Wednesday, 18 January 2012

The life and death of Jack

A response to a competition run by Kizzi on the Darren Shan board. Not my best, but I like it anyway :) 

It was a cold winter morning, and I’d come to be here, an untouched blanket of sparkly white. I’d arrived many hours before, and now I was lying thickly on the frozen grass. It was dark, and the first animal padded around my expanse, leaving a trail of small paw prints. I was cursing at the irreparable damage the ginger critter had caused when I heard a loud voice.

“The cold is dangerous, put your coats on!”

Two children jumped over the threshold onto the steps. One was a boy, small and almost engulfed in his large winter jacket, and the other was a girl. She was older, and looked unimpressed at her mother, as her own coat was handed to her. She put it on slowly, and a small smile began to play on her lips as she saw her brother finally zip his coat up and run all around the garden. His boots crushed into me with every step, the agony escalating as he paused to kneel down on me and roll an icy ball, throwing it at his sister. Accursed children! I was broken, and I wept for my own mortality. I yearned to feel that peace again.

They played for a time, and I tried to focus only on parts of myself which were unbroken, but these became few and far between. I knew not what they were doing, but their hands were warm, and as they moulded me, pulled me and compacted me, the pain came in waves. Their warmth began to melt me, and soon I was not what I remember myself to be.

I began to see them from a perspective I was unused to. They looked to be smaller than before, and I could see over the small fence. Before long I was able to look directly into the eyes of the boy, though the girl was still taller than I.

She pressed the two coals into my face- Face?- and suddenly I could see her clearly. Her cheeks were rosy from the cold, and she had a brightly coloured hat and scarf framing her face. My eyes- eyes?- were almost level with hers as she looked at me directly and told me that I was beautiful. I felt almost flattered.

The boy roughly poked a carrot towards my face, and I shuddered with the pain. But suddenly I could smell the wonder of a fresh morning, the grass and a whole variety of aromas I could never have dreamt of floated out from the kitchen. He placed buttons down my front, and the chill of winter that I have always felt lessened. They used smaller buttons to outline a smiling mouth on my face, and the feelings of resentment and loneliness ebbed away. Finally the boy took the brightly coloured hat from the girls head and placed it on mine. The chill was almost gone.

The girl smiled and slowly removed her scarf from around her neck.

“And now, you can have my scarf to keep you warm.” She smiled, then stood back to admire me. I felt beautiful, I felt safe.

The back door opened and a small pup nosed his way out and down the steps. He bounded around the remaining patches of cool white, until he found me. Looking up at me, he nuzzled as my side, his warm nose disconcerting against my cold skin. With a cocked head he jumped up, sinking his teeth into the fringed end of my scarf.

“Here, boy! Walkies!”

I had a horrible feeling of foreboding as the pup ran back towards house, his jaw still locked over my scarf. The wool tightened around my neck, tighter and tighter, until my head crumbled, and I felt myself falling to the ground. The cold may be a danger to a boy, but to a snowman, a scarf can be fatal.

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