Hello, all you lovely snow angels.
Have you got your scarf? Hat and mitts? Are you warm enough? I’m not trying to be fussy, I just want you to be ready for your journey. It may be lovely, but it’s still going to be cold, because…
This week’s Writing Group prompt is:
The Quiet of Fresh Snow
RULES AND GUIDELINES BELOW!
Make sure you scroll down and read them if you haven’t! You may not be eligible if you don’t!
We seem to really like playing with the idea of peace and quiet, don’t we? Freshly fallen snow is such a lovely image too. All those little flakes dancing through the air on a gentle winter breeze… it’s just so serene.
It could easily be a peaceful winter morning, the sky that soft foggy white-grey as you sip your morning beverage, pondering what the day might bring. Maybe it’s the perfect day to catch up on reading, or maybe work on some long overdue project. Perhaps the fresh powder is inviting you to come out for a stroll, or to come and dance a waltz with its drifting flakes. Maybe the fresh snow is a sign that peace has finally come to a city in turmoil, a moment of bliss in chaos. Maybe the fresh snow is the opportunity one is waiting for to leave for a new start, the fallen flakes covering their tracks. Maybe the quiet is a final moment of peace for one soldier as he collapses in the snow, thankful this far too long battle is finally over.
But one thing to remember is that quiet isn’t always a good thing. It’s always calmest before the storm, after all. Perhaps the quiet and gentle snow is just a precursor to a horrible blizzard caused by a scorned witch. The snow could be a special curse cast by some enraged elementals to put a city to sleep, a sort of snowy cryostasis to stop mankind from wreaking havoc on the world. The quiet could be just short of the summit of some massive mountain, the fresh snow falling to envelop a hiker who just couldn’t make it to the top before succumbing to the harsh environment. The snow could be falling on a quiet night during one’s long commute home, the icy roads hidden under the powder. Maybe it’s quiet because everything that lived in this forest has already been devoured… save for you, of course.
Quiet can be peace, or it can be despair; it can bring delight, or it can play host to fear, and to combine these things with the serenity of snow… well, it brings a whole new chill out of a piece, doesn’t it?
So bundle up, get cozy, and send us into a delightful— or terrifying— flurry of imagination. The possibilities are endless.
For just like snowflakes, no two stories are ever the same.
Remember, this is part of our weekly Writing Group stream! Submit a little piece following the rules and guidelines below, and there’s a chance your entry will be read live on stream! In addition, we’ll discuss it for a minute and give you some feedback.
Tune into the stream this Saturday at 7:00pm CST to see if you made the cut!
The whole purpose of this is to show off the creativity of the community, while also helping each other to become better writers. Lean into that spirit, and get ready to help each other improve their confidence in their writing, as well as their skill with their craft!
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Flakes of Time
“Can you hear me?”
White dust crumbles.
My walking continues.
Descending from the misty abyss above me, it falls. A blanket of ice. An obscuration of what lies beneath. A muffle for the cacophony. My feet struggle in their attempt to traverse it. It had just been a walk. I… wasn’t planning on going far. The easel digs into my side. The freezing void, unworthy of depiction, is incapsulating. It cannot go on.
A stranger calls a stranger’s name. They are lost. Lost souls… Are not meant to not be found. A steady gait and a firm gaze keeps the… strangers away.
The white mist pulls apart to reveal a structure. Buried in white dust, crumbling, the gates of Oncewas. Amongst the rubble, one building still stands. Memoir menagerie, balancing on its trembling pillars as I do mine, a gallery of… something familiar. They shuffle and stumble, my legs. Crumbling the white dust, they straggle up the staircase.
I always… hated white paintings. A painting is a memory, fossilized. A painting is… a painting is…
I am… not a white painting. A canvas painted of itself is not to be interpreted. A painting painted over, then vibrant, now monochrome, a white, dusty painting, crumbling. A white painting is… but a notion. Nothing more.
The painting falls
“Do you recognize me?”
The fog obscures the stranger. A lost soul cannot help another. A steady gait and a firm gaze keeps them at bay.
White dust falls upon me, paints me. I am not a white painting. I always hated white paintings. Why paint if it is to be painted over? I’d rather have it burn.
This is the reign of white dust. No corner neglected, no stone untouched. An agglomeration of noise, grains of white, filling… permeating… every lane… of this vast chamber.
Being is… an hourglass. Subsistence persists when we are flipped. Accept it or… forget to remember.
White dust crumbles.
My walking persists.
You are my sunshine
By David Chamberlain
He could see his breath as he stood there. Just the slightest breeze blowing by, enough to redirect his exhalations towards the sunrise. He felt the freezing trail left behind by the tear that slowly rolled down his face. Tracking along his nose, redirected by the deep wrinkles around his mouth. Dropping off his chin and hitting the letter he held in his hand. He looked down and read.
You are my sunshine. With a million words I could say how much you mean to me…
His eyes welled with tears again. This time tears flowed from both eyes, in a constant stream. He could taste the salt they carried.
She always used a little too much salt, he thought. What he wouldn’t give to taste her slightly over-salted cooking again. To sit across the table from her and drink in her beauty once again. To satiate that thirst unquenchable. Just to hold her hand…
And stare into her eyes.
It had been so long…
50 years ago she was stolen from him by fate. A day just like this, both snowy and sunny.
“False sunshine”, he cursed… Brilliantly shining and yet as cold as the grave.
His mind wandered. Michigan had the strangest weather he thought to himself as he looked up at the blue sky. Blue skies and yet the snowflakes continue to fall. Many times they had sat together by the fire, until late in the evening. Silently watching the flakes tumble from starry skies. Illuminated by the fire and then… gone. Just like her, there one second, then… Gone.
They had always communicated without words. Intuition? They were so meant for each other that they rarely needed to speak. Anticipation of each others wants and needs came as if they were one being. Funniest thing was, the silence was what made him feel closer to her.
50 years now…
50 Valentines days…
why was he being punished?
He quietly sang to the silence, “you are my sunshine, My only sunshine”
he dropped to his knees…
Clutching the letter to his chest…
“You make me happy”
Existential Questions (repost from private)
By Cansas Wanderlust
The cement is cold. It seeps through the fabric of my clothes, creeping along my scalp.
The leafless trees clink together, as the cool breeze runs between them.
The moon hides behind the dark clouds that sweep across the sky.
Streetlights glow white and orange, casting shadows that sway back and forth.
Why can I look beyond the sky without seeing anything?
Is it possible not to see? When I close my eyes, I see nothing. Therefore, I still see something. I see nothing.
What is nothing?
Is nothing just the word we chose to call that which we cannot comprehend?
We created words. Therefore, the only meaning words have is that which we give them.
The only meaning anything has is that which we give.
So then, what gives us meaning?
But god is just a word, a word which we created and gave meaning.
God is a story, given meaning by men, told by men, remembered by men.
If god is a story, then are we stories too?
Will anyone remember my story?
No one remembers the story of the man who discovered fire. So why would my story be remembered?
Then, what’s the point? To live, and die, and be forgotten?
Why do anything if it will only be forgotten?
Why live a story no one will remember?
Why live a story not even I will remember?
The dead cannot remember stories.
The dead cannot give words meaning.
What is the point of a snowflake?
Do you remember every snowflake you see?
Of course not.
Snowflakes fly, they fall, and then… they die, leaving no memory behind.
Yet while they live, while they fall to their demise, they still bring smiles to those who see them.
Sharing a Cold One
When you live completely alone in your own little cabin, too far off the map for anyone to know your name, it can be difficult for anything to excite a person anymore.
