Thursday, February 2, 2012

Snowball in Hell

I am dying. I accept this. I will not live to see tomorrow.

I have been sitting here, on this bench, for god knows how long. My fingers became numb and then my toes. And then it spread to my arms and legs.

I am dying. And yet I will still move and walk around. My body will be dead and I will still use it.

I can feel it in my heart. Making my blood freeze in my veins. I am becoming like them. I am becoming a Child of the Cold.

It is the only way for me. Even if I escaped, even if I could find a way to avoid Claire and the others, I could never escape it. Him.

The only way to stop my heart is to become like them. He won't be in my heart then. He'll be everywhere else, but not in my heart. Claire showed me, she let me feel her chest where there was no heartbeat, none at all.

My name is John and I am dying. I accept this. I welcome it.

I welcome the cold.

Make me numb.

I Walk Along Darkened Corridors

It seemed like the hallway stretched out forever. And it was so dark, sometimes I stumbled and fell on the snowy floor. My fingers were numb again and I rubbed them over and over, trying to make them feel again.

Finally, I saw the end of the hallway, a square of bright light that beckoned. I pushed forward and walked into the light.

And there I saw him. It. The thing that they called the Cold Boy. That Claire and the children called the Absolute.

I saw it and I fell to my knees.

I can't describe what it looked like. My eyes couldn't process that much information. Just a glimpse and my eyes snapped close, trying to preserve my sanity.

And suddenly I knew. I could never escape it. It was always with us, forever. This place, the Winter Court, was a place it had created, like Claire said. It created this place, but this wasn't where it lives.

It lives in our hearts.

We can never escape it because it is a part of us. Whenever we are alone and feel a chill down our spine, that is it. Whenever we get so lonely and nervous, our teeth start to chatter, that it is.

I met Claire in the Winter Court.

I met the Cold Boy in Winter's Heart. In my heart. And I knew: I could never leave this place.

I walked out of the building and met Claire. She smiled. I kept walking.

"Do you want to leave now?" she asked.

"No," I said and kept walking. I walked until I reached the bench where I had slept and I sat down again.

And my fingers became numb again.

Mysterious Whisper

Claire led me across the Winter Court. The buildings, as I said, were made of ice. But they weren't just buildings. They were intricate ice structures, latticed and sculpted to perfection. Each one looked like they might have taken years to make, yet I had seen none of them hours before.

She led me down ice alleyways and streets covered in snow with snowmen on every corner. I could see more black-eyed children around. They were having snowball fights and laughing and singing. They looked happy.

And yet, every time I looked at them, I remembered Professor Holly Sachs, her eyes frozen and shattered, and Henry, so afraid of being alone.

She led me to an ice rink. And as we approached, more and more black-eyed children began following us. They whispered behind our backs, unintelligible whispers, and whenever I tried to listen in, they always looked at me and giggled and then ran back.

"Where are we going?" I asked Claire.

"To see Him," she said.

"I've already seen him," I said. "I know what he looks like."

"No, you haven't," she said. "You have seen the form He takes. I'm going to show you His true form."

"And what does that look like?" I asked.

She smiled. "I can't describe it. You have to see it for yourself."

Finally, we approached a building, the only building not made of ice. It looked like it was made of densely packed snow. There was an opening to a hallway, the inside dark.

"You must go alone," she said. "We can only see His glory once. Now you must see it."

"And you think that'll convince me?" I asked.

"Yes," she said. "I am sure of it."

"Fine," I said. "But if it doesn't, you have to let me go. Let me leave this place."

"I promise," she said. "Once you see Him, you won't want to."

She kissed me on the cheek and I turned away from her. Then I walked into the building.

Something Grabbed Ahold of My Hand

I am dying. I accept this. I will not live to see tomorrow. If there is a tomorrow in this godforsaken place.

I fell asleep and when I woke up, my fingers were so cold, I thought I had frostbite, but I managed to rub them together and regain some feeling. Then I looked around and noticed that the city had changed around me. It didn't look like the city I had been in. The buildings were all made of ice now and they glittered in the rays of the blue sun.

That struck me by surprise. The sun was blue. And it was high in the sky, yet I couldn't feel any warmth. All I felt was cold.

Someone tapped me on the shoulder and I turned, but they had vanished. They tapped my other shoulder and I turned again, caught in their silly game. I felt one more tap and turned, fully expecting nobody to be there.

And there she was. Claire. Still as beautiful as ever. "Wynken, Blynken, Nod," she said, "stop playing tag with him. He hasn't agreed to play with us yet." Off to the side, I could see three of the black-eyed children sadly slink away, their shoulders lowered. And yet the last one turned to me and smiled, his teeth an eerie white.

Claire looked at me. "Are you ready?" she asked.

"For what?" I said. "I'm ready to leave. I'm ready to go away. I don't want to be here. Please, just let me go."

"I can't," she said. "You were all alone and He saw you. If you weren't so alone, He wouldn't have wanted you here." She stepped forward. "But I can show you something to convince you. I can show you something that will make you want to join us."

