Photo credit: Jay Reed
The morning they appeared, the snow was deep. Their round heads seemed ludicrous on conical bodies, their stone eyes and stick arms harmless. At first, we thought the older kids had pranked us, building monsters from snow. Like Kern, who sloshed forward, ever brash.
“Poppa?” I pointed. “Kern’s are the only footsteps.”
His warning came too late. The creature grabbed Kern, engulfed his head with its own. Kern fell, unmoving.
Everyone shouted as the creatures slid toward us. Adults slashed them, but the snow reformed as quickly as it fell.
They kept coming, silently, freezing anyone they touched. Someone realized fire melted them, and the village erupted in flames. In the chaos, Mainhall burned, and several homes, but eventually the creatures were destroyed.
Poppa was killed. Mama lost an arm, but lived.
We debated leaving, afterward, but to where? Land is our only wealth. We rebuilt.
Never learning why made it worse. Had we angered a god? An unidentified enemy? How could we prevent it, not knowing its cause?
Stories change, lose power. My grandchildren make roly-poly “snowmen” — to ward off evil, they say. With smiles, and hats.
The sight chills my heart. For I remember. I wish I didn’t.
Word count: 200. Written for this week’s Sunday Photo Fiction challenge. Big thanks to Al Forbes for hosting, and for providing the original prompt photo, below. Click on the link to read the other stories written based on this photo, or to submit your own!