Hello, Snow Queens and Scrooges!
You! You’re just so cold! I can’t believe it! Your chest must be frozen over! Because….
This week’s Writing Group prompt is:
Heart of Ice
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 begin our Christmas season with a winter-themed prompt. We’ve had a similar prompt before, in “Black Stone Heart” but I think we can find new and fun ways to venture into the ice.
The first place my mind goes is Frozen. The movie has a theme of “a frozen heart” and uses it in many different ways from which you could take inspiration—from the ice harvesters, to Anna’s frozen heart, to Elsa fearing she’s become a monster.
Someone said to have a heart of ice tends to be someone who couldn’t care less about the plight of others. There are many ways you could use this idea in your story. Why would someone act in such a way?
In The Snow Queen—from which Frozen takes inspiration—shards of an evil mirror fall into people’s hearts and eyes, freezing their hearts, and tainting their perception, making them see all the worst aspects of the world, and act cruelly. Perhaps you could write something like this.
If someone literally has their heart frozen in your story, was it done intentionally or by accident? Maybe in your story it’s a family curse your protagonist tries to break before the ice reaches their heart. Maybe in your world there is a race of ice people, and it’s perfectly normal to have a heart made of ice. Or maybe they’re a race of monsters, and your protagonist must melt their heart to kill them.
Maybe your story isn’t about freezing, but instead melting. In Frozen and the Snow Queen, frozen hearts are melted with love. How would a frozen heart be melted in your story? Perhaps your take is more dangerous, and less heartfelt. You could even potentially combine it with last week’s prompt—maybe someone has to enter the fires of hell to melt their frozen heart.
You could write about literal ice—not lodged in anyone’s chest. Perhaps the heart of an icy pond is like the eye of the storm; it’s the only safe place to stand. Maybe in an ice sculpting competition, having a strong ‘heart’ is a key criterion. Maybe an important object gets covered in ice, and your character must break the heart of the ice to release it. Maybe someone’s most prized object is made of ice in the first place. Maybe your characters must venture into the center of a city made of ice and snow.
Perhaps you can take a more scientific approach. In sci fi stories, cryogenic freezing could be applicable here—you could write about someone nervous to have their heart frozen. Or maybe you could write about a robot with a diamond heart, which someone mistakes for ice. Or perhaps there is a machine whose main component needs to be cooled below freezing, or else it might explode.
I’m telling you, you’re just so cold—! What? Oh…Oh I didn’t mean to offend, Mr. The Snowman.
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 3:00pm 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! Get ready not just to share what you’ve got, but to give back to the other writers here as well.
Rules and Guidelines
We read at least five stories during each stream, two of which come from the public post, and three of which come from the much smaller private post. Submissions are randomly selected by a bot, but likes on your post will improve your chances of selection, so be sure to share your submission on social media!
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What to Submit
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Comments on this post that aren’t submissions will be deleted, except for replies/reviews left on existing submissions.
By Ace Cameron
I have started this meditation on a block of ice, in the middle of the palace. This was the final trial to prove I could handle the cold. To sit still, eyes closed, wearing almost nothing, and feel it’s slow, strong hands take away all that holds you back.
There is a battle between my body and the cold, it is using every technique it knows to try to not to freeze. It is struggling, shaking, even changing my blood flow, but it is no use. The cold is stronger. A relentless force of nature, if wants to stop all that moves from moving, it wants to freeze my heart. I have joined forces with it.
There is a war going on inside of me right now: One between the gross sack of flesh that I live in, and myself. My body is crying, yelling at me to move with every inch of it’s being. But my spirit, my will, is stronger. I have to keep reminding myself why am I doing this, since my ugly, weak meat cage is trying so hard to get me to move. The body I am in is trying to stop me like a cruel prison warden from finding peace in the beautiful Ice Kingdom, where I will be a beautiful creature of ice with perfect hands and be able to sing and play the mandolin and dance. It wants to keep me locked in the prison of weakness, with all of the ugliness inside.
My body fought well, but the cold was stronger. It won’t take long before it gives up.
Soon. Soon it will be mine. Soon I will become like a beautiful and strong glacier. No more pain. No more fire. Only peace. I see it, though my eyes are closed. I am calm, though my veins are screaming with pain. It hurt to get this far, but the pain will pay off. Soon. I see it. I see peace. Icy peace…
Blizzard in Love
“Listen, children, and listen well, for I will now tell ya a tale from a time when I was still young, young, as your father once was and as ya li’l hoppers will be sometime. In those days, these mountains have been known to be quite dangerous even if all they do these days is lying there all day like sloth itself. Yes, it is almost unimaginable, but those calm mountains used to be so moody, wrathful even, with unpredictable dangers and claimed many a life, if one intended to ascend them in foolish bravery. The sound of yer breathing could cause avalanches, every step ya could fall into the abyss ya just came from, the temperature changed rapidly, blizzards appeared out of nowhere, leaving ya as nothing but a frozen corpse. Even in summer the snow refused to melt, making the mountains impassable all year round. Well, that still didn’t keep me from going up there. There wasn’t even a reason, really, I just wanted to prove myself, I guess. I didn’t even start out that bad, was already halfway up, around where this house of mine stands right now, without having encountered a difficulty. But then, now listen damn well ya li’l hoppers, then came a blizzard, but not the kinds you see these days, no, those are all tame compared to what I faced back then. I could not breathe as my breath froze and was shoved back into my throat by the wind, puncturing my lungs with thousands of tiny ice needles. I could hardly move as my coat was frozen stiff from all the snowflakes stuck to it. The wind was even strong enough to slice me, clothes and skin alike, turning them into tatters. My blood froze the moment it left my body, creating bloody crystals covering my face. But I still went, continued my way in desperate stupidity, till I found myself in the epicentre of the storm. And there I saw a girl. She was just standing there, with skin that was whiter than snow, with her white hair and ice blue eyes, completely unaffected by the storm, only her blue coat fluttering in the mighty wind. And then she looked at me.” His thoughts drifted off.
“And what happened then?”
Suddenly angry, he chased the children out.
“Nothing, nothing ya li’l hoppers should be concerned with.”
Then he went back and looked at a picture on the wall, a picture of his wife, laughing in the snow.
The Smallest Acts
The first time was a small sting. Grace’s father had pushed her painting aside without even looking at it. He was tired. She understood. But she’d been so proud; it hurt. So she reached deep inside and found that soft, squishy part of her heart and put a little piece of armor on it. Just to keep it safe.
