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.