the weird chick

Aberlynn: Year of the Fall

January 8th, 2014


Strung from the lamps of the town were ruffled lengths of old furs, coated thickly in a sparkling ice. A bitter cold had passed, leaving the lands encased in thick, crystalline ice. Doors and windows were shut tightly, sealed around the edges by the same ice. A blanket of snow had frozen solidly to the ground, and above it was a light layer of dusting snow that had blown on the tail end of the winds. Everything stood perfectly still and undisturbed. An uneasy silence hung over the frozen village, with not even the smallest wisp of smokey, warm air sneaking from the houses. There were no footsteps in the snow that rested on the ice.

Punctuating the lifeless quiet, a loud cracking sound echoed briefly before it was absorbed into the precipitation. It was followed by a choir of cracks and pops as the bitter winds left the town. The silence that had held the town as tightly as the coating of ice had vanished in a moment as the warmth fought back against the cold. The battle had been fought many times in recent days, the cold retreating briefly before returning with an increasingly stronger resolve. The town was worn, the walls of the houses eroded by the fierce storms.

Small charms dangled from the furs that stretched the length of town, though they, too, had suffered from the vicious weather and had mostly crumbled and flown away. Scraps remained, too little of them to be recognisable. The furs themselves were becoming tattered, and some of the lengths had collapsed, now becoming buried under layers of ice and snow.

The chimneys rising from the houses had been sealed as tightly as had the windows and doors. Not a fleck of snow or creeping tendril of deathly cold could work its way through the cracks, nor could anything escape. All was frozen as it was, even those that could have escaped the cold.

What once was still just after the winds had finally left, now began to breathe; the lengths of fur twitched as the sheets of ice crackled in the sunlight, and pieces of ice, small and large alike, tumbled and crashed from high points to low. Life was trying to sneak back into the town, though every move the warmth made to free the world from its frozen cage was haunted by an uncertainty: would the cold be back too soon? It fed hungrily on the light thaw, delighting in turning the new liquids back into stronger ice just as hope began to swell.

Inside the houses sheathed in ice, the townsfolk sat; families huddled close together. There were no fires lit, no warm coals or water. No one dared to risk it. They chose only to stay close to each other, sharing what little warmth their bodies had to offer. They kept their breaths low and soft, the dense clouds of condensation that slipped past their lips stayed small and vanished long before they reached the ceilings.

A small girl lay in her father’s lap, held tightly in his arms. “I’m still cold,” she said weakly. He nodded.

“It is the Year of the Fall,” he said softly, more to himself than to her. His eyes did not look at his daughter, nor did they land on his wife or on his son. They stared at the door, weary, amid long, slow blinks. “Everything is as was told,” he said again, this time only to himself. His daughter turned slightly, and he held her closer.

I don’t really know what I’ll do with this, if anything. Just got an idea into my head and decided to get it out. This is just a quick first draft of sorts, so excuse any shortcomings. Maybe I’ll do a little serial story… That could be fun. Although, in order to be a serial story, do the individual parts have to be complete stories on their own? I guess it doesn’t matter much. I’ll do it my way.

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