Thursday, November 6, 2008

A Winter's Ghost Story

I got inspired by the weather out there today, and told this story to Lizzie. This story has a disclaimer-its written for a six year old, so how scary can it be? I'm no writer..... Usually my stories are horrible tripe, involving rainbow farting unicorns who befriend little girls and live in flower strewn meadows. They are reserved for long car rides and never written down. But last night a blizzard blew in, my friend spent the night without power.. and what can I say?


Once upon a time on in a land far away, a little family slept on a cold winter's eve. And, as they slept, The Spirit of Winter's Past looked down upon them. He hated the cozy warmth of their fires and the glow from their windows. And so, as the little family slept snug in their beds, the Spirit of Winter's Past stole down upon them.

He stretched out his hand and wrapped them in the depths of winter's cold. He flexed his fingers and made frost rime the window frames and steal across the glass. He laughed, and a nasty sound like the cracking of ice could have been heard. But the little family was not listening, and they slept on, oblivious, their breath now making white plumes in the air.

Finally the little girl woke, shivering... the tip of her nose red. Why was it so cold? In her warm flannel nightgown she tiptoed to her parents' room and tugged at the bedclothes. Her mother's sleepy voice greeted her, and she climbed into a warm toasty bed beside her little baby brother. But soon she was cold again, and her shivering woke her father. He blinked the sleep from his eyes, to find the power out, the house cold, and the kitties curled in little balls upon the bed.

Outside the wind howled and the cold beat down upon the little house. The Spirit of Winter's Past had blanketed the house in a terrible cold. There was no sound save that of the wind in the trees, and the snow skittering across the drifts. The light was gray, the sun seemed very far away. But Mother knew what to do, and she laughed as she dressed the children in their warmest woolens, speaking of days of old. For awhile, the blizzard seemed an adventure and they lit candles to play by.

The Spirit of Winter's Past sneered to himself, and tightened his grip on the little house. Time wore on and the cold increased. The light never grew, but stayed a forbidding gray. Outside, the trees popped and cracked, as ice crept into the wood. The little house seemed all alone, on a plain of snow and ice. The family felt very small. Doubt crept into the mother's voice and the children whimpered and huddled against her, shivering. Father glanced out the windows uneasily, wishing for the chance to glimpse something, even the mailbox at the end of the drive. But there was nothing, nothing but the unceasing white of the driven snow. It seemed to move out there, whirling like packs of hungry wolves, snapping at the little beam of light his candle flame cast and the snow drifted higher 'round the door.

Mother stamped her feet, and tried to encourage the children to sing a song with her. Their voices died away miserably amid the verses. The little girl had long since stopped feeling her fingers and toes and now she could hardly feel her face. Through the gloom beside her she could see her little brother was almost asleep. Darkness was falling. Soon The Spirit of Winter's Past would have his way, and they would all fall asleep... never to wake again. They were terribly and desperately alone in a sea of snow and cold. Soon, they knew, the whole world would grow still and silent, and they would be gray statues, their tears frozen on their cheeks.

Father could see the terrible cold creeping into their bones, and a desperate panic overtook him. He shook them each in turn and pulled his family out the door, into the teeth of the storm. He bid them pile wood into a mighty pile and began to throw anything that might burn into it. Soon it stood taller than any of them. Then he fell to his knees in the snow to light it. But The Spirit of Winter's Past shrieked with laughter, and breathed an icy breath, snuffing his match out. Mother stared at Father in horror and in that silent terrible moment they shared something extraordinary happened.

The little boy looked up into the sky and then seemed to notice the white snowflakes collecting in his sister's eyelashes. He gave a gay little laugh and warmth bloomed in Mother's heart. She grabbed the hand of her daughter and gave a gentle squeeze. The little family locked hands around Father, and sheilded him with their bodies from the worst of the wind, and in doing so, from the wrath of The Spirit of Winter's Past.

A light bloomed in the darkness and the fire caught. Light and warmth blazed up, beating back the gloom. They stood, bathed in the light of the fire, drinking in it's warmth. Mother buried chestnuts in the embers, and as they ate them, it seemed as if their bodies were awakening from a long slumber. They danced and sang songs in the darkness, and gradually the wind died. The cold abated to that of a natural winter's night and gradually the skies cleared until the stars twinkled down on them from a winter's sky.

The End