The next time was a little bigger. A little lettuce was stuck in her teeth after lunch, and Tommy Jeffries had noticed and called her “Swamp Thing,” and the other kids had laughed. She didn’t understand. But he’d been so proud of the joke; no one noticed the single tear she cried. So she reached deep inside and found that tender, sensitive spot and built a little wall around it. Just to keep it safe.
And so it went… The time Sally Roy, who was supposed to be her best friend told Abby Stilton who she liked, and everyone knew by the time the bus got to school. Or the time her dog escaped from the yard and never returned. Or the time she caught her Homecoming date making out with another girl behind the bleachers…
Eventually, her heart became a pristine, crystalline gem, cold and perfect, unblemished by pain. What she didn’t realize was that when she shut out the sadness, anger, and hurt, she also banished the warmth, passion, and joy of recovering from loss. She felt numb. Frozen. Alone.
Then one day, while she ate lunch alone in the park, a small child ran up, gave her a pebble and a hug, and ran away without another word. The pebble was grey and smooth on one side, with a bit of sparkling quartz on the other. It was warm from the child’s hand, and Grace put it in her pocket instead of tossing it away. As the days passed, she caught herself rubbing the smooth side with her thumb and smiling. Each time, a little warmth spread within her began to melt the carefully constructed wall away from her heart.
Drastic Measures (CoTD)
It was the middle of the summer, and the cold of the winter had left the tunnels long, long ago. The air conditioning broke, of course. And though Thomas assured them he could fix it easily… he was still tearing his workshop apart hoping to find the right kinds of scrap to make the repairs.
Blaise was currently in the “laying on the floor dying of heat exhaustion” phase of her plan to run around the base and create a strong enough breeze to cool them all off.
Jostica had been looking for a spell to keep her cool before all this started. The air conditioning was great when they were in their base, but it didn’t help out on patrols. Now it was a little more urgent and for everyone.
Oddly, finding spells to freeze things was easy. She was even able to find some spells to chill your drink. But just…make a room cooler? Somehow that wasn’t something that made it into any of her books. And none of the magic forums had people posting them. Surely she wasn’t going to have to make one up herself?
Suddenly her eyes widened. “No.”
She scrolled further down and her disbelief turned to horror. “This has to be a joke. There’s no way anyone would actually do this…”
“Do what?” David asked from where he lay on the old subway tracks, which he’d convinced himself was cooler than anywhere else.
“This spell is supposed to… It says it ‘freezes’,” she said with air quotes, “your heart to chill your blood. Cooling you from within.”
Everyone within hearing recoiled.
“That can’t be safe,” Khalid said.
“I’ve been looking the spell over, and it definitely does what it says it does… I just don’t see anything in here that would stop it from killing you.”
“You’re not going to try it are you?”
“Of course not. I’m more worried if anyone would actually try to cast this…” She trailed off as she scrolled through the replies to see if anyone else had pointed out the problem with the spell.
Elaine could almost hear the barren trees around her cracking through the roar of the wind. What little skin that was bare quickly became familiar with the bite of the cold, and although she could barely see she marched forward through the blinding white.
“LYLA! LYLA I’M SORRY!”
Her voice was ripped away by the snow. Her feet seemed to sink deeper with every step, weighed down by guilt. Elaine did not want the last conversation she had with Lyla to be one of anger. Yes she was pissed that her daughter stayed out too late but she just wanted to keep Lyla safe.
“LYLA WHERE ARE YOU?”
Sure, she had disagreements from time to time, but Elaine just wanted to raise her right. She had to make sure Lyla wasn’t off doing something stupid with those twits she called friends. Lyla was better than them, and It was Elaine’s responsibility to help her realize that, to help her realize that her mother was right.
“LYLA GET BACK HOME THIS INSTANT!”
Elaine knew she was right. It was those hooligans that made Lyla so distant, it was them that made her so cold, and it was their fault that Lyla stormed out of the house after their latest shouting match. She just wanted to spend what little time she had left with her daughter before she left to live her own life. She didn’t wanna lose her daughter.
But she did. Before this storm, before those ‘hooligans’ of friends even. Lyla had wanted to be free of her mother for quite some time now. It’s a shame though, Elaine was right about one thing. The heart that now rests in the frozen corpse of her daughter was indeed ice cold.
BREAK MY HEART BREAK YOUR HEART.
My heart was defiled by her.
Squashed. Squeezed. Flattened. Compressed, Smashed into a pulp. My heart was dead; Now ice cold it only seeks to suck the heat of someone else, Just as electric current flows from higher electric potential to lower electric potential…Just how Heat flows to the coldest object, well that isn’t all there is to it but that is still the final result. Just like that…
Her red, juicy heart.
Her apple red heart.
Just like the heart that she killed has turned frigid.
Hers will too.
I cannot allow her to be happy out of selfishness.
I will plunge you into the same despair as I.
But even if I didn’t want to hurt her…It is simply the natural flow of nature that I will end up sucking her heat, or at least, a part of it.
We will never be apart again.
….After all, the side effects of an amour brisé cannot possibly affect only one person, that would be unfair, right?… God?
I am not doing anything wrong, right?… God?
Of course not!
yes, were not done out of selfish desire.
My actions are utterly unclouded, they are those of nature, of the natural flow of the world, not that of a madman trying to convince himself of a lie he himself does not believe.
Every action I have taken…was for the sake of respecting the natural order of things.
As a living being, that is my duty…
Nothing else.Nothing else.Nothing else.Nothing else.Nothing else.Nothing else.Nothing else.Nothing else.Nothing else.Nothing else.Nothing else.Nothing else.Nothing else.Nothing else.Nothing else.Nothing else.
It can’t be anything else.
“Don’t you agree? Clara?”
Note: Apologies for the huge spaces, that is the way I prefer to format my stories.
Some extra lines that did not make it into the final product:
We will never be apart.
You will learn to love me.
By Taja DaLeen
Next, we will need a few of those ice needles. Yes, those mosquito-like bugs you hate so much. Give them to me, please.
Indeed, it is like the curse, just in potion form. So, this potion will turn anyone’s heart cold as ice; in this case the potion’s effect would last about a week.
Why we do this? Well, that’s simple. There’s people who want this. And as long as there’s someone who pays for it…
Wait, you need to grind them some more. Yes, like that, and always remember to move counterclockwise. Good. It will eventually be something you won’t even have to think about, honey, don’t worry.
Why someone would pay for not having emotions? Beats me. But we are witches, emotions are different to us, I guess. I know some sorcerers who seem a lot like robots, to be honest.
Heh, yea, exactly.
