When The Snow Falls

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Horror  |  House: Booksie Classic

Submitted: December 12, 2016

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Submitted: December 12, 2016

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Every place has a legend—a story charged by magic and wonder, lesson and moral, fear and turmoil. But in reality, most people hardly ever believe in them. Such was the case for Adaline, who had lived her whole life without seeing so much as a single flake of snow descend from the sky of her small hometown. It was for this reason, mostly, that she didn't believe it—the tale that cursed them, and everyone else who lived there.

It was sort of a ridiculous story, describing in gruesome detail the malevolent spirits which resided on the edge of an alternate universe, waiting for their chance to be set free and wreak havoc about the town. The key to their escape—the sole thing that bound them—however, was that the snow must fall. That was it. It seemed simple, didn’t it? But it wasn’t, and it never had been.

It didn't snow here often. It was a predictable coincidence, if you asked Addie, and designed to make the reality of the legend ever actually occurring unlikely. Still, the townspeople held their breath every year when winter came around, and they prayed for the season to pass without snow just one more time. Of course, they prayed for this every year—but if, somehow, those spirits truly did exist, they were afraid to ask too much. So instead, they asked for mercy every winter. And conveniently enough, the season had obliged to do so for nearly the past eighty-five years.

In fact, it hadn’t snowed since 1932, and since then, life had been peaceful, easy even. No one really knew what had happened all those years ago—but whatever it was, it hadn’t been good. The few who still lingered in the town after the occurrence refused to speak of it. As for the rest...they were gone. Those who had lived to see the day all those years ago had either long passed away, promptly moved, or disappeared without a trace. Even more, their bodies had never been found. Everyone assumed that they were dead, rotting away somewhere where they would never be found. Others believed that they had been possessed, and their souls now wandered the earth, searching for a host. And as for the very select few who remained, they supported the most disturbing theory—they had become what had taken them.

Regardless, they were gone. This was a solid fact, and something Addie couldn’t argue with no matter how hard she tried. Not much was known about the strange occurrence. The closest the town had come to a revelation wasn’t until twenty-four years later, when a man confessed to abducting a startling number of children while they were out playing in the snow. After that, a majority of the disappearances of the local youths were effectively ruled as his doing.

Their bodies had never been found; but the possibility of the legend being true was once again dismissed. That’s what they said, anyway. There was hardly anyone you could truly ask, and those who did remain would never speak of it. Still, it was enough for the townspeople to brush off their concerns and continue life as it had always been. It had been enough for Addie, too. She leaned back in her leather chair as she thought over the story.

Despite how unsettling it was to think about, something about the story always managed to pique at Adaline’s interest. Although it had lost its element of fear, it had never lost its intrigue. That’s what made it such a good story—even if it could be true. People often didn’t focus on this aspect, because snow seemed so far away, so distant here. It hadn’t happened in years, and the townspeople found comfort in assuming it wouldn’t happen in the years to come.

Adaline watched as the blaze of hot orange and red flames swallowed the timber they rested upon. It sent a warm glow throughout the entire living room, emitting a sense of peace. Addie knew better than to expect it to last much longer, though. Scattered across the room in a haphazard circle, her friends chattered away about the impending winter season, and whether or not the snow would really come this year. Of course, no one truly believed it—or rather, they fooled themselves of such—and depended on useless distractions to get them through the unknowing season. It was customary in this town; some people did it without even realizing it. Adaline’s hazel eyes glazed over as she became consumed by her thoughts.

“Let’s do something more original,” Ingrid, the girl that sat on the floor next to her, suddenly suggested. It was that time of the evening when the girls liked to tell scary stories. Or at least, a scary story. And unsurprisingly, the most popular was, of course, the haunting tale of their town.

“Like what?” Another girl, this one by the name of Candice, asked skeptically. She loved the story, and would tell it a thousand times if she could—especially since she knew that it scared the living shit out of Michelle every time she did so. All of the girls agreed: she was pretty fun to spook, especially when it came to the classics.

“Anything but that story,” Michelle whined, her eyes drawing to the floorboards in desperation as she emphasized the words. It was a well-known fact that she truly feared the winter season. She was just like her mother.

“Come on, it’s our tradition,” Amanda groaned, balling her hands into fists around the fleece blanket that she snuggled within, concealing all but her face. She leaned back, sprawling herself across the hardwood floors, and her sky-blue polished toes peeked out from beneath her cover.

This was true—it was their tradition. Every year, the girls came to this same cabin and spent their winter holiday relaxing, playing stupid games, watching ridiculous horror movies or the most cliché of feel-good films, and on most occasions, drinking a little bit more than they probably should. But above all else, their most favorite tradition took place at night, when they closed all of the blinds, blew out the fire, and told tales of horror in absolute darkness. The first to scream—which was almost always Michelle—had to do the most ridiculous, embarrassing, or inappropriate of dares, all in the middle of the woods.