They appear so rarely that I have to prep myself to never look forward to it. Even with the slight glimmer of sunlight being reflected off snowfall through clear glass, I have to emotionally scold myself…sometimes to the point where I don’t even bother to look out my window somedays. What you don’t know can’t hurt you after all.
It isn’t until night falls and one undisciplined glance out the window to the backyard porch shifts into an enthusiastic stare. They’re actually out there! I casually but immediately put my winter wear on, grab a beer, and slide open the door. I kick some snow off the top step and sit next to the featureless shadow creature I’ve come to know as an unlikely acquaintance.
Thankfully the snow has stopped. Not a cloud in sight. Only the shine of a bright full moon pleasantly reflects the newly frozen terrain that the field has been molded into before our… or, my… eyes, I guess.
As I sit thinking about that, the creature shifts itself as if to look at me. I gesture and offer him (or her) my beer, not expecting too much. The creature reaches out a stumpy arm, and despite having no thumbs effortlessly holds onto the can. They hold it up to what I assume is their “face,” only to freeze mid-movement. They shake the can up and down in a confused manner before giving it back to me solemnly. I reach out for the can and as I hold onto it, the liquid inside is still. The drink has frozen.
Oh well, I guess I’ll figure out what to do about that later. I rest my arm. It’s the thought that counts after all.
I smile at the creature to show no hard feelings and go back to enjoying the view.
(Reposted From Private)
New snow has formed over the plots.
It should, Guin supposes, feel cold.
At first touch the drifts hold firm, but when she steps down, they splinter. Silently she crushes them into the grooves of yesterday’s footsteps. The moon watches her track them up the hill, up to the bowed barren tree turned crystal in the frost.
She isn’t wearing boots. The snow grazes her bare ankles as she climbs, soaks into her pants when she kneels at the summit. Her fingers push through the sheet of ice, sweep it from the stone in the ground.
Guin’s fingertips press into the carved edge of each letter. She can imagine their jagged bite on her skin.
Then she can imagine something softer.
A little girl’s hand, clammy, sticky with jam.
Warmth, fragile but present, cupped between their linked fingers.
And a time when the girl’s chirping voice had filled the silence and her heart.
Now the only sound is boots crunching their way up through the rime, kicking up flakes in a joyous destruction of Guin’s footstep path. They skip their way over the graves to plant themselves behind her.
The woman’s voice skewers the night, goring it on Guin’s name. Her suit is the color of wine, staining the diffused moonlight. There’s fire in her eyes, kindled by loathing and glee, and she’s happy to throw a new misery on the pyre.
She’s far too loud, and she knows it.
“Leave.” Guin breathes.
“What?” The woman’s grin splits wide. “You’re fine with me watching, but when I come to say hi-”
The bowed tree shudders and moans, frost dragging its limbs down toward Guin’s fists.
“Okay! Not a problem! Stuff to do anyway! Just one thing.”
She presses her palms together, and bows at the waist. The flames in her eyes lick across Guin’s cheeks. They dance across Guin’s Shackles, the ice fractals inked sapphire blue beneath her eyes.
“I need a favor.”
In the Trees
By Danny Gilhooley
Owen grunted and lifted another shovel full of snow. It was already up to his knees and it wasn’t stopping anytime soon. It wasn’t even supposed to snow. Tracey said that, and he believed her.
He turned back to the cabin where they were staying for the weekend. The truck was brushed off but in the rest of the driveway, it was like he never started shoveling.
And no sign of Tracey. She promised she would be outside after cleaning up the house. Again, like an idiot, he believed her.
“Stop,” he said aloud. That was why they were here. To fix things up.
“If you have a problem, just tell her. You’ve known her long enough. She’ll understand.”
He turned back to the woods to start shoveling again. All the trees were bare. They appeared darker against the harsh white of the snow, each of them a straight black line surrounding the cabin like bars of a prison.
Except for that short one. It was the weirdest tree he had ever seen. It almost looked like…
Owen stopped shoveling.
It looked like a person. The silhouette started thin but got wider as it went to where the hips should be. Then it curved in, then out, then stopped with a circle, with wavy branches getting caught in the breeze.
Exactly like hair.
“Hello!” Owen called.
The silhouette started to move. A step. A step towards the cabin.
“Hey! What are you doing here!” Owen shouted.
He dropped the shovel and moved into the woods. The silhouette changed directions to move behind one of the larger trees. Owen was in front of it in seconds.
“How did you get out—”
He moved around the tree. No one was there. He looked down and saw footprints in the snow. They stopped in front of the tree.
Owen looked up. The snow kept falling.
No one was there…
Owen flinched and looked back to the cabin. It was Tracey. He made his way back to the cabin. There was still plenty of shoveling to do.
Sound of the River
By Tamela Redfin
It was the only question on my mind. This wasn’t where I was, but it felt too vivid to be a dream. I did feel the water on my hand. In fact, my hand was still wet. I slowly stood up and breathed in through the heavy mist. It was warm, unlike fog when it was a cold spring day back at home. I had a feeling as to where I was. I listened for anything, but heard nothing except the flowing of a river.
I could only follow the river by sound since my vision was compromised at the moment. I dipped my foot in the water, but it wasn’t wet. Made sense; I was wearing boots. I sat down on the bank, listening to the water flow. Now I had to ask the question of where I was. From the sounds I know heard, I could tell I was in a jungle. Also, from my clothes, I could tell I was clearly a researcher of some type. I closed my eyes to see if I could remember more about myself. Yes, it was working.
My foot jerked up from the water. Fish swam past my intruding foot, which helped me notice a depression in the mud. A footprint, but too small to be mine. It was a woman’s foot. Alexandra, the head of this. Yes, it had to be her and not Tristian, the other member.
The fog surrounding me cleared and I could now confirm I was in a jungle and it was full of tranquility.
“Cameron, Cameron, there you are.” It was Alexandra.
by Johnny Saguaroseed
Laura pushed her hand against the library door. “Don’t tell uncle, but…” Her shoulders tensed. “IaccidentlyreleasedawinterspiritIfoundtrappedinamagicbook.”
Cold, and the smell of pine needles, greeted Miles as he gazed upon a library transformed. Fresh snow lay in great heaps about the room, richly white and dimpled with tracks from small animals, except where due to the September sun shining in from the big East-facing windows it had melted, revealing patches of wet floorboards and soggy leaves. Pine boughs pushed through the bookstacks, each limb wearing a coat of snow and a cluster of tiny berries for a broach. Dripping icicles adorned the shelves and rivulets of snowmelt traced pathways down the book-spines. With a conical cap of snow on its head, uncle’s globe appeared as a dunce sitting in penitence—a fitting student for a room of learning made absurd.
The breeze that blew through the room tingled across Miles’ skin and the hairs at the back of his neck stood up.
Nothing moved; and in the silence of the place Miles felt as if he was caught in a single moment, a singular moment in time that went on and on, unbroken; a feeling which, somehow, was only enhanced by distant cries, deep in the stacks, of crows. Miles forced himself to take a breath, chilly air stinging his lungs, and when he released it vapor formed at his lips.
He took one slow step into the room, his footfall muffled by the soft snow. “You…?”
“I don’t think uncle’s going to buy that, his library’s ruined. Look there’s clouds up there.” Miles dropped his voice. “So where is it?”
“Where’s what?” she whispered back.
“The winter spirit.”
“It’s right here, it’s all around. You’re stepping in it. The room is filled with the spirit of winter.”
“I thought it would be a person. A little snow elf or something.”
