Hello once again to another back log. This one’s a little strange to say the least, and written in my favorite season no less. I even forgot where this piece was going when I was going through it but after reading I’d come to rather enjoy it. Something very primal is in this piece to me and it’s really something that’s quite human, and very grotesque. Here you go, “Winter’s Warmth”.
Never before in my life had I ever felt something that warm, in something that cold. It was a beautiful day, with bright fields of white all around me. I turned my head towards the sky and closed one eye and squinted the other to stare into the sun. The winter’s sun was nothing with the winter’s winds, and as I stood there, seemingly engrossed in nothingness, I saw her.
A figure of undeniable color, streaking her way through the glittering snow. She wasn’t looking my way, but she jolted towards the woods. I was curious, to say the least, and at best I didn’t want anyone to get lost in the woods, especially in this weather. Though, no one would call me a saint even if I did find a child in the woods. That was just how this town worked. Despite this, I walked my way into the woods, following her footsteps and imagining her bright flowing hair dancing among the dead trees. It brought a strange life all around the forest.
I pushed past dead branches, and made sure to avoid jutting stones as I followed the trail. The cold of winter caressed my face with each moving step, and no matter where I turned my head, it followed with its pale touch. It was a quaintly intricate dance that I had performed, though the real fun was in finding the enigma which was that of the person I saw. I kept pressing forward, following the footsteps in the snow, and finally made it to a break in the trees. It was a clearing of some sorts, with one large edificial tree in the center. It towered over me and the other trees in a way that I would never have imagined. It was oddly permeating a sense of protection, and just standing near it gave me a strange sanctum.
I pressed my hands on its old bark, and slowly went down the trunk, making sure to stop when I felt a prick or saw a trickle of blood. Though, neither happened, I stopped anyway, and then wondered where she had disappeared to. The footsteps had landed here, but she was nowhere to be seen. I brought my hand to my eyes and looked up into the sky again, back into the sun, until my eyes began hurting. Then, just as before, the figure appeared in front of me. I felt my eyes widen and my heart stop for just a moment, perhaps in fear, or in complete lurid elation.
She didn’t utter a word, but simply smiled at me. She had long flowing cinnamon hair that lowered to her back and seemed to want to touch her feet. Her eyes were an alluring hazel, and just looking at them created swirls in my mind, seeming to entangle every thought I had with her gaze. Her cheeks were flushed red, and it contrasted with her pale skin. Her lips were a bright red that seemed like it was gushing out blood, but had stopped just in the perfect spot to make it as vibrant as the new autumn leaves. She was wearing a white dress that was far too long for her as the hem extended towards her feet. From her figure, I could tell she could pass as emaciated, and I wondered if that was true. If it was, all the more reason to bring her someplace where the cold wouldn’t bite her, and, all the more to wonder about this damaged beauty.
“Don’t suppose you’re out here on a winter stroll?” She shook her head with the same small smile. It was neither a smile that curled to her face, nor a smile that utilized her eyes. It was a smile of tacit.
“Well, following you here has led me to this ancient beast.” I stopped, and looked towards the tree. It truly was something of the past, like an artifact of those who knew better.
“Don’t get me wrong. I was just curious as to why anyone would be out here running around by themselves in the woods.” She simply smiled at me. No words, no gestures. Not even a break in her eye contact. She looked right through my soul.
“Not going to give me much of a break here are we?” She continued with her demeanor. I sighed, and then figured that if she was like this, then there wasn’t much to it. I just had to adapt. And I did. I bent down on the snow in front of us, and then with my gloveless finger, began writing in the snow.
“Hello.” I drew in the snow. She then bent down, and with her eyes and mouth focused on the task in front of her, she began writing back.
“Hello,” she said. I smiled at her, and she looked up at me, smiling as well.
“I’m glad you can talk. Kind of.” I added the last bit in a hurry.
“I can’t talk.” She looked at me with drooping eyes, and a weak smile. I took a deep breath in and was about to respond audibly, but then swallowed my words, and opted to sketching it out on the snow.
“What kinds of things do you like?” I felt like a preschooler, or even a nervous high schooler asking her crush questions. I thought the days of this inane bantering was over. I guess not all had faded.
“Butterflies?” She began drawing butterflies in the snow. Spotted ones, large ones, small ones, any kind of butterfly she could think of, she drew. I admired her adoration towards the insect.
“Didn’t think you were such a kid about it.” I wrote in the snow in front of her. She looked up, with her mouth forming a pout and her eyes pointing down. I laughed, and so did she.
“What about you?” She wrote in front of me.
“I’m–” I stopped, and then thought about it, “Still finding my own way.” My fingers stopped in the snow, and I felt the frost crawl up my veins. She looked at me, with her head titled to the side and her brows raised. I quickly finished my thought, “So, I don’t really have things I like.” She stared at my response. No smile, no motion in her face. It was almost as she was entranced in a reverie of snow. I dragged my finger across the snow again to add on, “Yeah. I’m boring.” She then dragged her skinny hands across my words, crossing some out and adding her own. My message now read, “I’ve found my way. I have things I like. I’m not boring.” She smiled, and then grabbed my hand before I could respond. She dragged me up and then hugged me. I couldn’t call it a sweet embrace, but her white dress fluttered around me, and her hold seemed more empty than anything. It made me want to cry.
After withdrawing from her, I smiled, and so did she. She then bent down to write on the snow.
“Do you see it?” I looked at her with a questioning look. She then pointed up, behind me. I lifted my head towards her finger, and was blinded by the sun before finally resting my eyes on a lone branch. Nothing. I turned back and then noticed that she was gone. I looked down, at the snow, and noticed everything else was gone as well. Our words, and our foot prints, and even the butterflies. What was in their place now, was live butterflies, fluttering towards an indent in the snow. I brushed towards them, and watched as a flurry of butterflies dissipated into the woods.
I began shoveling away at the snow until I reached the dirt beneath. The ground now was too frozen to dig with my bare hands, but it looked tampered, as if something had been buried there. Something compelled me to continue, and so I did despite the pain that shot up my arm with each scoop of dirt. It took me a while to finally reach the end of it, which was a wooden box. I took it with whatever hand was the most intact, and stopped for a moment of respite. I cleared my throat, and then checked the opening of the box. Unlocked. I slowly trudged it open, and, almost sporadically dropped the box on the snow. My breathing accelerated, and my heart rate was pulsing, and threatened to beat out of my chest. When I had finally calmed myself I reached over to grab what had fallen out of the box. I delicately held it in my hands, and brought it close to my chest, to match the pulses. I never asked for her name. Despite that, she gave me a strange kind of warmth. As I held her close to my heart, listening to her pulse, her warmth began seeping into mines, creating a cascading influx of human affection. This time, I cried.