Ethan Frome Alternate Ending

Ethan painfully blinked open his eyes, just a narrow slit at first. Then he remembered the events of moments before and his eyes snapped open. "Matt", he croaked. His hands worked wildly over the ground around him, encompassing a small circle of earth, but there was still no sign of his beloved. He attempted to drag himself forward, but succeeded only in sending a stinging pain shooting through his leg. He groaned in pain.

"E-than", a tiny voice whispered. It was Mattie, lying only a few feet away from him. He stretched out his hand and touched her face gently. "I thought we had it Matt. I thought we had it." His heart quickened when she did not respond. "Matt?"

Her eyes opened and she leaned slightly into his hand. "Ethan...I do have it." She struggled to breathe. "I must have hit...harder than you. Oh Ethan...I wish...I wish...", she fell silent, eyes softly closing. A final exhalation of breath and she was gone.

"Matt, Matt!" Ethan groaned, his hand falling from her face. He lay there and then rallied his strength. Inch by inch he made his way up to the crest of the hill, sled trailing behind him. "Just one more time", he muttered under his breath. He clambered laboriously onto the sled and started it down the hill. Steering it towards the the sturdy tree, he caught a glimpse of the broken body of his love and closed his eyes. The tree met the sled and Ethan crumpled to the ground.

A certain Zenobia Frome rocked back and forth in a rocking chair. She looked towards the door as a faint knocking sound was heard. Zeena got up from her chair and opened the door. She was surprised to see Jotham. "Why, Jotham, what are you doing here? Has something happened to Ethan?"

The hired boy nodded grimly. "Yes'm. He and Mattie are lying near the oak tree, broken and bleeding. I'm sorry ma'am. Help couldn't come in time."

Zenobia stumbled backwards. "Oh. Oh my." She sat heavily in her rocking chair and stared straight ahead.

It's been fifty years since the accident that claimed Ethan's and Mattie's lives and Zeena still struggles on to this day. Jotham is there, helping as best he can, dividing his time between his family and old Zenobia Frome. Occasionally, Zeena walks to the oak tree and stares at it, but she soon is overcome with emotion. She doesn't however, visit their graves. Zenobia Frome prays every day for her death to come and to be rid of the misery she now possesses.