“Whoever’s standing in the doorway whispering,” snapped a voice from behind a bookshelf, “shut the door! I’m trying to read and you’re letting all the cold air out. And can’t you be quiet? This is a library!”
Tricia noticed her husband’s distant stare before the twinkling powder outside. First snow of the season, he always gets like this she thought.
“I have to go,” Mark looked like he was about to cry, moving to the front yard. Despite Tricia’s concerns, she let him go out. In the ten years they had been married, he had always done this; the one genuine oddity in their relationship.
Mark had never drank to excess, and he was by all accounts a loving spouse. But every single year, when the snow came, he just had to know.
He just had to know he could go outside and enjoy it.
Mark sat in the cold for a few minutes, letting the melted flakes soak his pajamas and bare feet. Even as the ice needled his bare flesh he couldn’t help but smile. He made a snowball and let it settle in his open hand. It was the good packy kind of snow, perfect for snowmen and snowball fights.
“You shouldn’t be here you know.” a voice from the past called out on the wind. Mark could feel a plastic band around his wrist, the sterility of a hospital ward passed like a phantom through his nostrils.
“You’re not well. You can’t be allowed outside. In fact, it’s time for your medication.” the nurse continued.
Mark shook his head. What happened was a long time ago. The pills. The long stretches of memory ripped from his skull. The anger of being locked up just written off as an episode and the dosages being cranked up. Seeing the snow fall through barred windows, promising serene bliss from the chaos of the ward and being under clinical thumbs.
“You cannot control your anger, that is why you’re not allowed out here. Do I need to get the orderlies again?”
“Leave me alone.” Mark breathed. Like a spell the nurse’s authority faded into the icy wind.
Mark dropped the snowball, content with things being as they should. Tricia welcomed him back inside, cups of cocoa prepared.
By The Man Himself
Eoin was careful as he unwrapped the sandwich, paper already soaked through in places with a mix of grease and condensation from the rising steam of the breaded chicken fillet and the butter that had soaked entirely into the soft innards of the white roll.
He wasn’t worried about falling, even if the motion was dramatic enough to threaten his balance up here on the arm of this gargantuan iron giant, he’d been climbing all his life. No, he was far more worried about dropping the sandwich, that the paper might slide open in an unexpected way, that it would slide between his fingers and disappear into the dim lot far below him, coming apart as it dropped, joining the fat flakes that hang in the air around it.
Holding the wrapped chicken fillet roll over his lap, he opens it safely, taking the first crunching bite hesitantly. It had cooled a little in his journey up here, but was still warm.
Hands ungloved for added dexterity, he reaches tentatively for the paper cup of tea spitting clouds beside him, somewhat precarious.
From his vantage point, high on this crane above a building site, he had a good view of the city. The best, he’d have said. Those soft flakes from before filled the empty sky between him and the nearest building, an added sensory detail everywhere you looked, speckling the blank, black sides of skyscrapers as they passed the glass monsters by, joining ever-growing condensed clouds of pristine colour emerging on the pavement. If it were day, someone would’ve ruined it already, even as it fell, punching a hole in the fragile, even second skin of his town with a booted foot.
Eoin finished the first half of the sandwich, the smell of butter, red sauce, and strong tea mixing strangely with the freezing air filling his nose as he shifted in his seat, the metal cold and uncomfortable as he slips, not even thinking to grab on as he hits clean air, the crane far behind already as he hopes that the snow lies thicker than it looks.
By: Preserves Roses
After several days of hype, before daylight on Friday it started to snow.
Snow when it falls is silent, just a gentle little plop on your hood or your face. This time winds came with the snow and they howled and made the snow sting as it slammed against your skin. Everyone in the city was tucked up snuggly in their homes. No school, no work, better to stay safe at home.
The city for that day was quiet.
The snow as it fell was silent, what is one flake of snow? Or even a hundred? Such little things. This snow though came in its multitudes. Is the neighbours house still there across the street? I’m not sure because I can’t always see it between the snowflakes, the wind has whipped them into a frenzy. What? Your baby really wants to be born today? Well you will have to drive your snowmobile to the hospital, it’s the only way to get there. The snow plows have lost their battle against the snow, they give in and admit defeat. Parked by the fire station the plows turn off their rumbly motors.
The snowplows have fallen silent in the storm.
The snow lays heavy and quiet upon the city. Dawn has come, the snow has stopped falling and the winds have blown themselves out. More than 70cm, over 2 feet of snow has fallen in 24 hours. In some places the snow is knee deep, in others the drifts have piled up over people’s heads. A kindly neighbour has come to dig out my door so I can get out, the snow had drifted all the way to the top. I have trouble finding my car in the driveway it has been completely buried. There is no rush to get it out, I have nowhere to go. The Mayor has closed the city: no one can go anywhere until the streets are cleared of snow. Everyone is to stay at home.
The city stayed quiet for a week.
The Little Orange Slices
By Caius Cosades
The sun’s glare waned to an ocher dimness through the haze; its outline undulating behind the heat like a weeping eye trembling in grief, unblinking and unable to turn away. Heat. I thought I knew heat. Lemonade and staring at ceiling fans.
Whir whir whir.
Count their rotations; makes time fly by. You’ve got time to waste. In summer, summer never ends. Or if you want to be technical about it, heat is just an excited particle. Sometimes that particle is a neutron, and sometimes it finds an atom of Uranium-235. Sometimes that happens many times, and it takes everything you love.
Whir whir whir.
Lemonade with the little orange slices. I became acutely aware of my parched lips turned brittle, white and segmented by wounds, like pomelo left out for too long. Citruses are the best. All around me, flakes fell in streams from nowhere in particular. In the absence of a breeze to defy the stillness, they did not flutter or spiral. They dropped perfectly perpendicular, as if they themselves were too indifferent, too tired to try. Why is it snowing? It’s summer not winter. This snow had no glimmer, no crystalline fractals or graceful impermanence. It was dull, gray, and featureless. It had no need to be. This was the end result, the decay, and it was not going anywhere. Maybe it really was winter. Time didn’t seem to matter anymore. The world was no longer part of the oscillation between night and day. It seemed content in this state of fire.
Damn. How many was that? Time had passed, as the sun was now kissing the horizon as if it couldn’t bear to look anymore. The remains of our world now laid under an immaculate veneer of ash, and above it the sky was replaced by a tangible heat burning in acridine orange. The sun dipped into a complete blink, and I was plunged into a petroleum darkness. I forget, summer always ends eventually. My body joins the uniform sediment.
“How many were on the slope at the time?”
“Fifteen at least. . . lets go.”
“ . . . “
“The dogs found someone!”
“Come on, help me!”
“ . . . “
“Hey. . . are you alive?”
“They’re unconscious. Get them on the stretcher.”
“ . . . “
“A coma, I’m afraid.”
“Is the family on their way?”
“What will you tell them?”
“ . . . “
“Oh Robert! Can he hear me?”
“It’s possible. Some coma victims remember everything after their recovery, some have total amnesia.”
“Robert, I don’t know if you can hear me. But if you can, know I love you more than anything else in the world and nothing will ever change that. Know that when you recover, I’ll be waiting for you.”
“So will I, dad.”
“Is . . . Is he crying? Maybe he can hear us!”
“. . Maybe. I don’t know if that’s better or worse.”
“I promise Robert that we will take turns visiting every day until you’re recovered. Right, Mike?”
“Yeah, of course, mom.”
“I love you honey, Mike will see you tomorrow.”
“ . . . “
“How i – – e today?”
