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The Fair Beneath The Ice
by A. P. Maynard

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Matt’s snowball spun through the dark line of fir trees and struck Sophia hard upon her cheek.

When he called her name, the rocky slope and the pine-scented trees distorted the sound of his voice, scattering it into a thousand shards, so it sounded like it came from everywhere at once. She heard his friend Ricky snicker, then hiss, “Fat bitch,” and suddenly, it felt like the cold all around her was sinking into her bones. She didn’t like Ricky. He was vicious and kind of fat himself, and there was something sly about his eyes when he looked at her that made her feel like a trapped animal.

Footsteps crunched through the snow. A figure in a red parka appeared between the trees—Ricky, his face hidden in the shadow of his hood. Even though she couldn’t see his face, she knew he was grinning. She thought she could see his eyes, bright and glinting like knives.

“Leave me alone,” Sophia yelled, and Ricky echoed her.

Leave me alone.” He copied her Californian accent, strengthened to Valley Girl heights. “You fat bitch.”
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