“We can make a new tradition,” Michelle objected, the words pouring out so quick and frantic that they nearly didn’t sound like words at all. But the girls didn’t need to hear them to know what she had said—this happened every year, too.

“Chill out, Michelle,” Candice laughed. “It’s going to be fine. Just drink up and enjoy the story,” as she said this, Amanda nodded eagerly and shoved a red cup in her face. Michelle took it silently, her eyes casting down to the wooden floor with apprehension.

Ingrid sighed, taking a swig out of the dark brown bottle that dangled between her thumb and forefinger. “Oh, come on, it’s not even that great of a story anyway,” she groaned before tossing the bottle to the side. It clattered to the floor and rolled to the edge of the couch, rocking back and forth like a boat out at sea. “Michelle is gonna lose no matter what, so we might as well spice it up a bit. Right Adaline?”

The other girls looked up, realizing she had been silent until now. With her chin propped up against her palm, Adaline hummed in thought. It didn’t really make a difference to her, honestly, and she was far too sober to get scared by a mediocre horror story anyway. Besides, none of the girls were particularly good storytellers in the first place.

Candice grew impatient. “Let’s just get on with it, seriously,”

“It’s tradition,” Amanda sing-songed in favor.

Ingrid rolled her eyes, resigning. “Fine, whatever.”

The two girls celebrated their victory from across the circle. “Turn out the lights, Addie,” one of them pressed excitedly.

Adaline’s gaze washed across the room as she slowly rose from her seat. Candice and Amanda scrambled over to the couch, motioning enthusiastically for Michelle to join them, who reluctantly conceded. Ingrid moved to the loveseat, splaying her body across the unoccupied cushions as she muttered something under her breath.

Addie grazed across the room at a relaxed pace, switching off the lights one by one. The room gradually grew darker as each bulb flicked off and blind flipped shut. She approached the kitchen to turn off the final light—their last source of vision—but just as she moved her hand to locate the switch, her eyes caught sight of something in the corner of the room. Tucked just behind the fridge, a gray figure melted into the shadows. Suddenly her heartbeat accelerated, and she jerked her hand away from the light switch.

“Come on, Addie!” one of the girls called from the living room.

She paused, her eyebrows knit together tensely. “Be right there…” the words seemed to dribble out, falling from between her lips one by one in a low whisper. It didn’t occur to her whether or not her friends had heard her.

Slowly, she approached the corner of the kitchen, her eyes fixated on the shadows that resided in it. But when nothing was there, the feeling of anxiety which surged through her veins subsided, and she shook her head in exasperation. Funny, what the mind could do when it anticipated fear.

Glancing out the window above the sink, she allowed the serenity of the night to soothe her. Sprinkled about the perimeter of the cabin were clusters of trees, swaying against the will of the wind. Resolutely, she pulled the blinds shut with a sharp flick of the wrist before returning to the living room, making sure to turn off the final light as she emerged.

Finally, the cabin was enveloped in a deep, unwavering darkness. From across the room, Michelle let out a groan, clearly provoked by one of the girls she sat between. Some of them giggled with anticipation as they listened to Addie’s footsteps draw closer to the circle.

With her arms extended, Addie felt her way back to the chair she had occupied before. Curling up against the stiff cushions, she waited for the story to begin.

“Alright,” Of course it was Candice who would be relaying it. “And so the story goes…” As the words trailed off her tongue, everyone hushed, as though it were critical that they remained silent throughout the telling of the story. Addie picked mindlessly at her nails, unaffected. She had grown desensitized to the story, and rarely did it evoke any sort of feelings from her anymore.

“There was once a place which never saw snow. A place brimming with the souls of those who had been lost and forgotten. They were corrupted, malicious souls, and they wanted human life more than anything else,” her voice was soft, yet stimulating. “So much so, that they would do anything to obtain it.”

Suddenly, Michelle audibly flinched, and Amanda cackled with satisfaction. Surely, she had pulled some type of stunt in the dark. But Candice persisted, as though the event hadn’t even occurred: “The townspeople didn’t want to believe in them. For years, they pretended that the spirits didn’t exist; that they weren’t trapped behind an invisible barrier, waiting for their chance re-emerge into the human realm. To feast. And for years, they weren’t able to.

“That is, until one unsuspecting, frigid night in 1932. Just after the sun had melted past the horizon and been replaced by the harshness of night, it happened—”

“The snow fell,” Ingrid cut in melodramatically.