“Same – – alwa – – – rs Rambelle.”
“Oh Robert, I – – – yo – u – – – come back – – me.”
“ . . . “
“Good – – – – noon – dr. – – – – – – any – – – pr – gress?”
“No – I – – – fraid – – e – se – – ms – – to – be – – w – – se.”
“Dad – I – – lo – – – yo – – .”
“ . . . “
“Ro – – – rt – – – s – – – e – – – I – brou – – t – – yo – – – ometh – – – . Me – ry – Chr – – st – – s.”
” – – I – lo – – y – – “
“ . . . “
“These things rarely last longer than five weeks.”
“I know, I know. It’s been three.”
“Dad? Hey dad? Do you think you’re ready to come back to us?”
“. . . mmmm . . . nnn . . “
“Dad. . . oh my God dad. . . your. . . your eyes are open!”
“Th. . . thank you for waiting for me.”
The Quiet of Fresh Snow
The quiet of the fresh snow was disturbed by the crash of a mighty foot. The soft flakes of the high mountain pass flew everywhere to escape the crushing weight. The great footfall belonged to one of the fabled yeti… or at least that’s what it looked like.
The giant automaton lurched forward again. “This is never going to work,” Snoort protested. The big-headed green goblin listened to the clicks as he pushed his operating handle into position.
“What do you mean, brother? Heading into the ancient pass disguised as a yeti?” Beelch replied, shoveling more coal into the furnace. “Just think of the fame we’ll earn when we return to the village carrying the severed head of a frost giant. We’ll go down in history as the greatest goblin fighting force ever.”
“How are we supposed to do that?” Droole asked. The temperature had dropped to the point he could see his breath. “It’s so cold, ice has started to form on the gears. We can barely keep this thing moving. How are we supposed to fight a frost giant?”
Dribblesnot spun the periscope around to check where they were going. It was hard enough operating the machine with all his brood mates packed inside it, but he needed to see where they were going. “The giant will probably have a heart attack. I almost did once I finished building it. Besides, everyone knows frost giants are afraid of yeti. Just keep shoveling the coal, before we all freeze in here.”
Snoort raised one green eyebrow. “Yeah well, yeti don’t have smokestacks.”
“How do you know?” Dribblesnot shouted as a blast of steam from the engine was released. “You ever seen a yeti?”
“No, but frost giants aren’t stupid you know.”
Dropping his head, Dribblesnot considered his brood brother’s advice. “Okay,” he announced. Turning the steering wheel, he forced the yeti to stagger back down the mountain pass. “New plan. We take this back to the barn and convert it into a shark-shaped submarine. Then we go whale hunting!”
by Lunabear (Detective Norton Universe) (Private Repost)
Small, soft pearls fluttered around Casey as she lay splayed on her back. The cold flakes melted as they kissed her skin. The liquid scored temporary tracks down her pallid cheeks.
Each breath was deeper than the previous ones.
Nothing else stirred save the frigid wind and the intermediate landing of heavier snowfall. There WAS an odd scraping that accompanied each bit of snow that joined the earth, but she didn’t mind; it was magical here.
How she longed for her father to share in the beauty and quiet of the moment with her. He loved times like these. Although, he’d admonish her for being out in such weather in her sundress and bare feet.
‘Don’t worry, Daddy. I’m warm enough thinking of your hugs.’
She found it queer that she couldn’t speak. That’s funny. How could she have a mouth but not be able to talk?
A strange giggle crawled from her abused throat, and it caused her head to swim. Now that she was in the mood to notice things, from her knees down felt numb. She couldn’t even tell if her toes were wiggling.
That was odd.
The sun-drenched sky above rumbled, startling her out of her giddy state. “SLEEP.”
More snow pelted her face. This batch stung, however. It felt like pellets or rocks being shot through a straw.
‘But if I sleep, my dad won’t know where I am.’
Where WAS she, anyway? And why wouldn’t her body move when she tried sitting up?
The fog at the edges of Casey’s mind parted enough for the winter wonderland to melt away and reshape into damp earth and strips of dead grass.
The last thing she remembered was eating what she’d hoped was food. Everything after was blackness.
Her heart jackhammered against her ribs. Hot tears rushed to free themselves from her eyes. For the first time in her life, her armless state made her feel helpless.
She was going to be just like all the other women on the news.
‘I’m sorry, Daddy. I fought hard.’
More dirt fell over her, and her mind quieted.
Trying and Failing
by: Cannibal Bananas (aka nicki snyder)
Hanna loved snow as a kid. Just like most children, when the snow fell, her eyes grew wide with excitement. There was nothing like going outside to dig her hands into the soft, cold piles, making snowballs or snowmen.
On weekends she could play as soon as she woke up. On school days, though, she could only to play in the crisp, bright white fluff at the bus stop and during recess.
Hanna had lost some of that joy as she grew up. Mostly due to the chores that came with a snow fall.
“It’s a rare person,” Hanna thinks, “who enjoys shoveling sludge out of their driveway, or who looks forward to sliding down the street on the way to work.”
However, today she decides to try and recapture some of the love she had for the gently falling flakes. She’s plans to remind herself how calming it can be to watch the snow fall; to hear it crunch beneath her boots; to take in how pristine everything looks when freshly covered in white.
She drives to a local area full of trails for a serene walk. The only tracks she hopes to see will belong to animals other than humans.
Hanna gets her wish. The winter wonderland she chooses is deserted and hers alone. The bright sun, and refreshing air make her smile as she starts down a path, which leads to another, and another. Her eyes soak in the beauty, her lungs get their fill of clean air, and her body enjoys the exercise.
After nearly an hour of slowly trudging along, Hanna decides to call it a day. She turns around and follows her tracks back to her car. However, after a few minutes, her boot prints show more than a single pass thru some areas.
Hanna tries to recall checking the trail, but in truth she was busy watching for wildlife in the vegetation-bare brush. Trying to keep calm, she picks a set of tracks and continues on, no longer loving the sound of snow crunching underfoot, the cool air, or the scenery around her.
The Man in the Snow
By Sandeen (SouthernWolf)
The snowflakes danced, calling to me. Or, perhaps, it was just him calling to me.
I didn’t see him through the window, of course. It was the late afternoon with the light just beginning to fade, the trees were cast in pale shadows. The core frost coated all of the trees, creating a magical winter land that had a green carpet until the snow started to stick.
How could I not go outside and spin in the snowfall?
At first, he was nothing but a shadow in the corner of my eye. A vague shape that seemed to follow my steps. Then there was a man holding my hand and spinning me through the trees and deeper into the growing shades. His eyes were pale enough that it looked as if he had snowflakes sitting within them, and he towered over me.
I couldn’t see my home and the forest had fallen into a moonlit night. Something that shouldn’t have been possible as the night before had been a new moon. Time had disappeared along with the green forest floor. I considered speaking up after noticing this, and then a deep voice emanated from my dance partner.
“What, do you wish to leave me?”
Before I could respond, we started to spin faster and faster.
And that was when I noticed something odd, beyond the strange lighting and unrecognizable forest with the trees growing to sizes I had never seen before.
Our dancing feet made not even a whisper against the snow.
No crunching, no cracking, and the flakes weren’t disturbed by our movement.
“Of course I wouldn’t leave you. What do I have to go back to?”
Old Friends, New Snow (repost from private)
(Tales from Alsuria)
The aging estrali’s bones ached as he climbed atop the log to keep watch over his herd. They grazed on snow-covered ferns in content peace. However, the tempting lull of the morning did not sway him. Unseen things still lurked in the fading shadows of night. Some friendly, others treacherous.
