Icy Depths
Painful Memories

The rocks squelched under Bailey's feet as he headed towards the barn with his cousin Will. The chances that one of the girls would be there was actually high, since the winter holidays had come up and none of the girls had said anything about vacationing. When the male preteen and teenager got to the barn, they could hear Sarah and Alma's voices coming from up in the loft.

Excited to greet the two, Bailey hurried over to the ladder and climbed up. He noticed that the two girls were over by some boxes and he spoke up. "What are you two doing?"

The smile on his face faltered as soon as Sarah turned in time for him to see one of the Christmas Wreathes. The Handler boy felt the color leaving his face, and h opened his mouth to say something, but then decided to back away. His mind for some reason felt strange, and he carefully began to back away.

However, as he started down the ladder, he heard that sound in the back of his head, that he heard so many years ago. It was the sound of metal contacting metal with a great deal of force. Unluckily for him, he had a few memory flashes, of the feeling of being thrown of a horse as the sound occurred. And then, there were the flashes of his Aunt and Uncle's bloody faces.

The next thing he knew, he had missed a step and was falling backwards off his ladder, and he felt a level of fear welling up inside him that he hadn't felt since he fell off the horse that one time. Thankfully though, Will caught him under the arms before stumbling backwards himself, both of them landing on the floor without any major injury.

The next thing he knew, his older cousin had managed to send him packing towards the house, his face still pale from the entire memory. He got to the house, just in time for his mother to swoop onto him, and wrap her arms around his shoulders. "Merry Christmas."

"Oh..." The boy stated, normally not minding the greeting. It was simply those decorations that had the knack of setting off certain things he didn't want to think about.

Mrs. Handler then pushed him away, a frown on her face. "Bailey... are you filling all right?"

"Yes... no..." Two blue eyes looked at her, as the boy frowned.

A gentle hand reached up as his mother gave him a worried look. "You don't have a temperature. It is as if you've seen..." The woman paused for a few seconds. "I was going to say it is as if you've seen a ghost."

"You might say that." The boy stated, heading into where the students would stop and eat their lunches, sitting down at one of the tables to place his head into his hands. His mother walked over and placed one of those gentle hands on his shoulder.

"What happened?"

The soft voice was somewhat calming, and he took a deep breath. "Don't get mad at Alma. She was just showing Sarah all of the decorations. She probably thought she would hear me coming up the ladder and would have some forewarning. Girls like that kind of stuff. I guess."

The twelve year old boy placed his head down, letting out a deep sigh as he did so. His mother spoke calmly. "You remembered what happened to your Aunt and Uncle, didn't you?"

"I just wish I could remember their faces without seeing them bloodied like that." The boy stated. "I wish I couldn't remember that sound either."

"You're really tense. I don't think you should ride horses today." His mother headed off to the kitchen. "I'll get you something warm to drink."

The hot chocolate she brought him simply sat there, becoming cold as he tried to forget the images that kept surfacing up. However, the voices of the group of girls coming in to get something warm themselves to drink suddenly came to his ears, and he raised up his head to see that all five of the girls he normally hung out with were approaching.

Sarah walked over to the counter and brought back and new cup of hot chocolate and put it beside Bailey's hand. "I am sorry about earlier."

"It is all right. At least, I think it is." The boy picked up the drink.

As he tried taking a sip, Chloe and Zoey suddenly smiled at him, both speaking up at the same time. "Merry Christmas Bailey."

The hot liquid suddenly went down the wrong side of his throat, causing him to suddenly turn red in the face, chocking slightly as he set down the cup. The twins began to argue about some sort of agreement the two of them had, about who would be able to wish Bailey a Merry Christmas first. The boy simply stood up. "Look you two. I'm really not in a Christmas mood right now. I'll see the two of you later."

The twelve year old then got up and left, heading up the stairs. He could hear Chloe berating Sarah about the whole thing. "What did you do to him, to make him act this way?"

"I..." Sarah looked at the two of the girls, frowning as she did so.

"Sarah didn't do anything wrong. Will said so all ready." Alma stated flat out, her accent peeking due to the fact she didn't like to see her friends attacked.

"If she didn't do anything, then why is he upset?" Zoe's words spat out.

"I'm unfortunately having to agree with them here. Bailey doesn't usually act like this." Molly glanced in the direction their friend had gone. "It also looks like he went up to the family area, rather then outside to where the horses were."

"Bailey just needs some time alone, like always." Alma let out a deep sigh. "Its a family thing. I suggest talking to Will about it."

"Unfortunately, Will just left with Mr. Handler to go look at some dumb horse." Chloe bemoaned.