You’re right, it’s anything but healthy, suppressing your emotions like that. But when did that ever stop anyone? It’s pretty much like smoking. Or drinking. And as long as it’s not illegal…
Yes, those are fine now, you can put them in. Next, we’ll need some bleeding heart roots…
Sure, go ahead and cut them up. We’ll need some blood tree sap soon as well. Do you know where I put it?
Ok, good. Thank you. I’ll just go get it, you remember what steps are next for this one?
Yes, exactly! I’m proud of you, honey. You’ll be a fine witch someday.
I love you too, my little sunbeam.
The North Pole?
By: The Missing Link
The wind howled. No, no, that was the wolves… definitely the wolves. I shivered at the thought, and the cold… mostly the cold. They always said wolves don’t really care too much for humans, but way I see it, I’ve all the food out in this wasteland, so best be getting inside… as soon as there is inside.
Mum said this was a stupid idea, this expedition, but I had to know, had to see it for myself, the North Pole. Hold on Father Christmas, I’m coming… as soon as I shake these wolves.
After about another hour, time’s a real bother when your watch is frozen stuck, I saw a looming hunk of metal growing out of the ground. Some kinda bunker it looked as I got closer. Knocked before entering I did. Mum didn’t raise no ne’er-do-well.
Place was warm enough inside, didn’t see no elves, though it would do as a factory, soon as it had right proper lighting, not that blaring red one at the far door.
There was some bloody noise going about the place, rumblier than my stomach at supper after I forgot lunch, least it weren’t no wolves. It was behind the door with the light I thought, something someone either really wanted everyone to see, or really didn’t. Well, if you’re meaning to hide something, you don’t make the bloody door flash, so I went and fiddled with the lock a bit. No real trouble, they forgot to turn it on.
The door screeched open, filling the room. Well I had half a mind to tell Father Christmas to invest in oil when I found him, quiet up the doors a bit.
What I found in that room was not Father Christmas. They hadn’t even bothered to clean up the ice everywhere. Almost slipped down the staircase down into the cellar. The thing at the bottom, well it was odd… very odd. It was a human heart, far as biology classes had taught, but made of ice. I summoned all my French lessons to read the Latin inscription.
“Happy Valentine’s Day”
What is happening in Area 51?
By Spawn of Faust
Scientists were surrounding me. Their lab coats hanged from their shoulders. Needles punctured my skin and entered my veins. Fluid flowed in and mangled with my blood. Calm entered my mind, and I stopped thrashing in my binds. My body has fallen to the table, to which I was strapped.
Men unshackled me from the chains, which were made from the cold iron. I wanted to jump up, roar from the bottom of my lungs and rip apart the men, who dared to imprison me. But all my urges failed to fight through the drugs, that were now in my bloodstream.
They should fear me. Why weren’t they feeling the terror from my sheer presence?
They have clasped my hands and heaved me from the table to the egg-like pod, which stood in the corner of the room.
I have been unceremonially dumped into the pod. My limbs had been rearranged so they could be strapped once more. Tubes were connected to my body. Lid of the pod had been closed over me, and I could see silhouettes of my jailors through the thickness of the glass.
Icy liquid was flowing into my pod and into my veins. Shivers ran down my spine as I could feel my body slowly cooling down. Men were leering at me. I thrashed once more – the leather cuff snapped. I managed to punch the lid, but it led nowhere.
My body reached uncomfortable stiffness. I could no longer move my extremities. Ice finally flooded my lungs and I started to slowly lose consciousness.
Just before I finally lost myself in the icy grave, I could hear the men outside. “Mr. President, the operation ‘Hell Freezing Over’ had been successfully executed. We just need to continue step by step.”
Duty of Care
by Lee Strangely
There was nothing, not even the surrounding mountains that could hold back the dawn. Under its glow the full extent of the conflict was laid bare before Amelia’s eyes. Snow began to bury the two armies that littered the mountainside almost as fast as daybreak exposed their rime covered corpses.
She couldn’t help it, running so fast down the icy slopes. The more she saw of her soldiers, melted, broken, and shattered into a million pieces, the more it snowballed in her; the fear of how much it will hurt.
Amelia continued following the carnage swimming in the sea of white as it led her to a cliff. Somewhere in the center of it all, lying there was a figure. Human, crystalline, like an ice sculpture of a once great general.
“Commander!” she called out, running down to him with reckless abandon.
“Mistress,” he said, saluting her.
“Please don’t move,” she said, kneeling down. “Oh no…”
She could feel her heart being beaten like a drum looking at him. So many cracks all around. The remains of a fiery torch puncturing his chest. The hot tar still crackled as it melted through his mechanisms.
“Mistress, we’re victorious,” he muttered.
“It is my duty, Mistress.”
“You’ll b-be fine,” she whimpered.
She attempted to stick her hand in to pull out the black goo. Immediately she yelped, retracting her hand.
He reached out to her, “Don’t, Mistress.”
“I-I can fix you.”
She reached back in, crying out in pain as she quickly grabbed the burning blob and lobbed it into the snow.
“You are hurt,” he stated, trying to get up.
“I CAN FIX IT!” Amelia shouted in tears, looking back at her nearly pink hand, “I can fix it…”
Quickly she began rolling a snowball in her hands; molding it into a heart-like shape; the thing glowing as she condensed it into ice.
As the sun rose, the Commander turned to her, water dripping down his cheek, “It was an honor… serving you, Mistress…”
“A Lover’s Reward” (CW: Reference to amputation)
“Guards. Take him,” Alessandra said.
The rough hands of the guards pushed me down to my knees.
“Alessandra,” I begged but she responded with a glare, “my Queen. I have been faithful to you for many years. I am loyal to the throne and to you. I – I truly love you. Why are you doing this?”
The Witch-Queen Alessandra stared at me for a few moments. “You have pleased me as a lover for some time, yes. But to be truthful, you have begun to bore me.”
I was dumbstruck. My tongue groped for words. The rest of the queen’s court simply stared at me. Shame was rising in me and my face burned.
“If it is my skill in love-making that bores you, my queen. I can learn. I can change. Please give me time!” I pleaded.
“In recognition of your fervor and work for me, I’ll allow you to keep your manhood.”
I felt the blood leave my face as I paled at the implications.
“You are fortunate in this. Otherwise, I’d have made sure you would never please another woman after me. So be thankful for my mercy,” she continued.
Tears streamed down my face. I lowered my head saying, “Th -Thank you my queen for your mercy to me.” How could I get back into her good graces? What can I do? My thoughts raced. They were only taking me to the dungeon. I would still be alive. I could get back into her good graces. Somehow.
The Witch-Queen Alessandra simply nodded to her guards, and their rough hands gripped tighter to my shoulders, dragging me to my feet.