The sun crested the mountain and spilled its warm rays over the forest below. Boldened by the sunlight, the herd’s colts began to play in the fresh snow. He shivered nervously as their chirps could draw unwanted attention. If the shepherd were nearby, he would relax, but they had long since returned to their home high on the mountain.
He caught the stranger’s scent long before their voice reached his ears. At his warning call, the herd froze, huddled in the snow to keep a low profile. His muscles tensed as he watched the silhouette approach on the southern trail. They were a hulking figure: part beast, part man. And yet… something about their sent triggered a distant memory. Against the primal urge to run, he hesitated.
“Easy there, it’s just me.” The figure whispered as they drew near. As their scent grew, so did the memory. “It’s been a while, hasn’t it, Broken Horn?” At the sound of his name, he remembered. This was the shepherd’s friend, the one who saved him from the fire long ago.
Broken Horn snorted cautiously. It had been many seasons since they last saw eachother—many seasons for one to change their ways. Yet the kind gaze of the friend’s eyes told him otherwise. Hesitantly he nuzzled their open palm and rubbed his forehead against it. They chuckled as they obliged to scratch that special place between his horns.
“I knew you wouldn’t forget your old pal, Paldacer.” He smiled and offered his other hand for one of the bolder colts to sniff. He sat down on the log next to Broken Horn as peace reanimated the herd. Together the old friends watched the herd graze as the sun climbed higher in the sky.
The Quiet of Fresh Snow (also in private)
I had always thought the Winter King would have blue eyes. That’s how the stories portrayed him, or any other emissary of winter. The gaze I now faced was a ruddy brown, like oak leaves reluctant to fall away, the white of his eyes like encroaching frost. I had not meant to look, I had not known he was there, but when I turned down the snow-covered trail our eyes had met. I don’t think he meant to look at me either. The snowfall around us was deafening, absorbing all sound as it feathered the ground in white.
I turn my head just in time to see a deer’s white tail as the poor creature leapt further into the woods. When I turned back the eyes were gone. There was no one there. I released my breath, billows of white clouding my face before wisping into the cold wind. I could still feel the deep cold of those eyes reaching into me as I continued my walk.
Small details filed into my memory as I walked. His hair had been striped with deep browns and ebonies. He had worn trousers, but his chest and feet had been left bare to the cold. His skin had glowed pale and cold like moonlight. He should have felt out of place.
The snow fell harder, and the trees seemed to draw closer around me making everything unfamiliar and claustrophobic in the haze of falling snow. I took a deep steady breath to calm myself but could not shake the dangerous stillness. I released another long breath, but there was no white cloud this time. I sigh deeply, purposefully, but could not generate enough heat to warm the air.
A branch cracked behind me, and like the deer I thoughtlessly leapt into the underbrush in some adrenaline-addled thought of preservation. I could no longer feel the cold, but my lungs burned with a strange fire as I stood. I saw nothing but trees, and heard nothing but the silence of falling snow.
Snow falls like confetti on a Carnaval day
By Larissa (Lari B. Haven) Copy from Private
Winfrey was perching on his chair, tearing old papers into tiny pieces. The tropical heat was taking a toll on him.
“Oh, dear! Have you ever cleaned this place?” Alexandria said, annoyed from the other room.
The professor couldn’t understand why she was there.
Being cooked alive, and eaten by bugs while organizing his living room was a bore. Imagine it: a young lady and an old, tired Professor. What a criminal sight.
“You did enough.” He took her by the hands and pleaded, “It’s Friday, and it’s Carnaval tomorrow. Don’t you have real friends to see and go out with?”
“I don’t care about partying; I’d rather come to visit you…” She lied.
He knew she was just avoiding his bigger questions. Alexandria had very few associates, and he was one of them.
“What is this?” She took a little round globe filled with soaked semolina from the cupboard.
“A snow globe. I think It’s from my time in Germany. I miss snow days.”
“This is how snow looks like? I only ever read about it in books. Does it shine like this?”
“A tad,” he laughed. “On the first day of snow, kids would go play in the streets, with their friends. Just to see the snowflakes falling.” He threw his minced paper in the air, while she watched in wonder. “The snow falls as confetti people throw from the balconies on Carnaval.”
“Confetti on Carnaval?” She smirked. “That’s your snow?”
He nodded. She got the message he was trying to send.
She took the globe between her hands, and again, grinned while daydreaming about winter that only existed in a faraway land.
“Still… I’d love to see it,” she half-whispered.
Winfrey could be a couple of years from knocking on Death’s door, and she was very young. But they understood each other. Cared for each other. Maybe all she was missing was a little push to go see the world.
“I will take you there. Someday,” he answered.
He would give that push.
By Mango Gravy
The snowfall was gentle for the first time in months, allowing them to survey the area without special equipment. They were looking on a large nest. Five thousand lived there in small, white domes. There used to be millions.
“Such resilient creatures,” He said, “Beat them down and they cling on like… like parasites, I suppose. There’s a colony to the south, they built these pylons that-”
“You seem so fond of them,” She interrupted, “but still you enjoy this slow extermination.”
“Fascinated, more like. That’s why I prod them like this, instead of just being done with it.”
One of the creatures stepped outside its small home, padded thickly with clothing, and by some twist of chance it looked up at the cliff on which They stood, directly into Her eyes. It was young, a child. As She saw the sad look in its eyes, a peculiar feeling rose up in Her heart. Empathy? Was She sharing in the creature’s pain?
“They seem sentient.” She said, “Intelligent even. They know this snow isn’t natural and they grow anxious. Terrified. This way of doing things is far too cruel.”
He scoffed. “You’re just projecting onto them since they look a bit like us.” He turned to Her, and the usual gleam in His eye seemed wicked now, “And besides, what does it matter?”
“Can’t we just do it faster this time?”
“Why? You’ve done this before. Plenty of times.”
‘No,’ she thought. ‘Never like this. The others weren’t sentient. Were they?’ She looked away.
“Bah. Take one of them as a pet if you like,” He said, “I’ll hasten the process since this bothers you so much, but you can’t shy away from your duty.”
“Of course, I just… never mind.”
The wind began to pick up, no doubt His doing. The wind whistled, then howled, throwing up snow all around them, and the nest slowly faded, masked by the storm.
But it was quiet. This planet had been beautiful, once. Full of life. Now it was so empty and, despite the tempest, it all seemed so quiet.
A Cold Break
C. M. Weller
The smell of new-fallen snow bit his nose. So too did the cold. He’d fallen asleep under the heavy quilt he’d taken to keep himself warm. Kormie had done everything by the book. He’d decorated the struggling tree with ornaments he’d made himself. He’d left out an offering of milk and a honey cake and some apples for the pegasus that drew his magic cart.
All he could see through the hidden door and the crooked tree in the garden nobody else knew was there. There was snow blanketing everything. Thicker than his quilt.
It was Midwinter’s day. Greatfather Langeven had to have come. He’d been as good as he could. He’d tried so hard. He’d written the letter and made the decorations and left out all the things and slept by the tree.
Kormie rearranged the quilt to be a cloak and shuffled into his boots, creeping out into his secret wilderness. Checking under the tree.
The milk had frozen in its cup. The honey cake was untouched. Even the four apples gleamed under the snow.
Everything they’d told him had come true, despite his best efforts. He turned back inside, closing up the secret door. Leaving his boots down a hallway that didn’t lead to the neglected room that was his sanctuary. Back to the tastefully-appointed splendour of the rest of the palace. Back to his windowless suites with tears in his eyes and sorrow pressing his head down.
