Prompt: Cold. Winter. Snow.

This was for a writing competition on one of my role playing sites, hexrpg.com ^_^

—-

The sun is warm and fading. A light breeze stirs the leaves at our feet and a few lift to brush against my bare calves. The foliage is heated from the rays streaking through the canopy of the Woodlands around us. Our laughter bounces off the thick bark of the trees, circling our heads and shoots back out into the distance.  My entire chest is swollen with joy as my lover locks his arms around my waist, wrestling me to a stop. His warm hands spin me around to face him and I cherish his white smile. My hand reaches up to brush through his dark curls and a zing! darts through my chest, followed by a quick fluttery feeling. Dekken always makes me nervous, anxious and ecstatic all at the same time. He holds me steady, my rock. The one that owns my heart.

We are still laughing, breathing heavily from the sprint into the Woodlands. It’s forbidden to be here, but it’s the only place that we can get away. The tribe doesn’t approve of our risqué natures. Yet, none of them have realized our relationship. These are the only times we can spend together – when the sun is lowering behind the mountains as a blend of cool blues, purples and reds flood the sky. We have these few moments together before having to return and we must savor every second.

With one arm wrapped around my waist, Dekken holds me tightly to him and his other hand brushes over my cheek. His blue eyes graze my features, as though he were memorized. He speaks in a soft, low voice; “We are going to marry one day soon, Juniper, and we will no longer need to hide.”

Both my hands comb through his hair now, relishing the feeling of the silky strands between my fingers. “I want to marry you, Dek, you know this. But we cannot. Not while our laws forbid it.”

“We can escape together.”

My eyes grow wide, knowing the green in them will brighten with the light. My voice is low and soft. This was a dangerous subject, but I want to listen to him. “Where would we go?”

Dekken drops his other hand from my cheek to wrap tightly around my waist. His fingers play with the ends of my hair which flows well past my lower back; his eyes are livid with resolve. “Anywhere, my love, please come with me. We can run and find a new life.”

I’m shocked. The tone of his voice is so sincere, determined. I love him. So, so much. To run away with him would be nothing but bliss. We would no longer be restrained by the olden laws of our tribe. No longer awaiting the Selection that will force us to marry someone else. Maybe we would find another tribe. One that is accepting of the love that has blossomed between us. We could begin a family together and live our lives how we want to.

A smile grows on my lips. I bring my palms to his cheek and draw his lips to mine for a soft, lingering kiss. When we part, I whisper to him; “I will follow you anywhere.”

The smile on his face melts my insides. Dekken kisses me again, lifting me up to spin us around and I squeal and laugh against his lips. My hand-woven skirt flies out behind me and my brown hair whips around to shield our faces from the outside world. When my feet touch the ground, his hands brush my hair back and he kisses me again; a longer, deeper kiss. In that moment, I’m lost in him. Lost in the possibility of a life outside of our tribe. A life with Dekken. Together. For the rest of our lives.

Light from the sun dims around us, signaling that our time is close to finished. Neither of us move, though. We are locked in our embrace, unwilling to return to the tribe’s lands. Where we are forced to pretend we are nothing more than acquainted. Leaves rustle at our feet with a cool breeze. The branches of the trees above us sway and creak as well. I’m desperate to ignore everything around us and to continue focusing on Dekken – but something unnerves me. The breeze forces a chill up my spine and I shiver.

Dekken pulls back from me, only a few inches, his eyes flickering back and forth between mine. I can see his breath when he speaks; “Are you cold?”

I nod and find my gaze moving to the area around us. Another breeze whips through, harsher than the previous ones and it’s freezing cold. I gasp lightly and press myself closer to him. “Something is wrong here, Dekken…”

His hold tightens, muscles tense and he speaks lowly. Confused. “How is it this cold suddenly? Winter is moons away.”

A white fleck lands on Dekken’s shoulder. I brush a finger over it and watch it melt against my skin. I’ve never seen anything like it before. Another fleck drops from the sky, then another and another until they are coating our clothes and tangled in our hair. I’m shivering uncontrollably at this point and both of us are silent, gaping.

“Snow,” Dekken speaks and I stare at him. The tone of his voice frightens me more. He’s worried. His hands are brushing the white from my hair and shoulders gently. “We haven’t had snow since…”

“Never in my lifetime,” I tell him softly. Our voices are hardly above a whisper. “Winter does not bring snow. Do you know what this means?”

He doesn’t have the chance to respond. Another breeze attacks the trees and they bend violently. The Woodlands are suddenly alive with noises, animals shrieking, running. Small tornadoes of foliage swirl around us and my eyes burn with tears. A tree in the distance snaps and breaks just thirty paces away from us. I’m gripping Dekken’s vest in my hands and he moves us a few steps away from the fallen tree.

“Dekken, let us leave quickly, please…”

My words fall on deaf ears. He halts our retreat, eyes locked on something just past the tree. “What is that?”

I follow his gaze to see a wall of white building up and up, past the canopies of the trees. It’s vicious, slowly rolling in our direction and swallowing everything in it’s path. Foliage disappears, sucked into the white along with branches and trees stripped of its bark.

I’m terrified. I tug on Dekken’s vest; “Please, we must go. Mother says there is nothing but despair with the Snow!”

“Wait, I have to see this…”

He releases me and tears stain my cheeks instantly. He looked possessed by the snow, as if something is calling to him. “Dekken, no! Please!”

My lover is not listening. I’m so terrified that I’m frozen in place, unable to follow him like I had said I would. I cannot follow him into that. Mother has told me tales of the snow, horrid tales. It will eat you alive, tear your flesh from your bones and leave you to bleed your life away.

The white wall lights up the area we stand in, an ominous blue light and I see Dekken move closer. When he is within an arm’s length – the howling stops. The animals are silent, the trees hold still. I can hear my heart pounding erratically in my chest as Dekken lifts a hand, his fingers brushing the wall.

I hold my breath, waiting. But nothing. Nothing happens.

“It is alright, Juniper!” he calls to me.

The glee in his voice does not settle my heart. I am still afraid. There is something past that white; something horrible. Something beyond my worst nightmares. I know this in my head, my heart. My entire body quakes with this knowledge. I raise my hand, holding it out in Dekken’s direction. I am a good fifteen paces away and still cannot move.

“That is wonderful. But please, come back to me–”

My voice is drowned out by an unnatural, high-pitched screech that rattles me to my core. The howling picked up again, the wind whipping around us viciously. A black shadow looms out of the white and snatches Dekken’s outstretched arm, dragging him in. The instant his body is swallowed by the Snow, the white wall rushes at me and I drop to my knees. My hands cover my ears and I drop my forehead to the ground, screaming. Screaming for Dekken. Screaming until my throat is sore. Screaming until the cold covers me, the Snow biting at my skin.

Then all is silent and I can only see black.

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