Gold and Ice

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

Cold... so cold...

The whipping wind seared the ice. Gusting, it chased great billows of snow into the air, spinning it, twisting it. A pure white that offered no definition hid all; there was no sky, there was no air, there was no ground. All visible things were the same, and, by extent, everything was unchanging. Unobserved powder mutated into pellets of iron and shot through the white. Sickles of ice lunged, and spears of cold were thrust forth. A secret ground hid its treasures and coveted its traps; a miserable wind fought to discover them.

He was caught in between.

His white—once brown—blanket was frozen to his shoulders. Stiff and unyielding, it clutched him, choking him. Whether the blanket was warming or freezing was immaterial; the idea of it was comforting. That wretched blanket was the most comfort he’d had in hours.

Shivering, the boy trudged through the ice-crusted snow. It shattered as his feet hit the top, sending his legs plunging into the powder. Every step was knee-deep; every fall was over his head. Yet he kept going. He couldn’t feel the pain anymore, couldn’t sense the cold any longer.

His nose had turned black.

Light brown eyes—some would say golden—were half-closed in pain. Tears which had leaked had frozen to match his skin. He tried pulling the ice-coated blanket over his head. It didn’t budge. The wind tore into his hair, but he couldn’t feel it.

The boy stumbled, the ground pulling him in. Icy sheets cracked and shattered as he plunged through their veil. His blanket splintered, and the boy lay staring, unseeing, into the snow. That comforting scrap of cloth pinned him, suffocated him.

Ice crystals cut through his throat and burned his lungs. That he could feel. The heat… the heat… hurt. Acid was melting his frozen lungs, yet he couldn’t scream. He couldn’t move. He couldn’t run, or hide, or return back home. The pain… the pain…

Golden eyes froze and dimmed.

Wind fought the ground for his body, and the two danced a deadly game. One, pirouetting, dizzied the land; the other stood steady, shuffling slowly. Neither took lead, and neither followed.  Glassy ice flew through the white air, neither supporting nor engaging either side. Instead, it threw daggers at the defeated boy, showering him in intricate crystals. They almost loving covered him from the screeching wind, blanketing him and shredding him far better than his quilt.

The world returned to white.

Some would say that a brilliant gust of the wind’s whipped the snow into flight; others would claim that the mirror ground shook and cracked. Whatever may be considered the case, something blew that blanket of daggers into the air. Something turned them an arctic grey, so colorful against the unpainted canvas. Something unraveled a frozen brown quilt, shattering it into thousands of sharp-edged spears. Something lifted the white, and for just a moment—one, clarifying moment—there was nothing.

The boy with golden eyes was gone.


Submitted: August 02, 2015

© Copyright 2022 phantomhill. All rights reserved.

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Comments

H. Adams

This was gorgeous. I found there to be two main attributes of this story that made it incredible: the descriptions and the metaphoric nature. Each lengthy paragraph detailed the environment so well. This boys death can be interpreted into so many things, so many ideas and concepts that occur in our everyday lives. Really nice job and thank you again for entering!

Sun, August 2nd, 2015 8:15am

Author
Reply

Thanks! New style, which worked out okay, apparently.

Sun, August 2nd, 2015 9:29am

Criss Sole

Such a sad story, but so beautifully written. You describe everything in such unique detail that I could almost feel the cold and the pain the poor boy was experiencing. This story really drew me in.

Mon, August 17th, 2015 1:17pm

Author
Reply

Thanks, Criss! It was a different style than I usually write, but someone mentioned that I should work on descriptions, so that's what happened. I'm glad you liked it.

Mon, August 17th, 2015 7:15am

Obscure

Like Criss said, I too could almost feel the cold; I didn't know there were so many ways to describe cold! I think as a small piece, the description in this is great, though I do think if you were writing a bigger piece you wouldn't want every paragraph to be as it is here; you'd want more of a diversity between description/action/dialogue/etc, and sometimes nouns and verbs are all that is necessary, as too many adjectives can dampen their effect. What I like most about this is how, in effect, all this is happening, the tragedy of a boy being lost to the climate, and yet even if someone was there, they wouldn't t be able to perceive it because, as you say, there is only white. That's very sad, it kinda takes the question 'does a tree in an empty forest make a sound?' to a new level. There were a couple odd lines I wasn't sure about: I don't know how wind 'sears' ice, and the other thing is you said the white 'hid all', and then contradicted this by saying 'all visible things', except, nothing is visible. Other than that, this was an enjoyable read, nice job.

Mon, August 17th, 2015 8:42pm

Author
Reply

Much agreed. If I were aiming for something longer, I would've definitely cut the adjectives, or at the very least toned them down--in longer pieces you've got the time to stack them. And yeah, it does make you think, doesn't it? I completely agree with the couple odd lines; the white hiding all visible was one I flagged myself, but I couldn't come up with a way to say that differently. As to searing: Take my word for it because it's miserable to feel, when it's -30 or below and there's even a small windchill, it feels like you're getting burned. Thanks for the notes and pointers, I appreciate it!

Mon, August 17th, 2015 2:41pm

Glenn Paul

This reminds me of the climbers who died on Mount Renier. The searchers could not find them because of the weather.

Sat, September 5th, 2015 8:05pm

Author
Reply

Huh. I'll have to go read about that when I'm done with your story.

Sat, September 5th, 2015 1:50pm

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