(Author note: this is an excerpt of a story available in full on Wattpad! Find me @jordynsaelor there!)

You discovered the house between the two hills, you were sobbing, blood was streaming from your skin, your nose, and you collapsed to your knees in the snow because you could not take a step further. You could not keep yourself upright so it’s a good thing there was snow to catch you. The sun was so bright. A shadow fell across it, and a face was there, silhouetted by a hood of fur. The face and the hood bent towards you.

“No, no, don’t touch me,” you rasped. You tried to but you just coughed.

“Easy,” he told you, “you’re safe now.”

He wasn’t. “Don’t touch me,” you mouthed again. You barely wheezed.

He knelt at your side, rolled you onto your side, and you were so grateful he was wearing gloves. Dear brain, gloves were hardly an obstacle for a poison this deadly.

He sang as he gathered snow, placed it over your arms, spread green poultice that smelled of salt taffy probably only in your delirium, he sang a song without words but you thought it was very beautiful, like a song to put a crying child to sleep, and your arms were prickling with pain but the pain was being sucked out by the snow, and you thought his face framed by a red sun was very beautiful and then there was blackness.

You woke up and the sun was replaced by stars, your body was cold, you couldn’t comprehend why your arms and legs were covered in dark snow. You heaved your body free of its frozen cage to discover it had been warmer inside; the wind bit your bare skin as you stood, the scattered clumps of snow made you stumble, the tender pink skin of your hand found a woolen mitten. Your chest heaved. Your ribs locked into a cage. The mitten held a hand but the hand was cold, and the silhouette you thought was mostly snow clumps was not snow clumps at all.

You crawled to the house, the door under the awning, your knees scraped over icicles newly chopped free, you wished he had stayed inside instead of coming out to chop icicles.

It was warmer inside the house, a fire was dying in the oven, but you didn’t go near the oven. You curled up on the floor, beneath the table, body weak, skin stained with the remains of blood, pink snow, poison.

You think he fed you the day before, you’re not sure what, but when you woke there was sunlight spilling in the window and your stomach held the remains of something comforting. You hobbled outside and discovered a frozen body, so you shut your eyes and dragged him by the boots. You had to stop every few steps to catch your breath, blink the dizzy stars from your vision. Your body was as limp as the hood of fur dragged over icicles embedded in the snow.

You ate mushrooms from the shelves in the room with a couch, gulped water, gasped for air and gulped more water, went into the kitchen and found it was not a fire keeping the oven warm. You pulled the fridge open from the front, discovered that it actually swung to the side, laughed about that, but forced yourself to stop and stare at nothing but a hollowed nook of ice. 

You dragged the body to the fridge and propped him inside before he could unfreeze in the slight warmth of the house. You’d never actually seen much of entire dead bodies, and didn’t know what an unfrozen one was supposed to act like. You didn’t want to find out, either. Hence the fridge. You did shut his eyelids though. His eyes were too blank to be staring at the inside of a fridge.

(continued in part 2!)