Frosty Fear

Snowman Jay Reed flickr

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!

SPF.220-12-december-17th-2017



 

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38 thoughts on “Frosty Fear

      • How lovely of you to say, thank you! Yes, just in time to make snow sinister — as if it’s not scary enough (at least if you have to drive in it). It’s only December, do you think you’ll have more snow later in the season?

        Liked by 1 person

      • UK, definitely. East Anglia, possibly not. We are blessed, climate-wise. Winds coming from north, west or south usually dump their load (rain, sleet or snow) before they reach us. (We have a problem with summer droughts). It’s only the east wind that really clobbers us. Then, with no high ground between us and the Urals (no, truly), what we get is like icicles driving into us, and any incoming snow is either like dust or hard pellets. But having said that, sometimes we do get it delivered from the north. That’s the wet stuff, What’s more, it isn’t always confined to ‘the season’. I remember it snowed on my 12th birthday, and that’s in June. I remember, too, one Easter there were snow blizzards, and the heating in the theatre broke down, and Elkie Brooks who was our ‘star turn’ performed on stage in a sheepskin jacket. What a performer. Unfortunately not all our audience were equally hardy. As manager as I took the brunt of the complaints. But such was my job. The next day the sun shone. You’d have thought it summer.

        Liked by 1 person

      • It’s amazing how weird weather patterns can be sometimes. No wonder our ancestors thought they’d angered the gods — snow in June can’t possibly be natural! We have the opposite of your east wind here: the Santa Ana winds, a hot wind blowing up from the south. Dries out your skin and makes people moody, but worse, stokes the fires, like the big one we still have raging now which has been burning for over a week.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Is that still going? And I’ve just befuddled myself with the two threads going, so ignore my remark that you may have misread my reply. That was the reply to this thread, not to the fungi thread. Am I confused? Are you confused? And, gosh, it’s only Monday! Isn’t it. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

    • I am feeling quite lucky to be far out of range of the big fires this time around. You would think that I would be inspired to make an “evacuation bag” anyway — or at least think ahead and put all my important documents in one place — but nah, I’m procrastinating about that too. 😉

      Liked by 1 person

  1. Awesome story, but I’m wondering “what” made the snowmen too. Demon? Wizard? It’s like they are snow golems. Loved the action in this. Your snowmen were pretty scary. I can see why her watching snowmen being made would give her chills, and not from the cold.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thanks for the great comment, Eric, glad you liked it! I’m happy to hear you found the snowmen scary, that’s what I was aiming for. Especially as that makes it even spookier for the narrator when her grandchildren put smiles and hats on their versions. They really would be terrifying. I was picturing their mouths as a line made by a finger through a snowbank– and then opening up impossibly wide to swallow your face. And the totally silent relentless attack, there’s something especially sinister about that to me.

      I liked the idea that the villagers not knowing made it even worse — they’d always be making up answers to try to reassure themselves, but the doubt is always there. And what a weird mystery: if the village really did anger someone (god or neighbor wizard), why didn’t that party leave any trace, or come back for more, or just speak their grievance? I didn’t decide the answer to that question. Wizard is a good guess, but a wizard would probably follow up if he or she was actually angry at the village. Maybe an evil wizard field testing a new destructive spell, and the villagers just happened to be convenient subjects. Another good guess is fairies. They do a lot of nature magic, are pretty ambivalent about human-type morality, and have notoriously short attention spans.

      Liked by 1 person

    • What a great comment, thank you! In my mind, the original snow monsters weren’t that cute, which made it even creepier that the next generation is making versions of them that look cute — like putting a smiley-face on a devil. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks, glad you liked it! I originally had only the first part of the story in mind, but then it occurred to me to link it to the “current” practice of building snowmen, as a backstory — that was fun. 😉

      Like

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