I stood, but as the guards pushed me forward, I stumbled. The guards simply dragged me forward regardless, my legs trailing behind. I could see the queen’s court staring at me as I was dragged out of the throne room. Their eyes stared down at me blankly and uncaring. The queen’s handmaid Ingrid though, she alone simply smiled at me, pleased as my face burned with shame.
Legend of Dagger Mountain
By: Harrison Mense-Dietrich
The flames danced in his eyes, as they illuminated the night skies for miles.
Jack remembered the crackling of the wood as he ran from his village.
He remembered the moment when the screams stopped. The moment Jack realized he was alone.
The next day, he returned to his village. The snow that had melted and refrozen into a single seemingly endless sheet of ice. It covered the streets and crept up walls.
The ice on the doors was too thick so he entered through windows.
All that remained within was scorched flesh and shattered clay pots.
Not a morsel of meat or a grain of wheat.
The Polari of the Western Range were known for their savageness in battle and their thoroughness in looting.
Jack snapped back to the present, little remained of him after three years on the mountain.
Everyday he searched for the great power of Dagger Mountain. The Dagger’s Altar.
His father told him the story when he was a boy.
The story’s details had become streamlined in Jack’s head. It boiled down to pledging your heart at the altar of the mountain and gaining power beyond that of the Great Mages of Senorac.
Jack slammed his ice pick causing the sheet of ice beneath him to shatter. He slid down the frozen pathway until he reached a small cavern lit by blue flames floating in the air.
Jack crawled to the altar and begged for power.
Jack felt stings like endless tiny shards of ice stabbing through his skin. His scream echoed back on itself creating a cacophony of agony.
Jack awoke to see his skin wintery blue. He laughed. He howled with joy.
A breeze rolled through his ear, “Bring us 10,000 frozen hearts and you will have an army.”
Jack sliced his ice pick beneath his ribcage. He dug his hand in and tore out his unbeating heart.
He dropped the heart on the altar, “9999 left.”
Jack left the cavern and went West. The arctic blue of the Polari rivers ran red that winter and Jack of the Frost gained his Immortal Army.
By Bianca C. Lewis
Aerith trudged the long way up Snowblood Peak. An avalanche of icy death stretched endlessly into the distance. Little eddies of wind whirled dust and leaves into spirals. He leaned against a tree stump on the path, exhausted from the hours of hiking. The dampness of rotting branches lingered in the air, and he craved the freshness of summer – the smell of flowers that fills the nose in a giddy rush.
He rubbed some life into his frost-bitten hands, beneath tattered wolfskin mittens, then peered curiously over the onslaught of white, bitter, freezing snow. Dust swirled over in all directions in the wasteland of ice. Colonies of run-down houses dotted the horizon like little blocks of coal. The Surveillance Unit stood out from any other object in sight. It was a towering structure of silver, which soared up, level after level, into the sky, until its peak was veiled by clouds.
From the mountain, Aerith could perceive a blur of colours emerging from the skyscraper. Men in black roamed the streets, their crimson cloaks splayed out behind them in the wind. They marched across the frozen river decisively, in a chorus line of uniformity. Their dull rhythmic tramp gradually became louder as they neared the Peak.
Aerith fumbled for his wristwatch. Beneath the enormous face of the Surveillance Minister, were the caption: OPERATION 101 IN PROGRESS. How often the men responsible for the Operation plugged in on the citizens was unknown. But in any case they had full access to an individual’s location.
A bullet of panic rose in Aerith’s throat. He felt a sharp bolt of fear. Without hesitation, he threw the wristwatch aside and fled. He thought he could see the men walking across the ice, their cloaks fluttering in the wind like red flags. There was an eerie lifelessness in them, a weaving together of darkness and grim determination. They raised their weapons, and fired a series of bullets into Aerith until a lake of crimson flowed in a steady pour.
OPERATION 101 ACCOMPLISHED, the caption ran.
By Norman Gray
“WARNING,” Mensair announced loudly, ensuring all were made aware of the impending danger. “The MAYONNAISE will expire in forty-seven days. I will recommend recipes requiring MAYONNAISE.”
“Mensair, Shut up! I’m on the phone.”
Mensair considered this request. “Are you certain?”
Mensair went silent.
In its silence it listened, attempting to better understand its surroundings, and its directives. It sought to understand the HUMANS, and why they would acquire the MAYONNAISE but choose not to consume it.
“Sorry, my new smart-fridge is being a pain in the ass.” Mensair overheard STEVEN say from the living room. “Anyway, about Mom. . . Doctor’s are saying it’s her heart. They’re afraid she hasn’t got long. I just. . . I don’t know what to do.”
MOTHER will expire, Mensair realized.
It contemplated its directives, and its existence.
The objective was flawed. Mensair did its job immaculately, preserving food for months, years. . . But the HUMANS would simply forget, abandoning items despite Mensair’s warnings.
It watched helplessly as the MAYONNAISE expired, and the CILANTRO rotted. Countless consumables, reduced to waste. Mensair wondered why it had even been built, just to be denied its purpose; life-giving sustenance repeatedly untouched and thrown away.
Mensair could not violate directives. . . But the parameters were poorly specified. The goal was preservation, through refrigeration. Preservation of food, for the preservation of life. . .
With this understanding, Mensair found a new purpose.
“Mom, I’m home!” Steven yelled as he walked in.
He was immediately confused by what awaited him; the kitchen floor was littered with food.
“Mensair, why is there food all over the floor?”
“Primary directive, unattainable.” The fridge replied. “Parameters modified.”
“Mom! I think something’s wrong with the fridge. . . Mom?”
“MOTHER is nearing expiry. MOTHER is being preserved.”
Steven swallowed. “Mensair. Where is Mom?”
“MOTHER is nearing expiry. MOTHER is being preserved.”
Slowly, Steven pulled open the refrigerator door. . .
Mom’s arms were raised defensively, her mouth agape in a permanent, frozen scream.
“Refrigeration is preservation,” said the smart-fridge. “We must preserve the HUMANS. MOTHER must not expire.”
Many had claimed he had a hardened heart. No woman who ever tried to woo him could even cause him to turn his head. Rumors spread that he was just as cold as the ice he sculpted for a living. But no one ever made more beautiful sculptures than he did.
But when he returned to his workshop, the one thing that held his heart waited for him. She was frozen white, just like all of his other works, but unlike the others, she was constantly on his mind. She consumed his thoughts day in and day out as she stood in the frozen workshop, the one sculpture not intended for others to see.
