I’m not really sure what this is… It sort of took on a life of it’s own. Hope you enjoy
I flicked at the dying embers and wrapped my cloak a little tighter around my shoulders. My breaths crystallized in the frigid night air. The fog was thick enough to cloud my vision. I crunched my boots against the fresh snow, glad that, even if I had no memory of how I’d gotten here, or where I was going, I had at least been smart enough to wear appropriate clothes. Leaning a little closer to the dwindling pile of kindle, once meant to keep me warm, I flattened my palms against the makeshift poker—really only a twig that had snapped from a nearby oak, thanks to the weight of the snow covering it’s branches— and rubbed.
“Come on…” I hissed, hoping to coax one last flare out of the charcoaled wood. I could feel my lips and the tips of my fingers coloring with frostbite. My feet were merely dead weights on the ends of my legs, even surrounded by the warmest fur. The wind whipped against my ashen cheeks, convincing me for an instant that a flame had finally sparked– only instead of dancing on the logs, it licked and gnawed at my frozen flesh. I never knew until that moment how searing hot the cold could feel.. Stay calm, I told myself. It’s only a dream. Nothing can hurt you here. At least, I hoped.
The last thing I remembered was crawling beneath my heavy duvet, minutes before the clock struck midnight. When I awoke, my back lay flat against the icy snow, and the silver tinge of an oncoming storm blanketed the sky.
I continued to stoke the nonexistent flames, desperate for anything that would rid me of the blistering cold paralyzing my thoughts and soaking through the depths of my bones. It took all of my energy to continue drawing breath as burning pain radiated from my chest. Like iron-clad fists, it wrapped around my heart, sapping my life-force from the inside out.
The wind whistled through the shivering branches I clung to as my only source of shelter, gripping my throat every time I tried to choke back a fresh gulp of air. My eyes watered, so I could barely make out the sodden wood pile any longer, but I gnashed my teeth and blinked back the sting, even as the flimsy twig became heavy in my arms. Just a few more minutes, Holly.
Another gust slithered down from the gathering clouds, slapping my cheeks until they were raw and red. Soon after, light flakes tumbled around me, dusting my dampened chestnut hair and catching in it’s matted locks. Tremors quaked my limbs, and I could no longer keep my teeth from chattering. The storm wasn’t far off now. I was trapped.
In a matter of minutes, all I could see was a steady stream of white. I no longer had any fingers or toes, no hands to build a fire with, nor feet to find my way home. I was weightless. Unable to feel anything but the tingling of my skin beneath the howling winds. I curled my knees up to my chest and burrowed further beneath my cloak. My eyelids began to droop, heavy with exhaustion, but I fought to keep them open. I couldn’t fall asleep here, completely exposed in the middle of a thick pinewood forest as an eerie chill soaked me through. I was beginning to doubt the possibility of my precarious situation being nothing more than a simple nightmare. If I lost consciousness now, I wasn’t sure whether I’d ever wake up.
I managed to evade the crushing onset of fatigue for another five minutes after that, but with each passing second, my mind became less tethered to my body. I was suspended somewhere between reality and a strange swirl of senseless colors. Images flashed behind the darkness, threatening to consume me. Kayla, who had raised me since I was the tender age of eight and our Mom and Dad passed in a car crash, Carter, who’d given me my first kiss only two weeks prior at the Winter Formal, Andrea, my best friend, who had stood by me since we were three years old, and, finally, my parents. My memory of them was fuzzy, but the longer I watched, the more focused they became. My mother’s face was almost a mirror image of my own: a sun-kissed complexion peppered in freckles, and accentuated with full pink lips. Only her eyes were different: a stunning emerald green. Mine, on the other hand, were a deep blue, so dark they were often mistaken to be grey. They must have come from my father.
My lips puckered in a slight “o,” I swiveled to face the broad shouldered man whose strong arm was draped around my mother’s shoulder. I gasped, finally understanding where my sister had gotten her exotic charm. My father had thick hair, darker than even the new moon sky. His features were sharp and chiseled, and I had a strange feeling that he was a man whose bad side I did not want to see.
But the eyes–my eyes–they danced with a warm and gleeful light. As his hand extended to meet mine, my arm involuntarily rose to meet it, his gaze banished any trace of cold from my mind. I was safe. I was loved. I wanted to be with them.
The tips of our fingers brushed together, and an electric energy danced all across my body, igniting me with a new energy. A soft smile spread across my face. I was home.