"What?" I asked.

"Take my hand," she said.

I took it.

Monday, January 30, 2012


i'm so cold

You don't have to be cold, John. Just join us. Be like us.
He can make you numb to the cold, John. Numb to all the bad things in the world.
Join us, John. Sing with us.

help me

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

The World Before Later On

I don't know where I am. I was sitting at the bus stop waiting for another Greyhound. Waiting to be taken to another city to stay in another motel.

And I fell asleep. I've been trying to stay awake. I've been drinking lots of coffee (which I hate) and taking caffeine pills, but I must have slipped. My eyes closed and I must have fallen asleep.

Because when I woke up, everything was covered in snow.

I'm still at the bus stop. But there's nobody else here. The city is silent. The street is covered in snow and ice. I can barely walk without slipping.

It isn't going away. The last time this happened, it snapped back, but now it's not. I waited ten minutes, twenty minutes, and it's not going away. I don't even know if I can update my stupid blog because I don't know if the internet works here. I hope so. I hope I can tell people what happened to me.

I saw somebody. Just now. They just ran into an alleyway. Should I try to find them or leave them alone?

I peeked inside the alleyway. It was empty. Nobody there. And then I heard a whisper and a giggle and I turned and there they were. The black-eyed children. The Children of the Cold, that's what Holly called them. I shivered. They looked at me and then turned and ran down the street, their feet sliding on the ice like blades.

"Hello, John," a voice said behind me. A voice I remembered. I turned and looked down the alleyway again. There she was. Claire. She still looked beautiful, even though I knew she was evil. "Bonjour," she said.

"Where am I?" I asked.

"You are in the world he made," she said. "A world in between." She smiled and then ran past me laughing.

I turned and watched as she skated down the street and turned to face me again. "Welcome, John!" she yelled. "Welcome to the Winter Court!"

I watched as she skated away.

She is gone now. She and the others have left me here, in the snow, in the cold, with no way to get back. I can feel the cold creeping up on me. The tips of my fingers are numb.

And worse: I can feel His presence sometimes. The boy. Sometimes, when I'm trying to breath warmness back into my hands, I'll see him out of the corner of my eye. Always waiting.

I'm going to die here. Or I am going to become like them. Because I don't think I can stand being cold. Not like this. Not here.

I don't want to be cold.

Friday, January 20, 2012

I don't know what happened. I fell asleep on the bus and when I woke up, I had written that post. I mean, half of it is that rhyme the boy was singing to me. Did that...did that do something to me? Has he been affecting me somehow?

It has to be that. It has to be him.

I just starting dozing off again and everything became dim and I was alone on the bus and the seats were covered in snow. Then I woke up and it was back to normal.

Do I have to stay awake? Is that what I have to do? In addition to running, I have to keep myself from falling asleep? Can I do that?

Thursday, January 19, 2012

the bells are ringing

the bells are ringing they hear the sound the bells are ringing they hear the sound


the bells are pealing and they're revealing the simple key to happiness


it isn't good it isn't evil it's only what the people miss


why am i hearing this why am i hearing these sounds

Monday, January 16, 2012

A Self Called Nowhere

Do you know what jamais vu is? I had to look it up. It's the opposite of deja vu. It's when you know you're doing something you've done before, but it feels unfamiliar.

I've been on the run for three days and I keep having bouts of jamais vu. I've taken a Greyhound bus before. I know I have. But suddenly, I was panic-stricken at being on one. Suddenly, the endless empty streets were entirely new to me.

Am I going crazy? Or is this something to do with the Cold Boy? Sometimes...sometimes, when I'm on the edge of sleep, I'll blink my eyes and the roads will look like they're covered in ice, like the landscape is covered in snow. Then I'll blink again and it'll be gone. And every time this happens, it seems like it's never happened before.

I'm just wondering if one day I'll look in the mirror and wonder who is looking back.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Stand on Your Own Head

The address on the card turned out to be a retirement home: Oaksdale Assistant Living. It an old folk's home. A nice one, but not what I expected. I walked in and there was a bored looking receptionist. I asked to speak to Mr. Houdin. I lied and said I was his grandson. She didn't actually seem to care - she just spoke to someone over the phone and then told me 'Bob' was in the garden.

As I walked through the retirement home, I saw all the elderly. They were sleeping and playing chess and reading the newspaper and watching television. It seemed so mundane after what I had been through.

I was expecting to find Houdin in a fortress-like home, where he would have a dozen locks and a massive security system. Instead, I found him in a wheelchair next to a row of hedges reading a yellowed paperback. He looked old, at least in his seventies. "Hello," I said.

"Hey," he said. "Someone send you?"

"Yes," I said and used the code phrase the man had told me to say. "A lad insane."

Houdin smiled. "Sane, huh. I should have figured. Can you do me a favor? Can you look over there?" He pointed at some trees. I looked. "See anything?"

"No," I said.