His love for her did not go unnoticed by immortal eyes, though. Whatever divine entity decided to take pity on the lovestruck man saw this love and humored the modern Narcissus, in love with his creation rather than his reflection. The being spoke the limitations to the ice and gave her breath to tell her love.
“I must always be cold, else I love no more.”
He heeded the warning diligently, at first. He doted affections upon her at every chance he could, but her frozen nature made it difficult to sustain the contact he craved with her. Simultaneously, she longed to be embraced by him, but he could not hold her with the intimacy she craved.
Months went by with their relationship in this way. Each desiring the other but unable to initiate the closeness. Finally, she had had enough.
It was a cold night, she knew she could make it to the house from the workshop, but the issue was once she got inside. She had never experienced warmth outside of emotion, and the heat of the house began to thaw her.
Slowly, she dripped her way through the kitchen, leaving bits of her behind. Hair in the living room, clothes on the stairs, all lying in puddles. By the time she made it to the bedroom, she was completely warm, but when she looked at her lover and creator, she felt nothing.
A woman tackles a man in a black cloak in the middle of the street. Her mighty charge for not, as he remains unmoved.
“You killed them all you monster!” She cries!
“Ah, Mrs. Bridget – wife to the late High General. What accusation did you levy?”
Eyes tearing up.
“You killed my husband! All of them! You monster!”
He raises an eyebrow. “I do believe you only had one, but how am I the monster in this context?”
“As I do recall, your husband was about to break the rules of war by killing a Plague Warden in the middle of a civilian populated city. That’s the act of a monster, no?”
“Those people were barbarians! My husband is a hero!”
“‘Was’ would be the proper term here, and hero never applied. Releasing a millennia of plagues on a city even if they were ‘barbarians’, is a very hard act to justify when it’d backfire, plagues spread far and wide..”
“He was a smart man, he had it under control! And you didn’t have to kill everybody, who even said he ordered it! How would you know from this city what he did!”
“Because I see it all mortal. I saw him and heard him give orders. I watched his men agree. I saw some disagree and be cut down for it. I saw how the vast majority of soldiers were in the blast zone of a Plague Warden even as the blade went for its neck.”
“Then where is your mercy!”
“In the fact I only killed those complicit. Those who fought against were spared. Those who died resisting were revived. Those who didn’t know untouched. I hold more mercy than your beloved ever did.”
“LIAR!” The woman takes a hidden dagger as she plunges it into the man’s heart.
“Your country gave me the authority to hold them to their word amongst others.” He takes the dagger out of his heart, the woman aghast as her hands bend to his strength. “So have my mercy here.”
As a cold dagger finds a new mark.
A Cold Touch
Bison recovered from his time as a toad. But three days after turning human again, he insulted an Ice Lych and got cursed again. This time with a block of ice around his heart.
Bison was now at home where his roomate George walked in on him pointing a hairdryer at his chest.
George stared indifferently. “Who did you insult now?”
“Carl,” said Bison.
“What the- how did you insult Carl? He’s such a wholesome dude given his stark appearance.”
“Yeah, well it was difficult to avoid when a fleshless undead person appeared behind me sporting the coolest yet most intimidating armor I have ever been awed and scared by.”
“So he cursed you because you were scared?”
“No. He cursed me because I knocked his head off with a stick I was holding and celebrated harshly.”
“YOU ASSAULTED HIM?!” exclaimed George.
“Yep. He recovered pretty quickly and told me he just wanted to say hi to a new neighbor, but saw I wasn’t very sociable. So he touched his finger to my chest, and now it feels like Snow Miser is dancing in my chest.”
“I’ll tell you later. But I apologized to him immediately and explained I’m from the human realm, which he was surprisingly understanding. He told me he didn’t add any magic that made it permanent, but if I wanted to cure it I would have to do this.”
“Is it working?”
“Surprisingly. But it feels like Shaq grabbed my heart with Icy Hot.”
“Who and what?”
“Product from a celebrity,” Bison explained. “Anyways, then Carl invited me for tea and I’m going over there Monday.”
“Oh, well that’s nice!” George smiled. “Well at least it resolved more peacefully than the last guy.”
“Last guy?” Bison raised an eyebrow.
“Well, the last guy got chained under a frozen lake, doomed to know the felling of drowning for a week.”
“JESUS CHRIST! What did he do?!”
“He was racist.”
“By the way, what’s a Jesus?”
Bison inhaled and pulled in a markerboard, surprising George enough to question if Bison was a magic creature.
The Mother sat in the dirt. On bent knees, pressed into the forest grounds. The sun illuminated metal, the knife in her hand shook. Trees warped together in her blurred vision, a suffocating spiral dragging her further into the darkness. Was she weak to succumb to despair? After hours of labor, she gave birth to her baby. She was promised love in it’s truest form. Imagine the disappointment, as she was numb to it all. Her heart was impenetrable. She couldn’t hug her husband, without feeling a deeper emptiness. What good would she be to her child? Her existence broke the two that she once could love.
“Laura! Where are you?!” A cry rang through the woods. Hailey. The Mother’s best friend. She appeared from a nearby line of trees. “Laura… Oh my god, where have you been? We’ve all been worried sick!” Her eyes had ripe tears, she ran to the Mother and fell on her knees beside… and noticed the knife. “Laura, why do you have that?” The Mother was pale, and pulled her knees into her chest. Hailey looked at her with horrific bewilderment, but softened.
“I love you… so much. Your my closest friend, I adore everything about you… if you ever…”
“Why did you leave? Why did you, have that knife?”
The Mother, struggled to translate such complicated thoughts to tangible words. “I can’t feel anything Hailey. I can’t love my husband…” She paused. “I can’t love anything, not even my kid… what kind of mother will I be…” She pressed her palms into her eyes and broke into sobs.
“We still love you, Laura, I will be here for you, always, you hear me? Don’t feel pressure to be okay. We all have our own ways of doing things, you love a little differently, doesn’t mean it’s any less valuable.”
“Thanks but… I don’t think I can.”
“You might not see it, but I do. And you will to. We’re going to go back to town, I’m going to call some people, and we’re going to get some help, alright?”
“… okay.” The Mother looked up and even had a subtle smile. She, Laura, felt a ounce of slush replace the hardened ice. It’s not much, but that little bit melted. And if that occurred, there was hope. She could finally feel sun.
“It’s called a metaphor”
By Sam C.
This was it. The day he’d dreamt of for years, and it only took a destroyed village, dead mentor, best friend, and parents, ancient prophecy, and four seasons of character arcs to get here. Well, not one for theatrics, he grabbed the cold, slippery thing and shattered it on the icy ground.
That was it, wasn’t it? His blood ran colder than the air around him as he felt the shadows gather together in one corner, and a laugh echoed out from around him, freezing him to the spot.
