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By Denis Plew

“Mom, I’m going ice skating now,” said Allison with her skates already on. She shuffled out the backdoor to a small frozen area that her father had made in the back yard by sprinkling water from the lawn hose. It wasn’t a large area, but big enough to skate in circles or to practice making half turns in order to skate backwards.

Her mother followed her to the back door saying, “You be careful now, you hear. It’s only two days ‘til Christmas and I don’t want you hurting yourself.”

Her mother’s warning fell on deaf ears as Allison walked on her tip toes to the ice patch. Swish, swish--- her sharp blades cut into the ice as they skimmed smoothly along the surface carrying her thin eight year old body. Faster and faster she circled. She loved ice skating, and feeling the cool air brush against her face. Each day she wanted to improve on her skating moves and today wasn’t any different. She was intent on practicing switching from front to back at a faster speed. She pushed off with her right toe, and with a few quick gliding steps, attained the speed she thought was best. As she turned to skate backwards, her blade hit an open crack in the thin ice. Down she fell. But instead of springing back to her feet as she normally did; she lay motionless on the cold clear ice.

Ann, her mother, kept a watchful eye on her daughter from the kitchen window. When she peeked out, she saw Allison sprawled flat on the ice. She sensed that something was wrong and franticly ran to her side. With a concerned look on her face, she bent down by her daughter’s still body. She cautiously turned Allison over only to be met with a dull stare from her daughter’s eyes. Right away, she knew that this wasn’t any ordinary injury. She ran back in the house and dialed 911. In desperation, she grabbed some blankets from the beds and ran outside to cover Allison. There was no sign of life in Allison’s body as she gently turned her over and placed a blanket beneath to protect her from the cold ice. Then she covered Allison with the other blankets. The only way her mother knew that she was still alive, was by the small white cloud that formed above her face with each breath. As Ann kneeled beside her daughter, she spotted Allison’s ice skates sticking out from beneath the blankets.

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