He nodded. "That's good. Sit down, kid. Let's have a chat." I sat down on the bench next to him. He looked me over and nodded again. "Well, you haven't looked up in the sky since you got here, can't be the birds. You're not scratching or itching or washing your hands, so it's probably not the doc. And you looked at the trees and didn't see anything, so we can rule out our skinny friend. So I'm going to guess...the cold one."

"Yes," I said. "They said I should run."

"They always say that," he said. "And it is the best strategy sometimes. It makes it...more of a game, you might say. Cat and mouse. But you can't run forever. Eventually, you give up the ghost. I ran for years. I missed my entire midlife crisis to running. I crossed the entire world. I went to places I never thought I'd go, yet I never really took the time to appreciate them. Because I was always running."

"How'd you live for so long?" I said. "I're still alive. And you're not running anymore. I thought...I actually thought you would be living like a hermit in some sort of fortress."

He laughed at that. "Nah," he said. "That's what you want at first, but soon you realize it doesn't matter. All the locks you could buy won't keep out one of them. If they want you dead, you're dead. The trick is to make them not want you dead. I remember the Cold Boy." He closed his book and looked up. "I had cut everyone out of my life. I figured I had to go alone. And after a few months of that, I started to hear this singing. I thought I was going insane at first, but I kept hearing it. 'Row row row your boat, gently down the stream. Merrily, merrily, merrily, life is but a dream.' Over and over."

"That's happening to me," I said. "Exactly like that. did you stop him?"

"Figured it was because I was isolated," he said. "So I started making friends again. I was a naturally friendly guy, so all I had to do was walk into a bar and buy a few rounds and soon I had a dozen new friends. They weren't real friends, but they were enough to keep the Cold Boy at bay until I could get back in touch with my family. He likes the lonely. If you aren't lonely, sometimes he won't go after you."

"Sometimes?" I said. "What does that mean?"

He shrugged. "That means that they got a strange set of rules. They behave in certain ways. They target certain people. You aren't one of those people, maybe they won't target you. Or maybe they will. Guess it just depends."

"On what?"

"If you're lucky." He scratched his chin. "Me? I've been lucky. Met a few of them and came out without dying. Can't use my legs anymore, but since I'm an old man, I figured I don't need 'em that much anyway."

"How long?" I asked. "How long did you run?"

"Started in '63. Stopped...oh, sometime in the '90s. Felt I couldn't run anymore. I said screw it and waited for one of them to come kill me. Funny thing is, none of them did. Oh, I still see them every now and then. Look at those trees again for me, will you?" I looked at the trees. There was a man standing next to them now. "What do you see?" Houdin asked.

"A man," I said.

"What's he look like?"

I looked closer at the man next to the trees, but my eyes become watery and started to hurt. "I can't...I can't see him that well," I said.

"'Course not. He's just dropping by, a visit from an old friend. I figure someday he'll appear right inside my bedroom and then I'll be gone. But I've lived long enough that I don't have many regrets. You, however, probably have a few."

"What can I do?" I asked.

He looked at me. His eyes were old and the skin around them was sharp with wrinkles. "Don't be so lonely, kid," he said. "Try to find someone you can run with. Even if you're afraid of exposing someone else, you can't stay alive and stay alone. Wish I could do more to help, kid, but that's as much as I have."

I got up. "Thanks," I said and started to walk away.

"Hey, kid," I heard him call out. "Get yourself a digital thermometer. It'll tell you when he's near. Won't stop him, but you can at least know."

"Thanks," I said again and left.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Are you sleeping?

I haven't been able to sleep. I've tried, god how I've tried. But I can't. I stay awake all night long. Every time I close my eyes, I see Holly's face. Her eyes. How can I get away from something that can do that? How can I do anything to stop it?

Are you sleeping?

Some people from the government met me a few days ago. Some alphabet agency, I can't remember the initials. Said that they were investigating the deaths of Holly Sachs and Henry Berkoff. I didn't even know his last name. They asked me if I had seen a little boy. If I had heard him singing. I said yes. I asked them how I could escape him. How I could survive.

"Run," they said. "Run far and run fast."

Brother John?

How can I run? I don't know the first thing. I've never even been hiking or camping. I've never even been out of the country - farthest away I've been in Las Vegas. How can I run? But I hear his voice sometimes. Singing to me. I can't go to him. It's the last option, the one I can't submit to.

The agents gave me a card. Someone who might be able to help me run, they said. It had an address. And one name: Houdin.

Monday, January 2, 2012

Henry is dead. He died sometime after being admitted to the hospital. They told me that the frostbite was too severe and even amputating his arm wasn't enough.

In the empty hospital room, where the doctor was gently explaining it to me, I heard a voice. A child's voice, but it sounded strange, as if it wasn't coming from anywhere, but everywhere:

"Are you sleeping? Are you sleeping? Brother John, Brother John? Morning bells are ringing, morning bells are ringing. Ding, dang, dong. Ding, dang, dong."

The air grew cold and I could see my breath in front of my face. The doctor didn't seem to notice anything himself, though, because he kept saying that he was sorry for my loss.

I asked him to show me the way out. I didn't want to walk there alone.