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At night I call his name; exclamations of love resound over snow-blanketed hills.
Eric! I love you!
And he hears me. What joy watching him peer through the window glass, brown eyes knit in wonder, heart-shaped lips questioning, "Arianna?" Beautiful man shivers denial, guessing hibernal dark has robbed his sanity and at last he can call himself mad.
What damns one saves another.
Eric! My love!
It was midnight when I was born in a place not unlike this, untamed, unspoiled. Delivered into my grandmother's hands, I screamed my first breath while my mother exhaled her last. One born and one died in the dead of winter.
Gramma told me not to mourn my mother, as she was now free–her soul married to freezing winds. This contented her, and for that, I was happy. When seasons changed burnt colors to crisp white, Gramma's spirits soared, snowflake kisses resurrecting her smile. She lived for the reunion and withered as calendar quarters morphed, sprigs of green staining alabaster, reaching through the melt for…the sun forcing winter souls north to a place she longed to journey, but for reasons unknown to me at the time, could not.
I loved my Gramma. She died in spring.
When she passed, I searched for her, for my mother in the winter sky and found no one. Years I remained alone, waiting…for what? For Love? Eric?
In our cabin he whittles, draws, writes–keeps his hands occupied hoping to tire the mind. That is why we could not exist together before; for Eric there is no peace in quiet, no pleasure in dark, no comfort in cold.
I am Winter Wind.
Eric, Summer Fire.
When I met him, my emotions overrode fact and I loved him. From the first moment until…
Iced nights destroyed him and he, me.
Eric! Merry, I dance about, kicking up puffs of snow. Eric! I love you!
And there he is. Nose centered in the window, he presses his hands in parenthesis around his face; coarse black beard bristles the glass, etching squiggles in the mist of his breath. The moon's glow reflects gold in his eyes and they search for me.
I am here! Eric!
His lips twitch and his eyes birth tears. He looks like a child. I know he misses me, regrets what he has done. If only he'd come outside, I could put his mourning to rest.
I owe him so much. He set me free from the damnable manacles of my body and ushered me into this that was my birthright.
Sharp, precise, my cry cuts through the minutest chink and easily finds his ear. For a moment he stares, his beauty shining like the sun at night.
Alas, I cannot resist him there, so close, and I rush, smother the barrier between us and patter the glass with a thousand kisses. My affections liquefy, and like so many teardrops, fall.
He cries. Together we cry.
I love you, Eric!
He steps away now, back to the flaming hearth, and drops his head on the mantle.
How he misses me and I him. Once I was by his side, in our cabin. We were in love as no two people ever were before, nor will be again. Not a weak love that builds over time, simmering, teasing the boil. No! We met, looked into each other's eyes, and were instantly betrothed.
He built this cabin for us in these woods, deep within the thick, to sequester. For months he worked the wood–and as he constructed our home from the raw, so he made me–his touch bringing alive parts of my body that had thus far been a mystery. Beyond carpenter, Eric worked my flesh like a sculptor models clay, bringing beauty, rapture out of nothing.
Our lives were fantasy, days and nights spent in ecstasy.
But winter made him crazy; long nights drew over him like a black cloud. He pulled away from me, and I clung to him as if in holding his body close, I could ensure our promise. Perhaps I grabbed him too hard? Perhaps not hard enough?
Copyright © 2002 by Lori Philo
Posted February 12, 2004
This is an interesting horror suspense anthology focusing on a very creative what if nightmarish extensions into Twilight Zone like scenarios. All of the contributions are well written with several superb entries that turn quite frightening when the key character seems like neighbors and in turn that authentic touch leads readers to accept the horrendous happenings to them as real. In a few cases the key protagonist lacks depth (even in terms of a short story) so that the terror is not as fully felt in spite of an original quite imaginative plot line in every case. My favorite personal tale is ¿Warm Wet Kisses in E-Flat Minor starring Jack and Jill. Of special mention is 'Freeze Frame' that reminded me of a 1960s survey comparing residents of Manhattan¿s Bellvue Hospital to those living in the nearby neighborhoods with the results being no statistical difference between the groups. Fans will feel the SHIVERS from this very inventive collection.................. Harriet KlausnerWas this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.