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.