“Yes, Ingrid,” Candice parroted, her voice cold as ice. Seemingly satisfied with the silence that it had summoned, she reassumed her ‘storytelling voice,’ “For the first time in years, the snow fell. From the moment that fateful speck of water and ice touched the ground, and long after its companions piled higher and higher from it, the townspeople became consumed by hysteria. Before they knew it, the town shut down—families receded into their homes, shutting themselves away from the outside world and the terrifying warning it bared. One by one, the doors were locked and the windows boarded up. No one dared to go outside, to expose themselves to the possibility of their town’s curse.

“But even so, the disappearances began. First, a young girl, hardly a teen. Her parents had assumed she’d run away from home, off on a fling with a boy she had met at school. But little did they know, she had been consumed by one of them… the Crave,”

“Seriously, why does it have to be called a Crave? For Christ’s sake, that is the weirdest freaking name on earth for a life-sucking, soul-stealing leech,” Michelle snapped suddenly, and Addie blinked in surprise. If it weren’t for her voice, she never would have guessed that Michelle of all people would be saying such brusque words.

“You’re just saying that because it scares you,” Amanda jeered.

No I’m not. It’s seriously so dumb,” she hissed.

“The Crave does sound kind of stupid,” Ingrid remarked.

“Ok, listen, I didn’t fucking name the things, you guys. I’m just telling the story,” Candice snapped, and the sound of her hand gripping against the arm of the sofa buzzed beneath her words. “Can we just shut up and listen? You’re totally ruining it.”

Addie wished she could see their faces. It would have made this a whole lot more entertaining. Shifting in her seat, she waited as the girls silenced and Candice continued.

“Anyway, as I was saying,” her voice grew serious again. “She had been consumed by the Crave. And as time went on, more and more of the townspeople went missing. As for those who remained...they felt hopeless, doomed. Until, finally, the snow stopped.

“They didn’t know what to do, or what to think. No one had seen anything. No one had heard anything. They had been completely shut off from the outside world. And yet, they all knew that the legend had been true. The eeriness of the Crave’s presence—they all felt it.

“But once the snow stopped, the Crave could no longer survive. They depended on it; desperately needed it. After all, it was their bridge to the human world. Finally, when the very last trace of snow melted away, they were dragged back to their own realm to return to their suffering. But this angered the Crave; they had only just tasted freedom again, only just remembered the exhilaration they felt robbing humans of their bodies and souls. So, to ensure that their presence was never forgotten, they stole the spirits of those they had consumed, taking them with them as they returned to the dark, vile place which confined them. And they, too, became a Crave,” just as she paused, the sound of a glass bottle rolling against the wooden floor erupted throughout the entire room, sending the girls into shouts of surprise.

“Geez, Candice,” Amanda groaned, followed by the sound of her smacking the girl’s arm.

“You did that on purpose,” Michelle whined, her breathing uneven.

Candice gasped theatrically, as though she had been accused of committing an unforgivable crime. “Ingrid’s the one that put it there,” she said.

“You’re the one that kicked it!” Ingrid shot back defensively.

“Should we count that one?” Amanda asked, referring to their screams.

“No, we all did it,” Ingrid said. The other girls agreed.

“Well, I’m not done with the story,” Candice cut in, clearly eager to continue. The group quieted down at this, and she cleared her throat before resuming.

“It is on nights like these, when the moon glows against the harshness of the night sky, and the clouds threaten to bear snow, that the Crave wait impatiently in the dark. In fact, perhaps they are waiting right now...maybe they are even watching us,” Candice murmured, rousing their emotions. Addie could nearly hear the sinister grin in her voice. “Maybe they are reaching out to us…”

At the mention of this, Ingrid’s hand brushed against Addie’s shoulder, causing her to flinch.

“Quit it, Ingrid,” Addie bit out, because it had actually managed to frighten her.

“What?” the girl asked, annoyance coloring her tone.

“You’re trying to scare me,”

“I didn’t do anything, Addie,” Ingrid insisted.

“Quit lying!” Amanda butted in, although she sounded amused by the altercation.

“You are so full of it—” Addie tried to speak the words, but suddenly, a powerful force clamped down on her throat, and her whole body froze in shock. In an instant, every part of her felt numb, yet she somehow knew that she was suffocating, somehow knew that her body was weakening beneath the grip of what held her. The sounds of the room turned to static, until she couldn’t hear anything at all anymore. As she looked into the darkness, the utter blackness, she felt that the room was spinning, and consciousness was becoming hard to hold onto.

She hadn’t known she was screaming. Not until the lights suddenly flashed on, and the silence was broken by the shrill sound of her own voice. She was on the floor now, her right hand clamped around her throat. It felt cold, as though her grip had been made of ice. Her body trembled as she glanced up at the utterly terrified expressions of her friends.