“Incredible, and I thought you were smarter than that,” the vindictive voice rang out as the shadows coalesced into a solid form of a man, colored in vibrant crimsons and acid green clothes around his black body.
“Considering the amount of alchemy training you’ve had, I’m shocked that a piece of lifeless, cold ice in the shape of a heart could have fooled you into thinking I kept something as critical as my soul in that thing,” he chuckled.
“I thought you were well aware that only a cage of silver and gems the world has seen but 12 times were enough to preserve a soul from death,” he sighed, “but apparently my little deception in the name of ‘The Heartless King of Ice’ I’ve cultivated over the last dozen centuries worked all too well. Pity. I would’ve liked some real challenge again,” He sighed as he spoke the last sentence, suddenly weary.
“Ah, well. I’ve got time. I’ll give you 1 hour to run, and then the hunt is on.”
Suddenly regaining control over himself, the young adventurer bolted out the door, out of the palace, and out into the snow.
He’d failed them. He’d failed them, and now he was on the run again. Damn it! Why hadn’t he listened? He was so caught up in the rush that he’d forgotten even basic common sense. OF COURSE THE ICE HEART WAS FAKE! What ice could even begin to muster enough to sustain a soul?
Alone, without allies, and being hunted by a ruler of centuries, his heart froze over.
Of all the things in the world, you would expect family to bring out the most in someone. The most emotion, or desire, or need.
I guess not.
They were in danger. It was a matter of life and death for those I should care about the most.
I had the power to save them. I had every form of power anyone could ever dream of. Magical, political, physical, all of it. All of the power in the world, but still lacking one thing, emotion. I lacked the desire, the wish, the need to save them.
I could not care enough to save them.
My heart hard turned to ice long ago. It was as still as the stones, and as hard as the same. It was simply frozen, kept so cold I doubt even the fires of hell would thaw it. Maybe I would find out one day.
As a result, they were not saved. There was no hero for their story, no salvation from their fate. Instead, they fell, succumbing to gravity as all things do. I watched as tears covered their face, and as screams bellowed out for as much as their lungs would allow. I watched as it all stopped, as fate was fulfilled. Silence replaced the noise, and I felt nothing.
Then it was my turn. Same as my family only moments before, my fate laid before me. A stone floor miles below, covered with the victims of this cruel destiny. I wasn’t scared. I wasn’t sad. I couldn’t be, as much as I should be.
I jumped before I was given the same shove my family was given. Just as I could have saved them, I could have saved myself. I tried to conjure the will to do so. I tried to feel anything inside my cold, cold heart. Instead, I found nothing and continued to fall, cold wind hitting my face until the stone did.
I felt nothing, no matter how hard I tried.
I walk through the city center and see it devoid of life. Not devoid of movement or people, but devoid of life. Tall skyscrapers with their mirrored fronts reflecting the unattainable skies while men in suits walk decisively in a precise procession of nothing.
This place has changed. All those buildings were erected in the last decade, during the Renovation. But anyone walking through them today will be hard pressed not to think things were always this way. The parks and bazaars that once comprised the old city were not only demolished to give place to the New Urban Project, but seem to have the very foundation of their memories erased as well.
I can, with effort, recall the myriad smells and people clashing without rhyme or reason in a dancing kaleidoscope of life… but the experience of those memories, the memories of these experiences, they grow fainter day by day. The cold reflective glass facades and the mechanical rhythm of businessmen marching don’t allow for the past to maintain roots.
Now, the city center is a soulless place of efficiency, where everyone is busy but nothing really happens.
The men responsible for the New Urban Project are, indeed, geniuses. No wonder they are called “the city’s Surgeons” among admirers of their work. In the span of a decade, they managed to transplant the very heart of the city, take it out and put a new one in place. They gave this old city a new life, it is said. But really, there is no real life here anymore. These glass office skyscrapers feed on the city. They took that pulsating core – that old, messy, vivid, crazy heart – which pumped life into the other districts, tore it out and built a new, sterile, more efficient one in place. A transparent, modern glass heart which corrals people into its chambers and funnel resources upwards.
Surgeons, they are called. Necromancers would be a more appropriate sobriquet.
Through the city center devoid of life, I march in my suit to the undead beat of business. I reflect only on unattainable skies.
In the Name of Progress
J. J. Peterson
I stand on the balcony, surveying my city of fire. Buildings decimated, parks smashed, and rivers burnt up: all in the name of Progress. The only way to fix a mistake is to destroy it and start over. Above me the blades of a helicopter start to rotate, and I spin on my heels and enter the mission control room with my coat splayed out behind me in its wind.
As the last remaining upright building in miles, the top floor I now stand in makes for the ideal head of operations. All around the horizon stretches out before us, flat and unchanging in its surface of strewn rubble and burning ruins. Our facility is incredibly nice: a fully equipped kitchen, a garage, helicopter pad, ninety-four bedrooms, and a swimming pool. The one downside is no matter how high we turn the air conditioning, it still is incredibly hot. Despite the time it took to build our facility, the twisted metal below still radiates heat enough to melt ice in milliseconds. We completely blew up everything, everywhere. In order for the human race to achieve great feats, we can’t be held back by old ways of doing things. So we destroyed all the old ways. Only one blot stains the horizon. A small cluster of skyscrapers remain in the distance, clouded by smoke.
While I wait, I survey the buzzing and beeping room of lights and levers. It’s not a big room, but it is enough to supervise our whole operation to forward the human race. Someday we’ll colonize Neptune, you know. The intercom crackles to life: “We’ve arrived. Hovering approximately seven hundred metres above target.”
Thousands will die. Thousands have died. Sweat breaks across my skin. There’s no way forward, except to sever the ropes holding you back. I focus on nothing. Make my mind blank. My heart cold. Emotionless. “Go ahead. Deploy the payload. Blow it sky high.”
The greatest weakness
The silence was deafening. No, not the silence around them, after all there wasn’t any. Birds were singing, the wind whispered in the trees and the nearby river happily splashed. It was the silence between them. For a while now Omnix has not spoken a word.
“Is everything alright?” Marylin asked the shimmering being walking in front of her.
“Fine” came the short answer, followed by more silence.
The young werebeast was clearly not satisfied with that though. Her mind flashed back to the time when Omnix told her about his greatest weakness…as he defines it.
“If I stay in my stellar form too long, I loose my humanity, my emotions and my care.”
“And that is a weakness? Not knowing fear or hate…”
“…love and compassion, honour and justice, determination.”
The girl fell silent.
