he ever felt in his life, "You want to put your money where your mouth is?" Michael gave him a shove. It wasn't hard enough for Ryan to fight back, but left with words of wisdom:
"You'll be sorry!" Ryan had left the building... Or at least the hallway. Well. Michael thought. It was fun while it lasted. A girl talking to you, than a hit from the lockers and threats of getting beat up. But it was worth it. Shaking off the slight pain in his left shoulder, he strutted into class.