Michelle looked as though she had almost had a heart attack. Amanda and Ingrid were stunned, their mouths hanging open in a mixture of confusion and fear. Suddenly, Candice laughed and clapped her hands, “Wow, you really got us, Addie,”

“That was so not cool,” Ingrid’s expression changed, and she threw a pillow at her hotly.

But Adaline couldn’t say anything. She shook her head, trying to find the words, any words, but the letters scrambled in her brain and she couldn’t get them out.

“Well, technically Addie screamed first, so...” Amanda pointed out with a grin.

“That’s true. Even if it was intentional,” Candice said.

Addie shook her head rapidly now, and her face grew red with anger. “Are you serious? That wasn’t intentional and it wasn’t a joke. Something grabbed me,” the words came out uneven and hysteric.

“Oh, just admit you lost, Addie,” Amanda grumbled.

“That isn’t the point,” she said, her voice raising in fury. “I don’t care about the game; something fucking attacked me,” Adaline looked to Michelle for support, but she seemed dazed, as though she were still recuperating from the scare.

“Guys, I think she’s serious,” Ingrid said, her expression grim.

“Bullshit—” Candice began to say, but Michelle suddenly cut in.

“You guys,” her voice seemed empty, hollow somehow. Everyone turned to her, surprised. Candice’s eyes widened expectantly, and Amanda and Ingrid’s brows drew together in concern. Adaline tried to steady her breathing, but her heart was racing too fast.

Michelle’s gaze drew up to the ceiling, and she pointed wearily. The skylight above was veiled by darkness; a blank slate of black. But as the girls squinted their eyes in confusion, their hearts instantly plummeted. Sprinkled about the sheet of glass were ivory specks of snow.

“Oh my god,” someone had whispered.

A dark, immortal sound echoed through every corner of the cabin. It was not like that of a human being, and Adaline felt as though it had went straight through her, striking something deep within her core. A sense of raw terror sent a shiver down her spine, and her heart seemed to rattle against her ribcage. Goose bumps bubbled to the surface of her skin, and her breath caught in her throat. Suddenly she felt as though a part of her being had opened up, almost like a door to another dimension. And in that dimension, something waited in the shadows, ready to pounce at the chance it had been given.

The creature trespassed into her body with a violent impact, and her bones crumbled beneath its weight with a sickening crack. Along with it, an explosion of noise overwhelmed her ears: screams of terror, cries of agony, snarls and hisses of malevolence. Everything within her vaporized from the force, as though what belonged to her couldn’t exist alongside its presence. A white hot pain passed through her entire body, until suddenly, there was nothing left, and her senses were seized by a white place.

“Do you remember what happens when the snow falls?”

It was but a whisper, marked by malice, but it saturated the blank slate she resided in. A single drop of dark matter; a sinister entity, blinding against the stark contrast of the immaculate white snow which surrounded her. From afar, she could see it: that speck of shadow which was slowly suffocated by the light. Something deep within her told her to reach out to it, to catch it before it disappeared for good—but for only a moment, she faltered, and then it was gone. The bridge closed forever, and was replaced by the wicked presence which had manipulated it. It was there, finally, to consume her, to erase her existence, to replace it with its own.

She tried to run from it, to escape; but it was too late, and she knew deep within her this was true. The nothingness grabbed ahold of her limbs, holding her down with a grip she couldn’t see, but feared even more than the creature which neared her. She struggled beneath the weight of the new world, thrashing against a nothing that felt like everything, but her energy was soon expended, and she couldn’t fight any longer. Like a foolish fly, she was caught in its web.

It was here now. It knew how she feared it, and savored the feeling. The dark form towered over her, surveying its grand catch. And even though it didn’t touch her, she could feel it on her skin. It was rough, emanating power, and left a sticky, obsidian residue over everything it graced.  She shuddered as it burned against her flesh, slowly eating away at each nerve ending until finally, she was numb. Adaline watched helplessly, horrified, as the substance ate away the meat, the fat, the muscle, the bone, until there was nothing left but a rancid mixture of her blood and the entity’s excrement. No longer a part of herself, Adaline watched as the remains became one with the dark figure.

As it looked at her, she saw herself: the same self she had been moments before, the same self she had been before coming to the white place. Adaline shook her head, tears burning in her eyes, and a mangled laugh echoed through the empty domain. Her dark, shadowy hands trembled against her indistinct form. The self that no longer belonged to her, and the Crave that inhabited it, slipped away through the imperceptible dimensions, never to be seen again.

It was there when the snow had fallen; but in her body it remained, long after the icy remnants that freed it had melted away. And she too, had gone without a trace.


© Copyright 2020 Megan Nicole. All rights reserved.

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