Sunday 14 September 2014

The Day of Frost - 30 Days #10

photo source

To find out more about the 30 Day Writing Challenge, click here.

Foreword: This prompt requested by Michelle Louise Love via blog comment :

'I would like you to write about a perfect Christmas dream!'


The forest had never been so dead, yet so very alive. 

The frozen mist which had descended in the night had solidified branches, leaves and spiderwebs, the latter of which now appeared to be constructed entirely of diamond-like thread. The spiders were nowhere to be seen. But the absence of life was neither eerie nor daunting as it should have been. The forest was so inexorably still and silent, that even the delicate fluttering of a butterfly's wing would have ruined the illusion that time too, had indeed also frozen.

The bleak leafless trees were like rigid skeletons looming inward, as if suddenly petrified during some epic race. Their bark was coarse, dark and rough, but the magnificent glitter that coated every inch of them seemed to soften their imposing harshness. The litter of broken twigs and remnant leaves were coated silvery grey, their delicate, veins highlighted ivory white. They crunched under my feet; the frost had made them brittle.

The albino trees seemed to gaze down at me with resentment, as if I were intruding in their private winter paradise. And indeed I was. As I looked behind me, I saw a trail of soft dark footprints, puncturing the flawless glittering carpet, winding through the trees.

I would step lighter.

The radiant morning sun blazed between the bare branches, content in its effortless cerulean sky. At any other time of the year, the world would be basking in it's warm glow, dancing to the melody of the high season. But the temperature of the intense sun ceased to reach even the very tips of the treetops, leaving the air reverberating with impenetrable coldness, whilst radiating with blinding white serenity.

There was something truly incredible about cold. Whether it was flushed cheeks, numb limbs, or the steamy whisper of evaporating breath which was punched from my lungs with every heartbeat, I did not know. But there was nothing that made me feel more alive than the brashly defiant heat of my own body radiating out into the hostile chill, marking my existence in a little warm signature in the sub-zero fabric of time and space. 

The stillness of the air seemed to amplify my senses; every footstep was a thunderclap, every whisper of a scent became tantalising, every little twinkling microscopic snowflake a dazzling, effervescent oblivion.

The wood began to thin a little, and the tiny, drifting plumes of smoke upon the horizon told me I was drawing ever closer to home. To my family.

To those who mourned me.

I paused for a moment to adjust my bandages, wincing as a bolt of searing pain fizzled up the length of my arm like a fuse. I pressed a handful of snow against my wounds for instant relief, and exhaled audibly as the soothing chill tranquilised the fury of my flesh. 

Not long now, Soldier. 

Not long now at all.

With renewed vigor I regained my pace, gaze firmly set on the small cluster of log cabins which lay like hand-painted porcelain figurines on the horizon. My bags were laden with sweet oranges and spiced rum, and as I drew ever nearer, the rich aromatic scents of ginger, roast chestnut and cinnamon swirled in lazy plumes about my path, coaxing forth the life which had so nearly been taken from me.

My thoughts were with my Mother, my sisters, my little brother and my late Father, the memory of whom lay as a fresh wound upon my heart, unable to be aided by the bandages and ointments that worked to heal the others. He'd been lost to the same cause it was known I had also been lost to, a familial casualty cursing two generations.

Only they were wrong.

I was alive, and I was here.

After everything I'd seen, the atrocities and hatred and the devastating loss I had witnessed, the pain, the injuries and injustices I had encountered, I had travelled miles and miles through the icy wilderness with but one purpose in mind - just to be home, and to be home in time.

And with one brief clasp of my Father's pocketwatch to my chest, an icy tear snuck it's passage across my flushed cheek as the echoes of my knuckles rapping passionately against wood echoed across the entire valley, through the vast glittering woods and up unto the brilliant cloudless sky kingdom, and the impossible dream finally blossomed into a beautiful reality.

I was home.

-  T h e   -   E n d   -


To find out more about what the 30 Day Writing Challenge is click here. Got an idea for something you want me to write about? Get your entries in now by emailing me with your prompt, your name and your twitter handle!