“My Lord!” The staff clamoured. Fussing over him. Propelling him towards a hot bath and fresh clothes and the morning meal. He picked at it.
Nani showed a rare glint of empathy. “Lord Kormwind? What’s the matter with you?”
“You were right,” he sniffled. “Greatfather Langeven doesn’t come for Tieflings. Not even when they try their hardest.”
There was no point in trying… but he would try anyway. Because he was not a LAZY Tiefling.
Chronicles of The Dragon: Warmth In The Cold
Soft, freshly fallen snow blanketed the world, perfectly muffling her footsteps.
Her ears twitched.
Her tail swished.
She stalked ever closer to her prey.
His back was to her, obliviously standing at the edge of the pond, looking out over the water.
The range was perfect now. Her lips pulled back.
“Damnit,” she said, hanging from his shoulders, “I didn’t even budge you.” She pulled herself up, wrapping her legs around his waist and hanging her arms over his shoulders. “Did you know I was there?”
He smirked, “Of course I did.”
“But I was so quiet!” she cried, and slumped against him.
He bumped his head against hers, “I never said I heard you. In fact, I didn’t.”
“Then how’d you know I was coming?” she said, turning her face to his.
“I can sense your body heat.”
She wilted against him, “So I can never sneak up on you.”
“Don’t feel bad. Almost nobody can. Not even Crow.”
He turned his head back to look out over the pond.
She followed his gaze for a minute, before turning her head back to him. Lips brushing against his skin, she said, “So why are you here? I usually find you on rooftops.”
He smiled, “Usually that’s where you get the best views. But not on days like this. You also don’t usually get quiet like this at ground level.”
“Mmm. I guess you’re right.” She pulled herself tighter around him.
“Are you getting cold?”
A gentle wave of heat brushed by her, slowly enveloping her whole body.
She nuzzled into him again, “I thought you’d want to go inside.”
“We could do that too,” he said with a growing grin. “I’ve been out in the cold too long anyway. Was starting to forget what inside was like.”
He felt her frown.
“How long since you slept?”
He shrugged, “A week?”
“Mm. Well, I know someplace warm for you to rest.”
He quirked an eyebrow, “New place?”
He gripped her firmly, “Alright, give me directions,” and leapt over the trees.
The White Death
Don’t breathe. That was all I could think about in that moment of time. That one piece of advice. Don’t breathe. We were deep in Ladoga Karelia, miles behind the original line we had intended to hold. Little good that did.
It wasn’t the noise of my breath that worried me. It was the steam. Everything around me was perfect: ridges going tens of meters high, mounds of snow competing, perfectly snug in an alcove I’ve been sitting in for the last 3 days, and to ruin it with one misplaced breath. Stupid. So I held still, not daring to breathe, not when they were so close in front of me.
They didn’t even bother to hide themselves. They’d gotten cocky. 1 brigade to each road in this province. Idiots. I already had a chamber loaded. I’d had the rifle perfectly perched for 3 days now without taking a single shot, working day and night to keep the barrel dry. Now it finally would come to use. All it took was moving it a few centimeters to the side, lining up the Russian’s head in my sights. Couldn’t risk the glare of a scope. There you are.
I took the shot. He goes down in an instant, a splash of red painting the presently blank canvas. I was the painter, and the winter forest was my canvas.
I took another shot. Another splash of red. The imperfect shadings of white scattered across the plane, trying to duck and cover, hoping that the color they adorned themselves in would match the surface on which they hid.
An artist notices the details, and I was a painter.
I took a shot at what, to the untrained eye, would have been just another splotch of white on a blank canvas. But not to me.
Another splash of red. I eased my grip on my brush, watching as the colors fled in the distance. They’ll be back, and I’ll continue my work. Another day has passed, and I still remain.
Digging Joy From The Cold (Nyssa’s Story)
By Calliope Rannis
Another day in her lonely tower. Snow had fallen last night.
Nyssa looked towards the University outside, blanketed in white. It looked beautiful. Nothing like the dark, messy room she’d been living in for the last two years.
Snow had been rare where she lived, but she remembered almost exploding with excitement whenever she saw that white world outside. Back then, she’d do everything she could think of – rolling it up into snowpeople, shaping snow bugs and snow lobsters with her body, throwing snowballs off the cliffs and watching them fall into the sea…
It also reminded her of how it had never felt the same since her mother had died. She’d stopped playing with it after that. Now snow was just an excuse for her to stay inside.
Nyssa looked away, her eyes catching the reflection in her askew mirror. Her blonde hair was a tangled mess, looking barely any different from the clumps of hair building up on the floor. Her skin was going pale from the lack of sunlight.
She tried to smile. Her lips pulled back from her teeth. Her brown eyes stayed as dark and dull as before.
A familiar knocking shattered the suffocating silence. Nyssa jerked in surprise. She was here? During winter break? She went to open the door, saying “Iyra, you know I’m not doing study sessions during holidays…” before seeing a beaming smile on the half-elf student’s face. “Oh. What’s the occasion?”
“SNOW!” Iyra spun around, arms outstretched in wonder. “Look at it Professor! It’s so, so beautiful!”
Nyssa cocked her head curiously. “I’ve never seen someone so excited for snow in…well, thirty years. Why come to tell me about it though?”
“Well, it’s just that – we never HAD snow at home. I only ever heard of it, and now it’s everywhere!” She spun again, overwhelmed. “Honestly I – I don’t know what to do. Professor, you’ve lived here for years, what DO you do with snow?”
“Never…had…” Nyssa paused, staring into space. Then she smiled, as a distant light began to shine within her eyes. “I have a few ideas.”
A Quiet Warning
By RVMPLSTLSKN (repost from Private)
Certain things are lost in death. Only the most meaningful aspects of a life remain. In some places, this means that the dead might haunt a place or person; a shadow in a house or a cool breeze on your cheek in summer.
Death is a distillation rather than a reduction.
I found the Origin, the place where Rapaçion ascended. It was one of the desolated planets. I found, also, survivors. You can imagine my surprise that Rapaçion left behind a realm of small gods and proto-deities. Perhaps it is not so surprising such a being would be born in such a place.
There is a god there called ‘Father.’ He found me and walked with me for a time, like blue sunlight on water. I found him to be a subtropical, somewhat coastal god. He was then nowhere near ascension capability. He showed his home and I showed him his world. There is nothing so pleasurable in this life as watching a Stoic wonder.
As I said, it is a place of small gods. ‘Father’ wanted to protect his family, his living legacy. He is a good father, methinks. Not all gods are so inclined, so I showed him one.
I think it was a great wolf in life. In death, it is a woodland spirit and, with enough sacrificiants and devotees, it could one day become an animalistic, boreal god. Father put a stop to that. For a god with no prowess in the hunt or warfare, he was surprisingly well adjusted. The lupine proto-deity died a second death. I don’t think ‘Father’ knew what to think when I told him to eat. He laughed, but there’s only one way to kill a god or ghost. In the end, when it started to reform, he consumed it.
It made me think. It is not in Rapaçion’s nature to leave scraps. A return is imminent.
I am leaving this warning here in the silence between days, in the quiet between snowflakes. Rapaçion will never know I was here. If you’re still enough to hear me, protect your small gods.
The First Quiet Winter
“Mama, it’s so quiet! Why is it so quiet?”
“Oh my little bunny, have I never told you?”
“Well, yes. But, it’s just SOOOOO quiet.”
“Well, you’re in luck; we have just enough time before we reach the briar patch.”
