Northwords Now Issue 37

The FREE literary magazine of the North

Skitin oan Thin Ice

by Gillian Shearer

Young Ruaraidh McIver hid been sittin that lang his dowp hid gaed numb. He keekit up aat the pulpit. The meenister’s in fu throttle the day, he thocht. Nae that Ruariaidh hid a thing aboot the meenister; he wis likely a fine eneuch cheil ootbye the kirk...bit inside? This wis his realm. Ruaraidh shiftit in his seat an felt a sliver o sun kittle his face. It wis sic a fine day he thocht yon his mind drifted awa. He saw the loch aa happit wi ice an the sna birlin roonaboot an himsel skitin ower the ice...birlin...birlin...

Ow!

Ruaraidh let oot an almighty yelp as his mither’s haun cam fleein doon across his lug. The meenister keekit oot ower his pulpit, his een blazin wi fury aat the sudden interruption. Ruaraidh’s mither shooglit in her seat; the congregation turnt aroon an a ripple o shame fell ower the kirk.

Back hame his mither’s wirds cam stuttin doon lik rain. ‘Ye feel loon!’ she cried, ‘Yon meenister maun think we’re a puckle o gypes!’ Ruaraidh cooried doon, his hauns ower his lugs. ‘Awa tae yer bed!’ his mither shouted, ‘aire’ll be nae supper fur ye!’

Later yon e’en, Ruaraidh stared up aat the ceilin. His lugs wur still dirlin fae his mither’s haun. It’s nae fair he thocht rising fae his bed. The sun wis nearly settin an the lift wis aa reed an bonny. Ruariaidh felt lik greetin. He luikit oot ower the yard, oot bye the fields aa smoorit wi sna, oot bye the loch skinklin lik glitter. Fit a waste he thocht keekin ower aat the loch aa bonny an pink in the sunset. He wis yon upset he felt his hert melt.

Bit whit wis yon skitin aboon the ice? A figure aa riggit oot in black, the airms crossed ower their chest as if in prayer, ae leg thrust back lik a craa taakin flight. Ruaraidh cuid nae believe his een.