You can hear rotten ice.
Smell it even, if the wind isn’t too thick above the water.
There’s a shifting, moaning noise where the ice is wearing thin and breaking loose. There’s a taste of running water and dead things, being pushed up from under the sterile frost.
If you’re looking for rotten ice, you’re already in over your neck.
People keep looking.
The definition of insanity is repeating the same actions, hoping for a different result.
But it’s hard to break out of patterns, break out of the familiar way of approaching the world. It’s hard to break out even if it can, and will, prove deadly to our purpose.
We trust our eyes, even when we know our eyes deceive us.
I see it too much in what I read, that blind acceptance of what is visible.
If writers challenged that perception more often, it would be a useful shortcut, but too many lakes sit solidly icebound, no treachery visible or apparent.
I went through once as a child.
Not deep, not enough to damage, but I’ve never forgotten that sickened swoop of betrayal as my solid, icy footing vanished beneath me, crumbling like so much rotten wood.
Maybe that’s what it takes to use the other senses.
A cold lake, a deceptive surface, and, as the water meets your flesh, the realization that you have never been the one in control.
So which step here will take you under?
The consequences of where we place our feet are a vital part of telling our stories.
Watching where we walk is something I enjoy incorporating into my writing. Feel free to try my fantasy novel, The Guests of Honor here.