Once upon a time, winter was the noisiest season of the year. Madame Winter would busy herself setting all the animals to hibernate, even us rabbits back in those days. And when she was done, she would have just enough time to whip up a batch of big snowflakes, as round as berries. Mr Color would paint them bright red, and Auntie Sound, having no animals to give voice to, would yell “Tinkle-tankle” every time one of them touched the ground.
However, as the years went by there were more and more animals, and Madame Winter found she was falling behind. So, she asked Auntie Sound to help. Auntie Sound would make big round snowflakes and she had just enough time to yell “tinkle-tankle” in between. And when all the animals were asleep, Madame Winter would help finish.
But, there were even more and more animals, and now Auntie Sound was falling behind. So, they asked Mr Color for help. Years went by with noisy, red snowflakes, and eventually Auntie Sound and Mr Color got quite bored. So, they decided to play a joke on Madame Winter. While Madame Winter was away, setting the animals to sleep, Auntie Sound and Mr Color snipped every snowflake into a different shape. It was so much work, there wasn’t time to whisper a “tinkle-tankle” or to paint the snow even a pale pink.
When Madame Winter came back, and found them waiting, she didn’t raise her voice, and her cheeks didn’t flush in anger. Instead, with sparkling eyes, she smiled and said a gentle, “Thank you.” Now, every year, they make quiet, white snow, and Madame winter even leaves some animals awake, so she has time to enjoy their marvelous work.
“Solitude among the Spirits”
I can feel the chill air heavy around me, despite my heavy garb and cloak. It is the stillness of a winter’s day, and the fields lay covered in a thick layer of snow. Most folks are now warm by their fires, nestled in their homes. The fields had been harvested this past season, and the harvest was good. There will be plenty of food for the winter before us. I know further out on the outlying farms the farmers, ever the early risers, would be feeding and caring for their animals.
I, however, am in a quite different place. I am sitting on a stone bench here in the graveyard of Winterhaven’s church. The chill wind breathing through the tombstones in occasional sighs. Most other folk would admire the winter quietness in a place like this, while paying respect to their departed ancestors in their own ways. The church priest Father Alum and I have a begrudging respect for each other, despite our very different outlooks on life. He leaves me alone to what I’m doing, so long as I’m not “raising up the dead.” Secretly, this amuses me, as he seems to act as if the dead are sleeping and need to not be disturbed. I couldn’t reanimate them if I wished really. The priestly blessings have seen well enough to that. Nor am I interested in doing so.
No. I am here because the dead are quite awake. What I experience is not the silence of a winter’s day, but rather the voices of all who linger here. Some whisper or mutter quietly to themselves. Others pine for what they can never have again, the experience of life. I converse with a few of the spirits, though I’m sure I must look odd. If the others cared to listen to the spirits’ voices, they would hear this as faint whispering perhaps. It unsettles the common folk, and that is well enough for me. I try to embrace my solitude among the spirits on a cold winter’s day.
No More Snowmen
A starry night among frosted pines. All around me, snowflakes whirled and fell. I looked around, curious about my surroundings. Among the trees, a timber house, grey smoke billowing from its warm chimney. Through lit windows, two children gawked at my winter wonderland in awe. A wonderful world to behold, truly. But it wasn’t for me alone to enjoy.
“You look ridiculous. That nose doesn’t suit you.”
This speaker resembled a drift of snow. Only the beady black eyes and the malformed pebble-mouth indicated otherwise. “There’s nothing wrong with my nose,” I said. But doubts beset me, for my nose was, in fact, a carrot.
“One thing’s right off about it. It’s mine.”
I took hold of my nose with nimble twig-arms. “Who are you?”
“Your predecessor. Look around,” the heap instructed me. “It’s all a lie. When the sun rises you’ll melt away. And then, when you’re a heap like me, they’ll pluck that big nose of yours right out and plunge it into their next creation.
“What can we do?” I asked my worn companion.
“Nothing,” he said and remained silent for a moment. “Unless…”
“The children remain. They harbor some secret, surely, in that building of theirs. In there, you might stand a chance.”
I began banging my arm against the cool window. I had to get inside. Someone shrieked. Was it working? Would they let me enter? One of the children stared at me in horror. I reached for the handle, forced the door open. Oh, joy! Almost inside. But then, the horrid child set upon me with tiny fists, scratching and clawing at my frozen flesh. I forced myself onward. Pushed her to the floor. I stood victorious for but a moment, for the other, with a particularly nasty punch, sent my head flying across the yard.
A dismembered head, awaiting the “Great melt,” as my companion calls it. Perhaps I’ll get a new chance, a new body. But I doubt it. They throw away my life just as easily as they create new ones.
At least I still have the nose…
By: Makeshift Mousepad
The featureless body laid face down in the snow. No footsteps lead to it, because this body had never been used.
“So, one of my drones was still alive after all these years.” Joseph’s words broke the silence of the snowy tundra. “An avalanche must have knocked your pod loose from the network. Fortunately, I planned for this. Your pod showed me exactly where you were.”
Joseph crouched near the body. He could hardly detect any neurological activity. But he knew, on a moment’s notice, they could function on pure instinct and launch into combat. His execution would have to be quick and clean before it activated.
“Your existence was my mistake. And that’s an error which I’ll correct before you remind this world of my animosity.” Joseph readied his hand to shatter the drone’s spine, “Now Disappear!”
He expected the drone to start attacking. Instead, it lifted its head and looked across the snow. Joseph couldn’t stop in time; he could only divert his attack.
The roaring force of his arm left a deep fissure in the ice and launched the drone into a nearby snowbank. The debris settled and the drone locked its gaze on Joseph.
“So, you grew eyes while you were laying there?” Joseph fixed his posture and walked over to the severed arm to gather it. “Tell me. Have you become sentient?”
The drone was silent.
“Here. You should reattach this.” Joseph approached, offering the severed arm.
The drone held the arm but kept their eyes on Joseph. Gradually they shrank as a new arm sprouted from their body and their face developed features.
“I… don’t remember programming this… you almost look like you could be my daughter-” Joseph smacked himself. “Ariadne’s skin cells must have been on my hands! This won’t be easy to explain to her.”
The drone curiously mimicked Joseph’s movements.
“It’s time to go kid.” He held its hand to guide them. An extra pair of footsteps crossed the snow with Joseph. And the drag marks of a spare arm.
Tranquility (Darkspell Universe)
By Alex Nightingale (aka Spectre)
The soft crunching under his shoes was the only thing Daniel could hear in the vast white field of snow. Once he stopped walking, the forest behind Robin’s Grove became blissfully quiet. The snowflakes swirled around his head, his breath rising in pale mists.
He closed his eyes, breathing in the frigid air, calmly and slowly.
Screams ran through his head, screams of pain and terror. Voices pleaded, argued, bargained with him, as the fastenings of the black briefcase he was holding clicked open. Cruel whispering mingled with the cacophony of trepidation and suffering. He saw his victims, clawing at their eyes, begging for the shadows to fade. When they finally went blind, they screamed about the voices that wouldn’t let them rest.
He was Daniel Armitage, son of the mythical Armitage Matron, the Woman in Carmine. And as such, he was an agent of retribution; of cold-hearted vengeance, directed at those most deserving. He felt it. Every ounce of guilt, of penance, of revenge he dished out was a new nail being rammed into his heart. He didn’t know how his siblings coped with it.
Victoria had once said that the pain he felt was both fuel and foil. Often, when she’d noticed him buckle under the weight of the accursed legacy the Armitage name brought with it, she’d led him away into a quiet room and put on some music for him. Jazz had always calmed him down.