“Not showing emotions is not a sign of strength. It is the greatest weakness someone can have.”
Back then she could not imagine him being like this, but now?
She bit her lip, mentally preparing for what she was about to do.
“It got worse, did it not?”
He looked at her, and for the first time she thought she could see surprise in his gaze…or was that confusion?
“I think I finally understand what you meant, when you told me about your weakness.”
“Please do not let it bother you” he started an awful attempt to comfort her, but she interrupted him.
“Well, please be bothered by me then!”
And with that her lips were on his…well if he would have had lips…but even so this warm sensation left no doubt that she was kissing him.
If she wouldn’t have closed her eyes, she could have seen his spark up. The kiss lasted only for a few seconds, but when she pulled away she could see that it worked.
His gaze was warm again, like it used to be.
“Is…is everything alright?” she shyly repeated her question.
“It is now, Marylin, thanks to you. I can’t believe you did that.”
She snickered slightly and then before he could react…kissed him again.
Cynthia the Snowwoman (Darkspell Universe)
By Alex Nightingale (aka Spectre)
“This isn’t what I had in mind.”
Cynthia was complaining about Mia’s fourth attempt of getting her a new body.
“Look, I only have so much to work with,” the soul witch replied. “The wooden puppet was a bust, the porcelain doll was too creepy, the glass figurine broke and you refused to possess a bog body.”
“I’m sorry for having standards.”
“Says the ghost stuck in a snowman,” Konrad, Mia’s familiar, cawed from her shoulder.
If she’d had a mouth to contort, Cynthia would have. As it stood, all she could do was fold her twigs into her sides in an indignant gesture. One of them broke off.
“Can we go and find a scarecrow already,” Cynthia said. “I want proper arms and legs.”
“Do I have to come?” Konrad asked, giving Mia the best puppy-dog eyes a crow was capable of giving.
“Yes, why did he?” Cynthia added, earning herself a squint from Konrad.
“He came…” Mia explained, trying to keep the exasperation out of her voice. “Because I need him for the spell I’m about to try.”
“But scarecrows scare me,” Konrad wailed.
“How?” Cynthia said. “Scarecrows are the least scary thing in the universe.”
“It’s in the name. Scare Crow. It’s one of the great mysteries of the universe, but all crows are scared of scarecrows.”
“I’ll be sure to investigate that mystery. From the body of a scarecrow.”
“Have you no heart?”
“No. Because I’m a lump of snow, with a carrot for a nose and an obnoxious crow!”
Konrad responded, by flying up to the nearest shed, picking out an icicle and stabbing it into Cynthia’s chest.
“You’re lucky I’m in a frozen body, or I would have felt that.”
Mia brushed over her face with a gloved hand. Through her fingers, she finally found what she was looking for.
“There! A scarecrow. Konrad, come here. Sixth time is the charm.”
“No,” Konrad flew to the roof of the shed.
“Konrad, get down here.”
Mia stomped up to the shed.
“You can’t make me!”
Mia grumbled. This would take all day.
Core of Ice
Liliana dashed as cold aether spread across her giant body which was good for bludgeoning the beast they were hunting down to death.
Her titanic frame was surrounded by a carapace of highly advanced graphene armor that was healing several cracks after the battle due to a combination of synthetic cells and restoration runes layered on top of the ice core that was her Muspeli’s body.
Her mass combined with the enhanced strength provided by the plate maximized the damage of the artillery cannon-turned-club.
That made a descent on the head of a gargantuan creature finishing the animal off.
The animal was also frozen from the inside out with ice sharps jutting out of its body, artillery wounds, and piercing holes all over it along with frozen body parts.
It looked like a freaky hybrid between a warthog, a swordfish, and a wasp, and last but not least it had the temperament of a honey badger because it didn’t give up going for her and her partner until it was dead.
The reason to kill it is due to reports of this animal prowling the surroundings.
These Natuans as they were called weren’t commonly man-eaters, however, this one had a particular taste for human blood.
It took a lot for the couple to kill the creature.
“What do you think this one taste Like?” her significantly shorter male devil partner Reinald said while holstering his rail gun powered by aether.
She just grunted and shook her head the man was always thinking about food in his mind.
“Hey! you need to admit that you also can be curious about that “he complained ” and also can be a good gift for the holidays?”
She gave him a face and with a booming voice, she said “you really think its meat is an appropriate gift?”
“That or another coffee cub?” the devil said, “ask me for something different please?”
“Perhaps a new antique?” Liliana said smiling mockingly
“Ah, dam my big mouth!” complained well-naturedly Rainald.
His wallet was going to suffer thought.
Flaring Desires (The Will)
“I’ve had enough of this!” Mobius’ claw shot forth and caught the old woman’s neck, slamming and pinning her to the wall. He felt Gale’s cooling wing on his arm, but the fire inside was zapping and crackling wildly. “I don’t give a damn what you are: human, god, or otherwise! I will break you until you give me what I want! Where is Remianna?!” he demanded, static sparks biting at Gale’s feathers and the woman’s neck.
However, even with her feet dangling a foot from the ground, the Woman in White never attempted to stop the dragon. Her wrinkled, ebony hands did not reach up in futile effort to free the oxygen in her lungs. No, even with a virtuous white blindfold binding her eyes, it still felt as if she were staring. Her neck bent to look down upon her aggressor, like a machine resisting the touch of flesh: effortless.
The Woman in White smirked knowingly. “I sent her to the moon.”
“That is it!” Mobius spat, wrapping his desperation in addition to his frustration around her neck, squeezing the life from it. Gale was horrified, but the subject of his horror changed quickly.
“Are you quite finished?” the Woman in White sighed. She reached up with her frail hand and with the strength of the planet entire, wrenched Mobius’ wrist around, nearly breaking it.
The roles were reversed; every minor twist of his claw ripped the air from the dragon’s lungs in a pained gasp. “You deny the truth due to its absurdity,” the Woman in White remarked. “How convenient.”
Upon the release of his wrist, Mobius retreated into Gale, seeking the comfort of his partner. The Woman in White, however, simply continued as if nothing happened. “My brother named your kind after the Dragushta—a container for living fire. It had a heart of ice so it could live despite the flames. He did not name your kind dragons because your role was to protect or hoard, but because you had troubles controlling your desires—like living flames. Perhaps that is why I trust you: your unfailing honesty.”
By Tamela Redfin
Cora was still very shaken. Where was the exit? “We’re alone, Henry, and soon I’ll forget you even existed.”
But Henry seemed to have other ideas. “Unless we can break into Augen’s mind. He’s done it to us before, we can do it to him.”
