(I totally didn’t miss the last 6 days of posts between Christmas and tooth surgery..)
(Enjoy this random wintry story I wrote to make up for it)
(I have absolutely no idea where I got this but yes I did write it even though it never happened)
How it all begins. It’s a strange story, and not one I really want to tell, but I can start with the fact that it’s very strange.
The wind roared as I walked down the path, trudging through the snow. It wasn’t the best of times, as all I had was a dark cloak to keep me warm. It fluttered around my ankles, clumped with snow as the wind pushed it back and forth. My fingers had long since frozen and now they were tucked within the dark folds of the cloak. The cowl was pulled deep over my face so that it would not blow back again for the umpteenth time, but I couldn’t see as very well.
That could’ve been why tree branches kept smacking me.
ANYWAY, I was walking. Suddenly, I looked up, for no reason at all; something just compelled me to do it..
So I stared out in front of me. I had left the treeline and was walking through a clearing that sloped gently down, like a small hill. The snow ahead was still untouched and sparkled in the bright moonlight, except for light indents on the surface. A rabbit trail, maybe, I had figured. Or maybe a doe.
As I came closer, I began to think about the lonely animal. Needless to say they were rabbit prints, as I had first speculated, and nothing like a deer; most likely a baby rabbit. But was this rabbit playing chase over the snow, or desperately looking for a place to burrow down?
I began to realize I was following alongside those prints, and they had gotten larger and deeper until they actually resembled the prints of a young doe. It was strange; a rabbit didn’t have the size, nor the weight, nor foot length to make such a print, but no animal I knew could do both.
Then it became ever more confusing as I reached the trees once more. The prints shifted into that of a fox cub, then began to get wider as the fox darted through the trees. I quickened my pace, trying to follow the prints before they filled up; the snowfall had thickened and already my prints were almost gone. The wind was like a dull drum pounding in my ears. I know wind doesn’t normally sound like that, but the whistling just ruffled me the wrong way, I suppose.
Either way, I just kept running, and running, and running, until I realized I’d all but lost the prints.
The snow was so heavy now that I would not have seen my hand five inches from my face even if I tried. I was terrified; my breaths were short and rapid as I stumbled through the snow. Eventually I tripped over a root covered in a thin layer of snow that I couldn’t see anyway, and I fell facedown into the soft white.
I had to use the last of my strength to pull myself into a snow-covered bush. At that point I didn’t care that it was dirty; it was either bugs or hypothermia. Sure, it was horrid, but I passed out soon anyway.
I woke up in the early morning, then dragged myself out of the bush. Turns out it wasn’t a bush at all, just an empty sack.
I shook off the snow that had piled around me. I was shivering, deathly cold. I was sure I would die right then and there, because I barely had any strength left to go on.
And yet I still stood up and began to walk. I didn’t know where I was going, only that it was right. I was acting on the same impulse that led me to look up and see the prints. Even if I had resisted that urge, I wouldn’t have lasted very long anyway; in fact, it was this perseverance that kept me alive. That, and that only.
Finally I fell to my knees in front of a large lump of snow. Feeling that I was supposed to do something, I brushed off the surface to find another large sack. This one wasn’t empty; in fact, when I put my hand inside, I felt something soft; it was a tiny hand gripping my fingers.
I tugged down the lip of the bag to peer inside. There was a child inside, a little girl about seven years old. As soon as she saw me, she pulled on my fingers. I took this to mean that I had to let her out of the bag, so I did.
Immediately she streaked out and off in one direction. “Hey, wait!” I had yelled, grabbing the sack and running after her. “I won’t hurt you!”
We were running for a few minutes before I heard the soft whisper of rushing water under thin ice. I knew instantly that the girl was going to try to cross the ice, but she’d fall through. “Stop!” I’d yelled desperately.
She didn’t stop.
She leapt right over the edge, but she did the impossible.
I watched as, before my very eyes, she shifted. It was a small, grey-white dove, nothing really special.
It was obvious, though, that it was too cold for her to fly; her wings were stiff and the wind kept blowing her off course. With a gasp, I realized she would fall.
I grabbed the nearest, sturdiest tree branch and turned, flinging my hand out. The dove shifted back into a girl and grabbed at my fingers. She shouted something, but I couldn’t hear it over the shrieking wind.
I dragged her back up and we both fell into the snow. She helped me up with a nod of thanks. I handed her the sack and she hugged it tight against her, saying nothing.
I suddenly realized I was still at the edge of the water, and that we were above the rocky rapids; if I misstepped and fell, I would die, because what little strength I had left would not be enough to save me. I made a move to step away from the small cliff, but the girl blocked me.
“The wind is howling, and the water murmurs a soft call,” she whispered. “‘Join us, join us. You will never find a better offer, for we are your future. We are your final Ending.’ They call to you.”
Her fingers found mine for a moment, then she reached up and pushed back the cowl. I was frozen with bewilderment, and, I admit, a thrill of fear, as her fingers found the hem and shoved it off. Finally, my face was exposed to the crisp, cold air.
I took a deep, shuddering breath, then nearly choked trying to hold back a cough; it burned my throat too much for me to do it. I reached for the cowl again, seeking the warmth, but the girl’s fingers stopped me.
“Determination is your lifeline. Hold on to it. You may have gone unnoticed, but someday, your story will be told.”
Then she pushed me down.