Victoria was dead now. So was Scott and Daniel was alone. Left behind in a life he didn’t want. Because they were heroes. They just had to be heroes. Emily was trying her best at home, but if he was honest, she often made things worse. And he knew what his mother would say.
He was an Armitage. The closest thing to semi-divine nobility a mortal could achieve. He was necessary. An instrument of revenge. A bringer of punishment.
But not today. Snowflakes swirled around him, a cool breeze ruffled his hair, smiling, while he let those two glorious words echo in his mind, drowning out everything else.
A Deprived’s Guitar (Oneiron Universe) [Repost from Private]
Jamie’s fingers danced along the strings of his guitar, notes falling like the intricate ice crystals outside the window. Jamie had almost forgotten the calm that came with the first snowfall, covering the sins of the past with its cleansing hue. It gave him hope that the Madness would eventually be silenced and his broken city purified. His guitar mourned for the city and the tears in his eyes blurred his vision.
“Your hope is misplaced, Jamie. Your world is dead, a corpse smothered by snow.”
Jamie did not turn around. He knew what terrifying entity belonged to that taunting voice. His focus returned to the falling snow and the notes that emerged from his fingertips.
“You can’t ignore me forever, Jamie. Go and convince your friends that they have lost their minds, but you can never hide the truth from yourself.” Jamie felt the sweltering heat of the lights that replaced the entity’s face, forcing him to play faster.
“Why do you fight for your sanity? Do you realize how little you have left? I am already inside your mind, controlling your actions. You are Deprived, convincing yourself that you were ever anything but! No amount of caffeine can save you from my grasp and music is as effective as snowfall in a desert! When will you give up and face the truth?”
The music ceased and Jamie spun around in his chair, meeting the gaze of the shadow that stood before him. The five lights burned with an intensity that pierced his soul. “Someone has to be strong enough to lead this small group of survivors! If they discovered I had already lost my mind, what would they do? Would they have the will to cast me out of my own facility? Would they experiment on me like the other Deprived?”
The monster laughed, “Clearly, I’m not getting through to you this way. Let me show you the power I wield.”
Jamie felt something snap within the recesses of his mind and his vision dimmed. He collapsed on the ground, smothered by memories that fell like silent snow.
Coming of Snow and Souls (Sword Isles)
By Connor A.
A snowflake fell through the sky and onto an autumn leaf. A child saw this and went bright-eyed. If she stayed outside for a few more seconds before running in to tell her mother, she would have caught sight of the elderly woman.
Her winter furs only moved when one of her feet poked out for the next step. Most people would not have noticed that the incoming snow followed her specifically, but most that did stayed out of her way and ran inside alongside everyone else to avoid the incoming snow. The empty silence in the streets was music to her ears.
Then there was the wizard, who almost made direct eye contact with her. If the markings on his arms were anything to go by, he was from the movement of shorthand magic. He walked up to her with the confidence more fitting for an adventurer, allowing her to see a hint of red in his otherwise gray eyes.
“Wonderful weather you’re bringing.”
The woman scowled. “Hest, if that’s you in there—”
The wizard raised his hands slightly. “No divine possession here, Old Mother Winter. Just someone needing to talk to one of the recent dead.”
Old Mother Winter considered him. She noticed his necklace— a humble black chord with a silver dragon insignia— and realized who she was talking to with a knowing grin. “Ah, Marcos Fernán.”
Marcos jumped at the sound of his name. The red in his eyes flickered away for a brief moment. “You know me?”
“Any human that can make my grandson smile on the job is someone worth remembering.”
“Really?” His eyes lit up, but he shook himself out of it. “I need to speak to someone.”
Old Mother Winter chuckled. “I’ll need to see Death for that. Formalities and all.”
Marcos motioned for her to follow him.
As they walked, the goddess asked, “So who’s the lucky soul?”
“I heard you already tried speaking to him.”
“He can’t really do his usual shit around a goddess, now can he?”
Old Mother Winter decided then that she approved of Marcos.
Into The Woods
The soft crunching sound of footsteps onto the freshly fallen snow drew Laila’s attention from the tree she was leaning against. Laila’s eyes narrowed into a glare when she saw who approached. They were clearly going to be dropping at least some pretenses.
“I got your text.” Caitlyn grinned, wearing clothing that in no way suited the cold weather. It looked more like something that would accompany a pole and a pile of cash. “How can I help you?”
Laila didn’t need to ask why Caitlyn wasn’t cold. In fact, that was the problem. “You need to leave.”
Caitlyn slowly licked her lips. “You called me here to leave? How counterproductive.”
“You know what I mean.” Laila growled. “I don’t care where you go. But you leave Matt alone.”
Caitlyn smiled even wider. “You really think if I leave, you’ll have a chance with him? The childhood friend who secretly longs to be more… A tale as old as time.”
“You’re not wrong. However… this isn’t about my feelings for him. I know what you are.”
“Oh, is that all?” Caitlyn rolled her eyes. “He has the most powerful soul I’ve ever felt, especially in one so… DELIGHTFULLY teenager. He can’t be human. I could feed on him multiple times before he would even feel it. The feeding that is…”
“You touch a hair on his head-”
“And you’ll do what?” Caitlyn’s eyes gained a golden glow as the snow swirled with her power. “You’re not leaving this forest alive. But don’t worry. I’ll help Matt mourn you.”
Laila looked fearful for a moment before dropping her part of the charade, grinning back at the demon. “At least we agree on something.” The snow swirled around Laila as well as she unleashed her glowing, feathered wings, her own blue eyes gaining a Heavenly radiance.
The color drained from Caitlyn’s panic-stricken face. “You’re… a guardian angel? Then I… ask for mercy. I surrender.”
A large, glowing sword formed in Laila’s hand. “And who said I was a ‘guardian’ angel?”
A bright flash of light later and the forest was quiet again.
In the Frosts (reposted from private)
As soon as snow started to fall Ada was out of the door, immediately forgetting everything her protectors had told her about why they needed to stay cautious and hidden. She stopped dead in her tracks about 100 meters from the house and looked up at the sky. “… blabla, who cares, there’s nothing here that could harm us anyways, Concern, you know that! ” Ada tried to catch a snowflake with her mouth and missed.
Little did she know (or care) that there *were* things out here that could in fact harm her and her guardian. Apart from the gunman of the White Court, who would be almost indistinguishable from the falling snow should he choose to attack, there was also the biting cold of the Frost. Rainbows were not made for the cold. After all they need rain to thrive.
” …but it’s snowing! Come on, Concern, live a little!” The swirling colors of Ada’s skin seemed even brighter against the stark contrast of the white snow. It almost seemed to glow from the inside. That alone made her stand out, so she didn’t have to run around like a maniac and talk to empty air to make it worse.
“I’m not a maniac.” Ada scolded playfully as she began to climb a tree next to the hut. It’s her nature to climb high but right now that was a very unwise decision. She could fall off and hurt herself. The White Courter could spot her even more easily and if that didn’t make her obvious enough she was the loudest thing in the entire Frosts right now. She was bound to draw unwanted attention…
Ada groaned. “Alright, partypooper! I’m going! I’m going!”
Besides. Simone was waiting inside with a hot cup of tea and some nice, freshly made purple.
“Really?” Hearing that Ada all but jumped from the lowest branch and ran back towards the safehouse. “Race you back!”
[From the treeline the White Court’s best assassin watched the scene in silence and smiled to herself. Then the door of the house closed and all was quiet once more]