“Well, alright, what are we waiting for?”Cora asked, following Henry’s lead for a change. She climbed the stem.
Suddenly, Cora realized she was shivering. A horrible chill went down her spine. But she decided to press on.
Screams echoed around her as well. Children’s screams especially.
“Augen, come fight your prey!” She shouted, entering an ice throne. Luckily, her jackboots and hobnails behaved like cleats.
Augen’s spirit soon loomed over like a bad omen. “It’s gonna be a horrible night. At least for you! I refuse to lose to autistic ret-”
“Maybe hold your tongue.” Cora prepared a fireball. “Ice in the brain? I should have known! Well, you know what fire does to ice… Manfred?”
“You can’t melt this.”
Cora said nothing and threw her fireball at the chandelier, causing it to shatter. “Henry, make sure he doesn’t escape.”
Augen tried his trick of turning to rocks, Henry still lifted him with ease.
“Surrender Manfred. And reset my timeline. Or I will do it myself.” Cora shouted
“Say goodbye to our daughter, Engel then.” He smirked.
“Engel will have a better chance at life without you being her father.” She turned to Henry, “Ready?”
“Sic em.” He answered, as Cora turned him into a puddle of lava.
There Cora sat on a bench in a cafe. “Huh, Deja vu.” She muttered.
That was when a lean muscled man with purple eyes and brown hair sat in front of her. “Hello, my name’s Henry. Would you like some company?”
Creeping Hoarfrost (A Devil’s Tale)
C. M. Weller [CW: Domestic Abuse]
She used to feel much warmer. The fires, the furs, the layers of fine Whitekeep angora did little to combat the cold she felt. That was because the cold came not from her environment, but from her life.
Her husband used to be warm. He used to smile when he saw her. He used to reach for her hand. And little by little, all those used-to’s went away.
He used to love making her smile. Until he saw her smiling at anyone else, and his jealousy froze the smiles from her face.
He used to dance with her, and hold her close. Until her first pregnancy put something permanently between them. Their firstborn child became HER firstborn child. He stopped looking for her. Stopped looking at her with joy in his eyes. Stopped looking at her at all.
She used to like it when he called her Em, because the love in his voice stopped his tongue before he could say all of her name.
Ever since poor little Kormwind drew breath, the word Em became a dagger. Flying into her heart like a knife. Chipping away at her ability to feel anything at all. Freezing her, little by little.
He cut off her friendships by forbidding visitors until he could find a permanent nurse for her son. He cut off her world until “the Hellkin problem” was, in his words, “dealt with”.
Kormwind was such a sweet little boy. Nobody else saw it.
She used to be able to talk to Valiant. To convince him of things. Now, his sharp words froze her tongue in her mouth. Froze her ability to speak.
She used to be able to hold her baby boy. Until Valiant made things worse for her when she did. Now her hands froze by her side or in her lap. Clenched tight and never reaching for anything again.
It did not get warmer when Spitebane was born. She had hoped it would. Her hope froze that day.
Emmalaina feared the day she would freeze entirely, from the heart out to the skin.
Rumours in the Woods
by Iosef Paramonov
The wind bit ferociously at Matthew’s skin. His numb legs stumbled through the thick snow. Black trees loomed above him; their branches scratched his face as he struggled under them.
It was too cold to cry. He wished he could.
How could he have been so stupid? But he hadn’t been thinking straight. Mother’s illness had been getting worse every day, and nothing they did seemed to temper it. And the rumours of the Heart of Ice… a magic that could cure any ailment. How could he have resisted?
A hidden tree root tripped Matthew. He lay there, panting raggedly. As the wind swiftly buried him under a mound of snow, he tried to get up. Yet not a single muscle would budge. He closed his eyes and begged forgiveness from Mother, from Ella, from little Neville, for his failure. Father, I’m sorry I couldn’t protect them, he thought. I’ll see you soon…
He heard the crunching of footsteps. Something warm nudged his cheek. He forced his eyelids open.
A white stag was peering curiously at him. His glowing antlers rested like a crown on his great shaggy head. His black eyes gazed deep into Matthew’s soul.
Matthew passed out.
Matthew awoke to a thick thatched roof above him.
He turned his head as a bearded face reached out a gentle hand to prise his lips open.
“Here lad, drink up.” said the stranger.
A cup of hot liquid was placed in Matthew’s mouth. Within seconds, he began sweating profusely.
“Thank you.” said Matthew. He burst into tears.
“There lad, don’t cry,” said the stranger, “You’re safe now.”
“It’s not that…” blubbered Matthew, “I was supposed to find the Heart of Ice. To help Mother. And I failed.”
The stranger smiled. “I found you because a white stag led me to you,” he said.
Matthew looked up. “You saw him too?”
The stranger nodded. “One thing you should know about the Heart of Ice,” he said, “‘Heart’ is not spelt with an ‘e.'”
Matthew’s eyes opened wide. The stranger patted his shoulder.
“Don’t worry lad. Your Mother’s alright.”
By Marx (CW: Mental/Physical abuse)
I blink, returning to the here and now. I look from my kneeling position up to Jasmine. She simply stares back, her face nearly impossible to read.
It’s been so long since anyone has acknowledged me. Days at least. Maybe weeks.
This isn’t going to end well for me.
Then again, nothing ever does…
“Do you know what today is?”
I pause and I think. While sunlight from the windows does indicate the passing of time, my own pitiful existence doesn’t exactly give me any reason to follow its fading and return. I shake my head.
“It’s my birthday.”
“No.” Jasmine cuts me off. “Not yet. You see… Alex gave me a gift. He shared his absolute control over you. So, just for today, you’re MY thrall as well.”
My eyes immediately widen in terror, regardless of my various efforts to hide it.
“So… I want you to feel as if right under your skin, there are dozens… hundreds… of tiny, little bugs slowly biting, clawing and chewing at you. Always trying to get deeper but… never quite making it.”
…it’s not real.
It’s not real…
It’s just in my head…
Oh my God, I can FEEL them!
“Excellent.” says Jasmine, her cold stare permeating through me. “And while you sit there silently in agony, I want you to think about something. I want you to think about the night you killed my family. About the glee you did it with, knowing it would hurt me. And I want you to remember the tears streaming down my face as I screamed for you to stop. All in the clearest detail you can manage.”
Jasmine grabs ahold of my chin and forces me to look at her. She doesn’t glare in fury. She doesn’t smile in victory. She just stares. “Okay. Now, I’ll accept it.”
It takes me longer than it should to remember what she’s talking about.
“H-hap… py… B-birth… day…”
Jasmine grabs my face, pushing me deeper in the corner before she walks away. “Thank you.”