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The Child in the Snow

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There was no sound.


The girl opened her eyes and gave a disappointed sigh. She was standing in the middle of the same icy cavern again. She had not expecting she'd appear elsewhere, but a small hope inside, does. Yearning for it, yet knew how near to hopeless it is. She stroked the smooth floor as she sat and glanced at her own reflection on them. She saw the same girl she ever was again. But she had once seen a face of immense fear and loneliness. With tears streaked down her face like a river, inflaming her cheeks till it itched and flamed. Her lips bled as she chewed them in frustrations. Her eyes reddened and puffed. There she was, studying herself. Thinking how ugly can her death will be. How lonely shall it be...?


And there was no sound, only the sickening silence.


Oh she remembered how she howled and cried. Hearing her own voice echoing through the cavern, clawing the smooth, hard walls till her nails broke and her fist bleed. She cried for names she once knew. She called for the mother she never met to rise from the grave. She howled for her dead father to come and save her. She screamed for him to prove her wrong to believe he had died on the battlefield.


She begged for the heavens to end her misery right now and then.


And yet, none answered.


Not even the Gods...


As she lay sprawled on the cursed cavern's floor, she wept. Tired of all the screaming and running across the vast space, looking for an impossible exit. She lay there. Her once beautiful long hair tangled and sprayed all over her head. Her pretty kimono was undone and loose. She lay there, and stared at her fingers. She couldn’t move it. She couldn’t get up. She wanted to lay there and wait for the Gods to finally show their mercy for her. She wept, slipping in and out of consciousness. Hunger pained her like a hole in her middle. Thirst coarsened her throat. She wanted to die...


Yet, there was no sound.


Only her own weeping...


A blessed squeaking voice came to her senses. She opened her eyes slowly as she couldn’t believe it as yet. Her father had come in her hallucination. Wearing a smile he always wore, telling her to be strong and honest, just as he had said in his deathbed. Her mother had come too, in a body of no face. She stood there beside her dear father, just as she had hoped to be. He came too. Only to repeat the same news he had told her. That he would be on his way along with the imperial army. Promised her a shared life when he came back...


Half in disbelieve, she saw an animal right in front of her face. It was Hisame. She had forgotten all about him with her mind all about her desperation to escape. Hisame twitched his black nose and pressed it onto her forehead. He was real, she almost laughed, had her tired state allowed her to. She strived to raise her fingers and stroke his white coat, and an unimaginable piece of strength allowed her to. Hisame felt just as she remembered him to be. Soft and warm, but most importantly, real. She wanted to cry for this tiny piece of happiness, had there was any drop of tears left from her eyes.


Hisame was her friend. Her only friend as she lived with this murderous power inside of her with everyone either fears or despises her. Hisame was injured when she first found him one spring. A bite mark inked with blood ruined his pure white fur. He was unfortunately slow in changing into his spring's earth brown coat, made him clearly visible to wolves and dogs. She watched the poor little creature beside a rock, curled and panting for his last breath. She dared to pick him up, but she was afraid if she would hurt him. She feared if she would kill him unintentionally. Before she knew it, she was cuddling the animal in between her cupped hands close to her breast, hurrying to her humble hut she lived alone since Father passed away.


She was frantic. She knew her straw slippers wouldn’t last very long if she run, but she hurried nonetheless. It was not a very long way, she thought. Just a few turns over the corner of that street and over a bridge under the large Sakura tree and she’s home. Even if the strings would snapped right then, she could always go bare. Not that she bothers a sharp pebble or two cutting her tender feet. But he would mind, he said.


She hated to pass through the residential area near the town, but with the frail creature tucked into her cupped palms moving even less by the moment, she was afraid if she would be taking too much time using the usual, longer path to the paddy field where she grew up. She tried her best not to meet eyes by any of the passerby’s. The last thing she needed now was one of them confronting her and warned her again for the hundredth time that she may not come near their residence, or the town for the same reason. She is not to be anywhere near of them or their property. She is a monster.


From way in front of her, she noticed one of the town children that were playing at the side of a sole road to the bridge point to her calling the other’s attention. The little boy started to collect pebbles and stones or sticks and threw them towards her. This happened every the time she wanted to cross this bridge. Ridiculous, she thought many times, to think that they are just there waiting for her so they would throw things at her. Don’t they have anything better to do? Was it not enough that they ignored her plead when Father got sick?


Oh how her heart just wanted to shout at them with those crude words they had used on her. She went on from door to door to almost every one of them in town, pleading if they have any medicine to spare. Or even to borrow a wagon so she would carry Father herself to the healer living outskirt of town. But they ignored her, either not to bother to even open the door or shooed her away with cruel eyes. It was in a dead night of a mighty snow storm that time. The wind howled more ferociously as she cried in the middle of the empty street. She couldn’t feel the cold anymore. Her aching feet and body are too distant compared to helplessness.


There was no sound, saved herself and the wind.


Father said to forgive them, but she didn’t want to. She hated them with all her heart. Father said maybe they couldn’t help after all. Maybe they were afraid of the storm. Maybe they worry of their family’s safety. Father was always kind. He never believed people do evil things without reasonable excuse. So she kept quiet and held his shivering hands. Frail and weak, these hands had been the same pair that raised her from birth. The same pair of hands that have worked the field under burning sun, along with that old body of his. He never complained. He never did. Even until his last breath that night, he only whispered for her to be kind to others.


They say she is a monster, cursed with the power to call the snow storm to destroy them. Maybe it was true, she thought, as the wind now roared, threatened to flatten everything it its path. She had hoped it will destroy the town and everyone living there, be it men, women or child. She hated them, yet she didn’t have the heart to do it. As if by her command, the storm falls to a silent breeze, and she mourned all night….


There was no sound but her own cries…