Changing Seasons, Part 1Posted: January 16, 2010
Autumn’s arrival varied from year to year, and this year she was particularly early, something that no doubt caused much distress in the world around her. She swung her legs out of the hollow tree, a giant redwood that just encompassed her abode. She woke sweating, as usual – Summer never knew when to quit – and was greeted by the sound of drums. Autumn perked her ears and listened. After a short while, she realized it was a festival – and not just any festival, but her festival.
It was the festival that sent the blood pounding through her veins, that made her feel alive. The sacrifices sent her into ecstasy. And indeed, there was one of them now. A lone girl tugged a very recalcitrant sow up the trail up to Autumn’s tree. She felt herself smiling – she had never witnessed a sacrifice before, only felt them.
As the girl drew closer, she sensed the cool breath of the wind, the fluttering of leaves that heralded fall, and immediately looked around her. The girl was sharp – it didn’t take her long to stop Autumn, even in the patchwork dress of leaves and bark brown hair. The girl approached Autumn with something nearing on reverence, and with no hesitation dispatched the sow beautifully.
“We ask a good harvest and a simple fall. No more.” Her voice was soft, yet demanding.
Autumn gulped and fought back moans. Above her, the first leaves began to turn.
Finally, “You shall have it.” The girl nodded, satisfied, and with a gracious bow turned and began retreating back down the path.
The sow’s blood flowed freely, etching rivers into the ground, and with it flowed Autumn’s winds. They bellowed out of her, eager and excited. Above, more leaves began to shift. Autumn let out a contented sigh, and began the tedious art of turning the natural world as red as the sow’s blood.
The first thing to be noted about the woman before him was that her face – a perfect, pale, exquisite visage – was coated in frost. Further inspection showed that the ethereal, frozen face was framed by pale blue hair – or perhaps it was a crown of icicles that tinkled with the faint breaths of air that trundled in from the cave entrance.
The man was so lost in his examination of the rest of her – the inadequate, lacy, immaculate clothing, the pristine white furs draped about her – that he failed to notice her motions.
First it was her eyes, snapping open regardless of the ice that had frozen them closed. Then her mouth moved, cracking the frost around the wicked grin that formed on the once-graceful face. Outside, the wind blew from the north, bringing an unmistakable chill with it. And then, in a perfectly innocent, if slightly hoarse, voice, “What is it, dear mortal?”
The man yelped and leaped backwards, but landed awkwardly and ended up looking like a flailing mass of coats and furs. This elicited a nasty little giggle that sent chills down the man’s spine even as he floundered. The woman of white shifted and peeled herself from the wall, sending ice shards flying and ricocheting off of the cave walls. She walked past the man without a second glance.
Winter tottered like a child towards the cave entrance and emerged to see a glorious fall landscape.
“Autumn, darling, you’ve outdone yourself this year.” As she turned back to the cave, she saw the man staring at her with an awed expression. With a giggle and a wink, she blew a dainty kiss at him. Winter experienced no remorse at leaving him to be found days later in the cave, frosted over, dropped jaw immortalized in ice.
Another giggle escaped, and the first snows of winter began to fall.
Winter had awakened.
(Spring and Summer coming soon.)